ATP 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoors

Federer Grinds Out Win Against Pospisil to Make Final in Basel

It's not often I make 4 posts in 1 day but seen as though Roger has just seen off Vasek Pospisil in 3 sets and the final in Basel is tomorrow afternoon I thought I'd get this one out of the way.

I think most fans thought Dimitrov was going to be the real test this week but instead it turned out to be the Canadian who put up a very brave fight which required Roger to really dig deep and grind out the win which was very pleasing.

A lot of fans hate matches like this, they are close and often don't produce the greatest of tennis, they just want Roger to win easily without breaking a sweat but I actually enjoy wins of this nature. It shows a different side to Roger that we aren't used to seeing, one where he must get in the trenches a little bit and find a way through.

Today was a prime example of that, he played well in the first set but then sort of faded, lost interest and found himself in battle. Whatever he tried didn't really seem to work and that allowed Pospisil to get back into the match. There's no doubt Roger should have served it out easily at 5-3 in the second set but he failed to and then had to find a way through. It wasn't the cleanest match, nor the best to watch aesthetically but finding a way to win is the main thing here.

You have to remember that Roger is still very much in a slump right now, some people seem to think that one victory against Dimitrov immediately means he's back to Prime Fed level; it just doesn't work like that, Dimitrov was a stepping stone to rebuilding confidence just the same way as Pospisil was today.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Pospisil Basel Match Recap

Roger was quickly out the blocks in this one breaking Pospisil in his second service game before playing a dreamy service game himself to lead 3-1. It looked at this point as though he was about to zone in but he took his foot off the gas ever so slightly and had to show good composure to dig himself out of 0-30 before holding to lead 4-2. At 5-3 Roger got another break of serve like he did vs. Dimitrov yesterday to take the first set. Great start.

I thought the double break meant Roger would take this one in straight sets and after firing down a couple of love holds early in the second he broke Pospisil for the third time in the match to lead 5-3 however the Canadian hit straight back and held to make it 5-5. It was a bit disappointing to see Roger not serve it out when he'd looked so far untroubled on serve but to be fair Pospisil played well and took advantage of the situation when he could have easily just folded.

5-5 became 6-6 and Pospisil dominated the tie break from the start taking a 5-3 lead before reeling off the next 2 points to level at 1 set all. Again it was a bit of a disappointing tie break from Roger, he just looked a little flat and not quite switched on for it.

The third set was always going to be a test for both guys and as I expected it turned into a pretty scrappy affair, this time around Pospisil got first break when he broke to lead 3-1 only for Roger to hit straight back and break to love.

I think that game woke him up a little to be honest as he played poorly on his own serve but then out of nowhere put together 4 sweet points to get back on serve. The two important games then came at 3-4 where Roger had to save break point with a clutch second serve and then at 5-5 where Roger finally got the break after a lengthy service game.

It was the break that won him the match and he definitely did it the hard way, wasting some chances before Pospisil put a forehand long on after saving 3 break points. Serving it out this time went to plan and Roger booked his place in the final. Allez!

Math Stats

Stats R.ย Federer V.ย Pospisil
Aces 4 11
Double Faults 1 5
1st Serve % 56% 42%
1st Serve Points Won 44/60 (73%) 37/50 (74%)
2nd Serve Points Won 26/47 (55%) 30/68 (44%)
Break Points Saved 2/4 (50%) 6/11 (55%)
Service Games Played 16 17
1st Return Points Won 13/50 (26%) 16/60 (27%)
2nd Return Points Won 38/68 (56%) 21/47 (45%)
Break Points Won 5/11 (45%) 2/4 (50%)
Return Games Played 17 16
Total Service Points Won 70/107 (65%) 67/118 (57%)
Total Return Points Won 51/118 (43%) 37/107 (35%)
Total Points Won 121/225 (54%) 104/225 (46%)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Pospisil Review

Like I said above I think this was a good win, I saw a lot of tweets saying this was a really bad match from Roger but I don't really see it like that, sure he didn't exactly play lights out but he still got the win and I thought Pospisil played pretty well too. Roger had to dig deep to beat a guy who's had a great tournament, you only have to see how he took out Dodig, a very accomplished player to know he's a threat.

