ATP 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoors

Federer Labours Past Simon into Basel Semi Finals

A 200th tour level semi-final awaits Roger Federer as he overcame Gilles Simon 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4 on Friday at the Swiss Indoors.

The win sees the Swiss move into his 12th straight Basel Semi-Final and having only lost in one of his fifteen Basel quarter-finals to Tim Henman way back in 1999 many expected an easy nights work but he was troubled throughout.

The wily Simon who has 2 titles to his name this season served for the first set, broke Roger’s serve 5 times and drew  60 unforced errors before Roger finally progressed in 2 hours and 34 minutes.

Quick Match Recap

federer basel quarter final 18

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Simon kicked off with a hold after some nice opening points from the Swiss pegged him to deuce. Roger then moved up 30-0 and it looked like he was quickly into a nice rhythm but he then lost four points in a row to drop serve.

Simon then held to fifteen for a 3-0 lead and there was a collective ‘here we go again’ :D.

In game five Roger fashioned his first break back points but failed to convert. Three more came his way in game seven, but he couldn’t take them as Simon held for 5-2.

A hold to 15 kept Roger in the set and he was then finally able to break when Simon served for the set. A quick hold saw him level at 5-5 but the Swiss then had to save a set point in order to force a tie-break.

Into the breaker and Fed got off to a fast start, moving into a 3-1 lead and winning four points in a row to take it 7-1.

Set two also started nicely for Fed who moved up an early break for 2-1, however, he tamely handed it back, only to break Simon in the next game and the exact same thing to happen. The Frenchman then broke for the third time in the set at 4-4 before serving it out to take it 6-4 despite only serving at 32% for the entire set.

The third was anyone’s best guess and again it was Fed who struck first, breaking in game two and this time he managed to consolidate for 3-0. At 4-1 it looked like he had one foot in the semi-finals but Simon won the next three games to level at 4-4. A hold to fifteen put Roger up 5-4 and Simon then faltered, losing serve from 40-15 to drop the decider to 6-4.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Gilles Simon
Aces 15 8
Double Faults 4 1
1st Serve 59% (65/110) 47% (51/109)
1st Serve Points Won 71% (46/65) 59% (30/51)
2nd Serve Points Won 44% (20/45) 53% (31/58)
Break Points Saved 50% (5/10) 50% (5/10)
Service Games Played 16 16
1st Serve Return Points Won 41% (21/51) 29% (19/65)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 47% (27/58) 56% (25/45)
Break Points Converted 50% (5/10) 50% (5/10)
Return Games Played 16 16
Winners 40 18
Unforced Errors 60 31
Net Points Won 79% (23/29) 53% (8/15)
Service Points Won 60% (66/110) 56% (61/109)
Return Points Won 44% (48/109) 40% (44/110)
Total Points Won 52% (114/219) 48% (105/219)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Simon Basel 18

Sure, Gilles came back. But I found a way, which was most important, so I’m really happy now. It was always going to be at times a frustrating match, because you’re always going to hit winners and errors against Gilles because he puts so many balls in play.

Federer Basel

A tough match to watch this one as Simon caused Roger a lot of problems out there. In the opening game Roger started nicely mixing up topspin and slice to make deuce and I thought to myself he’ll win easily if he keeps this up. He then played a crap service game and was behind for most of the first set 😆

Fortunately, he found a way to sneak back into the opening set and played a very solid tiebreak to get in front which was crucial in the end. From there it was the ultimate Basel merry-go-round, Roger made a slew of unforced errors throughout the next two sets, dropped serve three times in set two and then let the lead slip in set three which could have cost him.

The numbers are all fairly average, obviously, 60 unforced errors stick out like a sore thumb but his return game wasn’t great either. Kinda worrying that Simon served at just 32% in set two which he won 6-4.

Anyway,  the positives are he won the match and now has a chance to make the final. Other than that I don’t think he’s playing great, I know Simon is a rope a dope opponent that makes you miss, even making Djokovic hit 100 unforced errors in a match in 2016  but I don’t think Fed has looked too convincing this week, he looks short on practice and low on confidence. Winning obviously helps so hopefully he can keep going 🙂

Predictions vs. Medvedev

Next up is Daniil Medevev who set up a Shanghai rematch by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets. I watched the opening few games and Medvedev looked to be moving nicely, coming out on top in a 37 shot rally early on.

The Russian gave Fed a real scare in Shanghai and he’s been in a purple patch of form lately, winning the Japan Open, making the semifinals at the Kremlin Cup and now doing the same here.

It’s probably a good thing for Fed they played just 2 weeks ago so he knows a little bit more on what to expect but it also helps Medvedev who will surely fancy his chances based on Shanghai and seeing how Roger has played this week.

Predictions wise I have no clue other than like most matches of late, it will be tough. There aren’t many players you can lose serve to 5 times in a match and still win and I don’t think Medvedev is one of them so Roger will really need to tighten up.

