More good news for Federer fans as Roger made it into the Semi Finals in Hamburg, albeit unconvincingly, defeating Florian Mayer 7-6(4) 3-6 7-5 to setup a clash with Federico Delbonis.
In my prediction I thought Roger was getting this done in straight sets but Mayer put in a dogged display and proved a very tricky customer. He was of course assisted by Roger making a string of errors and poor service games to ensure this one went deep into the third.
There were also a couple of signs Roger wasn't moving too well which was a slight concern, he wore a tank top for the entirety of the second set despite the temperature been around 19 degrees and then didn't even sit down before he served out the match 7-5 in the final set.
Not sure if there is anything to read into and I'm not one for speculation but he wasn't looking great either physically or mentally and the two are usually linked.
Quick Match Analysis
As has been the case this week it wasn't the cleanest display from Roger as he struggled in the first set to really dominate but there wasn't really many key points as both guys were holding serve and looking solid.
It of course came down to a tie breaker and Fed managed to string a few points together to take it 7-4. It wasn't a bad set from Roger but he just didn't look totally comfortable out there and was struggling to get going.
The second proved that as he soon fell 5-1 behind which was pretty poor, he did however win the next 2 games and I thought for a minute that Mayer was going to let him back into it but he eventually closed it out 6-3. As I said above it was strange that Roger played this set with a tank top sweater on even though the temperature was still pretty high on a warm summers evening? Like I said I have no idea on the reason for that, clearly not tactical or performance related though.
Heading into a decider I had no idea which way it would go as Mayer was playing pretty well with his unorthodox hitting proving difficult to read or counter. Roger started the better of the two going up an early break, which he relinquished immediately before breaking again only for the exact same thing to happen. It was disappointing that he couldn't consolidate and really he only has himself to blame, breaking serve twice in a set should always be enough to take it yet errors and misjudgment cost him both times.
It actually looked like Roger was moving rather gingerly towards the end of the third set as he looked quite upright and stiff but seemed to come back to life a little at 5-5 in the third to break before finally serving it out to get the job done 7-5 in the third. It looked like a match that could have slipped away so it was pleasing to see him dig it out at the end despite not playing that well.
Thoughts on the Match
Overall I'm not sure what to make of this one, I wasn't fully focused throughout as I was at a BBQ and watching on a laptop outside so I wasn't fully engaged for all of it. When I was watching though I wasn't overly impressed with Roger's game as he was pretty error strewn. If anything the backhand was more solid than the forehand which isn't what you'd expect.
Maybe that's just down to the racquet change but he wasn't really moving too well today or serving well either which are integral to his game. I'm not sure about the back but it was strange how he wore a vest and wasn't looking to great on his feet. Perhaps it was just precautionary though or a minor twinge, guess we shall see what comes out in the pres conference.
The positive is of course the victory and getting through a tight match where he wasn't particularly at his best, it was almost Roger 3.0 like but at the same time it's rare you saw Roger 3.0 lose his serve 5 times in a 3 set match so I'm not sure what to think. But anyway, it's a win and I'll take that for now, it's difficult to read too much into it at the minute as he's still in the tournament despite playing with a new racquet; a comfortable victory tomorrow and the Mayer match becomes somewhat obsolete so I'll just wait and see.
Predictions vs. Delbonis
Surprisingly Roger's next opponent is Argentinian Federico Delbonis who defeated Fernando Verdasco in 3 sets. It's quite amazing how yet again the draw has opened up and Roger has definitely had the rub of the green over the last few tournaments. Many thought he'd be facing Janowicz, I predicted Verdasco but now he's facing a Qualifier for a chance to make the final. Quite bizarre.
On paper this is going to be one sided as although they have never met, Delbonis hasn't really done anything of note or won any titles. He is only 22 though so has plenty of tennis ahead of him but Roger should be beating him comfortably.
I guess you never know though, he wasn't exactly scintillating today and has little recovery time if indeed he was feeling a little pain in the back but I'll back Fed in straights 6-4 6-4.