ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Gets Off To Winning Start at World Tour Finals

Roger Federer opened his Nitto ATP World Tour Finals campaign with a 6-4, 7-6(4) victory over last gasp qualifier Jack Sock in one hour and 31 minutes and make an early move to the top of Group Boris Becker.

The Swiss star was making his 15th appearance at the Masters Cup and the win sees him record his 50th match win of his dream year and he'll be hoping to make it even better with a  seventh end of season title on Sunday.

Quick Match Recap

Federer WTF 2017 Sock

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. A smart move as he broke to 30 and consolidated for a 2-0 lead to get a peRFect start.

At 3-1 Roger took Sock to deuce after being 40-0 down in the game but couldn't secure the double break. Sock was then able to make a deuce of his own but Roger held for 4-2 and from there on his serve was untroubled by the American. The Swiss holding to 15 in his next two service games to take the set 6-4.

Into set two and I thought Roger would be able to accelerate over the finish the line but Sock came out the blocks with intent, holding to love with a stunning stretch forehand to lead 1-0. Roger levelled for 1-1 and the first real opening came in game seven where he held two break points but couldn't convert.

More break points came the way of the Swiss in game nine at 4-4 but again he could not convert, playing passively which allowed Sock to wriggle free. The set then resulted in a tie-break which looked like it could go either way, Roger got off to the better start, moving up a mini-break for 4-2 but a Sock return clipped the baseline and the American was able to level at 4-4.

However, an untimely double fault from Sock put him 4-5 down and a trademark pinpoint serve + forehand combo gave the maestro two match points which he converted first time of asking as Sock went long with a return.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Jack Sock
Aces 5 11
Double Faults 1 6
1st Serve 63% (40/63) 60% (52/86)
1st Serve Points Won 90% (36/40) 69% (36/52)
2nd Serve Points Won 65% (15/23) 59% (20/34)
Break Points Saved 0% (0/0) 83% (5/6)
Service Games Played 11 11
1st Serve Return Points Won 31% (16/52) 10% (4/40)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 41% (14/34) 35% (8/23)
Break Points Converted 17% (1/6) 0% (0/0)
Return Games Played 11 11
Return Points Won 35% (30/86) 19% (12/63)
Winners 28 23
Unforced Errors 23 29
Net Points Won 67% (14/21) 46% (7/15)
Service Points Won 81% (51/63) 65% (56/86)
Total Points Won 54% (81/149) 46% (68/149)
SABR 0 0

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer 1st Match WTF 2017

I got off to a great start, my big hope was I was going to be able to play a bit more freely after that.The second set was tight, I missed some opportunities, the breaker could have gone either way and in the end, he helped me with some double faults and some mistakes.

Good win here for Federer and you can't ask for more than an opening straight-set win to put himself top of the group. Not the prettiest tennis to watch but Roger served the better of the two and didn't face a single break point in the encounter.

Fed was able to take advantage of a nervy start from Sock to get his nose in front but from there on it was a pretty close match. The second set was a cagey affair with both guys playing quite tentatively but Roger's serve prevented Sock from ever threatening to break (he lost just 4 points behind his first serve all match). However, on the return, Roger struggled and didn't seem to have the timing from the baseline when it mattered. He created a number of break point chances but couldn't get a sweet connection on any of them, often having to resort to muscle the ball in to stay in the point. Sock too seemed to struggle to find his range and he's always going to leak more errors with his technique, errors which unfortunately form him made the difference in the tie-break.

Predictions vs. Cilic

Next up is Zverev who defeated Cilic in three sets in what I hear was a rather dull match. Cilic was up a break in the decider but relinquished a 3-1 lead to give Zverev the honour of facing Fed on Tuesday night.

The last time the pair met was in the Montreal final where Roger's back packed in and Zverev ran away a comfortable winner in straight sets. Since then the German's form has been patchy but he's improving all the time and has a great backhand which should be effective on this court. I think Roger can handle his game if he's moving well and if we look at Halle he completely took him apart. Hopefully he's a bit more accustomed to the conditions after the Sock win and can look to get forward more which he'll need to do to ensure Zverev isn't taking over the rally from the baseline. I'll pick Fed in 3.

Let me know what you guys thought of the performance in the comments.  From watching purely on TennisTV, the conditions look quite strange as though the ball isn't quite coming on properly but maybe someone who watched live can tell us if that's the case. 


