ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Fights Past Del Potro in London to Make Semi Finals

Huge win for Roger here as he came from a set and a break down in the final set to see off Juan Martin Del Potro 5-6 7-6(2) 7-5 to make the semi finals at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

It was one of those matches where he was always behind on the scoreboard, looking like it wasn't going to swing his way but Roger Fighterer managed to hang in there, dusted himself down despite throwing away his serve a number of times and turned around a three game deficit in the final set to take it 7-5. Check out how things changed around:

  • 1st set: 5-1 down, loses it 6-4
  • 2nd set: 3-1 down, wins it 7-6(2)
  • 3rd set: 3-0 down, wins it and the match 7-5

Not ideal of course but seeing Roger fight back and defeat some of his own demons in doing so was pretty special I thought and in my opinion this is probably his biggest win of the year so far as for the vast majority of the 2 hours and 26 minutes it looked like it was the type of match that would sum up his 2013 but by turning it around it looks like the type of match that might define his 2014 instead, big difference.

Quick Match Recap

Thoughts on Federer Del Potro

This match was a winner takes all shootout so I expected Roger to show his intentions early, what I didn't expect was a nervy, low intensity opening game where he got broken and then let Del Potro streak away into a 5-1 lead.

To his credit Roger showed he wasn't just going to give the set up fighting back to reduce Del Potro's lead to 5-4 but the Argentine fired down some big first serve bombs to take it 6-4.

Roger's record when losing the first set has been less than stellar this year and when Del Potro broke his serve again to lead 3-1 the outlook didn't look too rosy but yet again Roger put the misery of dropping serve so easily behind him to break back and level at 3 all. A few close calls followed but the Swiss finally started to play that bit more freely and the set ascended into a tie break.

Roger has the best tie break record of all time statistically and it showed here as he won it with some imperious serving when he needed it most, hitting an ace on his first set point to take it 7-2

As we've seen many times this season just as it looks like Roger has put momentum in his favour he hands over his serve tamely and true to form it happened again here with Del Potro breaking to lead 3-0 and put himself just 3 service holds away from the semi finals.

I read an interesting stat from TennisTV at this point that showed the number of times Federer has been broken in first 3 games of deciding set: 2008=61%, 2009=66%, 2010=68%, 2011=75%, 2012=80%, 2013=100%.

With stats like that against him it was always going to be more a test of his character and determination rather than his ability; and this time around they were both on a par as he hit back again to level at 3 all. The more the set wore on the better Federer looked winning some key points and rallies to really give himself confidence and play freely from the baseline when he needed to.

The decider carried on with serve until 5 all when Roger finally got himself in front with a decisive break of serve and he then served it out firing down a huge ace on match point to make his 11th Semi Final appearance at the Masters Cup in 12 attempts.

Match Stats

Stats R.Β Federer J.Β Del Potro
Aces 10 7
Double Faults 1 2
1st Serve % 65% 59%
1st Serve Points Won 51/64 (80%) 39/60 (65%)
2nd Serve Points Won 17/34 (50%) 23/41 (56%)
Break Points Saved 4/8 (50%) 4/8 (50%)
Winners 39 27
Unforced Errors 36 35
Service Games Played 17 17
1st Return Points Won 21/60 (35%) 13/64 (20%)
2nd Return Points Won 18/41 (44%) 17/34 (50%)
Break Points Won 4/8 (50%) 4/8 (50%)
Return Games Played 17 17
Total Service Points Won 68/98 (69%) 62/101 (61%)
Total Return Points Won 39/101 (39%) 30/98 (31%)
Total Points Won 107/199 (54%) 92/199 (46%)

Shot of the Match

Usually he'd hit a tweener here but he wants to stay in the point so badly that he uses a squash shot to hit over his shoulder. GOAT.

Thoughts on the Match

Allez Roger WTF 2013

Like I said above this was a really big win, much bigger than the victory Federer got in Paris over the Argentine as it was a real test of his desire and determination. I enjoy seeing Fed win like this, we've gotten so used to seeing him outclass opponents that it didn't matter if he shanked a few forehands but these days he has to develop new ways to win and today was one of those them.

Mirka Stressed
Mirka Stressed

Side note: If anyone has a stat on how many times Roger has come from a break down in a deciding set to win then send it over, it will be interesting πŸ™‚

For the vast majority of this one it looked like a typical Federer 2013 match, playing well in parts but chucking away important service games and then fading in the decider but this one broke the pattern. Roger did get drop serve at the start of the third but this time he still had something left, that energy to track down some balls, force Del Potro to make some errors and then piece everything together to play some quality tennis to get the win.

Really that's the only thing that changed, like all of Roger's matches this year it was a rollercoaster, up and down for both players, momentum swings, Del Potro's power vs. Roger's variety it's just that this time Roger took advantage of the chances he was able to create for himself which proves how determined he is right now.

I'm still on a mini high after the victory but I think this is the most satisfying win of the year for both the fans and Roger himself, the serve clicked when he needed in the breaker and he came out with a positive winners to unforced errors ratio. It all looked like it was going to end badly but somewhere Roger found the will to win, played much better as the match went on and like he' been saying all along it really was on his racquet by the end of the third set.

