ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Gets Off The Mark in London with Victory Over Berrettini

The Swiss came through comfortably 7-6(2), 6-3 to keep his semi final hopes alive.

Roger Federer is up and running at the ATP Finals thanks to a comfortable 7-6(2), 6-3 victory over debutante Matteo Berrettini.

The Swiss has still never lost a 2nd round-robin match at the year-end championships, but he was coming in off the back of a loss for the second year in succession. However, like 2018, he was able to produce under pressure, getting the job done in straight sets to keep his chances of making Saturday's semi-final alive.

Federer will next face Novak Djokovic in his final round-robin match on Thursday at 7 pm in what will most likely be a do or die encounter to progress.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Atp Final Rr 2

Berrettini won the toss and elected to receive. Federer kicked things off with a hold to thirty for 1-0.

Berrettini was serving around the 140mph mark against Djokovic on Sunday, and he started with an ace en route to levelling at 1-1.

Federer matched the ace in game three, holding to love for 2-1. The Italian wasn't troubled though as more big serving brought him level at 2-2.

A wild forehand brought Berrettini to thirty-all in game five, but another Federer ace brought up game point as he held for 3-2.

Two more comfortable holds from both saw the scoreboard tick over to 4-3 in favour of the Swiss, but he couldn't make any inroads on the return with Berrettini sealing game eight with a slick forehand pass.

With the serve dominating, the score was soon 6-5 in Roger's favour to guarantee himself at least a tie break. A nervy looking Berrettini soon found himself down 0-30 courtest of two unforced errors and the Swiss was able to fashion a set point at 30-40. However, Berretttini saved it with an excellent changeup T serve before holding to force a tie break.

Into the breaker and Roger moved up the early mini-break when Berrettini went long with a forehand. That was quickly 4-1, and a double fault from Berrettini at 2-4 put Federer in full command. The Swiss went on to seal it 6-2.

With Berrettini looking somewhat disheartened after flopping in the tie break, he was immediately down a break in set two as Federer used the chip return to make Italian play and the errors began to flow.

A hold to thirty consolidated the break for 2-0, and that was quickly 3-1 with Federer beginning to roll on serve.

Further exchanges of holds saw Berrettini keep within one game at 3-4 and in game eight, Federer went off the boil, missing some routine shots to slip to 15-40.

The Swiss saved both of them, and a third before finally surviving the game after multiple deuces.

Berrettini then slipped up himself, faltering to 15-40 with some sloppy play and Federer converted his second match point to seal it 6-3.

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Matteo Berrettini
Aces 8 6
Double Faults 0 1
1st Serve 67% (45/67) 70% (44/63)
1st Serve Points Won 78% (35/45) 70% (31/44)
2nd Serve Points Won 68% (15/22) 53% (10/19)
Break Points Saved 100% (3/3) 50% (2/4)
Service Games Played 10 11
1st Serve Return Points Won 30% (13/44) 22% (10/45)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 47% (9/19) 32% (7/22)
Break Points Converted 50% (2/4) 0% (0/3)
Return Games Played 11 10
Winners 23 21
Unforced Errors 17 27
Net Points Won 61% (11/18) 83% (10/12)
Service Points Won 75% (50/67) 65% (41/63)
Return Points Won 35% (22/63) 25% (17/67)
Total Points Won 55% (72/130) 45% (58/130)

Highlights

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Berrettini Round Robin

It's unusual to lose then to come back and play again, but I did it last year so have some experience. I am happy with how I played, Matteo was always going to be difficult with his big serve that you don't get the read on. If you don't get the balls back the way you are hoping to, you will be in trouble. He did a really nice job in the first set, the beginning of the second was key to get the break and fend off those breakpoints. I was clean on serve today, that helped so I hope I can keep it up, maybe even play a bit better next match. Federer on his win over Berrettini

An improved performance here from Federer and the match went as I expected.

Berrettini served well in the opening stages, but he got predictable towards the end of the first set and Roger was able to anticipate where he was going with his serve.

Once he had that read, even though they were landing at 130mph+, Roger could chip a few returns into play, and Berrettini made mistakes under pressure at 5-6 and then in the tie break to help Federer establish the lead.

Winning that first set settled Federer down, and although his level never hit the sort of heights it can do, he was stable enough on serve. He also came up with some clutch first serves on the few occasions he went off the boil and allowed Berrettini a chance to get back into the match.

