ATP Masters 1000Cincinnati MastersRoger Federer

Federer Fights Back to Defeat Haas in Cincinnati

Finally some more good news for Fed fans as Roger fought back from a first set breadstick and a break down in the second to defeat Tommy Haas 1-6 7-5 6-3 and setup a potential Quarter Final showdown with Rafael Nadal.

It wasn’t a vintage performance from Roger by any means, in fact it was close to being a disaster for over half the match, but a blip from Haas allowed Roger to get back into it, start finding his range and eventually pull through in what I’d say was probably one of his best matches in a long while.

Quick Match Analysis

Federer vs Haas Cincy

The first set was a disaster from Roger as his game completely fell to pieces, after saving a break point in his opening service game he then missed 2 break point chances of his own with weak returning before reeling off a terrible service game to get broken himself and fall 3-1 behind.

Haas then held to 15 with some more garbage returning from Fed allowing him to consolidate and then the Swiss’s game took yet another hit as he lost serve for the second time and Haas served out the breadstick 6-1.

The second looked set to be a similar story with Haas returning like a mad man breaking Federer in the first game before moving into a 3-1 lead with yet more confident play.

However a love hold from Fed sparked some life into him and despite looking frustrated as Haas took a 4-2 lead he finally got the breakthrough in the German’s next service game to level things up at 4-4.

At 4-4, 30-30 Roger got too passive and allowed Haas to step into the court to setup break point but then got excpetionally lucky when Haas made a very weak error allowing Roger to make deuce before holding to lead 5-4. Roger then squandered two more break points with some poor returning before holding to lead 6-5 and at the very least make a tie break out of it.

As it turned out the breaker wasn’t required as the 6-5 game was where Roger finally managed to piece together his game; hitting over his backhand on a couple of returns and subsequently winning both points, he then came up with a great return on set point before sealing it with a delicate sliced drop volley that Haas was unable to track down. Game on.

The third set was always going to be quite cagey and yet again Roger wasted a break point on the Haas serve at 2-1 up only to find himself in trouble in the very next game as Haas stepped into the court on his second serve.

Roger saved it but then double faulted at deuce gave Haas a second bite of the cherry but he found 2 decent serves to hold which was pleasing to see under pressure.

Haas then leveled up at 3-3 with a 1 minute hold and it looked like momentum might be swinging in his favour but then at 4-3 Roger started making things happen for himself with aggressive returning before hitting a sick down the line backhand to setup break point which he took and then went on to serve the match out to 30 to get a much needed victory. Allez!

Match Stats

Federer vs. Haas Match Stats

Not great reading, and although it’s not listed here Roger only won 1 more point than Haas the whole match.

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Thoughts on Fed vs Haas

Well where to begin? As the old cliche goes, it was a match of two halves :D. The first half was Roger completely not at the races, making a ton of errors, looking like he didn’t want to be there and generally stinking up the joint. The second was much improved with Fed finally looking to make the plays himself and not just waiting for Haas to clown up.

Like I said in the first paragraph this was definitely the best win Roger has had in a while and I think it’s the first time since 2007 that he’s come back to win a match after losing the first set by such a wide margin which is pleasing to see.

I’m not going to get carried away and suggest the match has sparked something good but it’s definitely a confidence boosting win (or at least it should be, but recently you can’t weigh Fed up, see the Simon match at the FO for example) and Roger’s game did at least click towards the end of the match.

Haas played pretty well right up until the end too but like I said in my Kohlschreiber match review he does have a habit of rolling over in the important moments and had he shown a little more clutchness at 4-4 in the second he could easily have got the job done in straights. Fortunately he reverted to type, allowed Fed back in and he was able to take advantage so from his point of view he will be disappointed to lose the match from such a dominant position.

The main positive for Roger is coming from a set and a break down to win the match and pull himself together when he needed to. The first set was a disaster for him in terms of how he played; zero feel at the net, spraying it all over and returning like he was holding the racquet in the wrong hand so he’ll need to correct that for the Quarters otherwise he might not be so fortunate to get back into the match like today.

The other plus is that he at least attacked on some of his returns and they paid off helping him earn the break at 6-5 in the second and again at 4-3 in the third. I think there were still many fragile moments and passiveness, but it does at least look like he is on the right path to getting back to the Fed type level we have come to expect over the years.

