ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Overcomes Anderson to Top Group Lleyton Hewitt

The Swiss Wins 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour 17 minutes

Roger Federer might have only needed five games to qualify for the last four of the Nitto ATP Finals, but he went beyond the call of duty, defeating fourth seed Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-3 to finish top of Group Lleyton Hewitt.

After Dominic Thiem had defeated Kei Nishikori earlier in the day, it meant the Swiss had all but qualified barring a disaster performance and he got the job done in style. Putting the poor start behind on Sunday behind him to finish with a 2-1 record in the Round Robin and top his group for the 14th time in his career.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Anderson WTF RR

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Anderson had been imperious on serve all week, and he kicked off with a hold to fifteen.

Roger responded with a love hold and was able to force deuce in the next return game to apply some early pressure.

The players then traded love hold but in game six Anderson found himself up 0-30 only for Roger to reel off four points in a row including a sumptuous drop shot + backhand pass on game point.

That gave the Swiss a boost of confidence, and a swift move to the net won him the opening point of game seven. A rattled Anderson then double-faulted twice in the game as he was broken to love.

Consolidating a break of serve is often imperative against someone of Anderson's serving calibre, but Roger managed to drop serve from 30-0 up, hitting a wild forehand at 30-15 which proved costly.

Fortunately, the six-time Tour Finals champion was in no mood to dwell on the past, and he used his slice to perfection in game nine to break for a 5-4 lead.

Roger then slipped down 0-40, meaning 9 points in a row had gone the way of the returner, but he was able to claw his way back, making deuce with an ance and sealing the set 6-4.

Into set two and Federer had now qualified regardless of the result, and he was able to play very freely.

The big-serving South African took care of his first three serving games, but in game seven Roger broke through, again using his slice to bamboozle Kev.

A 76 second hold put Roger up 5-3 and he broke for the second time in the set, converting his third match point (should have converted his second but let Anderson off the hook to make deuce) to take it 6-4, 6-3.

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Kevin Anderson
Aces 3 10
Double Faults 1 2
1st Serve 57% 54%
1st Serve Points Won 79% (23/29) 73% (22/30)
2nd Serve Points Won 61% (13/21) 32% (8/25)
Break Points Saved 75% (3/4) 33% (2/6)
Service Games Played 9 10
1st Serve Return Points Won 26% (8/30) 20% (6/29)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 68% (17/25) 38% (38%)
Break Points Converted 66% (4/6) 25% (1/4)
Return Games Played 10 9
Winners 18 13
Unforced Errors 14 24
Net Points Won 89% (8/9) 27% (3/11)
Service Points Won 72% (36/50) 54% (30/55)
Return Points Won 45% (25/55) 28% (14/50)

Shots of the Match

Thoughts on the Match

Federer WTF Makes Semi Final 2018

Today was a good match on my side. Maybe it was difficult on Kevin's side, knowing to be already through, round-robin can play tricks on your mind.  I’m very happy.

The first match was tough against Kei. With my back against the wall, maybe it’s easier for me to play. I’m happy it all worked out in the end, I played some good tennis today. 

It looked unlikely after Roger bombed his first match but he's somehow fought back to top the group and put in his best performance of the week against Anderson to make the semi-finals at the ATP Finals for the 15th time.

There's no doubt Thiem winning earlier in the day helped him tonight as he played virtually pressure free. That made it all about forehands and backhands, and he was able to produce some top-notch tennis, swinging freely off both wings and looking fairly comfortably on serve for the most part.

The numbers all make good reading, first serve % a little low as has been the case of late but the return numbers were impressive. 

I thought Roger looked explosive and light on his feet which is crucial against a big server and he was able to put a lot of balls in play.

That loose arm gave him so much feel on the slice too and caused Anderson so many problems. Kev had looked impenetrable from the baseline in his first two matches, but tonight he made some critical errors on that low and short no mans land ball.

Roger used it to draw him in many times and exposed the South African at the net as he won just  3 of 11 points up there. Fed, on the other hand, was only ever approaching on his terms and won 8 of 9 in the forecourt.

So an instinctive, pure and relaxed performance that puts him into the Semi-Finals with the bonus of a day off. Not too shabby 🙂

Predictions for the Semi Final

Next up is Sascha Zverev who qualified after beating Isner in straight sets.

The American had a set point in the first set but that's the only look in he had as Zverev took control thereafter.

