ATP Masters 250Brisbane InternationalRoger Federer

Federer Kicks Off 2014 with Win in Brisbane

Happy New Year! And with it we get straight back into tennis with Roger making a winning start at the Brisbane International defeating Jarkko Nieminen 6-4 6-2 to move into Friday's Quarter Final.

Having not seen Fed play since the World Tour Final loss to Nadal I had no idea of what to expect of him or the new racquet but he came out razor sharp, had some serious pop on his groundstrokes and played a very clean match to say it was his first competitive outing in well over a month.

I was also very pleased with how quick the courts were playing, the ball was really flying out there and it was good to see some first strike tennis being played for a change.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Serving vs Nieminen Brisbane

Both guys started this one at a frenetic pace, in fact I don't think we saw a rally over 10-15 shots in the first few games, just 2 guys going for their shots and looking to take the initiative at the earliest possible moment.

At 2-2 Nieminen looked like he was about to hold to love but then a sweet lob, a nice chip charge play from Federer followed by an unforced error saw him pegged back to deuce, that became break point and Roger took it in style by maneuvering Nieminen around the court with his forehand.

Nieminen had an immediate chance to break back but it was soon snuffed out with more strong serving and big forehands as Fed moved into a 4-2 lead. Both players then traded holds before Roger served it out comfortably to take the opener 6-4.

The loss of the first set seemed to frustrate Nieminen and he went from playing aggressively in the first set to completely red lining his game in the second. Had it come off he may have made a contest of things but Roger managed to break him immediately before holding, breaking again and then saving two break points to take a 4-0 lead.

It looked like bakery products could be on the cards but Nieminen finally managed to pull out 2 service holds but it was nowhere near enough as Roger served it out to love to take it 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Match Stats

Stats R.Β Federer J.Β Nieminen
Aces 9 1
Double Faults 0 4
1st Serve % 61% 56%
1st Serve Points Won 27/34 (79%) 21/35 (60%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/22 (64%) 14/28 (50%)
Break Points Saved 4/4 (100%) 1/4 (25%)
Service Games Played 9 9
1st Return Points Won 14/35 (40%) 7/34 (21%)
2nd Return Points Won 14/28 (50%) 8/22 (36%)
Break Points Won 3/4 (75%) 0/4 (0%)
Return Games Played 9 9
Total Service Points Won 41/56 (73%) 35/63 (56%)
Total Return Points Won 28/63 (44%) 15/56 (27%)
Total Points Won 69/119 (58%) 50/119 (42%)

Point of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Brisbane 2014 Volley

This one was a dream start really for both Federer and his fans and I'm not sure you can ask for more. Movement was spot on, groundstrokes looked very powerful, he still showed great touch and most importantly played very aggressively. He also served very well and just looked to be a lot more confident in his play, no hesitation or not quite going full blooded on shots which I think was quite a surprise considering it was his first match. I expected some rust but there wasn't any.

He also dispatched a very handy opponent in straight sets, I know he leads the H2H with Nieminen 14-0 after today but he is a very competent player (made QF's at 3 out of 4 slams) and has 2 titles both of them coming in this part of the world on similar surfaces at this time of year. Unfortunately for Nieminen he seems to peak around January but by running into the Fed-express he had no real chance.

Predictions vs. Matosevic

Matosevic

Next up for Roger is Australian Marinko Matosevic and the two have never played before. I think this will be a good test as like Nieminen, Matosevic is a good player, has a big forehand and a fairly decent serve. He was the Aussie number 1 for most of last year and had a decent win vs. Verdasco at Monte Carlo so he knows how to play.

However I think this record in Australia is very poor and by beating Benneteau in the first round here it was his first ever win down under. Facing Federer probably won't be too exciting a prospect for him and I can only really see Federer winning in straight sets.

It should be another fast paced encounter with both guys going for their shots but if Roger hits the spots on his serve he will be able to create enough break point chances to come through unscathed. Fed in 2: 6-4 6-2.

