ATP 500Dubai Duty Free Tennis ChampionshipsRoger Federer

Federer Makes Quarter Finals in Dubai

The Swiss overcame Verdasco 6-3 3-6 6-3 in 1 hour 34 minutes

Roger Federer is into the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships quarterfinals after battling past Fernando Verdasco to record his 50th match win at the Aviation Club.

Despite being dragged to three sets for the second time in as many rounds the Swiss came through 6-3 3-6 6-3 and will next face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics who beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-2.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Verdasco Dubai 2019

Verdasco won the toss and elected to receive. A 71-second hold put Roger on the board before the Spaniard responded with a love hold of his own to level. 

Verdasco's confident start was soon derailed when in game four he framed a second serve into the stands to drop serve. That put Roger 3-1 in front and he accelerated away, serving and volleying into Verdasco's backhand which could only float in returns and he held with ease.

The set ended 6-3 with Federer losing 5 points on serve, two of which were double faults. He hit 15 winners to 11 unforced errors in what was a solid 27-minute opening set.

Into set two and Roger had an immediate chance to finish Verdasco off with a break point but the 35-year-old saved it to hold for 1-0.

Buoyed by the hold, Verdasco upped his game, Roger's, however, went backwards and he switched up his service strategy completely, going into Verdasco's forehand. That tactic didn't pay off and he was broken for 2-0.

A quick hold to fifteen put Verdasco up 3-0 and from there he was able to play freely, teeing off with some trademark forehands to maintain the break and take the set 6-3 without any trouble on serve.

With Verdasco winning just his second set in seven meetings against Roger he must have felt confident heading into the decider and he was able to maintain a high level in the opening exchanges, holding a break point chance in game three which Roger saved with an ace.

While Roger's level of play had dropped off in set two, he slowly began to crank up his game again in the decider and after holding to love for 4-3 he put together his best spell of play in the match; capitalising on a lucky net cord before firing off a forehand after a lengthy rally to break for 5-3. The Swiss then served it out to love  in  style to move into the Quarter Finals. 

Match Stats

  Fernando Verdasco Roger Federer
Aces 3 10
Double Faults 4 2
1st Serve 66% (46/70) 71% (55/78)
1st Serve Points Won 83% (38/46) 78% (43/55)
2nd Serve Points Won 46% (11/24) 65% (15/23)
Break Points Saved 50% (2/4) 67% (2/3)
Service Games Played 13 14
1st Return Points Won 22% (12/55) 17% (8/46)
2nd Return Points Won 35% (8/23) 54% (13/24)
Break Points Won 33% (1/3) 50% (2/4)
Return Games Played 14 13
Winners 13 36
Unforced Errors 21 27
Net Points Won 50% (5/10 68% (13/19)
Total Service Points Won 70% (49/70) 74% (58/78)
Total Return Points Won 26% (20/78) 30% (21/70)
Total Points Won 47% (69/148) 53% (79/148)


Post Match Interview

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Fiasco Dubai 2019

I'm happy I actually stayed calm throughout the game. I felt like I was having a good feeling out there. Even though I wasn't playing my best, I still felt like it was going to fall my way when it really mattered. I think that confidence is kind of important in sports or tennis. I'm happy I had it today, I played good at the end. I had the serve when I needed it, had some good shots, a good point on break point when I needed it. That was nice to win it that way.

Another tight match here but one where Roger showed just enough to come through.  I don't think he's playing great tennis so he was quite lucky to be facing a guy who can go from sublime to dreadful in the blink of an eye but he played well in periods and that proved enough to come through.

After looking untroubled on serve in the first set it was a weird decision in the second set to switch tactics completely when he was having so much success by coming in behind serves into Fiasco's backhand.

The Spaniard was getting hugely frustrated when he could only float returns into play then all of a sudden Roger was serving to the forehand which game gave him some rhythm. That loosened him up, helped him move better on the baseline and he started going for his shots to take the set.

