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Federer Negates Nishikori in Bercy to Make Semi Finals

The Quest for #100 continues for Roger Federer as he put in a classy performance to defeat Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4 at the Paris Indoor Masters.

The win sees the 2011 champion move into the semi-finals of the penultimate tournament of the season and he records his sixth victory in a row against the Japanese. In doing so he's set up a juicy tie with the man of the moment Novak Djokovic who defeated Cilic in three sets and he's now on a 21 match winning streak.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Nishikori Paris Indoors

Federer won the toss and chose to receive. Two nice returns got the Swiss to thirty-all but Nishikori was able to hold for 1-0.

Roger levelled to 30 and then made deuce on the Nishikori serve but the Japanese came up with a nice topspin serve to hold. A love hold saw Roger level for 2-2 and the pair then exchanged back to back holds for four games all.

In game nine, Roger upped the anti playing an aggressive return game to break for 5-4 with some crisp hitting. An awesome touch volley put him up 30-0 when serving for it but he then lost three points in a row to face a break point. Kei took a very deep second serve return position and a smart serve and volley from Roger saved it. He then won the next two points to take it 6-4.

Into set two and the disappointment of losing set one saw Nishikori fail to regroup, a lucky net cord won Roger the first point then a run around return clean winner helped him break to love.

That was quickly 2-0 and the closest Nishikori got to restoring parity was in game four when he had deuce three times but no break points came his way. Roger's serve finally finding it's mark to help him over the line and  he won his last two service games to love to take it 6-4.

Match Stats

Kei Nishikori Roger Federer
Aces 3 7
Double Faults 0 2
1st Serve 59% 52%
1st Serve Points Won 57% (21/37) 97% (28/29)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (16/26) 59% (16/27)
Break Points Saved 33% (1/3) 100% (1/1)
Service Games Played 10 10
1st Serve Return Points Won 3% (1/29) 43% (16/37)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 41% (11/27) 38% (10/26)
Break Points Converted 0% (0/1) 67% (2/3)
Return Games Played 10 10
Winners 10 26
Unforced Errors 19 15
Net Points Won 63% (10/16) 76% (13/17)
Service Points Won 59% (37/63) 79% (44/56)
Return Points Won 21% (12/56) 41% (26/63)
Total Points Won 41% (49/119) 59% (70/119)

Shot of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Paris Indoors QF 2018

I think for me it was really important to go through two sets and not get broken and play very consistently and solid and not make too many wild shots on my own service games and just play solid and I think I was able to deliver that in a very nice way today. Kei is one of the best returners in the game and if you allow him to come into your service games too frequently, he's going to really hurt you. I think I was able to avoid that and then winning straight sets is always nice. It saves energy for not only what is to come tomorrow or the following week, but for your career. That's why you could be more successful if you win quick matches. I've done that well throughout my career and it was nice to get one again tonight.

Wahoo finally a match where the serve goes unbroken 😀 The last match Roger played against Nishikori in Shanghai was widely regarded as the best match he'd played in a while and this one improves on that as it was a very clean display.

The first game set the tone nicely as he really connected with some returns and even though Nishikori held, you could tell he would be under big pressure on his serve all night.

Nishikori's key to the match was could he return like he did vs. Anderson and take advantage of Roger's serve being less potent of late.

The answer was no as Roger served solidly, dropping just one point behind his first serve in the match and although he only landed 52% of first serves he was able to defend the second serve nicely throughout.

From the baseline, Fed was also able to mix it up with a lot of variety and you could see Kei not enjoying what was being thrown at him.

The slice was especially effective into Kei's backhand and some injections of pace that he didn't see coming left him looking rushed on the baseline with no real answers.

So a solid performance here, he nullified Nishikori's game and came through completely unblemished and is into the semi-finals which means playing Paris has already paid off.

Predictions vs. Djokovic

I want to play well. I want to try to win, obviously. I know he's on a hot streak so I think it's going to be tough. But nevertheless, I think I've got nothing to lose. I also like this type of surface, I like playing indoors. Indoors has treated me very well, winning Rotterdam and Basel. I think I'm ready to do something tomorrow, but clearly, I have to play a lot of good tennis tomorrow because those are the question Novak asks of you. It's not just maybe a serve here or there or a return here or there, he's going to ask the question time and time again because he defends very well and he plays well on the offence and plus he's serving consistently well at the moment so I think it's going to be tough.