What did you guys think of the Simon match? Predictions vs. Medvedev? Let me know in the comments.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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    1. First 🙂
      Thanks for the post Jonathan. Really sums is it up well.
      I have watched a big chunk of the match. The end of the first got me optimistic, but then crap service games in the second. You see Roger serve and you just feel he’s going to drop it. Tough. Second serve was a weapon and now it’s a killer.

  1. I thought it was horrible last night. The weirdest mistakes came off his racket. He looked so unconvincing, apart from some moments of genius. He will always have those, but he needs a firm base and that seems sorely lacking at the moment. It may go terribly wrong if he plays like this against Medvedev in fine form. If however he plays as he played at times against Struff he might well reach the final. It’s taking years of my life, pfff, watching Roger struggle.

  2. Excellent writeup Jonathan thank you. So tricky to play & even harder to record all the twists and turns, so it was a relief Fed got through & gets another go at Daniil ! Hope it’s in 2 to have some in the tank for a final shld the he get there. Go Fed!

  3. Winning Ugly, I’m not sure anyone is ready for Federer to win like
    this, however surely winning is the only stat that will be remembered.
    Simon must be a nightmare for a lot of players, how can we forget
    his game with DJO at AO! Good summation Jonathan, it will be
    hard for Fed to win, and sure he is making a lot of ERRORS but
    C’MON Roger win your 200 semi final x

  4. Terrible match to watch, except for the first set tie break. I felt that Roger’s forehand hand gone away and he was missing a lot, especially when he was going for the lines. His best shot seemed the backhand slice! If he does not get easy hold on service, with his apparent low confidence and/or hand injury, he will not have an easy match against Medvedev.

  5. Thanks for the excellent write up.
    60 unforced errors!That will be no use if repeated against the Russian.At least he won and Wanda will get to see him play
    On the other side of the draw Sascha is playing really well and will be a formidable opponent if he reaches the final.

  6. Haven’t watched any in real time, while attending a Beethoven marathon every night. And it seems from stats like comme ci comme ca. – 15 aces, good. 4 DF’s, worrying. 23 net points won, very good. 40 winners, very good. 60 UE’s, hmmm. But Gilles was also tough a couple of years ago battling in Final Shanghai, where Fed had just beaten Djoko in an epic SF. So, a fairly good win anyway, or…? Was it so ugly and terrible then? Last night I watched some highlights, that was no way either, but of course perhaps eventually the worst had been let out.
    It seems another Fed though than in Laver Cup, where he looked happy and cheerful, and played so well. What is the matter now? My guess is a fear of the right hand injure. But I guess also that he keeps all such a secret too. Hoping he’ll be fresh enough to do Med today and come through. Allez, and pizza!

      1. Don’t think I could stand a Beethoven marathon: I prefer him in small chunks (Piano Conc 4 and Symph 7 for preference, but never both at the same time)

    1. A Beethoven marathon sounds an excellent alternative to the trauma of willing on Fed. Although I would make it a Bach marathon.
      Yes, he looked fine at the Laver cup. I do think he is nervous because of the Basel audience, the great and good of Europe (including Wanda and Jonathan).

  7. Hyperventilatorer. (As in, causing other people to…)

    There’s clearly SOMEthing. Don’t think it’s the back, he’s making all kinds of overheads you wouldn’t expect him to make if the back were acting up.

    Leftover hand? Maybe. It’s kind of like when he was changing racquets, only worse.

    Hand doesn’t explain movement issues though. Or why he seems to move/hit really well, followed by not well at all.

    Found a French guy tweeting during the match (Maxime Battistella). At one point, after a late-set-one ace from Fed, he quoted Gilou as saying, “It’s unreal! The number of lines he hits, it’s grotesque!”

    Followed, after the 2nd set, by “Federer is alternating the brilliant and the inexplicable”.

    We’re all confused.

    Sorry not to get the Tsitsipas match; not sure what to expect from Medvedev, who’s been doing very well. Guess we’ll see.

    Enjoy the show Wanda!

    1. … and Roger himself apparently said in French press, “a match like tonight is definitely more memorable than a win in an hour”.

      1. Yea – because getting up and down, but up in the end…more drama like that!
        Well if the hand sometimes suddenly hurt, but otherwise seems alright, might explain some inconsistency in movement performance. The mind would certainly be affected by such, and the confidence at times take a dive…BUT the will prevailing in the end – like yesterday, and hopefully getting it on next, and next…Go, Roger!

    2. Gilles Simon said this after his win ahead of playing against Fed :

      « Si je suis content d’affronter Federer à Bâle ? Non, on n’est jamais content d’affronter Federer ! Mais au moins ici, ce sera normal que les gens soient pour lui. Parce qu’en 2013, quand je l’avais affronté à Roland-Garros, les gens étaient aussi pour lui ! »

      « J’ai un plan contre Federer, mais encore faut-il qu’il me laisse le temps de le mettre en pratique. Et justement, le problème contre lui, c’est que du temps, on n’en a pas. »

      I translate : you are never happy to play against RF. But here at least it will be normal that the crowd cheers on him. Even at RG in 2013 people were for him (against me). I have a strategy against him, if he lets me the time to develop it… and the issue is that you don’t have time to do it when playing against him.