Of course it wasn't the peRFect match, it wasn't JesusFed, he still shanked plenty inside in forehands on big points but it was Roger Fighterer, hustling his way through, defending like his World Tour Finals hopes depended on it (oh wait they did) and getting a hugely important victory.

Predictions vs. Nadal

Federer Nadal London

I think this one is a real tough one to call, on paper the indoor advantage goes to to Federer but I get the feeling Nadal is looking to win the World Tour Finals here to ensure he has it on the resume.

The courts are certainly in his favour in London compared to the indoor of courts of yesteryear so I think it evens things up quite a bit. I've seen some of his matches and he hasn't exactly looked dominant but I also don't think he's really been pushed. He's almost quietly got through and now might be ready to pounce.

One things for sure Roger will have to play a much more solid match today as Nadal has a completely different mentality to Del Potro, he will make you pay and put himself out of sight if you hand him cheap service games.

I'm hoping Roger has taken confidence from today's match but I also hope he isn't too spent emotionally, he did look pretty overjoyed with his victory much like his Olympic Semi Final win vs. Del Potro where he had nothing left for his next match against Murray.

I think Roger can win here but I know he will have to play at a higher level than he's managed all year so far, that's not impossible but it will be difficult especially so late in the season.

The serve will have to be imperious and he must show a lot of mental strength to keep Nadal at bay who will be fighting every single point. If he can dictate the points, convert his chances and hit more winners to errors then he comes out on top, if not then he's at least put in a good showing at the year end which gives us hope for 2014. Win win. Allez!


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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      1. lol might make us gain the second spent on scrolling down to the comment section hhh especially on mobile or tablet

  1. Amazing match. The tight matches we wait for every year! And what a victory. Roger really looks motivated for 2014. Regardless of tomorrow, the amazing 11 of 12 SF is a record no one will ever get! πŸ˜€ amazing match, clutch clutch, did I say clutch?!

  2. If Djokovic loses in straights against Gasquet, wouldn’t that mean Federer would be the leader of Group B? And they’ve already published the schedule as Federer vs Nadal!

      1. Correct. Even a loss would put Djokovic on top by virtue of his group win over Roger. The results today were inconsequential, at least for Djokovic.

      2. Because even if Novak had lost to Richard in straights, Novak would have been 2-1 in matches won, and Richard would have been 1-2. They don’t look at numbers of sets unless they have a tie at the matches won level.

  3. Yeah that was a very very special win for Federer fans. That crowd was electric as hell, one of the best Federer/Delpo matches I’ve seen in recent memory. You summed it up Jonathan, it’s new hope for 2014. It showed that Roger’s grit and determination isn’t going anywhere! This is the tricky part and where 2013 has let Roger down. Does a big win like this boost his morale for the next match or lower it? Roger could be pretty spent physically and emotionally and gift Rafa his first win indoors, just gotta hope the GOAT is ready to turn up and show Nadal the door. This season hasn’t been what we all wanted but the ending is setting up next year to be big! Allez!

  4. I know why you guys are are happy…because we live to chat another day! I’m GOATful for the results today. Both our Swiss guys are in the semi finals. Shhhhh….did you hear that? That’s the sound of someone yodeling in the Swiss Alps πŸ™‚

    My prediction vs Nadal: First, let’s put a few things in perspective,

    1) We saw a very good performance from Roger in Cincinnati which gives hope. Roger has some confidence going in to the match tomorrow….but, Nadal is well rested and Roger would be playing his third match in four days tomorrow, and the tight three sets didn’t help either.

    2) Roger can take inspiration from his 4-0 indoors record…except, it’s not the same surface. The bounce is undoubtedly higher than in 2010 and 2011 when Roger beat Nadal.

    3) Indoors will help Roger time the backhands sweetly and he can be very aggressive…but, Nadal is in very good hard court form and Toni hasn’t come this far to throw it away.

    4) The crowd will be mostly behind Roger I’m guessing…however, Toni will be pretty busy with hand signals in key moments.

    If Nadal falls behind, we will see him play like we’ve never before. I’ll have to give this to Nadal in three but keep the eggs and rotten tomatoes and I will stand up in front of you and take it like a man, just in case πŸ™‚

    Needless to say, I will not be watching the match, if you know what I mean. So, go team, go get the win!


    1. I expect Nadal to scramble, run and maybe even risk further injuries for every point. πŸ™‚
      Though I wonder if Roger will be too drained both emotionally and physically like Jonathan mentioned because then it might be a straight affair, BUT HOPEFULLY NOT.

      And that comment “Toni (Not Nadal) hasn’t come to throw it away” Too good there Sid.

      1. The only way Nadal loses tomorrow is if his knees don’t co-operate. Otherwise it should be smooth sailing.

        Rafael Nadal is Toni Nadal’s gold mine. He recognized that during Nadal’s very early years. He turned him into something Rafa wouldn’t have wanted to become, someone who has utter hate, and contempt for his opponents, whose only objective is to win, at all costs, and not to enjoy or play fair. He has turned him into the one of the biggest whiners on tour. Toni has trained him like a dog, everything, from his mannerisms, his on court behavior, even what he says in pressers and interviews. Nadal’s book illustrates how Toni has influenced his every living, breathing moment.