Roger is a much better player when he looks to take matters into his own hands rather than just let the match pass him by so it’s imperative he plays like he did in the third set consistently. Today for instance in the first set you felt like you wanted to check for a pulse on the guy which he can’t afford to do in a Grand Slam but he did eventually start to make things happen for himself rather than have it handed to him which is hopefully a sign of things to come.

All in all this should be a confidence boosting win and he’s at the very least avoided slipping to #7 in the world which would have made bad reading, I’m still disappointed he reverted back to the Pro Staff but as long as he keeps winning that’s more important and I can’t argue with his choice too much if keeps doing jus that. Allez

Predictions vs. Nadal

So the Quarter Final matchup we expected to happen is here as Nadal defeated Dimitrob in 3 sets. I haven’t seen any of the match or highlights but it looks like Nadal was too good in the end but at least Dimitrov was able to take a set off him and put him under pressure.

As for Fedal 31 I’m not overly excited about the match but I do want to see the outcome as this match will serve as a good barometer. Nadal has been playing exceptionally well post Wimbledon and hasn’t lost on a hardcourt for a considerable amount of time so he’s clearly the favourite.

It is of course typical how he is rising whilst Roger is slumping which will allow him to take advantage here. The Haas match may have given Roger some confidence but I don’t think his game or his mindset are in the type of place they need to beat someone like Nadal.

Roger is still out of form in my opinion so I’m just hoping he can put in a performance that doesn’t leave him feeling down about his game or even lower on confidence. I’d personally like to him go out and play out and out attack, even if he makes a billion errors I’ll be happy as he at least tried something different. And hey it might come off.

Dull in 2 is my prediction but hoping for some Fed magic.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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      1. Sorry! But your dominance has ended. I’m the new World Number 1. Title number 10. WINNER! Lol
        I’m sorry Scooter, you’ll get me next time. Probobly 😛

      2. Yeah…sorry Brandon, unfortunately because of your lack of recent titles, you’ve lost a lot of points and cannot simply be No.1 by winning one title. You’ve got to work your way up. Scooter remains the No.1 by a huge margin.


        Yours Truly,
        Director or Rankings Permutations

  1. I thought it was a very IMPORTANT match. I missed it, so idk much about it other than highlights, but coming from a set and a break down is clutch, even against Tommy, a player who’s beat Djokovic on a hard court and is #13 in the world.
    Idk about Rafa/ please don’t be mad, but I think Rafa will win if he wins tonight. But I want Roger. Just being realistic. Btw, Rafa said these courts are slower than Canada. Do you agree? I want Roger to win this a 6th time(doesn’t he have the record with 5?)

    1. Rafa says the courts are faster in Montreal eh? Well rafa also says he doesn’t juice but we all know how full of crap he is on that one right?

    2. Slower than Montreal? I’m assuming Rafa’s saying that so come the end of the year when he traditionally gets tanked by no-name players, he can say he won on the fastest court…

  2. This was a very good win in the circumstances, winning breeds more confidence which is ultimately what he lacks most at the moment. Wasn’t fortunate enough to see the match, just tracked progress on the ‘net, so sounded like he was a little lucky but you have to start somewhere.

    Talk of winning the tournament is very pre-mature, it would be a miracle. Personally, I would regard a competitive performance against Nadal* as further progress, as opposed to being schooled. Unfortunately, I think Roger is of the same frame of mind, when he really needs to believe that he can beat Rafa to make it close.

    * I expect Nadal to progress tonight.

  3. Its a pity I missed this match but looks liked he turned it around from total brain fart in the 1st set to I want to win this ugly. Allez Roger!!!

  4. The first thing I thought of was the Davydenko match in Rotterdam last year.

    Before the tournament began, and even before the draw came out, I said that I’d be happy with making the quarterfinals. Obviously he would like to face Dimitrov but even if he plays Nadal, he will have his opportunities. He’s serving pretty well and moving better than he has in a while.

    1. Kind of similar, although Roger had to dig real deep vs Davydenko who was playing really well. Haas here folded a little and let him in. But coming from a set and a break down is pretty damn good.