Other than that, just ok. I have not had that electric feeling you got in Basel yet where he was moving brilliantly around the court, and it would be fair to say some of his play looks a bit laboured so far, but he needed to win in straight sets, and that's what he accomplished 🙂

Predictions vs Djokovic

Next up is Djokovic and based on his form in Paris plus his first match here in London then I make him a huge favourite. Of course, it can change if Novak has an absolute stinker tonight against Thiem, but I can't see it happening with how dependable his game has been this season.

Roger's last win against the Serb came here in the group stages back in 2015, but he's lost six of the previous seven meetings between the pair and Novak has the wood over him in recent years.

So far I've not been too impressed with Fed's movement or how ‘sharp' he's looking so he'll need to come out firing if he's going to beat Djokovic here and stand a chance of making the semi-finals.

What did you guys think of the win against Berrettini? Predictions vs Djokovic? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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104 Comments

  1. I didn’t see hope he’s clowning it up so smugovic doesn’t try too hard and Roger smacks him with the the might of a man who has taken a loss once too often … best WTF ever was Novak out last year ..I’m being a poor sport here but Djokovic up that tree l’y was ridiculous I’m hoping Roger gets to launch him to oblivion and have a smack down under his belt for 2020 AO.
    For me it’s about AO and he need confidence of good old days WTF win here and will get it!!!!! Go Fed !

  2. Much better from Fed today.Seemed more comfortable somehow.
    He will have to up his game a lot to beat Djoker but he in turn may not have it all his own way tonight.
    Thiem was pretty good against Fed…

  3. Great write up Jonathan, thanks! I wasn’t able to watch the match and reading your post allowed me to experience it 🙂 The year-end finals are never easy are they. Fed is there and will give it a go against Djoker – back for a re-match in London hopefully with a different outcome than this past July.

  4. 6-3 second set, Jon.

    A distinctly dull match, I thought, especially in the first set. I was there, and couldn’t really get very excited about it! As I thought when I saw the first match in the tournament, give Berrettini half a chance and he’ll probably self-destruct sooner or later: he hits the ball and serves very hard, but there’s not a load of variety (or accuracy?) there, so I did expect Roger to get used to his game at some point. Roger didn’t look hugely involved, I thought, but then I was right up in the cheap(er) seats. Hoping he plays better against Novak – he’ll need to.

      1. Haha! In straight sets on the best of five.
        Now, seriously, what’s the matter with Roger and challenges? Too eager to pick up all possible points? Bad sight? Over-optimistic?

    1. Ah ye good spot I put 6-4.

      I thought it was a boring match too. Berrettini kept serving same spots, Fed could just camp out where he thought it was going, get a racquet on it and job done. Returning 130mph serves isn’t that difficult when they aren’t flying into the corners and mixed up.

  5. Bad news, folks. Djokovic amazingly lost. He’ll be super motivated on Thursday. Roger needs to take the racket right out of his hands. Win and I think he’s gonna be in the final, frankly. He’ll take a huge boost of confidence there as well. But Djokovic looked awesome and should’ve won the match, so if he maintains that level, Roger will really need to play lights out. I’m not feeling it.

    1. Djerkotronic lost his first game in set 3 when Thiem played all out, and made also a few bad errors when he got broken to 5-6. Luckily for him, Thiem’s service was sunbathing elsewhere. Unfortunately for him, Thiem decided to blast backhands at the most unpredictable moments. Nevertheless Novak’s defense skills are very well oiled and I don’t see Fed getting a grab on him unless he enters Zeus mode which is less and less a given…

      1. Nah. Novak in 2, I think. Like so many of their matches here. That’s barring some sort of miracle, I think. I had wondered, if Novak had won this evening, whether he might have contrived to lose easily because it might be more beneficial to him to have Roger as the other qualifier in the semis, but that’s all academic now. He needs the points.

        Kudos to Thiem, though. I thought Novak was going to do his usual come storming back after a mid-set wobble, but he didn’t quite make it.

