ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Federer Halts Hurkacz Run in Indian Wells

The five-time BNP Paribas Open champion cruised through 6-4, 6-4.

Roger Federer is into his 12th semi-final in Indian Wells with a comfortable 6-4, 6-4 victory over Hubert Hurkacz in 1 hour and 13 minutes.

The Swiss was playing his 83rd ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final and his experience told as he converted 2 of 3 breakpoints whilst protecting his own serve throughout to go unbroken, winning 84% of points behind his first delivery to win through into the last four.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Indian Wells QF 2019

Federer won the toss and like his fourth-round match chose sides. Hurkacz elected to serve and started confidently with a hold for 1-0.

Roger responded with a hold to fifteen for 1-1 before the Pole continued his impressive start to lead 2-1.

A love hold saw Roger level and then from nowhere, he made his move to break, blasting a run around forehand return winner at 15-30 to set up breakpoints which he converted for 3-2.

A love hold consolidated the break and from there Roger was able to take full control, holding again to love for 5-3 before taking the set 6-4 in a closer game where he had to steady the ship from 15-30.

Into set two and Hurkacz was immediately under pressure in game one as Roger made 30-30. The Pole held but he could not escape in game three despite holding a game point as Roger broke for 2-1.

A hold to thirty saw Roger lead 3-1 and by now he was in every return game, creating a half chance at 30-30 before Hurkacz held for 2-3.

Game six produced Hurkacz's best chances to get back into the set as he held a break point and it took some good hustle from Fed to track down a lob to save it. No showboating tweener here, just keep it in play at all costs which paid off. Roger went onto hold for 4-2 despite only making 3 of 8 first serves in the game.

The Swiss then had an opportunity for the double break but Hurkacz held for 3-4. A comfortable hold put Roger up 5-3 and after the Pole held for 4-5 it was up to him to serve it out.

At 30-0 it looked done and dusted but a couple of hesitant points saw Fed lose three points in a row. However, he again saved the break point and reeled off the next two points to take it 6-4.

Match Stats

Match Statistics Hubert Hurkacz Roger Federer
Aces 6 4
Double Faults 4 3
1st Serve 61% (37/61) 54% (32/59)
1st Serve Points Won 73% (27/37) 84% (27/32)
2nd Serve Points Won 46% (11/24) 59% (16/27)
Break Points Saved 33% (1/3) 100% (2/2)
Service Games Played 10 10
1st Return Points Won 16% (5/32) 27% (10/37)
2nd Return Points Won 41% (11/27) 54% (13/24)
Break Points Won 0% (0/2) 67% (2/3)
Return Games Played 10 10
Winners 16 24
Unforced Errors 23 18
Net Points Won 57% (8/14) 67% (12/18)
Total Service Points Won 62% (38/61) 73% (43/59)
Total Return Points Won 27% (16/59) 38% (23/61)
Total Points Won 45% (54/120) 55% (66/120)


How To Save Break Points

Thoughts on the Match

Federer IW QF 2019

At this stage of the tournament, you have to bring your best game. I'm very excited to be in the semis here. Not that I didn't expect it, but it definitely went better than I thought it would.

Another smart match from the Swiss Maestro here and he continued his classy form from the three previous rounds to come through comfortably.

After Hurkacz hit some big serves and groundstrokes in the first couple of games to get Fed scampering on the baseline I thought we might have a close match on our hands as he didn't look overawed in the slightest. However, Roger took things up a gear and used his experience to quickly figure out how to play the young Pole.

The topspin serve won him lots of free points and from the baseline, he was able to draw Hurkacz into exactly how he wanted to play. Almost lulling him into playing a standard rally ball then upping the anti and catching him by surprise to take control with injections of pace and well-worked angles.

I also thought Federer did a stellar job at neutralising Hurkacz's serve. He seemed to have a good read on it and that put a lot of pressure on Hurkacz who plays quite fast so had little time to regroup.

The other big plus point is how well Fed is moving out the corners this week, he's looked very powerful in defence. A prime example is that backhand he hit when Hurkacz was wrong-footed and tried to pull off a diving volley.

Explosive speed and you need a lot of core/leg strength to hit that ball on the run and down the line whilst still getting enough behind it. Impressive stuff and that extra effort stopped Hurkacz taking his half chances in the second set.

As for Hurkacz, he didn't look out of place out there and he has a solid looking game. He also likes to come forward too and showed some deft touch which is good to see. His groundstrokes remind me of Chung's for some reason in terms of how he seems to place them and I reckon he'll probably have a decent clay court swing over the Spring.

Predictions vs. Nadal

Fedal Laver Cup

Next up is Nadal who came through two tie breaks to defeat Karen Khachanov in two tie break sets. Unfortunately,y I didn't watch the match but from reports, Nadal was struggling with a knee problem that required taping up.