  5. Wooo! What a topsy-turvy match! How did Fed win that match lol? Played like absolute crap for a set and a half, and then relaxed visibly towards the tail end of the that second set. At 4- 2 down though, I had already come to terms with yet another disappointing Fed loss, but then all of a sudden Fed broke back (out of nowhere, it seemed) and got himself back on track! Mind you, there were some more nervy moments along the way, (as is now the norm for any Fed match), but what pleased me about the match is the manner in which it was won, and as you said this will be a huge confidence-booster. I honestly can’t recall the last time Roger fought back from such a large deficit – Haas will really be kicking himself boy! Anywho, Fed remains alive in the tournament which is the most important thing. Would be amazing if we were finally treated to a Dimitrov-Fed matchup but methinks Nadal will most likely school Dimitrov – he hasn’t really been in the best of form of late.

  6. Almost a tragedy, playing like that will not be enough for winning Nadull, I am waiting another lost again the despicable Nadull

  7. I didn’t watch the match, but Jonathan, the stats made pretty good reading to me. More winners than unforced, 66% 1st serve%… But from the description he didn’t play great. Hopefully he plays well tonight against Nadal. It’s illogical but I like his chances. He has nothing to lose at this moment, if it’s boxing he’s the challenger. I’m actually looking forward to this match, unlike the impending doom before this year’s Rome final. I’ll make sure I get up early… 7pm in Cincinnati is 7am for me!!

    Cheers everyone

  8. Well, dull dulled it out as usual. Though watching made me wish Fed would show some more variety on that backhand return. Dmitrov lacks the experience, maturity or exceptional skills of Fed (as yet anyway), but he had that old joie de vivre on the tennis court that we used to see from Fed. He showed no fear and kept hammering away at Nadal and you could see Nadal’s twitching getting worse. For f…k’s sake, how many times does he have to dig into his undies –now it’s front and back—every time a match begins. Am hoping Fed plays aggressively and without fear tomorrow. He has nothing to lose and everyone expects Nadal to destroy him. Fed was so out of sorts today and he got a bit testy when Darren Cahill asked him why he made such poor shot choices in the first half of the match. Denial or just good PR??? confused confused but go fed as always.

  9. So nows its Federer v Nadal and the first time they meet in the US Open/Series hardcourt tournaments! If this match was a year ago, I would have no doubt that Federer would dominate Nadal, but for now, its going to a close one, even if Roger finds some great form.

      1. If that happens, I’ll be so happy, I’ll buy Jonathan a Wilson racquet of his choice (including stringing, taxes, and shipping) 🙂

    1. Hi Sid,
      Just saw Roger press after the match, tell you what! You might be right this time 😉
      I saw some sparks of confidance in his talk and eyes.
      Will be intresting match

  10. This might be the win Federer needs to ignite his resurgence. A win over Nadal could really boost his confidence level and should bode extremely well for the rest of the season. Give him that sense of belief.

    Oh how I wish this was 2012 Cincinati. Dull you clever bastard. Playing Federer on a quick hard court at the only time Fed’s vulnerable on it.

  11. Dear Jonathan,

    I’m one of the winner of the Roger Federer Quiz. I have sent you my email about three days ago but I haven’t received any reply yet.

    Have you check your mail yet? If my mail was lost, I would send it to you again.


      1. Thank you so much Jon:D Would love to see a double bagel against Dull tomorrow. Now I have to sleep first to save the energy for that, it’s mid night in my time zone now.

  12. If Roger starts tonight like yesterday Nadal will win <1 hour. Even if Roger plays like in the second half of the match, Nadal will win easily. It might be helpful to start returing, hitting better serves and attacking the net after some useful approach shots.

    I am not sure but every time Roger hits a second serve (kick serve) it seems that he cannot really extend his back the way he used to do it when he is 100% fit.

  13. Managed to watch from the end of second set. My point of the match was the set point for the set 2 and the shot of the match was the running BH down the line to get BP 4 -3 decider, it was beauty!

  14. Based on Nadal’s form, Federer will be playing his last match today before US Open. I would imagine it’s going to be some thing like, 6-2, 6-2. I will be very very surprised if Fed wins a set against Nadal today.

      1. Swathi calm down please.

        I happen to agree with Ramesh, Nadal is definitely the favourite and I too think Fed could lose in straights. Doesn’t mean I’m a Nadal fan, means I’m realistic.

