Seems like forever since we last saw Roger on court and he came back with a bang today beating Lu Yen-hsun 6-3, 7-5 in 1 hour and 20 minutes to setup a clash with fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, which if he wins will secure the Number 1 slot for a while longer.
I have to say I really enjoyed this match and the atmosphere was awsome even just watching it on TV, it was almost final like in some cases as the crowd really got into it.
I said in my Shanghai Draw post it'd be great if Chinese Wild Card Zhang got through his match and faced Roger today as it'd have been great for the fans. Of course little did I know he'd be playing another hometown favourite Lu Yen-hsun from Chinese Taipei so it was a total win win situation for the fans and clearly meant todays match was much anticipated.
To say Roger's been off for 3 weeks he looked pretty sharp right from the off and he had to find his game early because Lu was enjoying himself and coming up with some great shots seemingly at will.
To be honest I think Lu had the better of the early exchanges and as usual it was Roger's first serve that kept him him in it. At 2-2 Lu double faulted under pressure and Roger got the key break that turned out to be enough to win the first set. Key stat from the first was Roger won 100% of points behind his first serve which is pretty insane. GOAT.
Into the second set and it was a lot closer, Lu had quite a few chances on Roger's service games but just couldn't capitalise. I thought Fed defended really well and the low-ish bounce meant his slice backhand was ultra effective, keeping in him a lot of points that he could easily have lost.
I thought for a minute Lu might be able to win the second set after he pulled off a mammoth hold at 3-3 but ultimately Roger was too sharp, serving too well and found the goods when it mattered eventually breaking to serve it out 7-5.
It's just about getting a sense of how to play the points again, even though it's [only] been a couple of weeks, but my last matches were on clay. You always wonder if you have lost something in the meantime. I'm happy that things worked out well today because I thought Lu played a pretty good match. He's got the game to be really dangerous, particularly on a fast court like today. I was able to manage. That was a good thing too me, so I'm really happy. He played inspiring tennis at times. It was a good atmosphere and a nice match to play.
Federer vs Lu Match Stats
Federer Sky Sports Interview Transcript
RF: I thought I played ok, look its obviously a one of a tournament here in Asia it's a tricky one most of the players have already played one or two tournaments before so I'm looking for riddum but I know the place very well since 2005 I came here so it's a good hunting ground, and like you said Lu played some inspired tennis out here today, I knew it would be difficult the court plays pretty quick and he likes that kind of play so I had to stay clean on my serve and I was always going to create some chances on his service game.
Q: And how did you spend the time during the break, what does a Roger Federer do when your not playing tennis?
RF: Well your making it sound as if I had a few months off it was only 2 weeks, so it was Er not very long look I just tried to get settled first then I had a ton of time with my wife and kids you know and not being rushed by some schedule or….matches, practice and you name it, I really could sit back and go to the pool with them and have good times with them. I really had a nice time and I felt ready to go I decided with my family what we were going to do if I came on my own or they came too or if I came at all so I'm really happy to be here I feel fit enough to really do some damage here and I'm excited obviously to be in the next round.
Q: You set yourself 2 goals this year to get back to No1 and win a GS you archived both of those, are you aware if you win another event you tie yourself with JohnMac with 77 titles, is that another goal of yours?
RF: I mean I know it's there but I actually haven't thought about it for a long time Erm…I mean I obviously I've only just won my 76th title in Cincy so Er it would be nice, but look it would be nice but one of my big goals lets not forget was to win an Olympic medal I got that I wish it was the gold but the silver was perfect too. I've had a really tremendous season and now look I'm trying to finish in style look I'm one more round to get the 300 week for the world number one so I'm at 299 if I were to lose and Novak were to win he takes back the No1 from me, so that's my short term goal because that can happen tomorrow and after that will see how this tournament plays out, I hope to stay healthy for remainder of the season and look I'd love to win the WTF again you know I had such an amazing time last year at the O2 I'm really looking forward to coming back to that as well.
Thanks to @JanellLovell for typing this up!
Predictions vs. Wawrinka
Another match against Stan, historically these are pretty boring and rather one sided. Roger leads the H2H 11-1 and he'll probably extend that tomorrow.
The courts look pretty fast and aren't bouncing high which plays even more in his favour. Stan has a great backhand but as Roger said in an interview he knows for a fact Wawrinka struggles against him and he can use that to his advantage.
I don't see Stan winning but hopefully we see some good rallies and nice points. I figure Roger might serve and volley a bit more than he did today and look to play strong offensive tennis and he should make the Quarter finals.
By the way, if he makes the Quarters he'll keep the number 1 position for a while longer breaking the 300 weeks barrier. Pretty cool.
I'm obviously excited, tt's a big number, even though 299 or 300 doesn't make a big difference for me. It's obviously a big match for me. If you look back, there's many matches where there was a lot on the line, so this is just another one. It's just more the difficulty also playing a good friend. That adds to the special occasion tomorrow.