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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118 Comments

  1. Roger has started the year off with a bang no doubt. I was very impressed with this match. Not a tonne of rallies though so it’s hard to evaluate how effective his training session and recovery has been the last 6 weeks. So far, the main thing is that he is looking healthy and his movement is looking like it’s back on track. In particular, Roger is arching his back quite low which is a great sign and his serve was popping in the 200s quite often. Courts are playing pretty quick which is surprising so it begs the question if this is what is to come for AO or Tennis Australia is trolling us all. Too early to tell but from my perspective the racquet is paying big dividends already, he’s generating power especially on the backhand and is playing more aggressively at the net. He’s not looking rusty and his mentality on the court seems to say he’s already more confident than half of the 2013 season. Good signs for the 2014 season, needs to get off the mark and get some match wins and winning feeling back to have any chance of being contention for number 18. I am treasuring the tennis being in my time zone finally and cannot wait to see what Fed does in Melbourne with Edberg. Allez!

    1. Hey Alysha, what a great comment. You just summed it all up !!! Happy new year miss Wintour !!!
      Don’t worry, I won’t call you that forever !!!

    2. Hey perfect comments, agree with them all! Certainly more power although only able to watch highlights as couldn’t find live stream here in UK!!! Loved the dubs highlights, proves my theory that better singles players will always come out on top! The oppos serves were way too formulaic and easy to read. And Murray was beaten in 3 by Mayer, which we all saw coming as match fitness/ focus will br a bit of an issue for Andy T this stage!

    3. I’m note sure about the mentality bit. He was bellyaching about a missed backhand and during the doubles match, his composure was clearly reflecting the success of his shots. He is regrettably not quite yet the Roger of AO 2013. Maybe he will be.
      I thought his serves were not quite there, landing quite often 30-40 cm from the lines, though they got better toward the later part of the Nieminen encounter.
      I was quite impressed with the touch that he displayed with this new racquet, perhaps little less during the Nieminen match but there were quite a few sweet moments in the doubles.
      Interesting observation about the arching of the back, and that there may be a change here. Could explain why his serve placement seems a little bit off.

      1. I disagree. We have no idea if this is the Roger of AO 2013. Could surpass that level or fall short, no evidence to suggest which one it’ll be right now.

        Showed some emotion after missed shots, not a negative though for me.

        Served well.

    4. yes interesting comment on the back Alysha, I’ll try to spot it in the next match. I dont know about the new racket adding power to the backhand, I thought it was the forehand that showed a more noticeable power up. It was really booming yesterday. Guess we’ll see how it affects the backhand too. But I agree with the rest of your points!
      Jarek, the serve looked pretty okay I thought. Some misses were big. but it was 61% first serves. And some of the serves were pretty huge too.

    5. I’m listening to Roger Rasheed commenting the Federer/Mahut vs Dimitrov/Chardy doubles and from what I understand the courts at the AO will play as fast as in Brisbane and, he says in addition, as fast as they played since the nineties.
      Very interesting commentary indeed.

  2. Happy New Fed Year everyone!

    Gosh it was fun πŸ˜€ Great to see him in a good form moving well, hitting ball fast and powerfully. I was concerned if the big frame affected the precision for serving but he served well, didn’t he? Impressive stats too, especially 2nd serves points won. Hope AO courts play like Brisbane’s.

    Fantastic start from Day 1, both Roger and you Jonathan πŸ™‚

      1. So the AO might become the faster of the two hardcourt grand slams eh? That would be pretty ironic. But that would show that the organisers really listen to the fans and players.

  3. Looking at these stats I was surprised to see Roger’s first serve at 61% because the overall impression watching the match was so good I could have sworn it was a lot higher. Precision with the new racquet that I wasn’t expecting (thought there’d be a few more misses), fluid movement – dancer Roger is back, and great energy and confidence. Couldn’t ask for a better start to 2014 really could we. Allez Roger – oh and Happy New Year to all and thanks to Jonathan of course πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Jonathan

    Happy New Year to you and all Fed fans and what a lovely way to start the New Year with a win in the doubles and the singles – he looked sharp and was moving well and the new racquet looks like it will suit him very well – a couple of shanks but we will let him off Love the outfit especially the red and the shoes (He always seems to play well when he has red on) onward and upward Allez Roger

  5. Well, there goes the hope of seeing a Rafa vs Andy match after almost three years. Andy just lost to Mayer after beeing a set and 3-1 up…. I guess he was injured….

