ATP 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoors

Federer Too Good For Dimitrov in Basel

Too good from the GOAT here as he once again got the better of Grigor Dimitrov in Basel defeating the Bulgarian 7-6(4) 6-2 in 1 hour 29 minutes.

A high quality encounter throughout we saw some top quality serving from Dimitrov but some all round genius from the Swiss as he saved 4 set points in the first set at 5-6, came up with some brilliant defensive plays in the tie break and then cruised home in the second. Easily his best tennis of the week and he's now in the semi finals where he will play Ivo Karlovic later today.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Come on vs Dimitrov

The first set was dominated by serve with both players serving smartly when they needed to. Roger did have a break point chance in Dimitrov's first service game but the World Tour Finals hopeful took the pace of his first serve which surprised Roger and he went onto hold.

Both players traded comfortable holds until Dimitrov progressed into a 5-4 lead. There had been no real inroads for either player on the return other than Fed creating a 30 all chance at 2-2. In fact by the time Roger had levelled for 5-5 he'd lost just 2 points on serve which was imperious stuff.

With Dimitrov serving to ensure at least a tie break he found himself in trouble but Roger missed a makeable backhand pass at 30 all. The Swiss did however get his second break point opportunity later in the game but Dimitrov dug deep to hold.

Then came the game that probably won Fed the match. It started badly as he botched a volley then sprayed a forehand wide to slip to 15-40 giving Dimitrov 2 set points. With Federer 4.0 though you get clutchness guaranteed and he played a sweet forehand for 30-40 then came up with a 2nd serve ace to make deuce. Dimitrov wasn't done though and a brilliant return gave him another set point, Fed saved it before facing another set point which he saw off with an ace before holding to force the breaker. High quality stuff under pressure.

Into the breaker and Fed got off to a great start taking the early mini break. His intensity and ability to get the ball back from defensive positions seemed to surpris Dimitrov as he was rushed into making mistakes. Those mistakess saw Fed move into a 4-1 lead and despite giving one mini break back he found 2 good serves when he needed them to take it 7-4.

Dimitrov's resolve was starting to wain after the loss of the first and after holding an important first game Fed broke the Bulgarian for the firt time to lead 2-0. Hitting a sweet backhand down the line at 15-30 and then breaking after another superb point. From that moment on Fed was able to serve his way over the line, keeping his base level high and never giving his opponent a look in. Dimitrov's frustration grew and as the set wore on he looked to be all out of ideas.

He did manage to make 30 all at 4-2 to give himself some hope of a comeback but Fed served back to back aces to hold and then broke him for the second time to seal the deal. Correctly challenging on match point when a Dimitrov forehand went long. First time he's ever done that?

Match Stats

  R. Federer G. Dimitrov
Aces 10 7
Double Faults 1 1
1st Serve % 57% 61%
1st Serve Points Won 31/37 (84%) 32/45 (71%)
2nd Serve Points Won 18/28 (64%) 13/29 (45%)
Break Points Saved 4/4 (100%) 4/6 (67%)
Service Games Played 10 10
1st Return Points Won 13/45 (29%) 6/37 (16%)
2nd Return Points Won 16/29 (55%) 10/28 (36%)
Break Points Won 2/6 (33%) 0/4 (0%)
Return Games Played 10 10
Winners 29 25
Unforced Errors 21 28
Net Points Won 20/31 5
Total Service Points Won 49/65 (75%) 45/74 (61%)
Total Return Points Won 29/74 (39%) 16/65 (25%)
Total Points Won 78/139 (56%) 61/139 (44%)

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Basel QF 2014

I thought the level was high throughout for both of us. I think Grigor served very well in the first, he didn't give me very many opportunities. It was a tough end to the set, with me saving set points and then the tie-break stayed close at the end, but I'm very pleased to come through there. I think overall it was a very good performance and I played my best tennis of the week so far.

Too good from the maestro here and he showed all his class when he needed it. I picked Fed in 2 and he delivered nicely playing extremely clutch at 5-6 to save 4 set points and then playing the better tennis in the breaker when he needed to.

Yet again he served very smart and was always coming forward when he had the chance. Step in, take on the drive volley, get to the net, all very attacking play that rushes the opponent and draws them into mistakes. Fed's backhand was also on song and any cross court back hand to backhand rally went in his favour. He has more power than Dimitrov on that wing and also a shorter swing. Once Fed got on the front foot Dimitrov had no real answers.

As for Dimitrov's display I thought he played very well in the first and served exceptionally well. He mixed it up on serve, using the body serve on a couple of big points and taking pace off to throw Fed off a bit. Smart stuff that got him some important points. Ultimately though he got outclassed by a guy with more options in his game and a better knowledge of the dimensions of the court. Fed's forehand is just so versatile that Dimitrov didn't really know what to do. There weren't many places he could go to on the court that brought him some respite and every time he put in a short ball Fed stepped in and finished at the net. Too good 🙂

Predictions vs. Karlovic

Federer Karlovic

Next up is Karlovic who's had a very good year this year in terms of consistency and he is now back to 31 in the world. He's also served 1000 aces this season for the first time since 2007 and fired down 19 in his quarter final win against Benjamin Becker.

Always a tough player to face as he has one of the best serves in the game thanks to his height and repeatable motion. Indoors arguably makes it even better too as there are no elements at play so he's a tough opponent.

For most guys that's not something they want to play against but for Fed he's said numerous times he relishes the challenge as it's something different. Remember he started his career in the late 90's where grass was still somewhat dominated by big servers like Phillipousis, Kraijeck and Sampras etc so he has a lot of early experience against guys who's serve was an out and out weapon.