I watched some and it was just so so. I've not been that impressed with the German's game in recent weeks and I don't think he's in that good a form.

However, playing Federer is bound to give him some added motivation so I expect him to raise his level come tomorrow.

The pair last met in London last year which Roger won in 3 sets to lead 3-2 in the H2H. Neither player has been able to win 2 matches in a row so far though, so on that basis Zverev is the favourite for tomorrow ?

From Roger's side I guess he needs to employ a similar gameplan to the one against Anderson and mix it up.

One of my favourite matches of recent times was the Halle final against Zverev where Fed ran him ragged with his variety. Hopefully he can do that tomorrow.

The only real concern is his forehand which is still a bit iffy. I think I said in an earlier post or on Twitter that he's muscling the ball in a bit on that side lately.

You can get away with that for the most part especially when you're relaxed like he was vs. Anderson but under pressure that's when it breaks down. Nadal for example has had similar problems on that wing as his forehand isn't the cleanest technique wise. Anyway we'll see how it holds up tomorrow. Be strong, be of good courage and God bless the Fedmeister.

What did you guys think of the performance? 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. I am targeting the win here, I won’t settle for a 2nd place. 😀
        Emerson is going to make it hard though, he has one more than me. 🙂

      2. And also you and Alex behind… Not easy.
        But the all-time leaderboard is there to remind me that I am up against the best… Scary!… ?

  1. Something feels off with the groundstrokes – like his wrist still isn’t right. He’s not really driving through them and seems to be catching the ball later than normal and with his weight going backwards on occasion. There was one instance in the 2nd set at 4-3 15-0 where he had a simple midcourt FH putaway and instead of driving it for a clean winner he brushed up the back and instead of it being a clean winner Anderson dumped it in the bottom of the net. There were also some weird strokes where he almost floated them deep.

    It still says so much about his overall game though that he was able to beat a guy like Anderson as comfortable as that without a proper ground game. Guess that’s why he’s Roger.

    1. I’ve been feeling the same for a while now. Interesting. The conviction of shot/ clarity of shotmaking vis-a-vis Fed 2017 isn’t quite the same, but still good enough to get the job done against a top opponent (and nearly beat Djokovic on a slow Paris court) – that says so much on its own.

    2. Very well said and just what I was thinking. There is very little drive on the forehand and he is often finishing with the buggy whip over the head, nadal style. Except nadal does it to get the massive spin whereas Roger is clearly not confident enough to commit to it and drive through it, like he does when he is in good form. On the second match point he got Anderson far out wide to the forehand side and had a ton of space to rip a down the line forehand for either a winner or approach/volley but instead pushed the fh right back to center of court. Of course still impressive that he can beat these guys without his best shot working but it does take a bit of magic out of the Fed viewing experience.

    3. Yeah his FH does seem a bit off. Dunno if hand still bothering him (his Doctor is there btw). Maybe he’s changed technique a bit to compensate. Not intentionally either, just one of those natural occurences. Happens all the time to players.

  2. Well I thought he played extremely well.Those slices really discombobulated Mr Anderson.A great performance from
    Fed to head into the semis.Kudos to Thiem though who took the pressure off by dealing with Nishikori in straights.
    So a day off and hopefully no Djoker in the semis,unless Cilic plays amazingly and beats him.?

  3. Dang. I only watched the match against Nishikori, but it takes more than a Fed match to make me miss a tennis lesson, which happen to be on Tuesdays and Thursdays 8 pm. Sorry, Rog, but I come first. And it’s all your damn fault!

  4. Where was slicerer in the wimbledon match? Anyway, glad that Roger won and gives himself a chance for a 7th WTF win. Not bad for a 37 year old has been. Kevin missing a lot of his first serves certainly helped. For all we know, may be the ATP has really been paying all these guys so Roger can keep winning. I just wish they paid him during Wimbledon and Millman during USO. How cool it would have been if they paid off Nadull in all those FO finals 🙁
    It’s Zverev or Cilic in the semis and on a given day either one can beat Roger. But I hope it is not one of those days on Saturday. 🙂
    Who knows, Roger might have to beat Kevin again in the finals 🙂

  5. “Light on his feet” is always good. 🙂

    Apparently there’s no scenario in which Cilic finishes 2nd in his group. So Roger could face Zverev, Isner, or even Djokovic if both the other group’s matches are really weird and both Cilic & Isner win. I’m with Roger – wait & see what happens there first, then look at it.