    1. Yeah, Mayer picked it up when he needed to and just at the same moment murray went down. I got to admit it was an interesting match, I enjoyed it πŸ™‚ Mayer is a fun player to watch!

      And pretty dang good match from Fed! πŸ˜€

      1. Yeah Simon, what is up with these players like Mayer, Kamke and Brands??? They are becoming better and better and are not afraid of the top guys….

  6. Darn it, I was planning to watch that match! Got my timings wrong again! Maybe Andy is saving his energy for Melbourne πŸ˜‰

    1. And…. still he wins….. But that fighting spirit has to end sometime. I think this year……
      Oh and deep deep respect for Kamke. What a match he played. If only he did not have that last double fault….

      1. And he’s playing Gulbis next. Expect more trouble for him. But it will be a fun match to watch πŸ™‚

      2. You know they say Rafa is the only top 10 player left at Doha. So if he wins, it will be because there is no one left in the top 10. Is that not the same situation as Roger at Brisbane? I read so many comments saying, well, besides Roger there is no big player in Brisbane…..
        Ps: I am watching his doubles match right now. Kind of fun. More Roger vs Dimi. Mahut is also really good. Chardy is trying I think….

  7. Happy New Year everyone! 2014 started on a good note with this victory for Rog!
    I watched him play today after 4 months and he looked really sharp. I tried to keep my expectations low with the new racket and the start of the season rustiness but it looked like I didn’t need to.
    The kit looks pretty good too!
    No Mirka in the box. I hope she comes sometime soon!
    I gotta ask this though- Was it because he came in way too often that I thought he got passed quite a few times and it’s nothing to worry about?
    Anyway, it was an awesome first match in that he looked in shape and quite healthy. Onwards!

  8. Couldn’t dream of a better start to the new year πŸ™‚ peRFect match! God, it’s so much more fun to enjoy Fed’s mastery without worrying too much about the outcome ’cause he looked so good ^^
    It’s a shame I couldn’t join live chat early in the match… hopefully on Friday..

    Happy new year everyone!!

  9. And HNY to you all! Hopefully the next Fed match will be on Tennis TV as want to see more of this form! Didn’t look afraid of anything which is pretty much how he looked second half last yr! Real attacking on top of the ball tennis! Fab stuff!

  10. Happy New Year, everyone! I’m unable to see any Brisbane matches here. Grrr. Highlights…looking good.
    No one seems to criticize Murray when he losses early in a tournament. And no one criticized him when he cried at Wimbly 2012. BUT, they criticize Roger when he’s out early or cries ( AO 2009). Just thinking.

    1. That’s because nobody wants to read about Murray. Seriously, if you were to type ‘Murray’ into google, you get more results for some other Murray. πŸ˜›

  11. Happy New Year everyone. Great to see Fed play again and even better seeing him play aggressive and positive tennis. True test is when he plays Dull and Djoker. Fed should be back in the top 3 sometime this year for sure. I want to see him win at least one major this year. How good will it be if it can happen this month? πŸ™‚

  12. Not much to add really, pretty much agree with the comments made above. I was following the match on TennisEarth (a commentary site) and I could tell he was playing well because the point-by-point commentary had lots of points which according to the commentary went: “Federer/Nieminen hits a good serve, Federer/Nieminen works a forehand return, Federer takes control of the rally and hits a forehand/backhand/volley/smash winner.” Stats were looking fairly good as well, and the clutch plays on break points were evident. The only reason Nieminen won as many games as he did was because of his serve. If his serve was like his ground game it would have been breadsticks.

  13. Happy New Year everyone! Great start from Roger, the new frame really seems to add more pop to his groundstrokes and serve. Watching the match though he did seem a bit slow on the top spin backhand, he seemed late on it and I don’t think he hit any winners from the baseline on that side, just the one mid court on the passing shot. I wonder if the larger frame is a bit clunky through the air on the backhand. Only first match though!

    1. Hmm not sure on that, backhand was solid to me, he needs that to be a containing shot to help setup forehands. If he can rip the odd winner down the line then even better.

