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Federer Defeats Nishikori in London

Federer Eases Past Nishikori at World Tour Finals

Another clean sheet for the Swiss here as he eased past Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-2 to put himself on the brink of qualifying for the Semi Finals at this years ATP Word Tour Finals.

Just like the Raonic match Roger was never really in full flight but played smart tennis when he needed to and again capitalised on a high error count from his opponent to record another straight sets victory. The win cements his spot at the top of Group B and he now only needs Raonic to win a set tonight in order to qualify for the knockout stages on Saturday.

Quick Match Recap

Federer London 2nd Round Robin Match

Roger won the toss and elected to serve holding to 30 before Nishikori levelled for 1 game apiece. Nishikori's return had proved a potent weapon against Murray 2 days earlier and it gave Roger something to think about here too as he had to save 2 break points in game 3 before holding to lead 2-1.

If there's one area of Kei's game that's attackable right now it's his sub par serve and Roger broke through with some punishing 2nd serve returns before consolidating for a 3-1 lead.

The Swiss then had a shot at the double break but Nishikori held for 2-4 to keep in touch. Smart serving was the order of the day though for Roger and the single break proved decisive as he served out the first set to take it 6-3.

Into set two and Roger again went up an early break courtesy of some more good returning before holding to take a 3-1 lead. Being a set and a break up isn't uncharted territory for Fed against Nishikori but a repeat of Mimai wasn't on the cards for Japanese here and he couldn't find a way back; double faulting at 2-4 giving Fed virtual match points.

With Fed serving at 5-2 it looked like there could be some late drama when he slipped to 30-40 but some clutch serving saw him make deuce and he won the next two points to seal a t 6-3 6-2 victory.

Match Stats

R. Federer K. Nishikori
Aces 7 1
Double Faults 1 5
1st Serve % 58% 54%
1st Serve Points Won 27/34 (79%) 19/28 (68%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/25 (56%) 11/24 (46%)
Break Points Saved 3/3 (100%) 4/7 (57%)
Service Games Played 9 8
1st Return Points Won 9/28 (32%) 7/34 (21%)
2nd Return Points Won 13/24 (54%) 11/25 (44%)
Break Points Won 3/7 (43%) 0/3 (0%)
Return Games Played 8 9
Winners 11 7
Unforced Errors 12 17
Net Points Won 7/17 4/7
Total Service Points Won 41/59 (69%) 30/52 (58%)
Total Return Points Won 22/52 (42%) 18/59 (31%)
Total Points Won 63/111 (57%) 48/111 (43%)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Wins 2nd Match London 2014

I think with my game, I have the capability of really making him feel uncomfortable, mixing it up,. But it's not always possible. He's shown in the past when he gets the upper hand against any player from the baseline, he's very difficult to beat. Today for some reason he couldn't get it done. Maybe I was playing too well defence and offense, mixing up my serve good enough… It was really important to take advantage of the fact that I was feeling really good, and then maybe he was struggling a little bit today.

Another steady away performance here for Roger and he's won both his Round Robin matches without really having to do much other than keep the ball in play and take charge of the point when he needs to.

He's definitely been aided by some error strewn performances from Raonic and Nishikori respectively so it's hard to really assess his overall level. From what I've soon so far I think Fed is playing pretty good but doesn't quite have the rhythm he'd like from the back of the court; fortunately he's defended his second serve well enough and put in some nice 1, 2 punches behind his well placed serves to get enough cheap points to avoid any hiccups.

It's also hard to say whether this court really suits his style; Roger said it was slower than Paris, whereas Murray said it's faster so which is it? In the on court interview Annabel Croft asked Roger if he'd like to come in more but the surface was stopping him doing so, he agreed that it was and he can't come in at much as he would like. However in the Sky Pad he said the court does give him plenty options in terms of what shots to play whether he comes over the backhand or slices it. So based on that it looks like it's just a trade off – can't play the Fedbergian attacking style he'd like but it does give him options to use the slice and other tools in his armoury to set points up that draw errors rather than hit out and out clean winners. There's more than one way to skin a cat as they say but which way will be more effective should he take on Djokovic at the weekend is debatable, I'd pick the Shanghai Method if I had to choose but I'm not sure he can really play that game on this surface…

Overall though you can't have too many complaints, winning 2 matches vs. Top 8 opposition without dropping a set or being broken. His serve has been great under pressure and although his first serve wasn't quite firing today he did defend his 2nd serve well against a solid returner like Nishikori who looks to press forward whenever he has a chance to step in.