Fortunately, Roger managed to get it together in the decider and although he was lucky with a net cord to set up break point, he played a well-constructed point to break through. If you're being uber critical he could have pulled the trigger far sooner in the rally but Verdasco also refused to go big when he had the chance and Roger finally nailed a forehand to break. 

As for Verdasco, he played a reasonable match too but he just clowns up at the wrong time. He has the game to beat anyone but often beats himself with wild serves and balls he should never miss. Even in the penultimate game after looking solid for most of the set he lost the first point off an easy forehand putaway by firing it long. A shame really as the guy has all the weapons to be a multi-slam winner.

Predictions vs. Fucsovics

Fed Fucso

Next up is Marton Fucsovics who beat Jan Lennard Struff in straight sets. The Hungarian has been in good form this year, taking a set off Djokovic in Qatar, making the final in Sofia and the Quarter Finals in Rotterdam so he'll be a stern test for the Swiss.

Roger has played him once before at last year's Australian Open which was a fairly tough match despite the scoreline and the two have practised together in Switzerland so they know each fairly well.

Fucsovics was hyped when he turned pro as he'd been the #1 ranked junior and won Junior Wimbledon but he's not had a great deal of success on tour with his career-best ranking been 35 in the world which he achieved this season.

Based on Roger's level so far I could see him dropping another set as Fucsovics covers a lot of the court and will make a lot of balls. The good news is though that he doesn't possess anything out of the ordinary and plays a fairly standard brand of tennis that Roger has seen thousands of times over so he should have enough in his repertoire to come through.

What are your thoughts on the Verdasco match? Predictions against Fucsovics? 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. What is it with Fed and second sets?He wins the first easily and then seems to go mentally walkabout.
    As for the unfortunately named one,I think I saw him playing in Basel.Will be tough but beatable I would say.

  2. Only saw highlights but from what I saw he didn’t slice so many returns which was good to see, probably because he was playing a lefty though so may have felt like he had to. Forehand to me looks better than aus and looks like it has more pace on it too. Hopefully tomorrow he can step it up slightly and win in straights without any difficulties

  3. Oh love the first picture! A great choice, Jonathan.
    Second set walkabout seems to be the trend of late. Is his generosity for the fans to enjoy the FUN match? Thanks for that, Rger. The draw is opening up so don’t mess up for No.100, allez!

  4. Watched some (other) highlights (those here again went off in the blink of an eye) – and he played beautiful tennis and had brilliant shots. – We see a lot of upsets now. Why is that? Are the conditions difficult, much otherwise from expected or what?

  5. Thought he produced some of his old brilliance especially at the start, quite a bit in the middle and at the end but by the start of the third set we decided that our nerves were not made of steel and went for a walk. Watched the replay later.
    Watching Federer these days can be torture. He’s really got to win this tournament to give himself confidence and give us confidence too.
    The audience were going crazy, a contrast to the first match on Monday when it was noticeably quiet.

  6. Well, Roger, why oh why are you making life difficult? A greater thrill winning in three? Hoping for a straight set win tomorrow. The Berdych vs Coric match was a strange one. Seems like an odd tournament.
    Thanks for the post!

      1. Checking out the reply button. While typing the font is smaller than before. Each set 6-1, then tiebreak.

  7. Yes,thank you for the informative post.
    It does seem like a very odd tournament,good players getting beaten by relatively unknowns,RBA also out today.
    Haven’t been able to watch any of it,but perhaps not missing a great deal.Lets hope Roger can hang on in there.

  8. Hitting some good lines, just seemed to lose his range a bit in the middle. As they keep telling us, slim margins. Apparently they’ve changed balls here too, & court conditions are somewhat different to past years as well. Think he’ll have to continue to improve to be able to handle someone having a really good day- though of course conditions are the same for everybody. Nice to see some great shots & movement from both.

