A big upset at the Aviation Club as Roger Federer came unstuck against World Number 116 Evgeny Donskoy to bow out in the second round.
The Russian qualifier saved three match points to win through 3-6 7-6 (7) 7-6 (5) to make the Quarter Finals. As I alluded to in my previous post, Donskoy has a decent flat forehand, and it was that shot that helped him tonight as he recovered from a break in the third and 1-5 down in the tie-break to come through in exactly 2 hours.
Quick Match Recap
Donskoy won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to 30. Donskoy levelled, but Fed reeled off 12 points in a row to lead 3-1. That was soon 5-1, and although Donskoy recouped one break of serve, Roger served it out 6-3 in 29 minutes.
Into set 2 and Donskoy's level went up a notch with Federer's dropping slightly. Still, the set went on serve with both guys holding comfortably. After a brief delay for one of the floodlights failing Roger had to save a set point at 4-5. He did, and the set was soon into a tie-break.
Into the break and Roger took the initiative moving up 5-2. He then held two match points at 6-4, and a third at 7-6 but each time didn't make the right choice, and Donskoy stole it 9-7.
You still fancied Federer in the decider, and after holding serve comfortably for a 3-2 lead, he broke for 4-2. It was consolidated to love and at 5-4 Roger served for the match but was broken to 30. Donskoy then held and broke which meant he would serve for it. 2 excellent points gave Fed 0-30, and the Russian quickly lost focus to drop serve. Another tie-break ensued.
Again Federer was able to gain an early advantage, moving into a 5-1 lead. But similarly to the second set tie breaker, more questionable decision making gave Donskoy a lifeline, and he rattled off 6 points in a row to take it 7-5 and record his biggest career victory.
|Roger Federer||Evgeny Donskoy|
|First Serve Percent||73%(80/109)||48%(46/95)|
|1st Serve Points Won||74%(59/80)||76%(35/46)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||52%(15/29)||59%(29/49)|
|Break Points Saved||25%(1/4)||20%(1/5)|
|Service Games Played||17||16|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||24%(11/46)||26%(21/80)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||41%(20/49)||48%(14/29)|
|Break Points Converted||80%(4/5)||75%(3/4)|
|Return Games Played||16||17|
|Total Service Points Won||68%(74/109)||67%(64/95)|
|Total Return Points Won||33%(31/95)||32%(35/109)|
|Total Points Won||51%(105/204)||49%(99/204)|
Thoughts on the Match
A weird one to judge as Roger could have won in straight sets and should have won in three, but somehow ended up losing 🙂
I thought he played ok for the most part (forehand and return a bit too inconsistent) but made the wrong decisions at the worst possible times. One of those days where on the big points he wasn't able to find the right plays – botched volley in the second set breaker, serving into Donny's forehand strike zone on match point and just generally giving the Russian a second bite of the cherry on too many occasions.
It probably doesn't help they have never played before, but regardless Roger wasn't ‘on it' like he needed to be and that's why he leaves the tournament early.
As for Donskoy, he is a decent player on his day (check highlights vs. Murray in Indian Wells), so it's not a total surprise he was right in the mix on a fast court. He hits flat and can win points with just 1 or 2 shots thanks to his forehand which Roger chose to go into time and time again 😆
Anyway, not a loss you can read too much into as there are a lot of factors at play – under practised due to the leg, quick conditions that level the playing field and there was always going to be a comedown post-Australia, it was just a case of when not if. It turns out it's in Dubai, so it will be interesting to see what happens on the hardcourts in North America later this month.
What did you guys make of the match? Let me know in the comments.