Next up is the Djoker who defeated Cilic in three sets. I watched some of it and Cilic had a lot of chances but his problem was two-fold; he's not that clutch and Djokovic is very hard to beat right now even when not at his best.

As per reports Novak has been a bit under the weather this week with some sort of cold so whether he's vulnerable I'm not sure. With each day that passes he'll be feeling better though so I'm not sure how much you can read into that.

From what I've seen he's not been playing fantastically just good enough. He struggled early against Sousa and Cilic but he's been able to raise his level and get over the line to make the semi-finals which is all he really needs to do.

It's the 47th meeting between the two tomorrow and Djokovic has dominated the H2H of late, winning the last match they played on hard courts in Cincinnati very easily so he goes into the encounter as the favourite.

For Roger, Paris has already worked out well for him, no tough matches and a couple of wins on surface supposedly similar to the World Tour Finals so he can play the semi without too much pressure. He'll need to carry on where he left off against Nishikori in terms of his serve and try to unsettle Djoker from the baseline which is not easy to do.

Regardless of the result it should be a good one and I'm just hoping Fed plays better than Cincinnati. Leaning towards Djoker 60/40.

What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.

Federer vs. Nishikori Paris Masters 2018 Rating

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

CLEAN STRIKERER

Very tidy match from Roger and finally gets a win without losing serve in the match. Some great net play and had great pop on his groundstrokes.

User Rating: 4.26 ( 4 votes)

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and 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 Fed and tennis in general.

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72 Comments

  1. That was pretty satisfying. We were all able to watch and even enjoy it without too much trauma.
    Brilliant-Fed appeared and here’s hoping he stays on for today. I like Nishikori, he’s a pleasant player to watch but he never really got into the match, or maybe was not allowed to get in? I think in Fed’s present mood he could beat Djoc. His serve seem to be getting betterer and I think the ball toss was betterer too, not so many lows throws. Obviously if he beat Djoc he has a very good chance of winning the final. Did you hear that they have a big party ready for him if he gets to #100? No pressure there then.
    While you are all hanging around waiting for the match to start, here is an interesting read. I thought I had read most articles about Fed but this was a new one to me.
    https://www.esquire.com/uk/culture/a22019668/the-pleasure-and-pain-of-watching-roger-federer-the-greatest-tennis-player-ever/
    Allez, Chum Jetze, Come on and everything else.

    1. That was a fun article, especially for Fed fans. There has been another, rather serious, chapter, since it was written, and the story will continue with further ups and downs.

  2. It was such a pleasure to watch Fed playing well. I especially enjoyed some of those gorgeous volleys. Whatever the outcome of today’s match, let’s hope “Brilliant-Fed” appears.

  3. Well, I am going to get up at 1230 am Tokyo time to watch this match because as my 13 year old son said “we don’t know how many more times we will get to see Fed and Novak play”. If Fed feels free, he can win this. I agree rationally with the 60/40 odds but if Fed can start strong and take the first set, I like his chances.

  4. Sorry just wanted to mention something irreverent to the match. Anyone noticed he’s been wearing black shoes on which the pink swoosh is barely visible? Clearly he doesn’t have a shoe sponsor anymore and his team still hasn’t got him a new deal. Of course it’s not that he needs more money but if this is because no shoe company sees him of value anymore, it’d be so disappointing and worrying. Maybe they all believe he only has a year left and it’s no worth it? Anyway this match is the first one I watched since Shanghai and the shoes are first thing I notice!

    1. Shoes can be a huge deal on the body. Especially the back. They are serious sports equipment. I’m sure Fed is in no hurry to change shoes.

  5. If they’ve got a big party ready, he’d probably better not win it all because the emotional rebound would be too great. Remember when the 1000th match win coincided wiyh the Brisbane title & he was totally depleted for AO?