        Don’t we love Roger for being recognized as the most modest of all grand slam champions? Who is the beloved of the original GOAT, Rod Laver? Who has been a fan favorite, forever? Who has been voted a sportsman, for nine out of the last ten years? Who has achieved the feat of winning two slams when he was a loving husband, and father, and is doing justice to both, his family, and his fans?

        Nadal my win 20 slams, but he will never be even half the human being that Roger Federer is.

      2. Sid did you see Nadal’s latest comments. He said that Toni was only cheering him on from the stands against his match with Wawrinka but told him to stop and apologise to Stan after the match because his relationship with the player is more important than any match. My question, why the hell would you apologise if there is no coaching going on? Seriously, this guy. Toni is such scum, he admitted to on court coaching and Rafa continually tries to negate it. Apparently it’s ok for Toni to do what he does but just not against the players he likes. Last line spot on, I think the AO 2006 ceremony proved that Sid. The presenter thanked Roger for not only being a great player but a great person. And that my friends is something that will never happen with Rafael Nadal.

      3. Great! Now that the win over Stan has been achieved, and the year end No.1 locked down, apologies are in order, no? Toni Nadal is a thug from the Spanish football mafia.

        His relationship with the player is more important than any match? Well I got news for you Rafael, Lukas Rosol doesn’t think so. So get this, in that Wimbledon 2012 match, Rosol was serving for the match. The first point was an ace. What does Nadal do? Yup, he asks for the towel and actually makes Lukas wait on the line. Go figure!

      4. Haha ridiculous. He always coaches.

        It’s kinda obvious most coaches are going to try give something to their player when they need help but not every point.

      5. Seems we were right Sid. T’was both a straight set affair and also smooth sailing for Dull. But I’m not really bothered. πŸ™‚

    2. There’s no doubt Nadal (and Toni) is on a mission but after today it’s clear Federer is too. If this win is as big as we think, this one match is 10x more the confidence than Nadal’s 3 wins combined. Roger these days is fighting himself on the court moreso the opponent. It’s true this surface isn’t the same and the balls are flying much higher than before but I’ve watched some of Nadal’s matches this week and he is struggling, his top spin isn’t as effective here as one would assume. Tactically, I think Fed needs to employ the “Djokovic” gameplan in a way. Gotta break that backhand down of Nadal’s and come in on him. For Fed to get the win, he’s gonna have to beat Rafa in straight sets, I don’t think he has what it takes in the tank to go three, Nadal will run over him then. Needs to get a good lead and maintain it, today was a statement win, sealing Dull’s fate tomorrow could foreshadow another change in who rises and falls again.

  5. Hello, Jonathan πŸ™‚ Lovely writing and a huge huge win for Roger, but I don’t think he deserves a 4 star rating at the serving section! I mean he dropped his serve four times, and the four times were completely let down of his own not excellence from Del Potro!

  6. That picture of Mirka, is EPIC! Now she truly understands what we fans go through on a daily basis πŸ™‚

    By the way what do you guys think she is thinking, “Oh God! Why did I marry this guy!”

    1. No Sid she is thinking how lucky she is being married to the guy and getting to watch such exciting tennis and it’s her man out there !!

  7. HI Jonathan OMG Houdini-federer was in the house today – could not believe what I was seeing – and the good news is I have it all recorded so will be able to watch again!! The best match he has played this year – obviously needs the anger to get his game going – could he pull it off tomorrow – do not know but we are in for a fun time watching if he gets his act together from the word go – allez Roger – I hopefully will still have a voice left tomorrow due to all the yelling at the TV I did today – I was home alone so my husband was not there to keep shushing me (which is really annoying) PS the look on Mirka’s face was priceless

  8. I really want to see Roger use his slice more. Doesn’t work against Dull, but against the others… then he doesn’t have to hit too hard on the backhand = less shanks. I really liked it a couple of years ago when he sliced a lot more… I thinks he’s trying to hit too hard on that side…

    Great match anyways, and hooray for stan!
    Sid, I’m the one you’re hearing yodeling πŸ˜›

    1. Simon, that was you? I might have known πŸ™‚

      Speaking of slices, check out the 30-30 video Jonathan posted. Roger hit eight backhands, seven of them were slices. The only top spin backhand was the one where Del Po was out of position inside the court. Even the forehands were out of Del Po’s range, except for maybe two occasions when Del Po could’ve taken control but likely didn’t because of the point situation. GOAT strategy!

      1. Hahah! I know, I’m loud πŸ˜›

        I really think the slices would help, not just neutral high bouncing slices, but deep ones that really cut through the court!

    2. Backhand slice down the line is an effective play vs. Dull. He has to get low to hit a backhand and if he plays it right he can sneak in to put away a volley.

  9. Jonathan, is there a match analysis from Roger?
    Very happy today with the win. I’m always learning from Fed. I’m home with a back injury. He gives me hope.

  10. Fantastic win for Roger. I agree with what everyone says, it really does make 2014 look promising. I don’t mind if Nadal wins tomorrow, I’m just happy about today. Roger really must be very tired but – we’ll see.