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. Only catched tail end of second set, as you mentioned it doesn’t look neither balls flying nor Roger returning better…kinda struggle… hopefully it’s mostly due to first match…

  2. Many thanks for very accurate summary. Indeed a good win. Not sure it was because the court is fast; both of them appeared to struggle to position. Roger seemed not quite to be used to the court conditions and as if was stuck on the 2nd gear. Having said that, it is a very good start of the campaign.
    Allez Rog!

    1. Yeah I thought they both looked a bit unsure of movement like where to be and how the ball was coming on. Like I said in post Fed was muscling a few of those backhands in. Thiem similar against Dimitrov.

  3. A good solid win for Fed which was never in doubt really as he was so solid on serve.I think he was nervy though and that probably showed in the break points not achieved.
    Interesting to see how Zerev and Cilic shape up.Sock played so well today that I would give him the edge over Cilic.
    This group could be very interesting.

  4. The court looks pretty quick to me. Roger said that its been sped up and he felt the difference from playing here 2 years ago. Certainky did feel like the ball wasnt coming on nicely or maybe its the newness of the court ??? I am no expert.
    Having said that he has big hitters waiting for him in the next two matches – should be interesting.

    It felt like he played an average match (stats apart) to win this one and should only find his rhythm as the tournament goes on.
    Anyways a win’s a win. Allez!

    1. It’s definitely rougher when new as the particles are fresh in the top coat. Gets smoother during a tournament. It’s had 8 matches so far, plus practice.

    1. It’s too hard to tell, you say slow, Addey says fast 😀 I thought it looks quite quick but kinda seemed to slow up off the surface. Neither guy really penetrated the court…

      1. Well, I think they said on the radio that Cilic thinks it’s slower than last year – they did admit that that might have been during practice, though, and that things speed up when the place is full. I thought it looked a bit weird: Sock early on seemed to get in position and then wait for the ball to get up to the right height after that. Roger looked slightly slow to me compared with some other matches of his I’ve seen this year – and not moving brilliantly either. I can’t believe he had a FS % of 63 – it feels as though he barely got a first serve in. Sue Barker at the end was going on about it being a masterclass from Federer – I wondered if we were watching the same match!

        BTW, Jon, anything wrong with watching it on the telly while you have the rare chance?

      2. “Things speed up when the place is full” – really? You mean like from the increased temp & humidity from all that humanity?

  5. I am always anxious when watching Fed and had to stay up until almost 6 am. It was worth it though! Fed was very lucky to get that first break right off the bat as it put that extra pressure on Sock. Although being young and the big underdog, Sock was able to really swing freely.

    BTW Jonathan, what is the technique issue that you have with Sock? I think Tiafoe has a huge problem with his flamboyant forehand takeback, and am surprised the commies rarely mention that either.

    1. Stayed up till 6. That’s crazy, I’d sleep and then get up at that time!

      Sock: his backhand is a poor. And his forehand is good but very extreme grip so I don’t really like it, none of the best forehands in the game have such an extreme grip, but hey works for him.

      1. I thought the match started at 2 my time, and I was too keyed up to sleep. Then it actually started at 4 !
        I didn’t notice too much bad about his BH but then anything not a OH is not very special to me anyway!

  6. If I have understood correctly, you wanted some observations about performance of Cilic/Zverev as next Fed’s opponents, right? I’m just watching, it’s about the middle of first set. It’s rather big (s)hitting. With such bh they would have both no chance against most of Milan participants. Cilic nervous, more slicing than hitting, poor serving. Zverev poor movement, not hitting winner but bringing the ball back and waiting for Cilic’s errors. No idea, who will win, but no threat for Fed from anyone of them.

    1. Nope, I’ll do my prediction when the result comes in.

      So you think both these guys would have no chance against those who played in Milan? 😆 how does that work? I would pick Zverev / Cilic every time.

    2. What a joke! The reason they had this joke of a Milan tournament so all those posers could fight and fucking win something. Those Milan nutjobs have a better chance being accused of sexually harassing somebody than beating either Cilic or Zverev. Oh wait, I think they already did that with those models who helped them pick groups, right?


      1. The blame and anger should be on the ATP and their insane ideas. Those nextgen players are doing what they do…play tennis. They aren’t going to turn down the opportunity.
        And, of course, I agree, the nutjobs would be in London if they were that good.
        Fed looked off yesterday but a win is a win. 50 wins this year, unreal. I don’t think Zverev will be in awe of the moment tomorrow night.
        Check out USO prices on Ashe. Don’t think I’ll be buying those.