    He does seem to be able to bring it lately against Nishikori. Agree with what Hartt said about the volleys being fun 😉 . He’s won 2 matches, so that’s really what we were hoping for. Maybe he has just been putting himself under too much pressure, so if he can find a way to play without expectations, that will be progress. Of course we won’t know what’s going on inside his head; but we’ll know if he’s playing freely & seems to be enjoying himself; so I’ll hope for that.

  6. I think he has a decent chance if not too tired, – with Coric in Shanghai h’d just had a brilliant, but tearing match with Kei. This time he’s more happy, I guess, his dominating the match was much more effortless. So…today at least a good exercise before WTF. And could win it. If so, I hope for Thiem in the final – a new preparing WTF, and which Rog might win also..

      1. I am a fan of both Thiem and Khachanov, so would be happy with either winning. As you said, Thiem served poorly, his first serve was MIA and Karen feasted off the 2nd serves. I was so impressed with how Karen played. He kept the UFEs, often his weakness, under control, served very well, and had 9/10 net points. He is now No. 12 in the live rankings and will play in his first Masters 1000 final.

  7. When I saw the draw I never expected him to reach the semi finals,
    the draw opened up for him and here we are so C’mon Roger
    do your best x

  8. Roger just enjoy your game today no pressure as you stated before ” I came to play in Paris to win in London”. Have fun GOAT!!!!

  9. It was an indeed fun match. As Jonathan said was solid performance and we saw a glimpse of JesusFed, didn’t we. Especially at the net. Magic volleys highlight reel! Yep, nothing to lose, hope he will play freely 🙂

  10. Wow!!! Thiem lost semi 4-6 and 1-6 with 4 breaks in set 2. So anything is possible today with Roger, he loves the indoors and if he is anything like yesterday anything is possible.

  11. I made the mistake of turning in the telly. Roger is making it close but the outcome is inevitable. Djokovic’s return is better than Roger’s serve and he can’t live with the Serb off the ground. His backhand in particular is mincemeat. Sadly, there would be fifty better baseliners than Roger today – and without a great baseline game it is impossible to beat the Serb. I thought I would check in to see what doped tennis looks like. Pretty much like it did two years ago.

    1. Well, how about that. I checked in at the end of the second set. Roger has just broken to equalise, at a set-all. He must have remembered how he used to play. Not too bad, to take a set off Djuicervic, at 37. He would be in the locker-room already if he had taken his set-point in the first set tie-break.

  12. One of the best returners in the game and number one in the world, has not broken Federer. And people ask him when he will retire.

    1. But a collapse in the final set tie-breaker. A loose forehand is followed by a double-fault. Memories of Indian Wells. And on matchpoint the obligatory backhand error. Djokovic is clutch while Roger wobbles – and falls.

  13. An embarrassing and stupid end for roger, again losing to this insufferable clown. How you can play two great sets, and one solid tb, only to dump two points in a row on serve, including a double fault. The slaps and shanks returned at the worst time. A sad match, and another pointless battle to lose. Fed can’t win anything meaningful since the AO, and maybe not ever again.

    1. Roger flatters to deceive. He makes it to two tie-breaks – where his nerve fails him each time. It is a meek surrender at the finish. Not the Federer of old.

      1. If you think that was a fabulous match you are blinded by your own fan-dom. The finish was awful for the holder of 20 grand slams.

      2. @Tennisfan

        A win – however it is achieved – is better than a loss. A loss that goes to the wire is no disgrace. But a loss that comes with a virtual collapse at the close is a capitulation. When a player – and a great player – crumbles like that it is hardly “beautiful”.

    2. Comments like “The Roger of old wouldn’t have lost that match” are kinda pointless. Why bother watching the Roger of now? Just hop on Youtube and watch some 2005 reruns 🙂

      1. So it really doesn’t matter how he plays, then? I thought that kind of blind adulation was reserved for royalty.

  14. Roger, Roger, Roger!!!! At 37 plus he is the only man to give 31 year old Djoker a scare. I would say Roger is ready for the World ATP. Djoker never broke Fed’s service game. If the goal was to play in Paris and win in London I would say Fed delivered on 1/2 the goal today.