  11. “this is probably his biggest win of the year so far as for the vast majority of the 2 hours and 26 minutes it looked like it was the type of match that would sum up his 2013 but by turning it around it looks like the type of match that might define his 2014 instead”

    Love that line Jonathan, very well put.

    I saw a quote from Juan Martin on Twitter:
    “No sΓ© como se ve afuera, pero nosotros adentro vemos al Roger Federer de siempre. Es Federer”
    :: ” I don’t know how he’s seen on the outside, but we on the inside see the Roger Federer of always. He is Federer.”

    Something that struck me from the match stats was, hadn’t you said a day or two ago, Jonathan, that nobody had yet managed a positive winners/UEs ratio? Maybe someone else has done it since, but Roger managed it today. Good signs.

    With all this positivity, I hope he doesn’t interpret this as meaning he doesn’t need the new racquet after all. On the contrary, if he were competing with equipment with capabilities on a par with his opponents’ – heck, he could have a whole second career. He’s making shots and sometimes – like today – pulling out a win with subpar equipment – imagine what he could do with the latest technology once he’d mastered it. I’m reminded of Pete Sampras’ quote (I think) about Roger could play with a broomstick, he’s that good…. maybe we’re seeing how good Roger can be with a broomstick. But move on, Roger – what you could do with a wand would be magic πŸ™‚ .

  12. When he dropped serve at the start of the third, I thought “here we f***ing” go again! Great 2nd set win but stops dead in the decider, again!!!” So for him to do what he then did, I’m so pleased for him, he deserves it.

    1. Hahaha! I had the dubious distinction of predicting that. And he did it, again. The only thing missing in the recipe was a double fault πŸ™‚

  13. Roger has been saying for weeks he is recovering his game and getting better. It is getting more and more difficult not to believe him. πŸ™‚

  14. Great post as always Jonathan, this was a huuuuuge win and I’m so happy, honestly I don’t care about the result tomorrow, Since RG I kind of saw Nadal taking the WTF, I feel he wants this so bad, and this is his year after all.
    That is an increidble stat from TennisTV, still I dunno if it is completely accurate, did he get broken in the match against Istomin in the first 3 games of the third? Anyway that doesn’t really matter, what that stat shows imo is that Federer looses focus (or is loosing focus) really quickly when it matters the most, hope he can turn things around in 2014 … Until then ALLEEEEEZ!
    PS: did you see or read Stan’s tweet at the end of the match hehehehe really funny and genuine

  15. Hey! Just curious- which stream (commentator team) do you people prefer-

    a) The Rob Koenig/ Jason Goodall duo (Is that the European stream- I do believe it’s the one we get in India, and

    or is
    b) The super annoying (in my opinion) combination of American wannabe commentators- Greg Rudeski, McEnroe (I’m not sure if he’s commentating this series), etc (who are all a bunch of tennis players jealous of Federer’s success- or at least that’s how it sounds like- cause when they’re not undermining Federer, they’re busy glorifying Rafa’s knees, doubling over, puckering their lips and kissing the wedgie in his arse or using his bottle misalignment as a legit excuse for his losing any match) -Generally the link found on sportlemon.

    My personal biases aside, I favour the knowledge, the commentating skills (what they say) and the balance between enthusiasm, silence (when they say it… or rather, when they don’t) and respect for the game that Rob/ Jason seem to have which seems a bit lacking in the American circuit. Or is that just me? What do you guys think?

    1. American tennis commentators suck! I’m beginning to like Koenig, I mean that’s who I get to listen to on ESPN here. I kind of like Cahill too. Honestly, I have my own commentary going on in my mind but still…I can’t stand American tennis commentators. Sheesh!

      Bottle misalignment, haha! I’ll use that in a joke sometime πŸ™‚

    2. Yeah American commies talk too much.

      Petchey is pretty good.
      Henman is ok but he’s gotta work to the BBC’s agenda.
      Koenig / Goodall pretty good although Koenig gets too exciteable.

  16. Huge win indeed especially the way it came.

    Back to back wins against a monster like Delpo is something not many expected after what we ve witnessed in the near past. I have the impression though that Delpos forehand does not look that lethal as it was in Shanghai against Nadal.
    He looked maybe a bit tired. Still Feds wins are huge.

    I guess Nadal is happy that Fed instead of Delpo qualified after what he went through in China. Hope Fed will make him regret it πŸ™‚
    Nadal doesn’t look that sharp so I believe that Fed will get his chances . I liked the fact that Roger looked so determined to win today. Maybe he ll be more determined to win tomorrow. That s what I hope for.

    Court looks slow? Ok I m no expert but some slice exchanges I watched live looked crazy.
    Again I haven’t seen much and maybe it was even faster at the past but for me it looks super fast.

    Tired of writing and reading about the good job that Jonathan does. But it s a fact

  17. Excellent write-up, Jonathan. It was an incredible match, a torture at time and an emotional roller coaster but the end it was a JOY! Really proud of him. No expectation for tomorrow for obvious reasons, though I can’t help remembering the JesusFed in WTF 2011 against Nadal, it was one of his all time peRFect matches. Hope Fighterer will damage Nadal at least. Allez!

