Roger Federer is into his 8th Cincinnati final after defeating David Goffin at the Western & Southern Open. The Swiss set up a tie again Novak Djokovic after his opponent retired due to a shoulder injury with the score at 7-6(3), 1-1.
The win also means Roger has held serve in 96 consecutive service games and has won 17 of his last 18 sets played at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. He'll be looking to continue that streak in today's final and maintain his 100% record in Cincinnati finals with an 8th title.
Quick Match Recap
Goffin won the toss and elected to receive, creating 15-30 on the return but Roger held for 1-1. A love hold saw the Belgian quickly level and that trend continued for the first half of the set with Roger having just won one return point in three games as Goffin leveled at three all.
With Goffin serving at under 100mph on his first serve, Roger finally managed to make some more meaningful returns as the set progressed, two double faults didn't help Goffin in game ten but he still held and then recovered from 0-30, saving three set points in game twelve to force a tie-break.
Into the breaker and after dropping the opening point on serve, Roger switched track, opting to swing for the fences to recover the mini-break and sweep the tiebreak 7-3 with some much needed crisp hitting.
During the 4-2 change of ends in the breaker, Goffin had called the trainer and he received a medical timeout for his right shoulder before starting set two. He was able to save a break point in the opening game and force Federer to deuce but in game three he threw in the towel at 40-30 as Roger progressed.
|Roger Federer||David Goffin|
|1st Serve||71% (32/45)||63% (36/57)|
|1st Serve Points Won||75% (24/32)||69% (25/36)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||69% (9/13)||62% (13/21)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||100% (4/4)|
|Service Games Played||7||7|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||31% (11/36)||25% (8/32)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||38% (8/21)||31% (4/13)|
|Break Points Converted||0% (0/4)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||7||7|
|Net Points Won||55% (6/11)||75% (3/4)|
|Service Points Won||73% (33/45)||67% (38/57)|
|Return Points Won||33% (19/57)||27% (12/45)|
|Total Points Won||51% (52/102)||49% (50/102)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
I just think in general here in Cincinnati you've got to win the big points. There are not that many opportunities, especially if you protect your serve well. Everything goes very quickly. You can't play the rallies like you normally would like to. You're playing very reactive on the return and active on your own serve. Of course, it helps when you win that first-set tie-break, because it's an emotional boost, as well, besides getting extra confidence. So I was just happy how I was able to lift my game up throughout the set, and then also in the breaker, I played a good breaker, so I was actually very happy.
A short match this one and not one of real quality. It was clear from the early stages that Goffin wasn't able to serve at 100% as his first serve was consistently under 100 miles per hour. Robbie Koenig said during commentary he'd heard murmurs of a shoulder problem and that turned out to be the case.
From Federer's side, bar his serving it was an erratic performance at best. Despite Goffin rolling the ball in he wasn't able to do any sort of damage on the return until late in the first set and even then he couldn't convert any of the three set points. Other than looking towards the US Open and preventing further injury, I'm not really sure why Goffin retired as he was very much in the match and looked the better player from the baseline for the most part. Roger basically had a 5-minute spell where he seemed to summon some extra energy and swing for the fences, that paid off as it won him the tie-break and he finally hit some penetrative forehands. But other than that I thought he looked a bit tired which is understandable given yesterdays double duty.
Predictions vs. Djokovic
So Djokerer XLVI in the final and I'm not sure what to expect. Novak has played four straight three-set matches now, I've watched bits of all of them and his level has been very up and down for the most part but he's still able to get it done which is impressive. He looked completely drained of energy against Cilic in the second set but again came through to make the final. As for Fed, he's had it slightly easier in his matches having only dropped one set but he's had the rougher end of the scheduling with his match against Stan going late into the evening so the tiredness factor is looking fairly even. Other than that both guys haven't played their best tennis. Aside from his serve Fed's level has been erratic, some nice forays but a lot of errors and the forehand is not really firing. Djoker too has been up an down, smashing a racquet and looking rather unhappy with his performances.
From what I've seen so far in their matches I think Novak has defended slightly better than Federer has attacked and it will be interesting to see if that is the case later today. If Fed continues his holding streak then you have to like his chances but can he penetrate the court enough from the baseline once a rally gets going and will his serve be under a lot more pressure from a great returner? I think it will probably boil down to who has more left in the tank in what will likely be a three-set match. If Fed is moving well then the 1-2 punch works great on these courts so we shall see.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.