Predictions vs. Murray

Next up is Murray who is taking on Milos Raonic in just under an hours time. That's a crunch match and it will either mean Murray's playing to qualify from the group or he's already out and is only playing for pride when he takes on Roger on Thursday.

It's 11-11 in the H2H between the two but Roger has definitely had the upper hand in their last few meetings winning at this years Australian Open and in Cincinnati a couple of months ago. Roger has also dominated in London, defeating Murray twice in the group stages in 2009 and 2010 and in the semi final in 2012.

Murray looked very out of sorts vs. Nishikori on Sunday so if he plays anything like that I think Fed will get the job done with ease. However if Murray can actually take it to him and serve properly for a change then it should be a lot closer and could go 3 sets.

I'll pick Fed to win in two 7-6 6-4. Let me know yours in the comments below 🙂

Review Overview

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

Routinerer

Solid enough performance, still looks to be slightly out of rhythm, surface not ideal for his game.

User Rating: 3.71 ( 5 votes)

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

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70 comments

  1. I thought I had it…:-)

  2. Damn you guys are too fast. Off to read the post

  3. Oh missed again 🙁

  4. 4th? Getting much more consistent these days! Well guys, I was there which was a privilege and huge fun, was court side which is great for watching how quick these guys are, how fast their hands are! Well played Rog, never in trouble, and when you were, that serve came thru big time! Nishikori was sub par but still had flashes of brilliance which augurs well for his future but he has to shake this injury thing off, otherwise his career will be blighted!
    Roger bound to top the group and the key question will be who does he play, Stan or Novak…..?

  5. Jonathan, Ain’t Murray Said court is faster than Paris where as Roger said it is slow on Sunday? …

    Good match for Roger, hope he gets better rhythm for SF and F…Win against Djoker could be icing in cake…let see…

  6. Think the scores will be 6-4 7-5 although I thought all the matches were tight yet it’s been a disappointment. Federer played well but does anyone else think ever since racket change Federer has not got much pop on his shots. It’s worrying but it’s clearly working

    • I think quite the opposite: since the racquet change, I believe Rog has had *much* more pop on his shots in general.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Are you kidding, Aneiq? Everything has improved since the racquet switch. The backhand in particular. Returning is better. Volleying is better, especially the stab volleys. The second serve still needs a lot of improvement, so does the down the line backhand, which I think will get better and better, by the time AO rolls in. And, if Roger doesn’t got for big forehands, it’s by design.

    • Yeah I’m with Sid and Slamdunk.

      I think Fed’s groundstrokes can look weak on a slower court but he plays with a lot of spin and is trying to set points up…

  7. Agree yr comments J, the variety is what helps Fed here is court not quite fast enough for him. The slice looks to be key and that was his best shot today for me, as well as some great second serves!

  8. As you said, Jonathan, Nishi not at his best – the wrist this time it seems. Susie’s right, the frequency of injuries is surely worrying; he needs to get stronger or his career will continually be stalling. Still, Rog won convincingly and no energy wasted again. He was solid on serve and once again defended well when under threat. You were so close again on the scores – I’m impressed. I have to say that I thought it would be tighter than it was.

    • I think Chang is trying to instill some more mental toughness in him to play through niggles. Half of it will be psychological.

      Better update my Murray prediction. I’m closer than Conal 😀

  9. Watched Fed live again today. Have to say I didn’t get an autograph yet again. I’m so heartbroken…Better luck next time? Or keep trying till this week ends?

  10. Nice writeup Jon…I expected a better match. However Fed played well enough I think. You said it’s hard to assess his level because Kei and Milos played below par matches. True. But it is also impossible to find any sort of rhythm when the opponent makes too many unforced errors… and yes Djoker may be harder to beat in this surface than he was in Shanghai. But I think nobody other than Roger can break his long match winning streak in hard indoors… Allez!

    • Don’t count out Stan the Man! I think Djoker in 3 for that but expecting Stan to offer some resistance.