    Seemed like,we got some happy-to-be-there moments today; always one of the best parts.

  6. Roger…
    Not ready to take the Br-exit
    With “light feet” and a true grit
    Swift in each single sprint
    His tennis yesterday, so exquisite
    brought a smile on the face of every Brit…

  7. That was a beautiful performance from Roger. After Kei match, I thought he had no chance, now we have seen this performance you cannot rule him out winning this title, although I still make Djokovic favourite for 1 reason alone – if you put Fed and Djok in a tiebreak situation at 6 points all for example, Djokovic’s nerves will prevail almost every time. He has incredible self belief for crossing the line in these tight sitations, Fed seems to fall apart in those moments unless he is playing an inferior opponent. Hurts to admit it, but it happens too frequently. Feds best bet is to stay on top in a match and can beat Djokovic this way with early breaks and consistently holding serve like a 6-4, 6-4, but in most cases v Djokovic it unfortunately comes down to those tiebreakers or Fed serving at 5-6 30-40 with the big points I just mentioned where frustratingly he seems to bottle it. Incredible the amount of Fed defeats in recent years where he has won more overall points in the match, yet lost all the important ones during it, like that recent final v Coric

  8. I know we Fed fans have doubts with Feds performance this year since AO2018 but lets see what he has accomplished. A 20th GS. Oldest player to be number 1. A 99th title. This all done at 36 & 37 year of age. I still think that anything can happen in this great sport of tennis. Everyone thinks that Djoker is unbeatable, but he did lose in Paris. And I don’t care what anybody says playing tennis is a sport which allows for injuries to happen. Goffin gets hit in the eye with a slice (happened to me this year, lucky was wearing sunglasses). I still think ankles and knees are still so fragile along with back issues. This ATP final would have been much different with Nadal and Delpo in it. Along with his talent I just hope Roger stays injury free.

      1. So disappointed! But I had no expectations for 2018 any more. Rest well, focus on AO. It’s winnable.

  9. Had a chance to watch the match now. Looks like Fed has his mojo back. He looked relaxed and happier. Go white shorts!
    Wanda, why aren’t you at the O2?

  10. Djokovic is first, Zverev is second, Djokovic and Cilic can play exhibition. Djokovic can lose 0:6, 0:6 and this has influence only on financial outcome. Only Djokovic has a chance to win unbeaten.

  11. I’m slightly annoyed that because of loss to Kei he can’t now finish year end above Nadal which will also effect AO seeding

    1. Regardless of second or third, they would’ve ensured they put him in Nadal’s half to milk another slam meeting.

      By the way, per the rules (percentage sets won in a three way tie), Cilic is eliminated even if he beats Djokovic in straights, or even a double bagel? And Djokovic finishes first in his group?

      1. They play only for money. Novak is first even if double bagelled. Zverev second. Cilic’s motivation is 200,000 USD and 200 ranking points, but he has no chance.

      1. And 200 ranking points. Not bad to give some fight. But Cilic can hold nerves until 4:4, then he always chokes And Djoker knows how to make use of that. Djoker has also better motivation in financial terms, because unbeaten winner of Finals earns some bonus. Only Djoker is unbeaten so far.

  12. Djokovic’s reach is fucking scarier than before. I saw one get where he ran out of position to the backhand, diagonally, outside the doubles alley, the final long stride landing him on his left foot, hands outstretched, head tilted, almost as if he was bowing to someone, and he makes a good, deep shot to the backhand corner. But that’s not all, there was more after it.

    What the hell is going on? Is this the new normal or am I just not watching him enough? I mean, why would I.

    1. Djokovic is peaking again with some important improvements of his game. In Paris Djokovic had flu the whole week long. Now seems he is healthy. Federer must play his best to win. I’m watching Djokovic only parts of his matches. It’s enough to know he is again in “winning-all” mode. I would say, Djokovic is maybe better now as he was in 2015/2016. Maybe his life’s peak. Watching him playing is not so attractive as watching Fed or other good one-handers, but his tennis has no holes now (it was before serve, it is no more). If you look only results of his matches, it may look like nothing special. But he can limit his game and effort just to what’s necessary to get one break in a set and don’t get broken or to win in TB. He will not play like this in the final.