    1. Yeah Dunlop used again, they are the ATP partner now so probably at most ATP events this season. I dunno if tournaments have any say or can have individual ball deals. Indian Wells is usually Penn.

  9. Decent match other than weird second set. Got lucky with some close points and the net cord in the third to pull through. All matches from hereon will be tough and he needs to keep his focus. Allez Roger! Let’s get 3 more wins.

  10. Thanks Jonathan for the summary. I am glad you are mildly confident for the match against Fucsovic, that makes me feel better. I could see Roger getting a little lost in that match if he is not careful. As mentioned by Thinker (and Fed too I think), the tennis balls and surface are different this year, which may offer some explanation for the upsets. Not for sure what the tournament organizers were thinking, but having lived in the Middle East before, I am not totally surprised.

    1. Yeah I saw Fed say they relaid the surface just three weeks ago and it’s slower than usual. Still the same brand of surface but just shows how easy it is to change on a whim.

    1. Yeah, they changed balls. Think they used Wilson before like AO. I don’t think Fed said he didn’t like them though, just they are different and take getting used to? Dunlop will be at most tournaments now after that deal with the ATP.

      Dunno if Indian Wells will still use Penn.

  11. Just read that DelPotro has withdrawn from Indian Wells,which means he loses a thousand points.So if Fed wins this
    tournament he will be number four in the rankings.Of course he has a lot of points to defend himself at Indian Wells.?

    1. Ah hadn’t seen. He said his knee was less than perfect but was sick of watching tennis at home so decided to come back. Probably made it worse by playing last week.

    1. I’ve just watched the highlights, was a fun match. Typical Kyrgios – had the trainer out after 1st set said he was feeling sick and needed to stop playing. Didn’t want to get booed though so played on. Then he won the second set with some quality play, had an MTO, then recovered from 6-3 down in the final set breaker. Got a bit lucky with a volley and Nadal will rue some of his chances but

      He also did an underarm serve. It went out but it rattled Nadal completely. I wish more players used that. Nadal is taking advantage of the huge back area on stadium courts, so why not?

      1. Yes, I’ve often wondered why players don’t use a dolly serve occasionally against Nadal.

  12. yes it was a most entertaining match,that tiebreak!LOL.Nadal could hardly bring himself to shake hands and then stumped
    into the press conference to complain that NK has no respect for anyone ,game ,opponents etc.Probably true but Nadal
    could perhaps show a little respect for his opponents with the endless time wasting and holding up play when the opponent is ready to serve or actually serving.Amazed the umpire is so complicit in this behaviour.Still,didn’t work out for him this time.?

    1. I liked his response:

      “I’m different, Rafa is different. He can focus on what he needs to do. He doesn’t know the journey I’ve been through, he doesn’t know me. So I’m not going to listen at all. That’s the way I play. That’s the way he plays, he’s very slow between points and the rule of the book says you have to play at the speed of the server. But Rafa has the speed every time. I’m not going to comment on him and his game. I’ve got my game. I’m not going to take that (Nadal’s comment) into consideration at all.”

  13. The font is great.The reply button is a bit weird sometimes,I thought it was my useless IPad which operates in a
    separate dimension but if others have experienced it as well……..

  14. I don’t have much of a problem with fonts at 11 pts and above. As long as Fed plays well I don’t even mind wearing a microscope on my nose! Ha.

  15. Here’s HL Fed/Fucsovics (maybe Fu’s name wrong spelt, but you know who I mean)
    Enjoy (I always thought Fucs moved well and lost too much – and it WAS really a tight win Fed had – small margins as he himself admitted) a nice win, makes me hope for what we all hope in all tours with Fed.

  16. Well Borna C it is, looks like Fed still has a rocky road to travel if he
    wants to get to the final. This tournament has been so strange with
    higher ranked players going out so early, I suppose this is what will
    happen more and more, but can’t say I’m looking forward to it.
    Roger to me looks like he’s fed up so I would love him to win
    with the curls back in fashion x

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