The problem when you win 17 slams is that the focus is always on Roger and never on his opponent, everyone thinks that every point is determined by how he plays, like no matter what the opponent comes up with, it's always Rogers fault he lost the point. But the match I saw showed Pospisil coming up with some real nice shots and defending very well, he is able to generate good pace even at full stretch which made it tricky for Roger. He was often caught trying to come forward but then having to take a step back to avoid getting burned on the pass.

Probably the only negative is failing to serve it out when he had the chance, had he gone onto lose then this would have been a painful blow but because he managed to get the win then it's almost forgotten.

The serve was pretty decent today but the return kinda disappointing in a few games, Pospisil has a good serve and Roger wasn't really sure what the best play was, chip, retreat into the crowd almost and give himself time. Neither of those worked a whole lot especially on the second serve. He'll need to do better vs. Del Potro there for sure.

Prediction vs. Del Potro

Federer Del Potro Basel Final Predictions

So tomorrow we get a repeat of last years final with Roger going head to head with Juan Martin Del Potro for the title.

I think Del Potro is the favourite on current form so we may get a repeat of last year where he won in 3 sets. Federer actually played well in last years match, losing in tie break in the third set where he just wasn't able to produce his best despite having quite a lot of chances and half opportunities earlier in the set.

I'm not writing Roger off here because Del Potro wasn't exactly convincing against Roger-Vasselin today so he might be tired physically / mentally after Shanghai giving Fed that little bit of an advantage.

There's no doubt Fed will need to play much better than he did today though, we'll need to see a lot of variety and ability to boss points. All Roger's success against Del Potro has been when he's been able to move the Tower of Tandil around and stay in the points. Probably my favourite match between these 2 recently was their meeting in Dubai 2012 where Roger took everything Del Potro had on a super quick court. I've included the highlights below, a really good match where Fed came back from 5-0 and 6-2 down in the second set tie break to win it. The point at 6 all is insane.

One of my concerns is that Fed is way off that level in the video above right now, everything was spot on back then, the serve looked to have more pop and more leg drive and his movement was pretty incredible. And I feel Del Potro has improved a little since then too so it will be a tough ask for Roger. Hopefully he's right up for it though and the crowd are with him, then anything is possible.

What are your predictions? And don't forget to rate the match vs Pospisil below ๐Ÿ™‚


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.

Related Articles


      1. Thanks Tilas ๐Ÿ™‚ Pure luck gave me my second title of the year (or ever :p). Lets hope Roger has his second title of this year tomorrow as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. Second. Omg! My best ever!! Quick post! Firstly, great to hv all yr blogs today, J, so much going on! Secondly, you echoed my sentiments exactly. A win is a win. As I said earlier. His game is where is at, and the fact is, he didn’t fold at 1-3. He put his head down and ground it out! That will give him confidence. Plus, he is not the favourite v Delpo so that will help! Can’t wait. First test v top 10 player since Rafa. Gd litmus test for London. Allez! And the zebra shirt is growing on me….

  2. I thought it was an interesting match to watch. Ups and downs, and slight disappointment in the 2nd set, but elation in the way the 3rd was won.

    Roger served really clutch today. All the big points, he came up with good 1st serves. The problem is the overall percentage. You can usually explain away the 1st serve % with the opponent’s returning capacity, but Pospisil is in every way a big server, not a big returner. So I thought it a point of concern that Roger couldn’t get his above 60%, especially given how well DelPo will probably hold serve in the final.

    But Roger DID end up playing someone who didn’t allow rhythm to establish itself during the match, and he dealt with that well. So yeah, ups and downs, but the victory should alleviate concerns about the performance.