      1. There are live streams online if you can’t watch the match in India. I use LiveScoreHunter sometimes for streaming. They’ve improved the quality of the streams now, not HD, but still able to see the ball well.

    1. Ramesh, surprised? Federer should have won 7-5, 7-5 in straights, his forehand at 40-30, 4-5 was in and he did not challenge the out call. & then again at 5th match point, nadal’s was out, we could be in a tie-break in 3rd set, for sure 5-5 all.
      Enjoying eating your own words? Even with nadull’s form & 5 years age advantage and all the steroids, Granpa Federer almost had him, in slow conditions at night and on a much slower Coinci court than years in the past.
      I hope Berdych crushes the DULL, notice i said hope, never made stupid irrational predictions of 6-2,6-2, haha

    2. Well Ramesh, you were right and wrong in your predictions. But I didnt agree with the 6-2 6-2 score. It was always going to be a lot closer, and Federer proved he was still a major force to be reckoned with.

      1. Hey thanks Jonathan for your reply to Swathi.

        Swathi, let’s use better words here to make this blog better and every one of us equally deserves to be here. It was just my prediction about the match which was right for the outcome, but not correct at the scoreline.

        Mac, Yes, I was surprised to see the score line, but not the result and the match was far closer than I initially thought. I’m quite happy to see Federer’s attempts to win this match, however I’m sure most of us might have predicted that it could be a total one-sided affair.

        Conal, I agree with you. Federer can still win big titles. I don’t think he is completely done yet….just that he is going through worst phase of his career after becoming a big tennis star. I think such bad phases are pretty common in almost every one professional career.

  15. Hi Jonathan

    It was not easy to watch the first set and a half – I honestly thought he was going down in straight sets – I had to turn to drink to see me through the rest of the match – How he turned it around I don’t know. So next is Nadull – in my heart would love to see Roger win – but my head is telling me that he won’t – but will be cheering him on regardless of the outcome – would love it if he came out attacking from the first point and serving and vollying – what will be will be

  16. It was nice to see Roger get his stuff together. There was a glimpse of the Roger we would like to see but still too many moments of when he does seem to have lost his game plan. That’s where Nadal excels. He is committed from the warm up to the finish. It has been a long time since we saw Roger committed like that. Actually it’s been almost 8 months. I thought he was great in Australia but the something broke.
    Roger of yesterday probably has not much to offer today. I wouldn’t say that but lately, it seems Roger looses to Nadal already in the locker room. He just seems to bring his worst game when playing him while Nadal mostly seems to take care of business with occasional setbacks. But we can always hope.

    1. Hey Londo,

      Yeah the first set was terrible.

      He has to do something different to beat Nadal, he did it once in Madrid 2009, hope he can here.


  17. Hopefully Thomas will survive the clash against favorite Murray. But what a matchup this will be. Lots of exiting rallies of 20+ hits. Only the fittest of the fittest shall survive- stay alive, as bob Marley put it a couple of decades before.

    You have to be realistic now , if Roger Federer doesn’t change to a larger headed stick and doesn’t finally learn to bash 2H backhands he ‘ll never really get a real chance in the modern game. What happened to the lessons that the Golden Olympic Medal holder was giving to him. Hasn’t he learned yet?

    Ok and stop giving me this SnV oldschool tennis rubbish . That don’t work any more.

    You better just forget about tonight’s match . Just go to bed safely and get a good nights sleep. Or else watch nightmares of the tramp wreaking havoc on Federer’s obsolete stick and 1HBH. Just like Freddy Kruger treated all this American teenage girls in the Elm Street nightmares.

    Just don’t say I didn’t worn you

    One, Two, Rafa’s coming for you. Three, Four, better lock your door, Five, Six, Fed grab a larger stick, Seven, Eight, better don’t stay up late, Nine, Ten, never use a 90 again…

    1. You know, tennis is known as a sport in some circles. Sport is considered as a form of entertainment. I would rather Roger lose playing his way than learn a 2H backhand and play more like the worthlessly similar baseline defensive grinders of this day and age. Maybe SnV is obsolete in today’s sport, but that’s a lack of taste on the part of the idiots who want to sell tickets and make matches longer for revenue purposes, but I’ll still watch it anyday, and I imagine a fair few people on this blog would too. We don’t like Roger BECAUSE he wins, we do because he wins playing the way he does.