  14. Happy New Year, Jonathan! Boy, I haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been reading! It seems like everything is coming together after a rough year for Roger. Making adjustments to the racquet and choosing to stick with it at the beginning of the season was the right decision, for sure. It’s clear that he’s confident again, and playing doubles will definitely get him used to the courts in Australia. His groundstrokes have a lot more power to them but my favorite thing of all was how much better he’s hitting his backhand! I really can’t wait to see what happens at the end of the week, but most importantly, the Australian Open. I think he can definitely get a great result there this year. Keep up the good posts!

  15. Did anyone hear about Rafa’s response to hearing that the Australian Open courts would be quicker this year? Oh Rafa.

      1. That’s where you see that everything is rigged: “I thought (Australian Open tournament director) Craig Tiley was a good friend.”

        Ahh Rafa….

      2. Simon, when Uncle Toni and his PR team aren’t there to control everything he says, we get the truth no?

      3. He made a similar rant after his IW2012 loss to Roger. He said something on the lines of, “If Roger tells them, they will make the courts faster”. And no, that time he wasn’t joking, he was really irritated after the loss. How dare Roger beat him? No es possible to beat dope, no?

      4. I watched parts of the AO2009 final and there were moments when Toni, with his mouth covered with this right hand, was clearly talking to Nadal right after he was losing points. Nadal made it a point to look up to Toni for answers. I’m telling you, without all that illegal coaching, which by the way Toni approves of, we would’ve seen a very different slam count for Roger.

        But Roger is too nice. And I’m ok with that. I’m ok with a few less slams, but I’d rather that Roger be a nice person, and ethical person, than hold the slam record. Like he said, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice” πŸ™‚

    1. http://youtu.be/pg99DVL8GJc

      Absolutely comical at 1:00, where Federer frames a tough over head and it lands just pass the net on the other side and the underspin brings it back into his own court before Chardy can put it away

      Also 2:00, where Hawk Eye makes a SOLID blunder and Dmitrov falls to his knees in disbelief.

      Nice highlights. They were all having some good fun

      1. Thks guys, just enjoyed the quality of this match on the highlights! Proper doubles skills on show, touch, angles etc. not the crass boom bash of current ATP dubs! Shows what quality players they all are. Hoping to watch Fed live tomorrow and join in some live chat!

        Hey Jonathan, what are your predictions for the Tour this year? I said end last yr I thought Berdych and Ferrer might start to fall down the rankings and neither of them hv got off to a great start! Fed to start a steady climb back to at least 3/4 by mid season!

      2. Predictions are I will probably get a wildcard into Wimbledon.

        I think Ferrer will stick around tbh. Berdych will be just there or there abouts, his game is too huge to just disappear but titleless season probably effected his confidence.

        Maybe 1 breakthrough but not sure who. Fed back in top 4.

      3. This is why hawk eye is bad. I mean, that ball was shown in by about half a foot or more. No way! That’s the margin of error for that stupid device. What do you expect when the ball flies at those speeds? And all this time they’ve been calling balls in and out by a millimeter? I’m telling you, that Del Po ball at USO 2009 was OUT! πŸ˜‰

        Hawk Eye needs to be eradicated. Trust the lines judges, or override only within the margin of error for the device and give the benefit to the lines judges.

    2. Hey Susie, I watch through Streamhunter. And if that does not work than Stopstream. Both are very good, but those ennoying advertisements, you know with the girls and stuff, so ennoying if you are a girl yourself !!!
      But today Roger’s match was at 6 in the morning (in Holland), so sometimes you have to get up real early…
      I hope the whole match is on YT so you can still see it….
      Oh and Susie, Dimi’s blunder is gold…. Roger was smiling so much !!! I mean seriously, does Dimi not know he was playing the GOAT???

      1. Katyani, try installing a plugin called adblock plus (I use it on Firefox) it takes ALL the adds away, including the ones on streaming sites and youtube (I also use streamhunter). And did hawk eye miss that by about 30cm?! Rog hit it too hard for the machine to follow haha!