      • After his match against Birdie, I really though Stan had found some form, Jonathan, but it was short-lived. What a shocking match he played against Djokovic: I got quite excited when he broke Djoko’s first service game, but once Djoko broke back, it was downhill all the way. What the hell happened with his 1st serves – many of them were almost hitting the baseline! Doesn’t bode well for DC at all. 🙁

  11. Question- If Fed said that the court is playing faster than Paris, why is it less conducive to coming in?

  12. Fed certainly has a good habit of breaking Djokers streaks. So nice.
    I’m finding Nishikori a great player to watch but he seems to be a player that will be fighting injury his whole career. Cilic is such a disappointment. Berdych…blah. Raonic is starting to hit a few good shots. No one seems to be playing really well. All in all a strange tournament.

  13. Fed didn’t really have to do too much to win which was unexpected…just way too many errors flying off nish’s racquet. Like you said it’s quite hard to gauge his level given his opponents’ error-strewn performances, so it’s difficult to say how well he’d fare against Djoko. But I’d say the court surface heavily heavily favours Djok should they meet….it’s disgustingly slow.

    Not often I say this about a Fed match but it was a rather boring affair. Tbh this whole tournament has been kinda flat and blah. Can’t believe I’m about to say this next bit as well – and perhaps it’s a little premature – but the WTA championships were a lot more entertaining, no?

    I’m going for a Fed 6-3 7-5 win vs Murray! He hasn’t been ahead in their head-head rivalry since their first encounter if I’m not mistaken. Just how!

    • Totally agree- I thought the newcomers would bring something new to the table but they are lacking the intensity that is needed. I look back at last year’s WTF and that mammath Delpo/Federer match and roll my eyes at what’s been put on display this week.

      • Yess that Delpo-Fed match was such a rush!! And one of the few epics actually going in Federer’s favour – thank goodness for YouTube!

      • Not that my heart could stand another Delpo/Federer, but I agree, it does seem a bit dull so far. Thus far, the newbies don’t seem to have got what it takes: I too was missing Ferrer (although like Utch I did get a chance to watch him practising against Berdych – they were both whacking groundstrokes to and fro for what seemed like ages, and it got rather boring). Didn’t see the actual match, though, so will have to catch up with it on TV. (A couple of years ago, a colleague was wandering around the O2, and someone with a spare corporate ticket offered it to him. No, of course I wasn’t that lucky)

        Thankfully, I had the sense to record the Delpo/Fed match on DVD. Shan’t have the opportunity with the Fed/Murray match, so will have to be glued to the radio for that one 🙁 I’m still trying to work out the logic behind the afternoon vs. evening matches: guess it can’t be the Beeb calling the shots, since Roger and Andy are playing in the evening. Oh well, I couldn’t really have afforded another day off if they had been playing daytime anyway.

    • Agreed, no 3 set matches to speak of. Cilic and Raonic have been poor. Berdych not so good either so not much value for money going on.

      Probably worst standard group matches in recent years. But that could mean the knockout stages are real blockbusters, still time…

  14. Well that was rather un-eventful wasn’t it?(Jonathan, just a Q- didn’t Fed say London was playing slower than Paris and Murray say it was playing faster?)

    Anyway, regardless of the surface I think he’s playing very solid but as you said hard to judge when the opponent isn’t playing a quality match. The group stages seem to be a bit of a flop this year, hardly any drama which is disappointing because these are al supposed to be top tier players only. Looking like Muzz might take the Raonic match so that would make Thursday’s match more competitive I’d assume. Hoping some life is integrated into the tournament because right now it’s not going great. That aside, Roger has won 2 for 2 and is set for to get out of the group stage, more looking forward to the Wawrinka/Djokovic match, here’s hoping Stan becomes the Man…

  15. I haven’t lost hope on the Number 1 yet, goodness, I’m such a die hard!
    The bet is on Wawrinka’s racquet tomorrow. If he beats Djokovic tomorrow, Fed has a chance. I must tell you guys, I watched Berdych practise today with David Ferrer and I wasn’t impressed. Ferrer looked better. I have a feeling he might lose all three RR matches. Sorry about that Katyani.
    So all my hopes is on Stan WAWRINKA.
    Hopp Schwiz!!! Give Fed a life line!!!

  16. When are we getting to the 1000 match wins? Jonathan, will we get a tribute 😉

  17. Wasn’t a spectacular match to watch, donno maybe due to the court condition or what but great Fed had the job done without much drama which saved my poor heart. Despite lowish 1st serve %, he aced or threw great 2nd serves to escape danger and saved all BPs, impressive! I really like this clutching Fed of late very much. Though shame Kei wasn’t fully fit. By the way, according to a jouno called Simon Häring, Fed apparently said on surface: “The court plays somewhat slow, and the serve doesn’t have that much of an impact.” That makes sense from looks on TV.