  18. To beat delpo with a one game handicap in every set… Wow! I have to admit (shamefully) that I thought he was toast pretty much the whole way through. Proved me very wrong, like a goat!

    Last year he had a pretty flat group stage and then schooled muz out of nowhere in the semis. Pumped for tomorrow. Allez!!

  19. Hey guys, with all the talk about Rafa and Novak beeing mentally very strong and fighters for every point and till the last point, people all over the web made it sound like Roger was mentally not as strong as the others.
    Of course that is not entirely true. You don’t win 17 GS and all the other titles by beeing mentally weaker.
    Of course his backproblem and therefor the lack of practise made his confidence low. But if anyone says from now on that Roger is not a fighter or is not mentally strong, they should really watch today’s match over and over again !!! Today Roger played not that well (got broken in all 3 sets), his way of playing did not make him win the match… no, his fighting spirit, his never give up, his never say die-attitude got him through !!! How about that for someone whose confidence was an all time low and who is been said is not mentally strong.
    He did not play great, but oh man, he fought his way through, all the way to the end… I am so proud of him.

    And guys, although he has less time to recover, I honestly think Roger will defeat Rafa. It will not be easy. It will go to 3 sets, but somehow Roger will prevail. He kind of “showed” by winning the second set that if he wanted he could beat Delpo and when he lost his first game in the third and it was 3-0 for Delpo, he could have lost and made it out to be like, well, I tried and it did not work and atleast I won the second set.
    He could have “tanked” to avoid Rafa with a good reason. But he did not. He fought and fought and fought. I think he knows (although it will be difficult) he can and will defeat Rafa. Afterall, Rafa is not the ONLY fighter out there. And like I said, Berdych almost bageled Rafa in the second set. Roger does not have Berdych’s serve, but with even the half of that, imagine what damage Roger could do.

    Like I also have said, even when this “Rafa 2013” looked invincible, even when it looked like no one on the planet could beat him, I always said that Rafa would not win WTF. Novak would always be in his way, so would Delpo, even this not so good Roger is still capable of defeating Rafa. And now, even Stan has a chance. Rafa will not win WTF 2013. Seriously, Roger is playing and fighting way too good for Rafa to defeat him.
    Roger is high on confidence one match then the next match he plays bad. But somehow, that will not happen tomorrow, he will beat Rafa.

    And… don’t be surprised if Stan beats Novak. Stan plays great and deep deep RESPECT for Gasquet. I thought Novak would crush him in straights. But he made Novak work for it. Imagine what Stan can do.
    Looking forward to an ALL SWISS FINAL….

    Ps: I love the fact that Roger got angry at himself and yelled at himself in German. It was so funny, but he needs to do it more. It got him angry, pumped up and more determined to fight. He should stop bottling it all up inside and let it out. ENOUGH with this too perfect too gentleman behaviour. Of course he should not take it overboard, but when he got angry at himself, he also got fired up and got fighting more.

    I really think Roger will defeat Rafa. You can hear it in his voice, the confidence. No Rafa, you are not taking this title. If I cannot have Olympic Singles Gold, you cannot have WTF !!! Goat !!!

    1. Too good katyani….
      as usual ur comments are too lengthy….but i luv reading it all…..

      “I really think Roger will defeat Rafa. You can hear it in his voice, the confidence. No Rafa, you are not taking this title. If I cannot have Olympic Singles Gold, you cannot have WTF !!! Goat !!!..”

      1. Jonathan, what does TLDR mean??? Oh and…. I don’t only like Roger I LOVE the dude !!!
        Am so nervous for the match…

  20. Ps guys: Andy asked a really funny question to his fans on his facebook:
    Who will lose their hair first? Andy or Rafa???
    Seriously, what is happening to Rafa’s hair??? Where did it go???
    Even the Great Uncle Toni has more hair than he does….

    1. Yes, steroids cause hair loss. It would be like messing with the balance or chemistry of your body by increasing testosterone. Where will it take him?

      Some after effects of heavy steroid users,

      1 – Bulking up, great body definition
      2 – Hair loss
      3 – Increased sweating
      4 – Blood clots
      5 – Withdrawal phase causes down cycle in performance
      6 – Feeling highly irritable/edgy/anxious
      7 – Being in combative mode, exhibiting manic behavior
      8 – May exhibit bipolar disorder, particularly during the withdrawal phase

      You can correlate the above with who you think could be doing steroids. Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams fit most of these. Just saying πŸ˜‰

  21. Roger in straight sets over dull. Believe. Positive thinking from all of us helps. Come on Roger. You can do it!!!!

    1. Last year at the semis all the commentators like Becker, etc, thought Andy would beat Roger in 2 or 3.
      No one said Roger. Of course HE beat Andy in straights. Maybe he will do the same to Rafa this year???