      2. The insane ideas were stole from a format called World Team Tennis. The key difference being that in Team Tennis, there is a breaker at 5-5 and it’s a no-Ad first to five points version.

        The problem is, each set is a crapshoot and the format was meant for recreational tennis, not for professional tennis.

        I’m not blaming the nutjobs. I’m blaming the ATP. If they really want to even the field so that they don’t have these stupid tournaments to pacify the so called “NextGen”, then speed up the courts, add more variety and you will have a variety of winners. But that ain’t acceptable because they want to make heroes.

      3. Perhaps the ATP think the sky will fall when Roger and Rafa retire. I’m not a fan of the format for pro tennis. The shot clock is a good idea when Nadal is playing.

    3. It’s at the point where you’re just trolling now ?? top 8 players in the world would have a chance against the Milan players in almost any form – you do understand how world rankings work, right? Because it doesn’t sound like you do, especially as ye olde commentators seem to think they’re both playing alright.

      All you’re doing is trying to suit your agenda of making it out like Federer is miles ahead, which he is – but that’s cos…I dunno…he’s good at tennis? In the other group, all 4 look evenly matched up give or take based on results – with the benchmark being Nadal with one leg! Can’t be much good there.

  7. Yep, as I thought: Tuesday evening match 🙂
    Just did a dummy run for the Dimitrov/Thiem match on Viagogo on a supposedly bargain ticket: £21. By the time you’ve added all the various charges: £34, i.e. a more than 50% markup! Viagogo get more and more rip-off merchants every year. Cheaper to buy a normal ticket via Ticketmaster at full price!

    1. Hey this is the top 8 players in the world fighting off in the supposedly fifth most important tournament in the year. I got 2 tickets, one adult one child for each of the first two night sessions of Aussie Open and it cost me just under $800

    2. $800!? Jeez, I knew Aus was a rip-off country but that is so steep, is that on the resale market?

      I don’t think £34 is too bad for a session at WTF. Annoying that it’s above face value. Also guessing they still had availability on Ticketmaster too to buy at normal price?

  8. Nervy 1st match but Roger did well enough to get a W just not teeing off on his shots. Its not going to get any easier since he is due to meet Zverev next. Not sure if the conditions are a factor, we will see as tourney progresses.

  9. Couldn’t watch the match as none of the sports channels were showing the match. Crazy.

    Winning a tie-breaker behind the opponents’s double fault doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

    Read that Zverev was down 1-3 in the decider but won 5 games in a row to win the match. Ominous.

    More interesting now is the David vs Goliath match tonight, literally.

    1. Yeah, just when it looked that Cilic had the game in his hand, he did the usual thing: handed it over.
      The ratio unforced errors / winners was 3/4 for AZ and 2/3 for MC. Great match, huh?

  10. WTF, Nadal did it again. Played one match out and pulled out of the WTF.

    While accolades are pouring in like his never say die approach and ” you can never fault Rafa for not trying’ etc etc. its actually total bullshit, pun intended.

    Its a lack of respect for the paying public who would prefer to watch two fit players playing a fair game of tennis.
    Its a lack of respect for your opponent to indirectly belittle his victory by ensuring reports like ‘ Goffin beats an injured Nadal’
    Its a lack of respect for the guy placed ninth by not giving him a fair chance when you know you are injured and can never hope to complete the tournament.
    Its a lack of respect for tennis fans by saying that I had a commitment to this tournament,, to this city and to myself to play when you know that you are injured.

    Fed is the only guy to not do all this barring of course if he gets injured ‘during the tournament’

    So much for Rafa being a sport. Spoilsport is more like it..

    1. Interestingly, I made a comment on that same topic where these modern players are all about themselves, and trophies, and No.1 rankings etc.

      Nadal is eyeing a second Australian open, make no mistake. These injuries are a facade to rest well and get back into his doping cycle. The reason he went to London was for the No.1 trophy presentation. This man has no respect for the game, none at all.

    2. I’m not sure Nadal could win either way here? If he withdrew people would say he’s disrespecting the WTF and would have played if it was on clay lol.

      Seems like he took a risk to compete and it didn’t pay off. I watched some and he was clearly dealing with his dodgy knee on some of the slides and retrieving. But he certainly competed.

