ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Finishes Unbeaten to Top Group B Ahead of Semi Final

Roger Federer is through the round-robin stage undefeated for the 10th time at the ATP World Tour Finals as he came from a set down to defeat Marin Cilic with a 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 6-1 ahead of Saturday's Semi Final.

The win sees the Swiss take top spot in Group Boris Becker and extend his hard court winning to streak to 13 matches dating back to Shanghai in early October.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Cilic World Tour Finals 2017

Federer won the toss and elected to receive; fashioning three break points after a nervy Cilic start but he couldn't convert as the Croat held for 1-0.

Roger levelled for 1-1, and both guys began to go toe to toe from the baseline with some crisp hitting. From game 3 to 8 no player lost more than two points on serve but at 4-4 Roger held another break point chance but still could not break through. The set concluded with a tie-break.

With Fed having all the chances in set one, he fired down a double fault at 1-1 to hand Cilic a mini break and although he was able to level at 4-4 Cilic kept his composure to take the tiebreak 7-5.

Roger started set two in style, hitting three aces in a row en route to holding for 1-0. A breakpoint then presented itself on the Cilic serve, but again Roger couldn't capitalise. He then got himself in trouble of his own, having to save a break point after being 40-15 up. That seemed to help take his game up a notch, and at 5-4 he pinched the set when Cilic tamely dropped serve to 15.

Into the decider and Roger held to 30 before breaking thanks to a big run around return. The break was consolidated to love, and although Cilic came through a tough service game for 1-3, that was the last time he'd trouble the scoreboard as Fed's forehand started to make it's mark as he broke once more to take the set 6-1.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Marin Cilic
Aces 17 12
Double Faults 2 4
1st Serve 69% (64/93) 51% (50/99)
1st Serve Points Won 77% (49/64) 70% (35/50)
2nd Serve Points Won 66% (19/29) 55% (27/49)
Break Points Saved 100% (1/1) 67% (6/9)
Service Games Played 15 14
Return Rating 129 57
1st Serve Return Points Won 30% (15/50) 23% (15/64)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 45% (22/49) 34% (10/29)
Break Points Converted 33% (3/9) 0% (0/1)
Return Games Played 14 15
Return Points Won 37% (37/99) 27% (25/93)
Winners 33 36
Unforced Errors 30 43
Net Points Won 86% (12/14) 46% (6/13)
Service Points Won 73% (68/93) 63% (62/99)
Total Points Won 55% (105/192) 45% (87/192)
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Cilic Round Robin 2017

It wasn't easy. I mean, look, it's a fast court. It's indoors. We've seen it now: when you miss a few too many opportunities, you can really pay the price at this tournament. So we've seen some swings of momentum in a lot of the matches this week. I think in the beginning I was slightly overaggressive in the first set on some crucial points rather than maybe being patient. I was able to turn that around late in the second set. Then just had a much better feeling in the third set. Maybe also Marin's level dropped, I'm not sure. But definitely was dangerous there for a while.

I think the above says it all with no further input required ๐Ÿ˜€ But anyway I thought it was the best match of the event so far for Roger as he came from a set down to move into the semifinals with a peRFect record. It would have been easy for him to play this one at half pace given it was a dead rubber, but he stuck around, and after saving the breakpoint in set two raised his level above Cilic's to come through at a canter.

Ok, it still wasn't the cleanest match where everything he touches turns to gold but he fought hard, and by set three he'd found the range on his forehand which helped him get into a positive on the Winner:Unforced Error ratio for the match.

On the flipside, the backhand is looking a little error prone, but I do think the ball gets onto you quickly here which is why we see high unforced error counts across most matches. Luckily his slice is ultra-effective when he hits it aggressively so there are plenty options for him out there.

Other than that the serve has been clutch all week too, and he faced just the one break today, so I think he's looking good ahead of the semi-finals. He's not pulling up any trees with his performances yet and seems a bit frustrated with some of his play and overall shot choice/decision making, but he's still winning and is now 14-1 vs Top 10 this season and on a health winning streak on indoor hard courts.

Predictions vs. Goffin

Next up is Goffin who crushed Thiem in Thursday's Group B second place decider. That's the result I expected as Thiem has looked all at sea here and Goffin has a pretty good indoor record.

Roger dominated the H2H against the Belgian 6-0 and their closes match was actually their first back in 2012 at the French Open. Since then Goffin hasn't been able to find any sort of success. He's said in press that he's going to try a different approach here in London but who knows what that will be. Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face so if Roger can start with some early body blows I can't see Goffin posing too many problems. He'll no doubt have one eye on the Davis Cup too whereas Fed has potentially just six sets left to play in 2017.