      1. Wasn’t it Simon giving Monfils the strategy to beat Roger at the US Open we are all trying to forget? 🙂

      1. Well – thinking of movement as being connected with timing. Or are you saying it looks to you the timing thing has sorted itself?

  8. I actually didn’t think it was as terrible as the 60 errors made it out to be. Simon made 31 of his own to 18 winners, while Fed made 40 winners, so for the most part I think it was just one of those matches. That being said, there were some bad errors in there, and part of it does look confidence-related. His margins appear to be all over the place, and I’m not too confident about today’s match whatsoever. That said, if he can get to a final here and win it even I think it will do wondersfor next season, so who knows.

    1. Roger himself has said that playing Simon is a high-error endeavor in itself because he gets everything back, MAKES you go for the lines. I saw a quote, I think from after Novak’s brutal UE match vs. Simon, where Roger basically said look, this is just part of the equation when you play Gilles. (On the other hand I still think there’s something else going on on Roger’s side here…)

      1. Sounds reasonable – to go for the lines all time will make the UEs grow very probably. You have to risk and be brave, and don’t let the UE’s affect you. (And I agree also in the something else…whatever it may be, ????) – And will join Sheila in sending all the best possible for this afternoon!

  9. Kvitova fans talk about “Good Petra”, “Bad Petra” and even “Scary Petra” when she is truly in the zone. I am beginning to feel that way about Roger and hope that “Good” Fed shows up for the SF.

  10. We are all traumatised here. Don’t know if I’ll watch this afternoon or just watch the scores from behind the sofa. If he wins his first service game I might come out and have a look.
    So what’s happening? Well he was not wearing a protective vest when he changed his shirt. Why the service failures? I would have thought that was the easiest thing to practice. If his hand is painful he should stop playing till it gets better.
    This doesn’t sound a good time for him to go in to the Paris Masters. Why is he doing this? For practice? For points? For fun???????
    Whatever, we all hope for a win and we will send happiness and positive vibes to our beloved hero.
    And wave the Swiss flag shouting “Roger!!! Roger!!!”.

  11. Meanwhile Sascha is having problems of his own against another pesky player Copil,the one who saw off Cilic..No way of knowing who is going to win this but Sascha seems to be rather too defensive I think.

  12. If this goes on much longer, I’m thinking of installing a defibrillator in my place. Inconsistenter. Does Fed and his team know what’s going on? I don’t think I’ve heard so much grunting, yelling, etc from Fed.

    On another note….what is with Nike and Adidas and the super ugly outfits? Maybe everyone should wear a uniform like private school.

  13. I thought it was rather funny in the Simon/Gulbis match.They look rather alike ,dark curly hair,scruffy beards and they were both wearing identical outfits,difficult to tell them apart,except Simon was rather more boring.?

    1. They used to give players an alternative kit with colors reversed, exactly so they could avoid this. Have to agree with seems to be “giving up on tennis”.

    2. I’m sure I read Tennis doesn’t even go into their bookkeeping as it’s own specific line like all the other sports do. So prob not a priority for them.

  14. Painful match to watch really. Even Roger of 2013 still manage to win without getting broken like 5-6 times. I see only 2 positives so far ie movement and better serving. Still have a lot work to do…cmon Rog

  15. Excellent from Fed.A bit of a wobble at the end after that long game he really should have won.
    Only the second time he has played the Russian but I think he has figured his game out.
    Nice short match,should be a big favourite against Copel,although he hasn’t played him before.

  16. WOW! 6-1 then 6-4 and he had several BP in the match. I have stated before in the past this tournament was going to tell us what to see in 2019. It may be inconsistent but Roger when he is at his best and serve, backhand and thankfully today forehand is working he is still and always the GOAT. Please for all your fans Roger give us another great match like today and win this tomorrow.

  17. Bugger! I got the match time wrong and when I checked, Bam! Done and dusted.
    At least tomorrow we’ll have vowels other than “E” on court.

  18. I will slightly disagree with you on his level of play yesterday. He improved significantly on serve, forehand. Back hand which was helping his erratic game in previous rounds got even better. He was mixing it up nicely by wacking as well as slicing and finding winners.
    His down the T serve which missed lines in previous matches, found lines good number of times in this match.
    That 4th round AO match of Djokovic vs Simon in 2016 where Djoker committed 100 UFE was in my mind prior to you write this article. You read my mind well☺️
    It’s the Simon’s type of play that look Roger’s game awkward at times. And as you mentioned in your recent posts, he needed these kind of tough wins to find his mojo back. And it was an entertaining match as well.

    1. 4 double faults though, way higher than career average. Improving for sure, but still a bit ropey, needs to hit the practice courts in the offseason and less sponsor shizzle.

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