      And when do you think the “modern game” started? Last time I checked, 45 weeks ago, Roger Federer was the no.1 player in the world, and I wouldn’t call that “not getting a real chance”. Winning at any cost is one of those things Nadal tends to believe in, and if Fed should change everything about his game, take away the beauty and entertainment value of it all, he’s just making himself more like Nadal, and I wouldn’t swap that for success.

    2. Just one year a 31 year old Roger Federer with a 90 sq inch stick and single backhand became world number one winning winning his 17th grand slam and bageld world #2 exactly one year ago in the final. Just how much more modern can tennis get in 12 month?

    3. Greek Gambler, no wonder if you were a gambling addict, stick to gambling & basketball, and leave tennis to people who understand, and stop posting rubbish. an in-form Federer, no back issues, no lack of confidence, with his old stick on the slow courts of Indian Wells in 2010, schooled Nadull.
      Cinci used to be fast, now it is slow, conspiracy or what, ATP looking after its’ young Steroid-pumped guns, Dopal & Murray & Djoker with his blood spinning (Modern Scientific Doping).
      Come back tomorrow & eat your words, Federer will surpise you & the bookies & pull this one out!

      1. Correction: Indian Wells 2012, just a year ago before that Dope head went on another fake injury time out @ Miami and did not have courage to face Murray in the SFs, my knee, ah, catch me, I’m gonna fall.
        Then, Dopal goes on a 4 title win streak on CLAT, 2 weeks later, then he gets ROSOLed and Wimbledon and has no courage to face his demons on court, why lose and ruin his head to head, just take 7 months off & come back at 250s in Brazil.
        What modern game of your needs is honest entertaining players like Del Po, Federer, and Wawrinka, Janowics, and Dimitrov.
        I would watch these guys and day rather watch 3 cheaters, dope-heads, like Murray, Djoker, & Knee-dull duke it out for 5 hours.

    4. Haha Greek Gambler your comment made me laugh.

      And relax guys, I think The Gambler is just giving his assessment, he makes some valid points.

      Although changing to a 2 handed backhand, even Trolls on MTF don’t come up with that kinda stuff lol.

      We’ll see what happens tonight anyway, all just predictions right now.

      1. Maybe a two handed forehand and backhand? Like that “no talent” player who recently won Wimbledon? Yup, that should fix it 🙂

        P.S. I still can’t believe how someone so immobile, so chunky, wins a slam on a surface that puts a premium on agility. And that too with two handed shots on both wings. Oh my Lord! What has professional tennis come to!

    5. I got a good laugh out of it too.

      In a way, he is right. Yet again tonight, we will see a not so skillful player, with a very modern, extremely spin friendly and powerful racquet, go up against the most talented, most technically correct player ever, using the modern equivalent of a wood racquet. It’s like watching a howitzer go against a bayonet. We know what the result will be. Yet, Roger refuses to change one bit. Greek Gambler is simply stating his frustration, in my opinion, so everybody just calm down, he means us no ill will 🙂

      Roger may well pull it out today in a dog fight, but doesn’t change anything one bit, in the long run.

      1. Never mind I just got what I was asking for . I just felt like trolling a bit as this is too perfect for a blog. All though a fake troll still I guess it wasn’t exactly the wright day to do it.
        @ John I think you are more or less wright . The sentence I liked the most is :
        “We don’t like Roger BECAUSE he wins, we do because he wins playing the way he does.”
        @ Londo That match I was betting against Fed so Imagine how I felt like watching that first set lol.
        @ Mac Alex that aint the wright way to react as a true Fed Fan .I would say that its more of a Nadal fan reaction. Ok I admitted I had a problem there s no need to hit me up on that. As far as tennis is concerned I am aware of my ignorance.
        @ Johnathan and Sid I am glad I made you laugh . But seriously Murray WAS showing Fed how he does his 2hbh. I m sure you ve watched it. As for tonight It ll be Nadal 2 sets to one. And hopefully I ll eat my words tomorrow 🙂 along with Jonathan just like we did with our predictions in Montreal final

        Oh my god what a Dchoker ( a pour atempt to imitate Sid) against Isner , and Murray is being fed Birdshit.
        Or is it that the big guys are choosing to rest a bit before US open? The Djoker though was after the only 1000 he is missing wasn’t he ?