      It’s not great for the tournament but just one of those things. I think his moaning that WTF should be on clay is far worse 😀

  11. And…. there is the Rafa we all know and are use to. Played just enough to be world nr 1 and now just played enough to get his trophy and the sympathy from the crowd, fans and media. Every time I try to like him or warm up to him… he does something like this. Make no mistake, he was not THAT injured. Almost won the entire match. And even if he himself says he would pull out win or loss, I know after he beat Goffin, he would be playing.
    During Laver Cup I saw another side of him and I liked him… like maybe 20%. Still a lot you guys 🙂 But when he opens his mouth and dishes Roger, even if Roger is not even there, then that is the Rafa I know and dislike.

    I know Roger is not perfect, not even close and he can be difficult to cheer for sometimes… but how can anyone be a Rafa fan?? Does he get the same trash talk and insults that Roger got after pulling out of WTF 2014?? No, he is considered a fighting warrior who fights till the very end… Sigh

    The first time ever I saw Rafa, I was not even aware of the Roger/Rafa-rivalry, but when I saw him the first time on tv, I just didn’t like him. I did not know why. And since then he does things that makes me know I was right.
    Again, Roger is not perfect at all, but Rafa….. he is a deserving nr 1…. but not in my books…
    Sorry for the Rafa fans here (Shamtoot also), but Rafa just wants to win no matter what no matter how…

    1. I think he’s definitely injured, any time he was sliding and recovering you could see the discomfort.

      I dunno whether he should have withdrawn pre-tournament or what. I think even if he’d sneaked past Goffin who tried his hardest to let him win, he would still withdraw tbh.

  12. One way or another one can’t just like Rafa. I don’t care about the doping aspect as there is no strong evidence, but irrespective he always comes out as a whiner.

    His utterances after losing a match is always like I was injured but this is not the right time to talk about it when I have lost. A very subtly indirect way of saying that the guy beat me because of my injury only. Or I played badly, rather than giving the opponent credit by saying that he played better even though I played well.

    Fed is the only genuinely honest guy by saying Cilic blew me away or Delpo was way too good for me etc etc. Likewise the same honesty while saying that I had my chances but I was not aggressive enough to take them etc etc.

    To a large extent Fed’s unlikely ‘bromance’ with Rafa has lent a lot of credibility to Rafa’s image for which the whiner has to be thankful.

    1. I think Nadal’s moaning about surfaces, 2 year rankings etc. is silly as all a bit self-preserving.

      But after defeats etc. when he’s injured and says now is not the time to talk. I’m not sure it’s that disrespectful. Tbh I’ve never seen a press conference of his in Spanish translated. Is he saying the same stuff? His English is pretty weak so combine that with his personality, culture and poor command of English it’s not great for articulating stuff…

  13. Nadal never been a player I enjoyed watching but I admire his tenacity, but can’t understand
    Why he Played in Paris. I know he wanted the No 1 but surely all he had to do was win any match
    at WTF. Even although he said during the match he knew he would not be playing any other matches he just had to run Goffin ragged. Hope Fed has a good night so fingers crossed C’mon Roger be lucky x

  14. So Sock wins.I rather thought he might,played very well against Fed and Cilic somehow can’t quite get the job done.
    So onto tonight,I have a bad feeling about this,Zed is very dangerous if his serve comes on fire.Lets hope it doesn’t ,it hasn’t been great recently.I feel he is the only threat to Fed now.Sorry about all the Zeds and Feds!

  15. With all the brouhaha about Nadal and his knee,I think people may not have given credit to how well Goffin played last night.He has been carrying that knee strapping for months so he really has some sort of knee problem.In Basle
    against Fed he had no answers but I feel that he knows his game matches well against Nadal.Indeed if it hadn’t been for the untimely intervention of the ghastly Cedric Mourier who knows how that match might have panned out.Ironically there were two wrong line calls against Goffin last night as well!This low bouncing court helps Goffin,I feel that he may qualify in his sector.Of course if he goes on to meet Fed I imagine that he will be toast.He seems a very nice man ,humble and unassuming,qualities claimed by Senor Humbalito himself!Sorry,I couldn’t resist that.

  16. Yes,I knew if Zeds serve was on it would be tricky.And it sure was on in the first set.That terrible service game in the second set gifted the break back.However in the third at last Fed upped his first serve percentage and Zed ran out of steam.Undoubtedly Zed will be a great champion in the future but not just yet we hope.Still, Fed qualifies and I hope Sock not Zed as the other qualifier from his group.

    1. Sharing your wishes. Sock has good spirit, and a jovial humor. Much to be preferred to Zverev, whom I like, but plays boringly solid, and still whimpering a little too much for my taste (this I say without yet to have watched the match, so he may have grown out of it, since last I saw this?)

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