  6. I guess there are a few positive takeaways. One, Djokovic will be a bit more tired (maybe), two, he’ll be a bit deflated (maybe), and three, the match shows that Novak can still be broken, even when he’s in front, even in a tiebreak. Thiem allowed Novak to creep back into the third, getting broken back twice. Fed can’t do that. He doesn’t have the weight of shot that Thiem has, and he needs to maneuver his way inside out (way inside out) and look to pounce on every short ball. He can’t bang with Novak the way Thiem did and he has to try and finish him outside of the tiebreaks. It’s a very tall order. Odds are tiny. But, maybe Fed can show that old magic. Honestly, even if he knocks Novak out of it but doesn’t win the whole thing, it will be a positive result on the whole.

    1. 1) Djokovic can’t be tired after a 3 set match, however gruelling.
      2) He thrives on adversity, that much is crystal clear. There is no reason for him to be deflated at the prospect of having to face an off form Roger. He will be super motivated and hungry, if anything.
      Honestly, don’t see Roger pulling a rabbit out of his hat here, and nothing less than that will be enough to defeat Djokovic.

  7. Well, I guess that was probably my last trip to the whatever-they-call-it-now Finals. Thought I’d better get in and try and see Fed while there were still tickets available, and it was obvious that he and Novak would be playing Thursday night (I’d struggle to get home off an 11 pm finish!). They really have ruined the event over the past couple of years: it used to be an enjoyable experience wandering round and watching players practising, or having a go at something-or-other on one of the stands, but that’s all either gone or been shoehorned into tiny little gaps between food concessions. Not helped by the O2 owners turning a large chunk of it into an outlet store, either. I’m really not sure I shall miss it when it’s gone, especially since Roger presumably won’t still be participating by then.

    1. London is getting a lot of bad comments this year, it’s like they have given up, even though it still has 2020 before going to Turin.

      The O2 is a cool venue but I don’t like London. So glad it is moving.

      1. I think they have. There weren’t even any posters of the participants out on the columns on the way to the O2 this year, just some sort of general “we know you want to see the show but security searches may be necessary” posters. Total rubbish.

  8. Well, at least the qualification conditions are simple. It’s win and in vs Djokovic. I don’t think he’ll do it. Not convinced by his level and he needs to bring something extra to get over Djokovic. I see yet another loss to ol Djoker, and one in straights too.

    1. Ye one hope is that Djoker is tired after doing a lot of defending against Thiem. Fed’s level in his first two matches won’t get it done, but a new day so we shall see.

  9. It doesn’t look like it this time, I admit. But not so many years ago (2?-3?) he beat Djoker here. And…well. He’ll try, and you never know. Fingers crossed and all good vibes and what else to do this time…

      1. Because Novak managed to avoid him during his wilderness years …
        And of course Novak came back and won the actual final in straights, so RR results mean nothing (Thiem please note).

  10. Thiem Djoker match was interesting. Thiem had so many chances to finish him off and didn’t til the eleventh hour.
    Don’t know if I even want to watch the next match. Too many flashbacks.

    1. Best match of the ATP Finals so far. Thiem played immensely and Djoker came up with some insane defensive plays. The level of tennis Djoker can produce could well be the highest ever.

  11. You cannot write roger off against Novak, he had two match points in Wimbledon (though could not convert and it still is one of most painful moment). Means he can still fight. When Roger starts poor in tournament, he gets more better. So lets hope he brings the old days game of chip and charge.

      1. Should find some or other way to put pressure.. I don’t think anything else might put Nole in pressure atleast for some extent at the moment. Serving great is a bread and butter thing against nole.

  12. Thiem was in ridiculous form last night, never seen such consistent hard-hitting on both wings. He was taking the cover off the ball on virtually all his shots. Clearly improved massively on hard courts and quicker surfaces. I am not sure how quick London is but Fed said it playing quicker than previous years.

    Not sure I see it as a positive for Federer though, it took Thiem playing out of his skin and redlining his game for 2 hours to sneak past Djoker in a third set tie break that Novak could easily have won. If that was BO5, Djoker wins.

    How does Fed defeat Djoker here? Doesn’t have that firepower. Going to need epic serving, plenty variety and then some.

    1. Yes,but Jonathan,you could argue that Thiem could equally have won that first set tiebreak,it was
      extremely close.Then Thiem would have won in straights,perhaps.
      I hate tiebreaks,often they turn on two points and luck can play a big part-and nerves.
      Still there has to be a way of shortening sets I guess.