  18. Wow John Isner has just beat Djokovic. There goes the career golden masters 1000 compleation that they kept promoted. I hope now Fed lives up to expectations and beats Nadal. Fingers crossed.

  19. I don’t like that… as much as I don’t want Djoko nor Murray to win (I won’t even say Nadal), I don’t want Roger to go down in rankings again…

    Now with Delpo and Berdych both in the semis, he reaaaaally had better win tonight! and tomorrow and Sunday. You see what I mean… HE HAS TO WIN THIS TOURNAMENT!!

    (You can feel here my frustration and stress over tonight’s match)

    1. Now that Lance Armstrong sees a clear path to the title, there is no way he is going down to Roger. He will be at his utmost best tonight.

      1. Did I really have to get a good internet today? Just to get tortured like that?
        I was starting to imagine how would RF play against Berdych tomorrow…
        Now 0-3 in the decider… If this is not bad news…
        The good news is that he’s playing again like himself… But Nadal…

      2. Well he lost, but as it was expected, I am not that disappointed.

        First, this is Nadal and not some unknown player, so we’re kind of used to it (not on hard but yet, in this year’s Roger’s form…)

        Second, imo Federer had just played his best match of the season. After a disastrous summer, he delivered a solid serve (despite some stupid errors he shouldn’t have made) and the best return I have seen him play in months. He even saved 4 match points before… well you know…

        I expected nightmares for not being able to watch the match and then worrying about the result, now I can go to sleep a bit more confident. The machine is warming up now and hopefully we will see more of the real Roger in two weeks when he attacks the USO. He won’t be favorites, but he would at least be able to keep his QF points.

        And for this one, I hope Isner wins 🙂 I am sleepy already, so I can start dreaming right now 🙂

      1. Backhand is viable. But forehand and serve are working well. I’m very happy with this level compared to what we had the last few months.

      2. Yeah, I suppose. And if he goes for more backhands, he’s gonna miss more, so it could show he’s adopting a go-for-it stance on the backhand.

        Howler of a miss by Nadal at 0-0 there.

      3. AND he’s BLOCKING serves back on the backhand, instead of hitting under. I’m honestly happy about this. And that miss was nice 😀

      4. Yeah, good aggression. But Nadal is usually a one-chance-a-match man. Roger’s had 15-30 in the last two service games and failed to make anything of them… I’m wondering whether the chance is already gone.

    1. Whatever happens in the next two sets now, barring something crazy, I’m going to bed satisfied now. Not necessarily happy, but satisfied.

      1. I totaly don’t regret staying up until 2 AM 😀 And John, you noticed he got that set point with the backhand? 😛

  20. Nadal heating up here. Fed’s still doing well, though. Could go the Aussie 2012/Madrid 2011 way, or it could go the Madrid 2009 way.

      1. Yeah, Indian Wells was not as close as this, I think.

        HAHA, Sky Sports opting to show Nadal’s tap over the net with the classic “Winner Speed” statistic… 14mph, how telling!

      1. Well, that one’s not gonna happen 🙁 It’s all the momentum and confidence that’s costing now.

      2. Yeah… Too bad, still a good match, happy to see Rog playing like he did the two first sets, especially against Dull.

  21. It’s the match we could hope for. If only Roger could get that bh return going. Good sign from Mirka. She is in it 100%. I like it.

  22. Heard Peter Fleming say the courts in Cincinnati are playing medium pace this year. Can anyone verify or deny this?

  23. Has any one noticed that Roger really gives it a good solid crack in the return whenever it’s a fault. And then a serve will land and poof.

    1. The backhand cross court. The Novak game play. A pity he pulled it out a game too late. It’s a safe shot, he can let it rip, high percentage… wait for the damage and then dispatch the weak reply into the open court.

  24. I do NOT understand this. If any one was seeing the last game. Why on EARTH does Roger not play like that all through the match? He RIPS the cross court backhand. RIPS it cross court. Opens up the court and flicks the forehand winner. Exactly the same as Novak’s play.

    It’s FAR better than his backhand strategy before this where he’s going down the line to try and hit Rafa’s BH.
    a) It’s FAR riskier- He misses it a lot more.
    b) Because it’s riskier, he plays it cautiously, so if it does go in, Nadal has no worries hitting either way.