  22. Jonathan,
    I saw the match, and I loved the attitude. The winning sprite that was hovering around finally landed on Roger! I was thinking at the beginning of the match that Roger would tank it so that he would avoid Nadal! But the answer was no, he clearly wants this badly! Meeting Nadal here and a win would salvage his season if not his entire career vs Nadal, I would say.
    Loved the verity and how he used his slices and when he used them, β€œGlory for him”
    It would be very interesting to see another encounter between the rivalry again with some hype before the encounter
    Good luck for Roger

  23. it was not the fed 3.0 …but still he fought for every point….
    after a long time i watched the whole match…
    Today against rafa…i’m keeping my fingers crossed …

    1. What do you mean by “after a long time I watched the whole match”? You said that a couple of times now, first time I thought it meant it was the first time you watched Fed in a long time but it can’t be that haha…

  24. Great match from Roger looking at the mental part of it, he showed the right attitude through out and faught back when times got tough. His game wasenΒ΄t at his very best so hopefully that part can peak against Nadal because thatΒ΄s going to be needed. Nadal is going to be well rested and fully fired up but again these guys including Roger should be able to play back to back three set matches and Roger is so I think itΒ΄s going to be a real tight match, with Nadal taking it in the end, but hopefully Roger will prove me wrong.

    And shouldenΒ΄t Roger just keep the tactics from the Delpo match with the lazer sharp backhand slice down the line for Nadal to dig those up with his backhand or his bad slice?

    1. MarkWandy,
      It won’t work well because Nadal is lefty and he will take full advantage of the slice especially when he use the forehand down the line.

    2. I agree with Mark the backhand slice down the line into Nadal’s backhand is a good play. Keeps low and skids through the court.

      I think he can get some cheap points off that wing.

      1. That’s if Nadal used his backhand, but as you know, when you slice it, Nadal can take his time and use his forehand in which i have seen him doing it a lot when Roger used that shoot

  25. There have been times when I feel Federer hasn’t wanted something badly enough. There have been matches the previous night I (and I’m sure any of you) haven’t been able to sleep properly, in fear more than anticipation of what the Fedal matchup will bring. This year at Cincy, Rome and Indian Wells.

    Right now I’m feeling surprisingly calm. Somehow, I feel, that there’s a marked difference in Federer’s level of play when he wants something almost the same way as Nadal wants every point. There’s an intensity that seems to come and go, with it’s absence being far more noticeable these days. Earlier it wasn’t really an issue when Federer could sleep walk through most matches. Nowadays it’s absence becomes all the more stark.

    But when it’s there, it’s unmistakeable. It’s when he gives it the effort to track that extra ball, use that squash shot to stay in the rally, if only to see a winner fly by, throw up the lob just to see whether his opponent can put it away that I see Fighterer. And boy does that feel good to see. And invariably when he’s in that mood, he can be pretty darn good. So often we see that his initial intensity gets replaced by complacency, which ends up coming at the business end of sets and lasts just long enough to hurt him till the beginning of the next set, which just starts a circle of Federer going into his shell and waning away.

    But today I think he wants it badly enough for it to stay for the whole match. No matter what happens, he’s given everyone a better year end than we could have asked him for, given his circumstances. So come on Roger. London and the rest of the world is behind you tonight. Go do what you do best!! ALLEZ!!

    1. Hope so man, but don’t get carried away.

      This is just one good match he played vs. Del Po, could mean more of the same or not. Hard to assess his level still. He did the same vs. Haas in Cincy.

      I think he has a shot vs. Nadal but it’s going to take a big big effort.

  26. Can’t believe I missed this match! πŸ™
    But I kept checking the score and after he got down 0-3 in the decider I felt it was it. Another match, same story. But GOAT had other plans! It must be such a relief for him to have won this. It will hopefully be the beginning of a new chapter.
    I have been following this WTF with zero expectations and that’s exactly what I am going to do for the semi. If he wins, it’ll be absolutely amazing, and I will see to it that Nadal’s comeback player of the year trophy is stolen and given to Fighterer (love it that Roger has such a convenient last name and of course, love all the nicknames you come up with Jonathan).
    This hideous shirt seems to be the lucky charm his other oh-so-forgettable kits this year couldn’t be! πŸ˜€
    BTW, the support Roger gets from not only fans, but former players and even his peers has to be unprecedented. Boris Becker, who’s supposed to be neutral because of his job, twitted his support among others!
    Oh and Mirka’s look in that pic is priceless! She doesn’t have the option to turn off the TV or to stop checking the score. She lives every moment of it and survives, so hats off to her! And of course, I am extremely grateful to her for being the influence she is on Roger’s life. Possibly one of the biggest reasons an extraordinarily talented youngster from Switzerland surpassed the greatness only his genius tennis could have gotten him and rose up to be a global icon, the GOAT. πŸ™‚

    1. Yah, you are right. She is totally under rated in terms of her support, her total sacrifice to his life. Amazing calming influence. And Luthi too. Been there through thick and thin.
      Love the two Swiss being in the semis. And Roger saying he didn’t know what made him happier, beating Delpo or him and Stan both making it thru. Such a dork! Love him! Only Rog can use the term Beautiful victory and give it meaning!

  27. Great post Jonathan!

    Loved Roger at the Skypad with Petchey waiting for insightful analysis and Rog saying it was all a bit of a blur, and he was just fighting every point!