I'm not sure how big a problem that is for him or whether he can manage it today so it might be a factor in the match. Beforehand I was rating the match as a fifty-fifty affair as both guys can get something out of the conditions, but now I'm not sure.

Fed will need to test Rafa out early with some droppers and try to get him to cover a lot of ground by staying up on the baseline. That always had to be his tactic anyway so it will be interesting to see if Nadal tries to go hyper aggressive himself to keep points short or he's up for a slug out for the baseline. 

What are your thoughts on the win against Hurkacz? Let me know in the comments.


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 forgot I wasn’t first on the last post.
      Anyways, so far Khachanov is giving Rafa a run for his money.
      Maybe we’ll see Khachanov in the semis.
      Or Rafa with a bandage on his knee. 🙂

      1. Seemed to vary. What I heard (not saw) was that he was visibly limping towards the end of set one; then what I DID see was that at the end of set 2- having had some painkillers, mind- he was running for drop shots.

  1. Good match. Just did enough to win saving energy for tomorrow’s match. Like his odds against Nadal. Definitely better tomorrow than in the clay season. Having fingers crossed for Khachanov to pull off an upset. Would certainly be better if Roger can beat Nadal and win the title on Sunday. 🙂

  2. I too wonder about not peaking too soon & having plenty left for tomorrow; though I gather it was windy out there, which could account for some of the serving troubles. He’s not playing ‘supreme’ tennis, which is what he called Nadal’s level; but he’s good at bringing more against Rafa, so I guess we’ll see.
    Weather forecast actually says winds were only about 10mph today, & forecast at 13mph tomorrow; somif winds WERE an issue today, they still will be tomorrow. Windy might actually be slightly better for Roger than for Rafa (assuming he gets through; halfway there at the mo though Khachanov took him to a 1st set tb).

    1. I think Fed is playing very well. What would he need for supreme level you think?

      Nadal usually a good wind player, plays with high margin and knows to keep it up the middle… he can do that all day.

      1. Better on 1st serves. His anticipation has seemed to me to be not as preternatural as is CAN be – that could be an aging thing. Movement is great – ok, I could call THAT supreme!

  3. Well, Nadal took an hour more than Roger to finish his match. Wonder if that will make any difference?

    Oops, the site has forgotten me now!

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice if Roger beat Nadal for the 6th time in a row?…
    Nevermind, let us just enjoy the art, whatever the outcome is.

  5. Having just watched Nadai,with the full set of medical time out,bandage on the knee,whispering to the physio so nobody can hear what is supposed to be up with him,plus a stupid ball bashing opponent who hasn’t got the sense to drop shot him,he still manages to run like a rabbit and win two tie breaks.
    Fed in straights tomorrow.

    1. I too thought he was running really well for someone who was supposedly down to one leg. On the other hand I thought Roger would have done a (considerably) better job of not getting caught out of position, & prpbably at least sometimes of putting the ball somewhere other than right back to his opponent.

      To be fair, Rafa is and always has been a gladiator. As have all of the Big 3, really.

    1. Dunno, he’s apparently talking about ‘seeing how he feels tomorrow’ & ‘seeing whether he’ll play Miami’.

  6. Don’t think Nadal was faking, his service speed dropped 10mph after the MTO. If he is 1/4 step slower tomorrow, 1/8 less sure of his knee, it should benefit the FED!

  7. Hubert not good enough for roger. But i love how aggressive he was in front…he got good points.. i say it on my twitter, he looks like andy murray…even his walk… but anyways,., the breezes made it difficult to roger..

    Now fir semis.. Roger called it exciting, me as fans i called it blood pressure rising… nadal took mto.. hard courts really gave nadal a pain in d ass on his knees.. well i hope it will be a good match in favor for us… 🙂

  8. Thanks for the writ, Jon – gave me more confidence than I had. (Too many UEs for my taste, and too few 1. serves in – but smart and brilliancy still when needed – and looking in good moving form – so confidence for tomorrow, no?)

    1. 24 winners to 18 errors is pretty good. I just hope he lands more first serves tonight. Although the topspin / kick works very well on this court.

  9. Allez! I have no sympathy for Nadal. Always the drama queen. Fed lookin good. Focused and calm. My nerves don’t like a Fedal match.

  10. That was a very entertaining match! Where I am it was on at 3 am so I woke up to find that Fed had won relatively easily. It looked like the match was closer than the score indicated, and watching it on TennisTV was a pleasure knowing Fed had already won!