    He should stick to the cross court backhand. It’s what won him the ATP 2011/ 10 against Rafa. It’s safer, it’s high percentage …and it’s proven.

    If he hadn’t gotten unlucky with the net chord and the final Rafa shot (which did look long) he had a great chance.

    1. Despite a loss, I’m going to go to sleep fairly satisfied. He played hard, fought hard and didn’t give up and leave us with a 6-2/1 scoreline. His serve was top notch, his volleys fantastic and he was also winning a great deal of the longer rallies with some smart play. A pity it didn’t work out, but it was great to see how much the crowd seemed to be pro Fed. Just that down the line backhand strategy was what let him down.

      I do hope it gave him some confidence. And I REALLY hope he starts using his backhand crosscourt far more. He’s comfortable with it. It’s a shot he hits regularly as opposed to the forced timid direction changer of a backhand to Rafa’s backhand. The more he makes, the more confident he gets.

      That, and a look at his return.

    2. His other tactic worked in Indian Wells 2012. I think Roger doesn’t feel he has the confidence to rip the backhand consistently. The reason he does it indoors is probably because the conditions are purest, and the bounce of the ball is always true, so he feels he can afford to go for things. Whereas outdoors, you’re looking at small levels of wind and a less true bounce, which is augmented by Nadal’s ridiculous moonball spin, so Fed probably doesn’t want to risk it. My view is much the same as yours, just less constant. He should go for this sort of gameplan on the Nadal serve alone. That way, he can afford to play his way into backhand form, as he did here.

      Yeah, he was unlucky, but to me net cords and shots on the line go either way, so there isn’t too much cause for complaint when you get a little unlucky. All players, even like Fed, have a natural margin for error on their shots that probably is larger than the width of the line, so it landing ON the line could be construed as lucky. In that sense, Fed stayed in the match with a shot on the line, and so you could argue he got some luck there.

      Should have challenged Rafa’s final forehand. But I remember in London 2010, Rafa probably should have challenged Roger’s final forehand but didn’t do it. I don’t profess to like the man, but that was a touch of class to me, and I’m happy Fed reciprocated the gesture.

  25. And finally, Roger went for his backhand in the last game and forced 4 (or was it 5) match points. For the entire match, the backhand was so tense and then his just let flow. I think Roger just returned to his usual self in the last game. Considering where his was a few days ago, this was an enormous step in the right direction. Sure, there were some shanked forehands too but the tempo of the match probably (almost) required it. I have to say that I’m especially happy that Roger brought his good game against Nadal today. Looking forward to US Open.

    1. Exactly my point.

      Just read my post above and see if you concur. It was probably the ONLY game in which he consistently went for the cross court backhand. And it paid dividends.

      1. Watching that last game made me think exactly the same thing. Cross-court backhand followed by inside-in forehand was the gem! I just hope he takes the positives from the loss and doesn’t let it knock his confidence, especially against Rafa. I’d like to see him go for broke again the next time they play.

  26. I had so mucth hope!!!!!!!!! Yes JesusFed was there. Epic forehand. I prayed so intense. I`m so sad right now.
    Love for Fed. Love for Fed lovers. Next up, 18th GRAND SLAM!

      1. Not that much… we’re listening, I suppose… As for 18, I have hopes slightly higher than before, but still bothered by the loss.

    1. Totally agreed man. I’m not quite sure I can explain why that loss hurt me as much as it did. Maybe it’s ‘cos it’s a drug-addled cheating b**tard on the other side. But definitely fantastic signs for Roger. He should leave proud and confident of his performance. Anyone else notice Nadal hasn’t so much been winning by being better, it’s like Murray, Djoker, and Roger have all been comparatively sh**e?

      But then again,

      1. Andy, Novak and Roger have all been more fragile, to varying extents, this year, certainly, which I think has made a bit of a difference.

    1. ̶N̶a̶d̶a̶l̶ ̶a̶l̶s̶o̶ ̶p̶l̶a̶y̶e̶d̶ ̶I̶n̶c̶r̶e̶d̶i̶b̶l̶y̶ ̶w̶e̶l̶l̶.̶
      I don’t like giving him compliments.

  27. That’s it…I’ve decided not to follow tennis any more. Look forward to my soliloquy if you would care to read in Jonathan’s post about Roger’s loss.

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