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. I have an ugly confession to make Jonathan, I wanted him to tank the match, and prioritise his semi-final, and take a well earned rest. I was so relieved Marionโ€™s level dropped in the third set and he was only on court a further 20 minutes. I can see he has been struggling in the tournament, and quite frankly he has done enough for me to conclude that this has been a magical and extraordinary year for us and him. In fact given the totality of the adversity he faced this season his amazing comeback, this season alone is one of his greatest achievements.

  1. Yupeeeeeeee !

    A less than two-hour victory
    in front of Stefan (Edberg) – happy !
    200 more points from ATP,
    one more day to train and be lazy,
    an early dinner with the family,
    a good film on English telly,
    “une tisane et au lit !”
    Good rest and see you … Samedi
    …couldn’t find the rhyme,ย  sorry ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Ah, I seem to have miscalculated there ๐Ÿ™‚ Just think, all these nice Roger matches for the hard drive ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Yes, it wasn’t really a dead rubber since 200 ranking points were at stake. Pretty much equivalent in points to a finalist finish at a 500 event. Luckily I was still asleep for the first set but woke up at 4 am or so to see the second and third sets, so I didn’t have to go through the angst everyone else did!

    Also I read somewhere comments that Fed was a little haunted by his losses to Haas and Donskoy. I don’t think they were that bad considering it helped him save some strength for the immense haul he got in IW and Miami. What really hurt was the loss in Montreal to Zverev, although injured, would have given him more points as it was a 10000 final.

  3. Federer not playing at his best by far and yet delivers a 3-0 against fellow top 8 players. Seems to me like his level will only increase going into the Semis. Gosh the man has served pretty breathtaking numbers this year (regardless of what happens on the last 1 or 2 matches) and I ll keep saying it.

    Just hope that he rests and trains well for the next 6 weeks to be ready for his 2018 campaign (no exhibitions please). I guess time off not only does good for the body but for the mind too.

    P.s I simply dont understand the surface – too soft? bit too quick? Federer struggling with rhythm on the backhand on a quick indoor surface? Is there a caveat with his new-found-backhand? Works better on medium surfaces?? Indian wells-Miami have a say!
    Well for now atleast his slices are making up for those ripping backhands big time.

    1. Don’t think there are any Exhos planned, just Hopman Cup..

      I don’t think any caveats, maybe it’s just a bit different, I guess we have to remember he hasn’t played in London since 2015 and didn’t play Paris either. So just Basel for warmup…

  4. Grumpy guy says this: Winner to UFE ratio is *always* positive. It can be 1. Right?
    As for the rest, if Fedsey wins this thing, it will prove once and for all that finishing the year as #1 is too relative. And I will state this, and please carve it in stone:
    Feds is number *i*, that is, living in a dimension out of the reach of the real (as in mundane) ones.
    Now, chew this one!

  5. Thank you Jonathan for that analysis of the match.Very interesting.Fed doesn’t seem at his best but you can never count him out,ever.Meanwhile amazing match between Sock and Zrerev,at the mall moment.

  6. A good win again, a bit similar to the Zverev match. In the first two sets, tense and lots of uncertainty. Roger simply is mentally tougher with the greater fighting spirit, which got him through. The hilarious third set again, in which the older man charged and destroyed the younger man ๐Ÿ™‚ .
    As a whole, Grigor appears to be the only one with a big smile and has been swinging balls left and right, feeling very comfortable.

  7. I thought Fed played his best match so far, which is nice because it shows he’s trending in the right direction. His most difficult opponents here are probably going to be Zverev and Cilic and he beat them both which is nice. I don’t think he played a bad first set either, Cilic just hung around and managed to raise his level for the breaker. I enjoyed it really, most fun match I’ve watched at the tournament so far.

    Hoping Goffin gets through, Thiem I think is way off his best right now but I always like how Fed plays against Goffin. Fun matches even if they are one-sided now and then.

    Also Zverev is out, which is a bit of a surprise. I thought he’d beat Sock, honestly, but Sock seems to be riding the wave at the moment. Fair play to him.

  8. Glad Sock came through,like his positive energy.So goodbye Zrerev,looking tired towards the end perhaps.
    A solid win for Roger,good momentum going forward.

  9. Good win again for Roger. Surprising that Cilic had more winners than Roger. Could be due to the over aggressive play of Roger in the first set. Nice to see his FS and FH clicking. I think Thiem would be an easier SF than against Goffin. Either way, Roger will be playing Dimitrov/Sock on Sunday and win it again. That would be a fitting end to an awesome season for the great one.