    1. “A pleasure knowing Fed had already won” – I know! I’m coward sometimes to watch later on purpose 😉

  11. Glad to see Federer’s through without too much trouble. He had two tricky matches in a row. I had the feeling that Hurkacz’s previous opponents let him hang around too long and turn things into a three-set war; Federer ruthlessly snuffed out all his chances to come back. Edmund could easily have broken back yesterday in the second set and won it in a breaker on sheer adrenaline, and then Federer would have had a tough time reestablishing control. The same could have happened against Hurkacz. But he never let that happen. He won all the important points, which is all you can ask of him.

    Think he’ll raise his game to handle the Beast. As long as he steps into court and takes the ball early on the bounce, Nadal’s shorter, topspun shots actually play right into his hands; he can control the rallies better than against power players who hit flat, aggressive shots closer to the lines. Against Nadal, slices don’t work; but stepping in and just ripping the ball does.

    For all the hype about Nadal’s supposedly more aggressive, retooled game under Moya’s expert tutelage, the AO final exposed the truth: if Nadal is forced out of his comfort zone and tries to play consistent offensive, first-strike tennis to counter his opponent’s offense, his game collapses alarmingly. He just can’t sustain it. And if Federer brings his A game, I suspect the outcome will be similar to Melbourne.

    Nadal malingering as usual to lower expectations and set himself up to win the PR war regardless of the outcome of the match; if he wins he was a hero-champion who overcame his failing body with sheer force of will, and if he loses it was all his knees’ fault and not a result of his opponent’s superior play.

    Hoping for Federer to stay relaxed and calm and to enjoy himself out there. C’mon Roger!

    1. “Nadal’s shorter, topspun shots actually play right into his hands; he can control the rallies better than against power players who hit flat, aggressive shots closer to the lines. Against Nadal, slices don’t work; but stepping in and just ripping the ball does.”

      To a degree, but Federer’s game is designed for the waist-high ball. Anything above that and it’s difficult. I’m not sure how much bounce IW produces, seems a fair bit. And on a slower surface, you do need to be able to put the ball away. Not easy at IW. So if Nadal is fit, then it could be a typical Fedal battle. Fortunately, it’s day match which should mean it’s quicker.

  12. It seems he’s not 100%.
    His movement was a bit off, played very defensively, especially position wise. Was standing on the IW mark in many of the rallies.
    Was lucky at the end to win 5 straight points in the tb with KK either making a cheap UE or hitting directly at Rafa.
    If he dragged Rafa to a decider… I don’t know. Maybe the outcome was different.

    Plus seen some Rafa fans already whining he’s not 100% so that’s a good sign. 🙂

  13. Let’s not forget the only time Nadal has beat Federer at IW was 2013 when Fed was carrying a bad back.

    1. I read somewhere that the last time Nadal beat Federer,Djokovic only had 6 grand slams.Not sure if this true or not,but a pretty amazing stat if so.

      1. That’s right. He won 6 more teaming up with Becker and three more recently. Total 15.

  14. Also to be considered is Nadals return position.He is standing very far back again.Fed will punish him for that surely by taking the ball early,drop shots etc.I was yelling at KK yesterday(In a most unladylike fashion)to drop shot Nadal instead of
    hitting the ball right back to him.Nadal uses the body serve a lot,especially when he is in trouble,but Fed will be ready for
    that.Khachanov has zero variety but still got to two tiebreaks.Fed will do far better than that😊

    1. I dont know , Yes federer isnt as the same as he was in 2017 but Nadal hasnt truly really been himself.
      Here is an interesting stat : Nadal post US Open 2013has a (2-14) record against Federer/Djoko combined on grass/hard court surfaces. (3-4 on clay).
      So he hasnt been in the mix the same way as Djokovic/Federer has been as far as the non clay court surfaces are concerned.
      Yes the Indian wells court seem slow and i d be surprised if the CPR rating above 30-31.However, that surfaces only get quicker with the amount of tennis played on them and the balls seem to travel pretty quickly here in the Californian desert. I think It ll be Federer in 2. Federer wants to play Rafa these days than maybe a Novak Djokovic. He is gonna probably bring his best in the semis.

      P.S I am excited for miami open tennis . Love the paint job they ve done . Hated the purple and the humid though. I hope it plays fast there.

      Cheers for the quickposts J.

      1. I wonder if Fed will even play Miami.He has hardly any points to defend there and I believe it
        is usually slow .

      2. Well Miami is slow ofcourse. maybe the hard rock stadium just had its name taken seriously and the new courtst turn out to be different pacewise too.

  15. I’m still trying to figure out how Karen K managed to lose, however injured or not
    Rafa as usual managed to run everything down. I had a wee laugh to myself
    when Nadal got his knee bandaged….don’t they know it’s his comfort blanket!
    If he really is injured I apologise, so C’mon Roger you’ve seen this film before
    be good and lucky x

    1. Impressive. Wish Bencic had come through, she struggles against Kerber for some reason. I dunno how Angie can win matches with a serve that bad.

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