    2. I caught some highlights earlier today, those bhdtl shots were ridiculous. Low, flat, and hit with immense power. Djoker was still just a whisker away from winning. I don’t see what Roger can do here against Djoker. He can’t hang from the baseline, can’t come in too many times either. Will the slice work here like Wimby? Don’t think so. Insoluble problem, unless Djoker takes a mental holiday, and with his survival on the line, I don’t see that happening in any way.

  13. What a thriller last night.Well played Thiem.
    Mental as well as physical courage.
    Don’t feel so bad about Fed losing to him now as he is clearly playing astounding tennis.
    Interesting that all the big three have been beaten here by the younger gen.
    Will next year be finally the transition year old when a grand slam is won by a different player and who will it be?
    As to Feds next match I would never,ever write him off,Djoker or no Djoker.He was the favourite to win last night and he didn’t.
    Interesting matches today.How will Nadal do?

  14. Not in full flight, nervy first set. He improved in the second set but his fh lacks punch and not hitting his shots with confidence. In order to pull off a W, got to summon JesusFed and pray Djoker is flat after grueling match against Thiem.

  15. Oke…. I don’t really like this year because of… well you know… that ONE ace we needed in the summer and didn’t get… but now… MY BERDY…. retiring… sigh…. could this year end soon please?? Preferably with a WFT win Roger??

  16. As much as I hated Berdych way back when. Was it Wimby 2010? Cocky winner. I think ATP should do some sort of ceremony for the guy. Some players ride off into the sunset with hardly a whisper and others there is a big deal made. Look at Ferrer.
    Back issues I’m assuming.
    It would be nice if someone would do a fan report at the O2.

    1. Sue, years ago I remember Roger played Djoko, Roger lost the match, Djoko’s Mother I believe called out “The King is dead”, do you or anyone recall this incident? Believe Djoko’s parents were involved in criticizing Roger, etc.

      1. At AO I think… “the king is dead, long live the king!!”. Little did any of us know they’d BOTH still be going strong a decde later. If I’m not mistaken, when asked about it afterwards, Djoko said something like “I can’t control what they say”, which is true enough.

  17. A very strange match indeed.
    Medvedev does have some very odd mannerisms,that sarcastic thumbs up to his box all the time in the third set
    Hardly their fault if he chucked the match away.

  18. We’re all pretty much of the same opinion; this will take something rather special from Roger. He should be about as fired up as you can be, and Djokovic will be the big, big favourite. How could he not be, playing so unbelievably, which made what Dominic Thiem achieved all the more remarkable.
    Has to serve well. Simply has to. For all our predicted doom and gloom, it makes tomorrow evening (8 p.m.) all the more fascinating. I think we can predict with reasonable confidence who the crowd will side with; problem is Novak Djokovic just wins anyway ha ha !
    So come on Roger, this is a chance to do something special, it will repair all Fed fans who have been feeling broken since what happened, in this very same city, in July !
    Odds on it getting to 6-5, 40-15 to Fed on his serve in the deciding set; that would be intriguing.

      1. Imagine a Federer v Djokovic match with Novak Djokovic being the crowd hero…
        It’s almost imagine ANY match with Novak Djokovic being the crowd hero, he just never is. That is partly a testament to how unbelievably good he is, so a mark of respect in a way, but also in my opinion because there’s just something about him that makes you gravitate towards whoever he’s playing; a certain, mostly hidden, agressive side to his personality, together with a smugness which I find throughly disagreeable. That being said, there’s also a much more playful and appealing side to him, he seems rather approachable and with a good sense of humour, but ultimately that’s not enough.

      2. Which of course only adds to the immense frustration of all these losses suffered at his hands. In three of the four 5 setters they’ve played, Roger’s had 2 match points. It should be 3-1 Roger. In reality, it’s 4-0 Djokovic. He’s not a mile behind him in mental toughness, it wouldn’t have taken much for things to look very differently, but it’s now history and you have to move on.

  19. O ye of little faith! He was playing really well in Basel, it’s not like his level just dropped off instantly. In his old age, it’s just hard for him to transition so quickly to a new tournament with a different court. As we know, Thiem is dangerous anywhere.

    He got the job done, stayed in the tournament, and lives to fight another day. At least now he has the chance to knock Djokovic out of the tournament, thanks to Thiem. However it turns out, we won’t have a repeat of 2015 when he bested Djokovic in the RR but ended up losing the final.