  10. Given that Federer will play Goffin/Thiem on Saturday, who have the early match tomorrow , I am hoping he gets the early semifinal; I remember in 2014 the SF vs Wawrinka which went late into the evening (well he hurt his back anyway, but he would have been exhausted to play the final in 18-20 hours rest .

  11. Federer says getting back to No1 is not realistic. But I say its very much realistic if he wins this title. Of course its going to be hard given the Aus draw will be all messed up next year.

    1. Hi I hope all is well my friend I just wanted to let you know that I think he does not care about his ranking, and I donโ€™t think he will ever hold the top ranking again. Because to do so it has to matter to him, and it doesnโ€™t. He played only 4 Masters 1000 events and skipped the entire clay court season this year. I think his three priorities this year were his, family, health and enjoying tennis. Look at what Rafa had to do, to grab the number one ranking. Rogerโ€™s schedule of play made clear to me he had little or no interest in the top spot.

      1. It’s not Roger’s priority, but the #1 could still come to him. ๐Ÿ™‚
        Assuming that Roger wins WTF, he’ll be 140 points behind Nadal. Nadal is defending 45 points at Brisbane, but could gain 205 points by winning there. Ultimately, it will all come down to how far they’ll go at AO. If Nadal is knocked out early and Roger defends his title, he’ll be #1.

      2. I don’t think it was a priority, but it was in his sites and he clearly hoped to have a stronger US Open Series which would have secured him #1. He did play Montreal after all…

  12. Cilic lost 2 being ahead in the decider. Fed didn’t give him that luxury. Bjorkman has his work cut out.

    Fed vs BabyFed was my prediction, but Sock is red hot now. Grigor better watch out.

    David will Dominate Dominic.

    Fed is getting annoyed with himself pretty regularly and showing it. If its helping him to win, no issues.

    1. Dunno if a dark horse, it’s his best surface by a mile and he’s had his best year ever. Could have lost to Thiem then Goffin went AWOL. so not sure how well he is playing.

      1. I think so. After all, he really hasn’t been playing that well, from what I’ve seen. Was Dimi on sparkling form this evening, or was PCB just not bothered?

      2. No doubt, Grigor is in the form of his life at moment (this year as well). However, he has always struggled when Roger derived him of half of a second that he needs to do his stuff. Indeed, Roger will need to cut down his UFEs and re-connect with his BH. I am not sure how easy match will be but the outcome will not be in doubt for me, shall Grigor reach final. Jack somewhat has got a pretty good winning record against him ๐Ÿ™‚ , so could Grigor be able to handle Jack first with this form? We will find out this evening.
        Allez Rog!

  13. courtside view! Cilic played his best set of the week. Relaxed, teeing off everywhere. Rog was a bit flat and again frustrating by the BH( slice ok tho). Serve saved him once more.

    Was an odd match cos crowd didnโ€™t get into it early on as Fed errors made them nervous. Once he got the 2nd set, it was never in doubt and he kept the winning momentum.

    I think Thiem will come thru but still calling a Grigs/Fed Final.

    Sock benefited from a huge nervous choke from Sascha who badly needs a break. Whether his stamina will last v a fresh confident Grigor remains to be seen.

      1. Oops ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’ve had a nasty feeling all tournament that Grigor might end up winning the whole thing. Hoping I’m wrong, of course.

  14. Happy Roger is unbeaten in his group, no doubt he struggles I am still hopefully come Sat/Sun. I am also equally happy for Sock as well. This is tourney is primed for Roger to win, cmon lets do this!!!

    1. Yeah Sock has really found form. I don’t mind him, can be a bit ratty on court I think but to win his remaining matches after losing to Fed is impressive.

  15. A bit concerned about Roger’s errors on his topspin backhand. Hopefully he’ll find it for the weekend. Good thing is, on current form, both Thiem and Goffin are very beatable. So don’t see much danger there.
    Glad that Sock won against Zverev. Zverev constantly looking at his box after every mistake is really putting me off. I guess I could say that he’s still young, has yet to find the right balance in terms of conducting himself on court.

    1. I first saw Zverev play at IW in 2016. The only habit I noticed was the lifting of the shirt. Now, he’s on his way to become Rafa Jr.

  16. Go Roger! Dimitrov seems in shape and I am starting to realize that after all, Sock deserved to be in these finals. His performance vs Zverev actually surprised me. I think that Fed will seal the Goffin match quickly.