As a result of that he leads the H2H with Karlovic 11-1 and has won the last 5 meetings without dropping a single set. His sole loss came at Cincy 2008 where we know Fed's game wasn't great that year and he'd just lost to Simon in Canada the tournament previous. Fed's met Karlovic once in Basel before too back in 2007 where he got it done in 2 close tie break sets.

I think Karlovic might get a set here which makes him a danger but I'm not sure he has the belief he can beat Federer when it comes to it. Fed in 3: 6-4, 6-7 7-5. If he puts enough returns in play that force Karlovic to volley up on the ball it could even be straights. We'll see. 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. Great write up! I found Grigor wanting on the BH! Too much slice and not positioned well enough allowing Fed to hit a massive FH DTL or cross court and then come in! Fed clearly hits harder than him as well and that told on the longer rallies!I am picking Fed in 2 sets today. Tight but maybe a single break or a couple of TB’s. Hilarious that Ivo is 35! First time in a while Fed has played someone older than him!,

    1. Yeah he was rushed all the time. Never comfortable!

      Ivo is cool, 35 and still playing at a high level. Fed should be fine, short returns into the feet and he is good to go.

    2. Well done being first Susie – not easy it seems. I’m also hoping for Feds winning in two tight sets. 🙂

  2. keep refresh the page since morning, going to take sample for the lab, going back then its too late. Everybody is chasing for the Top 8 position I guess..

    Off to read

  3. Roger was far too experienced against Dimitrov with wider range repertoire. I am wrong to think Dimitrov is Roger-like – not even close. Roger stands very close to base line and has a great serve. His BH passing shot is his money shot. Sometimes I think Dimitrov is trying too hard with tweener and entertainment shots though enjoyable but honestly got to focus on improving fundamentals of his game. Overall its a very high quality match, cmon Roger 2 more match to go.

  4. Excellent post as always, Jonathan.

    Still long way to go Dimi, long way. He fought well in the first set but yes Fed was just “too good”, almost JesusFed. What a great entertainment when his fast, thrilling attacking game is clicked on a day. Solid serving display and also his defense last night was unreal too, with some superb hitting from both wings.

    While I’m happy not to see Nadal anymore this season, kind of sorry he lost and Fed missed a chance of beating him with his current fine form on his favored surface. Who cares anyway… Allez for the title!

    1. Yeah someone needs to do an analysis of Nadal’s withdrawals / weird losses prior to playing Fed who is in form. Maybe the figures will prove otherwise but sure feels like he has gone AWOL whenever Fed has a few things in his favour.

  5. Great post Jonanathan – and you were so close on your prediction. 🙂 Very entertaining match, and I particularly like how clutch Fed has been on defending his serve recently; unbelievable serving – he’s oozing confidence from every pore – and it’s wonderful to see.

    Watched a bit of Dr Ivo/Becker match, and Ivo really serving well; he’s still botching quite a few volleys though. If Feds can just get a look at a few 2nd serves and get into one of Ivo’s service games, he could avoid the dreaded tiebreak. He’s been doing so well on those lately though I’d back him now on those, but they’re still nerve-racking. Only time I’ve watched a full Ivo match is when he’s played Federer!

    1. Yeah he should have won the first set 7-5!

      I’ve rarely seen Ivo play either, watched him take Murray 5 at Wimbledon when he kept getting foot faulted wrongly by a line judge.

  6. I think he won Cincinnati by challenging the match point or was David ferer’s challenge overruled???

  7. Fed has been playing great. Hope he can finish off Evil Karlovic and win another title on Sunday. Paris draw looks good for Roger. Should get to finals without any problems. I know it is looking too far ahead, but as you said, Roger 4.0 is more reliable and consistent and just too good for most mortals. 🙂

  8. Clutch!!!!

    His affect wasn’t great – quite a bit of muttering at himself – but as others have said, the ongoing whatever it is with Brennwald does seem to be affecting him a bit. Apparently he said something in press like “I don’t need to speak with the tournament director, it is how it is”. That may have been a couple days ago. I wonder about Mirka’s apparent absence too, & whether it’s related.

    Dimi’s body language sure seemed to say “sheesh, too good” more than once!

    Jonathan, I think your 2nd para should say “cruised home in the second”, rather than the third? I know the tiebreak FELT like a whole 2nd set 😉

    He’s not as good as he was against Djokovic at Shanghai but he hasn’t had to be. Really pleased to see him doing well, figuring out problems, and smiling so widely at the end.

    Karlovic has probably been watching tape of the Fed/Cilic US Open semi, but I don’t really think he’s got as much all-court game as Cilic, so provided THIS Fed shows up, he should be able to get it done, I’m inclined to think in straights.

    Go Rog!

    1. Ah yeah, good spot. Someone tweeted me last night saying I was giving Dimitrov too much credit. Didn’t know what he mean, now I do.

      Karlovic is completely different to Cilic so no way he would be able to replicate that style of play. He;s just gonna serve and volley. Prob be a tie break in there I think, hopefully in 2.

  9. And you were so close again Jonathan (reversing the 1/2 sets)! Phew! 33 aces from Karlovic – that’s just off the planet. I can hardly believe Feds broke him in 3rd – although certainly the crowd had something to do with that. But Feds took his chance, thank god! 🙂

  10. Yeah… aggressive impressive best from my DEAR ROG..I watched the match and then those highlights twice on that day and umhhuh.. just not enough so wanted to watch those highlights again, but surprisingly my search on YT and Google is only throwing 2013 basel things at me… kindly some1 post highlights link for FED vs Grig 2014 Basel please.. His play against Dimi almost felt like he was dancing on near the baseline and splendid.. words fail to describe……

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