      2. You mean those are actually adverts Katyani?? I thought Sarah from Leeds actually wanted to meet me with no strings attached. Better cancel the hotel.

      3. Hey Simon, thanks for the advice. Those stupid ads are every 5 or 10 minutes. I will try to do what you wrote. May not work in one time (in my case definitely) so I might ask you again. Remember, I am still in the “knowing how to link an article”-stage !!!

        Oh and Jonathan, your comment ++1 !!!
        I get requests from Marieke uit Amsterdam….. silly girl……

      1. Amazing!! And everybody was so hilarious after that πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Even poor Jeremy who coudn’t do anything about it πŸ™‚ No one but Federer could produce such a point!!

    1. Yeah, that was a GOAT shank, even Usain Bolt wouldn’t have made it in time. There is GOATness in everything he does πŸ™‚

  16. Hi everyone, this is my first post on this site. I have been reading your blogs and posts for quite a while, and really like the tone here – many posters possess technical insights, and are friendly and light-hearted.

    I came across the following on rf.com, thought you may like it:

    From Nieminen’s blog:

    “Over all Roger was in really good shape today. I have played him so many times so I know what I’m talking about and I can easily say that today he was playing really well, very tough to beat for anyone.”

    http://www.jarkkonieminen.fi/blog.php?year=2014#top

    1. Hey Min

      Welcome to JonathanΒ΄s Fed heaven πŸ™‚ ItΒ΄s amazing but extremely addictive to πŸ™‚

      Great comments from Niemenen, heΒ΄s such a great guy. And he is right Roger did play really well and again today against Matosevic, looks realy promising.

      Ps. Watch out for the villain Sid in here πŸ˜‰

    2. Hi Min, welcome! I’m going to go ahead and interpret your compliment to include me, if nothing else for self-gratification πŸ˜‰

      Niemenen seems a really nice guy. It’s good, in this era of people saying Fed’s finished, to have someone give him some praise for once.

  17. Heres my Federer vs Matosevic prediction:

    6-1 6-2.

    I really think Federer will be looking to absolutely destroy him, just to prove a point.

    1. Yeah, wrong by one game, but as I predicted, he got owned.

      Anyway I will throw in my AO predictions:

      Likely Winners: Del Potro, Djokovic or Federer.

      Dark Horses: Berdych, Tsonga, Janowicz.

      Early Upset (before SF): Nadal, Ferrer.

      1. I like that prediction, I guess my own would look a lot like that. ItΒ΄s depending on the draw of course also. Nobody will have Federer in their quater, right?

      2. Berdych, Jerzy, Tsonga all a nono from me. If the courts are fast as Brisbane then Nadal may struggle but don’t write him off! Hoping Stan also starts off well this yr again! Monfils currently bringing his gd end yr form with him, wld like to see him back in top 20! Delpo has never done well at the Aussie so not pinning the money there. Still think Muzza will hv a gd run but my money is on Rog if he gets gd draw! If courts are fast and it stays hit, he will like that!!

    2. Pity Marinko self destructed mentally. Would be good for Roger to stay in a competitive match for another 20-30 minutes. He really needs mileage on this racquet. I think that is what he is looking for right now. Most probably, he is hitting the practice court after this match to keep him self from peaking to early during the AO. Roger moves really well right now.

      1. He self destructed big time, I actually hope he was injuried because othervise I would say it was an embarrising attitude from him, not running for the balls and putting up a juniors attitude in between points.
        And it would have been great to get some more match time with the new racquet yes. ItΒ΄s really great for him he chosed to play the doubles also.

  18. Anyone else but me that are really hoping for a Federer-Hewitt final now? Could be a great atmosphere for such a final, and a good match up for Roger right now getting to hit a lot of balls against a fighting Hewitt.

    Allez FedWitt πŸ™‚

    1. Would prefer to see Nishikori. His game reminds me of Novaks, good returner, good BH DTL (if I remember him correctly). That, I think, would be good test of Rogers level and tell him what he need to do in before Melbourne.

    2. Not sure if Hewitt can match the consistency of Nishikori who has also got an 80’s coach in Chang! Hoping for a Fed singles and dubs triumph here!!

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