  3. Great post Jonathan again. I can’t tell you how much your words always echo most of what I think after matches ๐Ÿ™‚ and this one was no exception!
    I sure don’t really dislike matches like that when Fed figures out a way to win, but it would be very nice of him to prevent me the stressful/nerve-wraking/crazy suspense he likes to add when I could gladly do without!
    But this time, to Pospisil credit, he wasn’t playing bad at all. He did what he had since he has nothing to lose and his first appearance in a final to win. Anyway, Fed held on and found a way out, which is nice to see after so many upsets this season.
    I loved most of the match, loved the fight, and even if I’m not putting a lot of hope in tomorrow’s outcome, I hoe we will have a beatiful top 10 level match. And if Fed wins, that will surely make my week ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. I was in the top 8 twice today hehehe taking baby steps after an upset win a few weeks ago. I’m really happy with the win, unfortunately I couldn’t watch it live, because I was in class, but for sure I will be looking for it on YouTube.

    The final will be tough, but I’m gonna keep believing! hehe ALLEZ!

  5. Thanks for the Dubai highlights. It’s a joy to watch. Don’t remember that Delpo was that good early 2012. Yes 6-6 second tiebreak was fantastic.

  6. I’m going to give this match a rating of 3. Roger was in dog fight mode, but didn’t really play well because, as was the case with Dimitrov last night, he got a lot of help from Vasek, who served 42%, and won just 44% of his second serve points. Sure, he wasn’t physically 100%, but 42% is a joke. If those numbers had been any better, we would’ve been talking about Paris already. Don’t forget some of the ridiculous misses from Vasek, particularly the short balls. Maybe he fast laterally but his footwork is just average.

    So yes, an ugly win, but there is no way Roger can get that lucky tomorrow. Del Po is going to deal with those slices in a variety of ways. I’m going to watch it without any pressure. Del Po is one of the few guys I don’t mind losing to. I don’t necessarily hate him for USO 2009, that was all Roger’s fault ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. 3 out of 10 is unfair man, I would give him 5 because of some clutches he showed during the course of the match ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Hey Jonathan,
    Thanks again for your write-ups after Roger’s matches. I wasn’t able to watch the first 3 “live” so had to catch up with replays but your blog sure helps fill me in right away until I can see for myself. I did watch today’s match and agree with you, I didn’t think it was terrible either. Seems to me that the mental/confidence issue crept in at times (yikes, blew that chance serving it out) BUT, he found a way to get through and THAT was big. I also found it interesting you mentioned one of the things he’ll need against Delpo is the ability to boss points. I thought that was one of the big things missing in the match today too. Anyway, that’s my humble opinion. I don’t comment much lately because I don’t feel like I have all the knowledge and experience you and many of your commenters do. But I wanted you to know I still enjoy your website. It sure has grown! Keep it going!

    1. Hey Wendy,


      Yeah he hasn’t really been able to dominate on his own serve lately. Can’t afford to drop serve cheaply vs Del Potro, gotta get cheap points.


  8. Jonathan, great post, so true about fans who complain about these types of matches, nobody said it was going to be easy! That’s the problem, fans want the fantasy of Roger automatically going back to the top within one match, saw it after Halle and Cincy. It’s a process, one which will surely reap the rewards for Roger eventually. Firstly, regarding Dimitrov, I don’t see why people call him Baby Fed? Yes the style is slightly similar but I agree with Roger, it’s getting annoying, and I hope yesterday’s win silenced that name for while. Now for this match, quality wasn’t overly high but I was incredibly impressed with Roger’s mentality out there. He’s grinding out the wins lately and I actually think that it adds to his legacy a whole lot. Based on this season, I would’ve expected him to give up after he got broken in the third but he held on and that’s what it’s all about for me. Fighterer, welcome back!

    Delpo’s level dropped off in his last match so I give Roger some chance against him in the final, if he’s willing to fight that is as he’s showed this week. Haven’t had a Fedpotro match in a while so I’m looking forward to it, if I had to make a prediction I think Delpo gets this one. Regardless though, it’s been a very successful week and it’s just the beginning hopefully of what’s to come. Allez Roger!