    Great riposte to the journo who asked if this was his best tennis of the yr, asking him if had been under a rock at the AO, whilst he was beating Tonga and getting to the semis, taking Murray to 5 sets!

    Loved the tweet from Stan” enooorme Roger Fedeererrrr! ”

    Bragging time(again)! Met Tim Henman at a tennis charity do last night in London. He is such a huge Fed Fan. Told him it was good to hear him support him in amongst the pile of doubting Hacks and pundits out there!!! He thinks he can win today and says he will be ready and up for it! If he believes, so do I!!! Btw, Henman still rocks. The bid for an hour with him on court was 12k!!!!!!! Heather Watson only raised Β£800!!

    1. Cheers Susie,

      Yeah Henman and Fed usually hit together in London I think. Hopefully he’s right with his prediction, he usually makes decent judgements in the commentary box.

      Β£12k for an hour, how much did you bid? Not surprised Watson only raised Β£800, I’d rather play against a wall.

  28. Apology for double post. Website failed on me and it didn’t show! Clearly hungover.
    Ps to all you Frenchies out there. Marion Bartoli was guest of honour. Total Sweetie!! Impressed!
    Hope to join you on live chat later, daughters tennis match pending…..

    1. Susie, I hate Bartoli and was going to go on a rant. But I like you, so I’ll desist from doing it πŸ™‚

      1. Ok, so I know you obviously like Roger and the Bryan Brothers (I do too), but do you actually like any others players Sid? πŸ˜›

  29. 15 minutes to go and I’m getting very nervous πŸ™ I’ve sent the family to the Geneva botanical gardens for the afternoon but as it’s pouring with rain and very dark out I’m expecting them back any moment!

  30. I am doing something wrong, cannot get through to live chat, but I wanted to say this:

    Don’t like the fact that that Spanish speaking Carlos is the umpire today. He is afraid of Rafa.
    During the Berdych match he was too afraid to give Rafa a warning for coaching and for time violation.

    By the way, Rafa is STILL taking a lot of time between points…

    Come on Roger…. you CAN and WILL win…

    1. No worries Roger, you tried. You may have made some mistakes, but you tried. I still love you, no matter what.
      Nothing to be ashamed about. Bring on 2014 !!!

      1. He tried? Are you kidding me? What did he try? You mean just showed up?

        Against my better judgment, I watched one game, just a single game, it was probably the second or third game, Nadal was serving. Roger looked like a deer in the headlights with his backhand. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened in the entire f****** match.

      2. It was a joke of a match. 8 years and he hasn’t figured Nadal out. 8 years. The guy could have learnt a half decent double hander in 2 πŸ˜›

        People say he might have been tired. Perhaps. But most of the misses were the misses of a guy who’s been scarred beyond repair. A guy who doubts himself. A guy who doesn’t think he can win.

        He tries to go for low percentage shots. Plays without conviction. Doesn’t make them. Misses an easy volley. Starts getting nightmares. Misses a break. Boom! Broken in the next game.

        I was having a look at their career H2H stats- in depth. Federer is better than Dull in almost every department as far as the stats are concerned. It’s the ‘when’ those stats play their part that has such a huge impact on the final H2H. I mean Roger’s infinitely more talented than Rafa in most departments. But he just can’t put it all together. I mean, Nadal, the average server that he is, was out serving him. And Federer’s supposed to be one the better servers of all time.

        One thing I can’t figure out- He can’t put a decent return against an above average server, who serves 90% of the serves to the same spot. He can blindly cover the BH and 90% of the time, the ball’s going to be coming that way. It takes the unpredictability dimension right out of the equation. Yet, each time Nadal serves, it’s as though Federer had no clue that the ball was coming to his BH.

        It was a mental collapse. As simple as that. Just another Fedal match. I would suggest he go and pick up the two hander in the off season and a bigger saucepan racket. πŸ˜› That should shock Nadal up a bit.

        I can just imagine what the school bullies are going to use to pick on his lovely twin daughters- Your daddy was Nadal’s li’l biatch!! πŸ˜› Maybe that’s how he needs to think of it now. Become the protective daddy now. The goal- to save his daughters from potential lifelong Rafha-rassment. Next two years. 7 matches each year. 14 rafa scalps. Assuming he’s learnt that two hander in the off season though πŸ˜›

      3. I understand how you feel, Gaurav, but a two handed backhand is an outrageous suggestion. You can switch to a one handed in a few months, but you simply can’t switch from a one handed to a double handed quickly. The mechanics don’t support it. It can take years. Not going to happen.

        The solution is simple: Roger needs more coverage on his backhand. Why did I have to watch that one game, I do not know. Roger backhand against Nadal if FUBAR.

      4. Gaurav you are very emotional haha. I just read your last comment about “the new Fed and how you think he’s changed and you’re very calm” and now this? Go take a breather, step away from the keyboard son.

        This match was more about Roger not keeping up physically. It never really got a chance to be purely mental. Not saying Nadal wouldn’t have won that battle either, he usually does but Nadal just executed a steady game plan.

        I thought Federer played the way he does need to play, just made too many errors. FH let him down more than the back tbh.