    1. If Roger had shown some bottle in the final-set tie-break he might have won. But when it really mattered, it was no contest. It might as well have been a 6-1 loss in the third set, to fold so easily at the end. As much as I detest Nadal, I can’t see him handing it to Djokovic on a plate, as Roger did.

  15. They didn’t telecast this match in India! How stupid! I was following the scores on the net and it seemed pretty close. Did Fed play poorly at key moments? Was Novak off a bit? Or was it a really good match? Waiting for your comments and for Jonathan’s coverage.

    1. Brilliant play for almost three sets. Instead of staying steady, two huge blunders in final tb. Easy close for a very solid Novak.

      Fed had some 15-30 type looks on Novaks serve in set 3, but the latters nerve held. At least fed never got broken.

      1. Thanks for filling me in, you all. Not losing serve, especially against Novak and also Nishikori, is a good thing! But crunch point wobbles continue, as they have so often of late. Oh well. At least the scoreline is much much more competitive than Cincinnati. It would have been lovely to have had a win against Novak, though. It’s been long. And this was so close.

      2. Yes well put. The last tie break was a shame. But it was a good afternoon of tennis with some beautiful play.

    2. Come on. What channel you are looking? They did telecast in Sony ESPN HD. Not sure about SD.
      It was a great match. Missed chances in 1st set tie break costed him the match. Yeah he played poor 3rd set tie break. He produced an excellent level of tennis throughout only to falter cheaply in the end. Djokovic is playing at his usual mettle.

      1. Venkat, they did? I checked the Tata Sky guide in the evening when the Thiem-Khachanov match was going on and did not see it mentioned on the guide. Tata Sky has Sony ESPN HD. My bad, I should have actually clicked on the channels and checked. That guide misguided me! Darn.

    3. Hey Sucharita,
      I caught it on an app – Sony Liv. They broadcast all of the 1000s and 500s. As for the match, Fed played solid tennis in patches. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get going in the third set tie-break. If only he had converted the set point in the first set tie-break… Once again he was very close and yet in the end seemed so far …

      1. Thanks much Siddharth. I’ll download the app when Fed plays next (and I can’t find it on TV) for sure.

      2. Yes for sure they telecast everything on SonyLiv app. No subscription needed. In TV also, Sony telecast all of the 1000 matches. The only time they did not telecast masters is during IPL time last two years. Now since they don’t have IPL rights they are telecasting everything.

  16. Thought it was a great match, not the winner I wanted. I think tiredness
    played a part in the end It’s something when a 37yearold gives Djo
    the hardest match. You could see by Djo’s celebration what it meant
    Classy as ever.

    1. As a 37 year old he really had no right to be there, and certainly not making it close. But he could even have won, if he had taken his set-point in the first set and kept up the pressure on Djokovic at the end. But, unfortunately, after putting himself in a position to win he saved his worst for last. Pressure. He doesn’t cope well with it now.

      1. A big disappointment because being so possible close. But I appeal to you all disappointers scolding Fed for not winning – he treated us a lot master points to be delighted, AND encouraged with. A question of focus. Always. Yes, we are unhappy now. But isn’t that a challenge as well? He came to Paris and delivered fantastic tennis. Didn’t win today. A pity, but no shame.

      2. He didn’t cope maybe with pressure at the end of today. But isn’t it too much to say that he doesn’t cope now, as if all is at an end? Djoko was better at that – today. And has been, too many times for our comfort vs Roger. But our hero is no weakling what so ever. He’s a creative artist and his mind may be more sensitive, making him a little vulnerable but also making his game so beautiful. He still has chances and fantastic competence, he just has to get luck and what else to make it click. And at his age too!
        Choose is between being grateful or annoyed. What are you choosing? (Well I’m both at the moment to be honest, but with this I try to get myself on a better track again! Please encourage me!)

    1. Thanks FBRF – taking all I can get – and yes, so it is – always! We have to take some disappointments with many great happinessments! 😊

  17. OK, just watched the highlights on YouTube. Can anyone tell me why Novak’s shoes were making that terrible squeaking noise while Roger’s shoes were not making much sound (only a muted sound)? Is it just the different way they move, or is it some shoe sole material technicality as well?

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