    1. Cheers Alysha,

      Yeah Del Potro looked a bit out of sorts vs ERV.

      Should be good regardless, played 8 times in 2012 and this is the 1st time they met this year. Interesting to see how they match up.

  9. Definitely signs of life in that match. Hitting the ball better, not self destructing as much. The Dubai video puts it into context though. Damn he was good in that match! Looking forward to the final. Allez!

  10. Great post and video Jonathan, thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Today I saw so much beautiful points from Roger that gives me little bit confidence for tomorrow! My prognosis is 7:6 3:6 6:3 for Roger and I hope the best! GO ROGER! And just one more thing, in the future this young man Pospisil will be definitely in the first 10 players in the world!

  11. Man, this match. I had to wait for someone to upload the full match on YouTube so I could watch it. Jeez, must have been tough watching this live, there must have been a meltdown in live chat when Roger was broken in the second and at the start of the third. I saw the replay, and even though I knew the outcome I was still kind of nervous, ๐Ÿ™‚

    What a win this was, Pospisil really played well for the most part and for Roger to grind out the win, just awesome – If he had lost the match after that blunder in the 2nd well….but thankfully he dug deep. You know I much prefer Pospisil to Raonic and even Dimugtrov, the guy is definitely top 10 material. As for Roger, I hope he can take more confidence from this match, for the final tomorrow. I just hope he doesn’t have any momentary lapses. Del Potro is probably the favorite, but let’s hope Roger can play well and cause an “upset” ๐Ÿ˜›

    PS: The people in the stadium certainly got their money’s worth for this match, I guess Brennwald will be pleased.

    1. Hey, was in same position, so glad didn’t hv to watch set 3 live!!! Agree on Posp, have been watching hm grow all year. Think he cld take over m Raonic as Canadian nรบmero UNO! Think Roger will enjoy today as has equalled Vilas’s 10 consecutive finals record and knows Delpo under more pressure to win. Fed might be a tad weary but Delpo has also played a lot lately and might be a little off. All about Feds serve( again!)

  12. I LOVE this site! Thanks so much for it. What really shows a lot in the Dubai 2012 clips are Fed’s sheer artistry and grace. Delpo looks so clumsy and flat-footed in comparison. But then again who doesn’t? I actually think Fed has a shot at it tomorrow. Delpo looks tired and he can be uneven and clunky if he is not moving well. Also has issues with being consistent.

    Of course Rafa got a cake-walk draw for Paris. Ain’t that always the way?

    1. Cheers Emily,

      Dubai was Roger on another planet. Played so well. Del Potro was pounding the ball yet couldn’t find a way through, movement was so good.

  13. Good match from both players, I think Roger will be proud that advice he gave Pops 2 years ago made Pops better player today. It should have end in 2 sets but Roger Diva Fed decided to funny. I liked the fact Roger really dug deep to pull off a W. All the players in tour are nowhere near Senior Citizen Fed when it comes to creativity of shots and set pieces. Roger needs to be more consistent if he wants to score another W against Delpo. Its tough task if he chooses the right shot at the right time, he has a real decent shot.

  14. Hey guys, Roger may or may not win the final, but I really think the best of Roger is coming out.
    He is at his best right now (not the way he plays), but the fact that he is alone and has to find the solutions himself to beat the opponent. Him beeing without a coach is now the best thing for him. Before Basel he would have lost today’s match and Dimitrov would get a third set. But this is what everyone is saying. Roger is a problemsolver and he solved the problem. It was his own fault he lost his concentration. Paid with it with a third set. And most importantly, Pospisil did not lead 3-0 in the third set. Roger solved the problem and found a way to win it.
    Like Ru-an says, he needs to win ugly. He did.
    Too bad I cannot watch the final, but I so hope he wins……

  15. Roger is Pospisil’s idol. Pospisil said it was hard to focus in the beginning of the match because of who he was playing. I’m a big fan of Pospisil but of course I always want Roger to win.