  13. Conspiracy theory here, Sid’s comments ignited some thoughts: Remember guys/girls, when Rafa was injured 2012 and then suddenly he became #1 in 2013? Very interesting huh?
    Look at Novak, where was he last season and the start of this one? How the bloody hell did he absolutely start thrashing everyone since Wimbledon? And why Wimbledon? How come he won a slam after losing to Cecchinato in the FO?

    Look, what I am saying is probably not right/the truth, but I think that there is that possibility that Rafa and Novak were silently caught doping and had some performance bans, and were also forced to not play for a while, while masking an injury. I buy more into the fact that they suffered injuries but their incredible performance after an injury and gaining such great results is perhaps very intriguing.

    People would ask me what I think of then of Roger’s sudden great return in 2017. Now, like I said earlier, I believe that these athletes were injured and went off to recover. But even in Roger’s case, a conspiracy theory would call for something similar like Rafa and Novak’s situations. And to be honest, I wouldn’t surprised if that theory is correct and some secret documents are published. Why? Because they are top athletes and they are trying to use some performance-enhancing products in order to continue to sustain their great form. I think that a lot of athletes try to do it and I think that while there is a great push for “anti-doping”, there could probably be another, secretive plan where doping/sport agencies are not really strict with “great” athletes and at the worst case they will just silently ban them for a few months, while saying to the media that everything is all right and glorious.

    But! This is all a conspiracy theory and I wouldn’t be surprised if Roger/Novak/Rafa were just injured, and managed to make such a great return, because they are so much better and so much talented than the rest of the field.

    1. Maybe small or bigger pauses are just good for health and motivation, no? The risk of loss of reputation is a little big, if the doping theories come true. I don’t buy it.

    2. Wenn facts are hold secret (and they obviously are, not only for te greatest), speculations arise. Why should be Roger isolated from them?
      I think, the tennis performance on this level is not possible without some “support”. Every definition of doping is artificial, because it’s subjectively decided by ATP or other mighty players in the business, what’s allowed and what for whom.
      The best we can do is to forget the thing. “Clean” professional performance sport cannot exist. We must accept this, not excluding our own heroes. They all can have what they want/need. Who uses what – is this really relevant? The other way is worse. FedFans suspecting Rafa and Novak. Novak’s fans suspecting Rafa and Roger a.s.o. Depending on who is just on top and automatically assumed to be the greatest doper right now. Do you know to avoid thinking, your hero is maybe not clean, son’t wish him too big performance.

    3. There is one fatal flaw with conspiracy theories: It takes *one* single leak to make the whole thing crumble down. What are the odds that *everyone* involved stay silent all the time? Exactly: Very close to zero.

      1. There is no “conspiracy” theory with doping. It exists as a fact in modern sport. It has been described as a “pandemic” by the anti-doping experts. So it’s a safe bet that some or most of the top players are on it.

  14. I make no bones about it I am a Fan of Federer, because I love the variety
    of shots he brings to tennis. Nadal too is a warrior, but for me makes
    me feel uncomfortable, with the grunts that sounds painful, towelling,
    and all the other trivia. Cilic a nice and good player who when he serves
    his back leg wobbling makes me feel wobbly. Djokovic is without doubt
    a wonderful player and for the the life of me I can’t understand why I don’t
    enjoy watching him, I just don’t find his game exciting. Young Zerev I
    think needs a reality check before talking too much about how much tennis
    is too much, he finds it difficult to play 5 sets but when Federer was his age
    all 1000 and WTF (masters) were 5 setters! Having said all that I would
    be quite happy if the word DRUG was kept out of tennis. So C’mon
    Roger make our weekend x

  15. Hey guys, it’s a new day…. I am looking on TL to see who today is blaming Roger for what 🙂
    That seems to be the trend these days and for a long time. Just blame the dude for everything 🙂
    That is why I really want you to win Roger. Come on…. 2 more matches to go.
    Give it your all and after that a long deserved vacation. Go Roger. Love you Goat no matter what 🙂


  16. Roger has no ability to play under pressure anymore, dumping set-deciding games and tiebreaks. If the game is important, Roger is almost sure to lose it, as his nerves are now terrible. At 5-6, to lose every fucking point, even if two were forced, is gruesome. At least lose in the tiebreak, per usual these days. What a terrible end, but candidly, a loss to Zverev is preferred than another drubbing by Djokovic in an important match.