  17. Dimitrov seems to have found his groove, but sock seems as determined so should be a good match I can’t
    pick a winner. Hope Fed has a good game against Goffin, as of now his tennis hasn’t been it’s usual flowing
    style, of course hard against such heavy hitters so C’mon Roger make our day x

  18. Incidentally, I was down at Baron’s Court (nearly adjacent to Queen’s Club) this lunchtime, and spotted a Nitto official car in the traffic. Don’t know who was inside, because the windows were darkened, but don’t think it was Roger because I could make out the silhouette and the nose was wrong ๐Ÿ™‚ Given the time, I was certainly hoping it wasn’t either Thiem or Goffin, or they’d have had to get out and hop on the Tube to make it to the match in time!

  19. And, boy, I hadn’t realised that the O2 was a total building site this year! Popped down while I was up in London, expecting to see all the usual stands, sponsors, “have-a-go” activities and so on – nothing! Not a dickybird. Totally wasted trip.

  20. Assholes told me that I had all ESPN channels with my cable. Turns out that’s not true and I have to pay $12 to get that one channel for tennis. Extortion! I ain’t paying. Screw you [name of the cable provider], I’m done with you!

  21. If ever there was a tournament tailor made for Fed to win, it was this one. To dominate the first set and then play like an absolute amateur for the next two, even despite his opponent’s high level, is an embarrassing gaffe. Federer should be absolutely mortified at this heinous pile of shit he left on the court today.

  22. A fantastic finish to the season, player of the year…that’s all out the window. This was against an opponent who wasn’t missing much but had nothing to hurt Fed with. I lost count of the shanks on both wings 20 feet out on neutral balls, the missed break opportunities. He was a clod out there for most of the match. What an utter joke.

  23. wtf just happened… lost to a guy who was beaten by Dimi 6-0 6-2…
    Go Dimi!?!?!?
    ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™

    1. just played unacceptably…. he was playing fine the 1st set and he “choked” the next two sets…
      I mean, I have watched tennis from such a long time and this is probably the worst atp finals I have watched… and Fed still managed to lose a match that he should have won… another title missed after having probably the easiest opponents this year.
      ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™

  24. What a clown. Couldn’t find the court to save his life. This was the YEC to win. What a stupid, ridiculous, disgusting and stomach-turning day. Fed should apologize to his fans for deciding not to play the next two sets. If I was prone to conspiracies, I’d say he threw the match. The dip in level was stunning.

  25. So so so disappointing! Bad bad day at work for Fed, all UFE and tameness. Why, why, Why? This was his tournament, and he just let it slip away.

  26. Arh please guys. Letting out ugly emotions doesn’t make it better for anyone. Disappointment understandable. I too would have loved to watch the 2 most graceful SBH giants – Roger and Grisha – doing the final. – Roger this time HAD still REALLY fantastic brilliances, but unfortunately not enough of them today. What I have seen in many matches now, his performance at the moment goes a lot up and down… and then up. Grievously enough, that not up at last today. But Goffin played really solid in the 2 last sets, he’s no way a poor player, – although he was demolished by Dimitrov, and also by Roger in Basel (I think). Well done of him not to let himself down.
    Well we probably all thought this would be easy, and certainly Roger imposed in 1. set. Anyway the nice underdog won, and this is a fairytale to him. Roger lost, but somehow I feel better that it was to Goffin than to anybody else.

    1. True that, Muser. Goffin played well and deserved to win against an error-prone Federer. He’s such a calm, likable guy whose tennis is so good to watch when he’s in form. Glad it’s him, and glad that the other SF also has new faces. May the best of them win.

  27. Roger Federer in 2017 :

    Australian Open : winner
    Indian Wells : winner
    Miami : winner
    Halle : winner
    Wimbledon : winner
    Final : Montrรฉal
    1/4 : US Open
    Shanghai : winner
    Basel : winner
    1/2 London #ATPFinals

    2 GS, 3 M1000, 2 ATP500.
    36 years old.
    See you inย  2018.

  28. For goodness sake some of these posts are gross. Federer just lost a tennis match one that we all wanted him
    to win but many people have posted that he hasn’t been playing his best…so give him a break it looked like it
    was just one match too many. It has been another great year to be a FedFan.

  29. Thanks, Sucharita, FrenchButterfly, Elisabeth – so nice to share all the gratitude for a fantastic and totally unexpected Federer-year!

  30. Holdco and Vik…wtf. Fair weather fans or what. More disappointed in so called Fedfan’s comments than on the loss. He ain’t a machine.

    1. You aren’t disappointed with the loss? He should have sealed it in 2!!!
      And BTW, let me remind you that Dimitrov beat the same guy 6-0 6-2 and Fed won the opening set 6-2.