      5. First of all, I was ze kidding about the double hander. Notice the generous amount of smileys thrown around. Although I do believe the switch to the 2 hander is far easier than the other way round, simply because the ne hander is that much tougher (purer) a shot. It took Sampras 2 years to get it right (source: biography). I think the very fact that the two hander is what most club players naturally pick up is a fair indication that it’s the easier of the two. I personally switched from a double handed joke of a BH to a single handed semi joke of a BH. And it took me a good long horribly embarrassing year. :'(

        And yeah, I was calm. Was. May have made a wrong call though. Haha.

        Second of all, I am now going to drown my sorrows in a crappy take-out dinner and forget about the world of tennis.

        But seriously, I don’t think it was that physical to be honest. The previous match wasn’t all that long. 2 and a half hours I believe. He should have been ready for the match, if he was indeed tired. There’s no excuse for that. (unless Nadal’s been on steroids all this while and it gets proven that he’s a big fat moon balling cheat in two years time- then all’s good)

      6. Once again, you’re wrong, Gaurav. It took Sampras two years to switch to a one hander. Would have taken him forever to do it the other way around. The argument here is not which shot is easier to learn or pick up (your club players example), but which one is easier to switch to.

        If the double handed BH is a joke, and the SHBH is a semi-joke, then pray tell us, which backhand is not a joke πŸ™‚

        If you are a right handed players, the double handed BH makes your left hand dominant. A SHBH player will take a very long time to develop the left hand.

      7. Damns Sid. You’re too busy stealing cookies to read what I wrote. I said that MY BHs were a joke. Not anything else dude. πŸ™‚ My Backhands. Proprietary. Mine. πŸ˜›

        Anyhoo, pointless to discuss which is harder to adapt to, since it’s an opinion we both have. And since I started off joking in the first place (which surprisingly you of all people didn’t get), … i lose where this is going. Dinner time!!

      8. Oh poop! You caught me with my hand in the cookie jar πŸ™‚

        Ok, I apologize. But still, fact remains, it’s impossible to switch to a DHBH after you’re played with a SHBH your entire career. Not gonna happen.

        Enjoy your dinner! Don’t tell me you picked up some crappy Chinese food, with free crab rangoons or spring rolls? Oh no, you did?

      9. Sid, this is just me. I don’t believe in kicking a man when he is down. Roger did try. He made some mistakes he should not have made. He should never be broken for the second time in the first set. He should not have. But it is not like he gave anything away for free. Rafa did have to fight. Maybe not as much, but it was not like Roger stood on court saying come on just beat me… I am still proud of him, but so hope he figures out how to beat Rafa. Even Stan or Dimitrov or Jerzy comes close to doing that.

      10. Katyani, nobody is kicking him. I predicted he will lose anyways.

        As Muhammad Ali once said, “nothing wrong in going down, but what’s wrong is not getting up”. Four losses in a row, and this one indoors which will really sting. 22 losses to 10 wins. Tell me about at least one pattern that Roger has worked on in the last four losses. I’m asking for just one.

      11. Sid, I don’t know. I just feel bad for Roger that he lost again to Rafa. Even I know he is to “blame” for it himself, so I don’t know about these patterns. Just feel bad for him that’s all.
        I actually really thought he would beat Rafa. But….
        And you know what Sid. Things will get better. Roger lost heartbroken the SF against Rafa at AO 2012, but he did beat him at IW 2012. And he came close to defeating him at Cincy this year… so… don’t mind me, again, I feel for Roger…. This one hurts…

      12. Gotta love that quote. β€œnothing wrong in going down, but what’s wrong is not getting up”

        Something similar to the one in Rocky- “It ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward…”

    2. He may be a Spanish speaker, but he is from Brazil. Just saying! But yes, he is very timid. Remember that players can influence the ATP and not allow certain umpires to officiate their matches. So, the umpires have to be careful with what they do.

  31. I was pretty happy with the returning. Almost didn’t slice anything yet still not too many mistakes on the return. The rest though… Was I the only one who thought that Roger should have come to the net a whole lot more?…

  32. Again, the Delpo curse: if you somehow manage to beat me, you will not win your next match…

    This I have to say, I so hate the fact that Rafa won, but kudos to him for not making a big deal out of beating Roger (he could have fallen on the ground or something, but he didn’t). But… I still don’t think Rafa will win WTF. Hope I am right about that….

    1. Ok, so now kudos for not falling on the court after a SF win and making it a big deal? That’s because beating Roger is no big deal for him. Like I said, before a Roger match, he and Toni go out and have a taco and a beer, and then he has to basically just shows up on the court.

      What next? Kudos for not snarling after winning a point? Not tugging his back before a serve? Missing out on a fist pump after winning a key point?

      Enough of the lessons in chivalry, Katyani. We don’t need it. Our man is a nine time peer voted Sporstman of the year πŸ™‚

  33. Was it really on me? Didn’t Roger at 4-4 in the 3rd set (I think) suddenly switch tactics to just making solid ground strokes instead of the rhythm wrecking play he forced on both until then. I practically fell from my bed. The sound from the racquet was beautiful, like the ball were staying of the strings for ever.

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