    Now by taking one set from Andy on Thursday, Fed will be in semi. Allez!

  18. Sid TheCookieThief

    After the third game of the first set, where Nishikori was back to do what’s been bothering Roger in his two losses, I though it was going to be a dog fight. I’m not sure what happened after that in the set, as I watched only parts of it, and the second set that I missed. Nishikori just didn’t look like the player who beat Roger twice.

    Just glad he now has a positive H2H against this pesky opponent. Next, let’s get ahead of Murray in the count.

  19. Though Roger won his match but still lack rhythm out there. 1st server percentage is still low and this will hurt him against Murray. Regardless I will still pick Roger in 3.

  20. Not sure about the Thursday match – how was Andy playing tonight? I’m still not sure whether he’s back at enough of a level to be troubling the top players yet, although I’m sure this win will have given him some confidence. Think Roger will need to improve on his first-serve percentage, and if as you say he hasn’t had a chance to get his rhythm yet this could be a bit tricky.

    • I watched Murray/Raonic. It was terrible. Raonic had no serve in 1st set – just 37%; in fact 33% at one point which is when Murray broke him. He picked up a bit in second set, but still spraying errors everywhere – over 30 in the end I think, just shocking. Murray didn’t really have to do that much to be honest – just get the ball back and wait for the error – perfect for him! 🙁

    • Yeah Raonic was very poor vs. Murray. Just made a ton of errors. Should have won 2nd set though I think.

  21. Oh, and for future reference, although it’s perhaps a bit pointless since his next match is an evening one, Roger + coach (which one?!) were scheduled for practice on centre court from 11.15-11.45 this morning. As I suspected. Not sure what they’d do for an evening match, although I noted that Wawrinka and Djokovic, on their day off, were both scheduled to practise on the outside practice courts.

  22. Sid TheCookieThief

    So, looks like Roger is virtually assured of finishing first. If he picks up a set vs Murray, or loses by no more than 6 games in a straight sets defeat, he tops the table. Of course, there is a really long shot Roger crashes out, but that ain’t gonna happen.

    Do you guys think, this can happen? That would…suck!

    Murray beats Roger 6-3 6-2
    Nishikori beats Raonic 6-1 6-1

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      If Stan were to beat Djokovic tomorrow, and Roger gets past Murray, we may end up in a situation where the Roger-Djokovic semi final could decide the Year End No1. And there I was, thinking the party was over.

    • Yes. I’ve been counting on that possibility too. Go Stan!

    • Don’t want to spoil the party guys, but Stan has his work cut out for him… Didn’t watch Djoker’s match, but Stan beat a TERRIBLE Berdych, let’s not forget he’s not been able to win two straight matches since USO… I’m all for stan, but this one’s gonna be hard…

    • I think Stan will put up a good show vs. Djoker.

      Djoker in 3 prob but maybe Stan can spring a surprise.

  23. I’d say Fed will win over Murray in three sets. Murray will give his all and I don’t want to underestimate him. Fearless forecast is it will be 6-4, 5-7,6-4. But then again, I’d be happy if the Maestro will be able to finish him in straight sets. Allez!

  24. Lol, Sid, I take your word on that and you MUST write that Tribute! 🙂
    Fed Fans, sit tight for Stan’s match!!!

  25. Another absolutely $#!^ match. 6-0 6-3. The WTF is really living up to its name right now.

  26. It’s crazy to say, but the doubles tournament has had much higher quality and entertaining matches so far, compared to the pathetic display from most of top 8 singles guys (except fro Djokovic and Roger obviously) lol. Awful matches so far 😀

    • I agree Leon. I’ve watched a couple of doubles – they’ve been really high quality, and fun. At this rate, the only singles match worth watching will be Federer vs Djokovic. It has been very, very disappointing.

  27. Jonathan – skimming this interesting column some times, I have not yet been able to see your exact prediction of to-night’s, except that you somewhat agree on a 3-setter…? I think also, that Andy will be playing out of his skin, and he being a good fighter, it will be good for Roger to be as fresh as a daisy to play him off. But if so, I am very confident, and will say – hopeful – 6-4, 7-5!

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