      1. Of course we are all disappointed! How can you ask about that, Vik? But there are different ways to react on that same feeling. One is to reproach the hero to not fulfill your expectations all time. And even arguing what he should have done. Because others did. (And he did too, in Basel). But tennis is alive, all can happen, and it sure is a lot demanding mentally, physically, you may have no idea. And we may have no idea why the momentum suddenly turned. Sudden sickness, sudden fatigue, sudden energy somehow. You cannot control all, you can only do your best in the given situation. What I have learnt is that just because a player won, it is not a necessary consistency for him or her to win. Quality is not fixed. They are not machines.

      2. Of course we are disappointed by the loss. Reread my post. If we revisit the year…how many times did Fed pull a win out of a hat? Today, he just couldn’t play the way he can.

  31. Iโ€™m totally with you Muser. Disappointed with the loss, grateful for a great year we never thought we would get. People must chill and deal with defeat with a bit more dignity (as Roger does). Roger owes you f… all, and would probably prefer you support someone else if you display those ugly thoughts and attitudes when he doesnโ€™t play his best. He played a shocker, goffin played superbly, such is life. Deal with it.

  32. On Be in Sports France which I watched a lot during the 14 months following my accident, there is a summary of the main points of the day during tournaments. No comments. Only the song below (sung by Rag’n Bone Man) in the background.
    Here are some of the lyrics :

    ‘Take a look in the mirror
    And what do you see
    Do you see it clearer
    Or are you deceived
    In what you believe
    ‘Cause I’m only human after all
    You’re only human after all
    Don’t put the blame on me
    Don’t put your blame on me.

    I’m only human
    I make mistakes
    I’m only humanย 
    That’s all it takes
    To put the blame on me
    Don’t put the blame on me

    I’m only humanย 
    I do what I can
    I’m just a manย 
    I do what I can
    Don’t put the blame on me
    Don’t put your blame on me”

    PLEASE : don’t put the blame on him.
    He is human, after all…

  33. Wins more points, stats pretty much even, but still loses. Sheesh ๐Ÿ™ I know I’ve said he wasn’t playing particularly well throughout the tournament, but I still didn’t really expect this. One match too many? But congrats to Goffin for gutsing it out.

    1. Correction: I misread the stats. Goffin was the one who won more points, so fair enough – the other percentages were pretty much identical.

  34. Can’t win ’em all.
    But He’s won more than all.
    And he won more than all dreamed he could this year.
    Way to give your all Roger.

    I’ll take 2 Grand Slams plus 4-0 beat downs on Rafa any year!
    What a year!
    From down 3-1 in the 5th, he never looked back!!!!

      1. Well – Roy Emerson did. Granted, that was a long time ago & a completely different era; but longevity-wise, Emerson’s the precedent.

  35. Chill. It’s only a match, and a clean defeat. How many of you thought 1 year ago that by November we’d be this spoiled with such a banquet laid on the table? Rest and enjoy the fact that we are the most fortunate fans of this sport. And the most intelligent, well dressed, charming and sexy. Right?.

  36. I know, it’s just that after such a great year this is a very disappointing result on which to finish it. Anyway, let’s hope he gets fully rested and comes back fit and raring to go in the new year.

    1. Agree, but not in the “very”. He still got fine matches won to his record, so only a bit disappointed it didn’t extend to 8 tours win this year.

  37. So…. today I went to the movies, I didn’t watch the match, because I thought… well…. it is David Goffin. So…. Roger’s got this one. Yes, it won’t be easy, David won’t just roll over, he will play lights out because he has nothing to lose, Roger should not underestimate him, David may even win a set… but Roger’s got this one.

    Imagine my surprise when I came home that Roger lost… too bad. I’m reading tweets that David played great, Roger may have been a bit tired, but that is not an excuse. Congrats to David Goffin for the win. Looks like deserved and I will be rooting for him in the final. If Roger had to lose, then in the SF is oke…. God please not in another WTF Final. Still not over the 2 or even 3 losses against you know who…. who shall remain nameless ๐Ÿ™‚

    Roger’s two sons against each other ๐Ÿ™‚ One has the name Baby Fed and the other had pics of Roger in his room when he was younger ๐Ÿ™‚ Again congrats to David.

    But lets be real guys…. how about 2017?? Last year this time we were all wondering how he would come back. Congrats to us all for Roger’s great great year. He gave us more than we could hope for.

    I love you Roger, eternally proud to be your fan and guys….. watch out for 2018.
    We won’t be going for 18, not even 19…. but 20 TO 23 !!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

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