    1. Pospisil produced seiously great tennis yesterday I think, event if I’m for Roger always!
      Now I have no doubbt Vasek is my favorite young up and coming player. It took a while since there first meeting to see him more regularly but since the last Roger’s cup waow!

      First he has a heart man, a brave heart … Nadal like, but with the smile and joy of playing
      He moves fast on the court (a bit like Monfils but not as good). Nevertheless he moves forward better than Djokovic (in terms of approaching the net) for example. He moves great from side to side, and turned a few times defense into attack from those corner greatly (like the backhand passing that gave in set point in the
      second set!). He’s really athletic too. He is everywhere on the court my God.
      He did good in baseline rallies though he’s naturraly drawn forward. He takes the ball really early.
      His backhand slice is excellent (Roger couln’t bother him with his because Pospisil had the reply)
      His volley game is already more then decent, so is his overhead smashes. And he’s been pretty composed on those shots in this match.
      If his serve is known to be good (his second serve really pushed Roger at the back of a wall), he did return pretty well and often deep!

      He had to adapt to Roger’s game and the stress but came up with some good stuff.
      Even if it’s true Roger played a poor closing game in the 2d set at 5-3, Pospisil was already pushing before that and with some more confidence produced a challenging tennis for Roger.

      I might be wrong, but I think overall both player came up some really good stuff. The crowd was going crazy.
      The game at 5-5 3d set! Waow (including the famous drop shot actually).
      The first point of the game, won by Pospisil!!!! Almost 20 strokes at full speed. Roger defenses on it was great. The sound from that point, like ping pong, so fast, both player moving great but Pospisil coming on top at the net! Breathtaking!
      Pospisil got tired after the point, put a simply volley in the net, mad a double fault, it was then 15-30, then came the drop shot…15-40 we no the end.

      Roger’s backhand really got him this match. How many passing shots did he hit from this side!!! at 1- 3 in the 3d set, the backhand won him that all game.
      Most of his unforced errors were due to deep shots taken early from Pospisil.
      Roger didn’t play bad at all.
      The unforced errors to winners ration isn’t bad i’m sure…at the end of the second set the commentator said that Roger had 30 winners for 18 unforced ( including winner services I think he said, always like that I suppose?)

      So really credit to Roger to have gotten this victory.
      He worried me a bit when he obviously was frustrated the match wasn’t over yet (As Dippy said “Roger Diva Fed” strip). In his mind he was more ready for a long fight with Dimitrow than with Pospisil. But I think at some point he realised that Pospisil deserved respect as a player and that a serious tennis game was going on so he had to step up (first mentally) and he did!

  16. 1. This match drove me COMPLETELY NUTS. Nervous wreck.

    2. LOVED the fight in Fed. Given this year, I totally thought He was done when he collapsed in the TB and was broken in the 3rd. He looked like he was on the verge of an absolute breakdown. What a way to gather himself back together and turn it around. Wow.

    3. HATED the ridiculous shanks late 2nd early 3rd. Man. There were some atrocious shots. He looked so lost. Good to hear from Jonathan that that can have a lot more to do with the opponent than we think (I think he might have meant that above?)

    4. I think He’ll be mentally in a great spot against Delpo. Don’t know if he’ll win, but I don’t think Roger sees himself as up to Delpo’s level right now – and that will give him some space and take the pressure off. I think he needs that underdog status to relax and really UNLOAD like he did against Nadal in Cincy.

    1. Haha Alb it wasn’t so bad. I always felt like Fed had the edge. A bit nervy in the third but he regrouped.

      Hope you’re right that he’s sharp vs. Del Potro. hopefully the crowd are right with him.