    Medvedev just doesn’t seem to have what it takes mentally. With a little more mental toughness, he’d be US Open champ right now…but we’ve seen again how he can’t close it out from a winning position. You’d think after the ass-kicking he got in Montreal, he would’ve used that as fuel to motivate himself. But no.

    If Federer makes it to the final, I suspect he’ll have to take on Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back, then handle Thiem, who, judging by his performance so far, is the player to beat in this tournament. I think he can do it. C’mon Roger!

    1. I think it’ll be Stef vs Roger/Novak, Domi vs Rafa/Sacsha.
      But Rafa vs Roger/Novak is also likely.
      It’ll happen if Rafa beats Stef and Daniil beats Sacsha.

  20. Fed’s baseline play has been very sub-par since Wimb final. Not sure if its something physical or some mental baggage thats affecting his play. I just wish Fed hits that RESET button tomorrow. These loses to Djoko are getting out of hand.

      1. Agreed. Which makes me think that Fed’s level has been really down since 2018 and there is no coming back like what we saw in 2017.

  21. Medvedev choked big time. I was watching the match, thought of a near bagel to Rafa. but something went inside Medvedev head, may be Rafa fans. Rafa sending balls back into the court and Medvedev donated points with many unforced errors except a few winners from Rafa. It was a painful choke to watch.

  22. I will watch Roger’s match although I have little faith.
    I remember last year’s Paris 2018. I was sure Roger is going to be slaughtered, but he put out a fight and it was an amazing match.
    So maybe he’ll find that extra motivation vs Novak, especially with Wimbledon final on his mind.
    What’s the best revenge if not to beat your nemesis, end his season and make sure he ain’t gonna get that YE no 1 trophy.
    Plus he stays a good distance from Roger’s 310 weeks record and for quite a while.
    If Djoker doesn’t win this event, he can find himself stuck behind Rafa until late March.
    He’ll have to make a deep run in AO, or win it, while hoping Rafa falls early.

  23. Serving at 5-1 40-30 on third set and still losing?
    Ouch..

    Not Nadal fan here, but when he said ‘I play every point like my life depends on it’, he really mean it

    1. Of course, the narrative will be that Djokovic’s elbow hurt, as he was clutching it quite a bit. Fed’s never beaten a healthy Novak, this we know. No consolation for Wimbledon, but unlike all their recent matches, this one wasn’t close, no battle. Novak struggled to hold every game and Fed was blasting off on everything. A little more va banque serving at Wimbledon at 8-7 and he’d be at 21 slams. Djokovic was playing super solid then, to be fair, but still. No 6th YEC and #1 progress halted for a few months, in exchange for a bitter loss at the favorite slam. It’s something.

  24. Only Roger can do, what a lesson and what a win with authority !
    btw no one ever asked when Roger lost to Djerkovic whether he has been limited due to any physical issue…

  25. Didn’t dare watch, REGRETTABLY! (Hope for replay on TT.) Well it seems our man played well. Maybe Djoko had an issue, because the win seems almost too easy? Or… was this just the wonder rabbit out of the leo-hat? Can’t wait for Jon’s report.

  26. Simply magnificent from Fed.He literally blew Djoker off the court.The serve was incredible.
    And wasn’t he pleased.😎
    Sweet revenge for Wimbledon.
    Interesting matches tomorrow,particularly Nadal v Tsitsy.

  27. Well you have to admire Federer. Very proud of him. It’s not easy to go up against both the best player in the world and your own legacy, which is pretty much what Federer does every time he steps on a court. He lost to Djokovic 6 times in a row, miserable losses in Slam Finals, and then he comes out and blows him off the court. Maybe Djokovic was tired after the Thiem match sure, but Federer was even winning off the baseline. Maybe that court is a lot faster than it looks on TV.

    Inspirational performance . Can he keep it up or did he peak? It seems like he will get Tsitsipas since Thiem finishes 1st.

    1. It did seem faster to me when I was in there, certainly, but appearances can be deceptive, especially from the angle I was viewing from.

  28. Thank You, Thinker for your response to my question, and Sue, same to you…..am all smiling, just found out the result of the Djoko/Federer match, anxious to read John’s report.

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