  17. A super post, Jonathan, thanks. I look forward to reading your post now as much as to watching Fed ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, I hate the match like that while watching, it’s killing me. But I agree he needs that extra push to win ugly to remain being a true champion from nowon. And you are right about Pospisil, he was impressive that I could do nothing but praise for some of his play/shots.

    Delpo in 3 ๐Ÿ™ though I never lose hope for Roger. Allez!

  18. Hi Jonathan

    Not the prettiest of matches to watch and I have to admit I thought he had blown it when he went down a break in the 3rd – but then he seemed to get a glint in his eye and you knew he was not going to let it go easily – so really pleased that he came through in the end, I have to say I quite like pospisil and I think he will go far – would even cheer for him (as long as fed is not at the other side of the net).

    I hope fed comes out all gund blazing today – he needs to get his serve working and get a few free points – it will be tough against Delpo – but with the crowd on his side he may just do it – I certainly hope so – allez Roger

    1. Hey Trudi,

      Yeah dropping serve in the 3rd was criminal. But to his credit he sort of woke straight up and played a really good return game.

      And I agree, serve is very important today. He has to hold quick and keep the pressure on Del Potro, make it feel like he has to serve back to back games almost and wear him out.


  19. Great post, as always, Jonathan. I thought Roger played well overall. Even in his heyday, he had trouble closing out tight matches. It was not entirely surprising that he could not close out on serve at 5-3. Plus Pospisil was playing really well. Roger lost the first point in the tie breaker on a fluke net cord. He played two bad points at 3 all and poof, the second set was gone. One bad game ( really bad game) at 1-2 down, he followed it up with a truly magnificent love break, winning all four points with great returns. He hit some great backgrounds during the match, several crunching forehands, and the occasional shank. It was a tight match against a young player on form, and given the “Federer factor” free points are no longer there, it was a great result.

    A win against Delpo would be great, especially as it would guarantee London, but a good match would still be good, as it would build Roger’s confidence. If his body/back holds, he could still be a part of the big four in 2014, May be even win a slam! Allez ( with apologies to Jonathan)!

    1. Thanks Raja,

      I agree, people forget that because he was just so good that it didn’t really matter if he didn’t close it out immediately, he’d either have a 2 break cushion or break right away again to win. But sealing the deal never been his strongest asset.

      Hoping he puts in a good show today. Hopp Schwiiz!

  20. I haven’t watched the match yet. I’m about to do that now before today’s event. I left to go out for the evening when the score was 2-2 in the second set. While enjoying a glass of champagne and nibbles in the theatre I checked the score and it was 5-3 for Roger so I was happy. Then I made the mistake of checking one last time before having to switch my phone off and we were in the third set and it was 3-1 for Pospisil! What happened! Ruined my evening! Imagine my joy when, leaving the theatre, I checked for confirmation Roger had lost only to find he won! I can already take one positive from this – whatever happened in the match he got through it and didn’t cave in. And how long is it now since we’ve seen him win 4 matches in a row!

  21. Well it wasn’t to be but he was close, and just dropped the intensity slightly in the 3rd set! Delpo v steady hits vv deep, and losing that first service in the 3rd was always going to be tough to recover from. But all in all, a gd week, game improved match by match, and serve improved. Has to cut the ufe on FH which just land out( more spin needed) or hit the net tape( same). Otherwise, definitely on an upward curve. When did he last hit 11/12 aces?

  22. Wow… If Roger didnt lose his serve in the 3rd set then he could of had a good chance of winning. Especially having the momentum of winning the 2nd set set. I really thought Roger would win. I am dissapointed but overall its been a far better tournament for Roger. Del Potro deserves the win and am glad its him beating Roger then Mugrey or Rafa. Roger now has to concentrate and win his second round match in Bercy to qulify for the WTF, to equal 12 consecutive seaon ending championships. Considering the dreadful losses hes had all year at least this is not as hurtful and i feel , although hes not at his highest level he is in spurts showing signs of improvements. I hope now that he doeell in Paris as he now soo close to qulifying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button