  17. And again, Roger proves me right. A joke of a game and a joke of a player in any significant moment. After breaking nicely, he makes one blunder after another, predicated by an inability to serve, to get broken himself at 15. Utter inability to consolidate breaks, bungling serve games just like he did after his first break of Anderson. He is also shanking every other backhand and doing little with short balls. Another title handed away because Roger fails to show up.

  18. Roger sucks. What a fucking joke of play. A volley that a club player makes 9.5 out of 10 times is dumped into the net at 4-5 in the tb. As i said, utterly unable to play at big moments. Embarrassing and stupid loss, and even with zverevs solid play, a match he shouldve won. Maybe novak will go out, try to salvage the tourney.

  19. well that was pretty disappointing. To finally get a break and then throw it right back to love has got to be mental. He held after that without a problem , don’t even think Zverev got to to deuce once in the 2nd set after that break.

    And then decent tiebreaker – Zverev making a nice get on a short slice from Federer – and then Federer missed an easy volley and that was it. Great wide serve to put himself in that position, maybe the legs or nerves I don’t know, but he just netted a regulation volley.

    Where is the backhand from 2017?
    Well better this loss than a loss to Djokovic, who will defeat Zverev in straights 6-4 6-3, I predict .

    That’s the season…well overall he won a Slam, got to No.1 , and the only two real gut wrenching losses were Del Potro at IW with 3 match points, and losing to Anderson at SW19.

  20. Guys, guys, guys: this is sport, invented for our own entertainment. Don’t take victories for granted, take defeats for what they are. Roger lost; big deal. He missed some important points, so what? Who never let a cake overcook to char? So, life continues just the same. There will be more tournaments, more victories and, thank the gods, more defeats. No one else will pay my bills tomorrow, just as yesterday. Sport is a temporary getaway. Enjoy it for what it is, for heavens sake!

    1. A very philosophical and sensible response.Never live vicariously for others.Over on tennis warehouse they
      are tearing each other to pieces now.Its insane.

    2. “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
      And treat those two impostors just the same; ”
      You know all, where this splendid phrase from Rudyard Kipling can be found in tennis.
      This applies to your Idol. This applies to his Lovers.
      Did you love him in triumphs? Love him more in defeat – still not disaster.
      Remember, time in performance sports goes twice so fast than in “civil” life by. Think about Roger like 57 old “normal” man. That’s the real difference between him and boys like Zverev .
      Stop to rate his game like he was still 20 or 25. Be happy (like he seems to be) with the time of defeats coming more often than wins. Help him to be happy with this.
      @Rui – your comment is maybe the best I have seen here in years 🙂

      1. Who understands sport like you, should require Federer to retire 5 years ago. Do you expect him to play 5 years more and never have bad game or poor losses?
        And who is indifferent? If I accept Roger has right (in his age) to have more off-days than before, does not mean to be indifferent. The sport does not happen only on the height. Every one has ups and downs. One day Nishikori beats Federer (and it was maybe Federer’s best match in London), another days he gets bagelled and breadsticked by Anderson, who next day loses poorly to Federer and another one is absent in the match against Djokovic. To understand the sport means to know, how it is possible. A defeating B, B defeating C and C defeating A. That’s sport.

      2. @PRF

        That is a load of tripe. ‘A, B, C, D’ or whatever – players’ results are not simply interchangeable pieces in a board game, they are competitors, some of whom are consistently better than others – like Djokovic. So who does he lose to? Roger used to win more than he does now, but what we can also see is that he more frequently chokes away winnable matches. That is pretty disappointing to see in a player of his calibre.

  21. As Florida Paul said up thread Federer has had a great year,winning a slam alone is more than most players ever achieve.
    Sascha was the better player throughout the match,Fed seemed sort of muted as though he had lost his mojo.Those slices
    so effective against Anderson just weren’t working today.
    What a shame there had to be that controversy in the tie-break.Trust Carlos Benares to be in the middle of it.However Fed then netted the easiest of volleys to give Sascha the chance to serve it out.
    Felt very sorry that Sascha was welling up and very upset about being booed but also felt Annabel Croft was somewhat
    out of order yelling at the crowd like a demented headmistress.
    If Fed had to lose I would far rather he lost to a rising star like Sascha than give Djokovic the satisfaction of another win over him.

  22. Matt Zemek




    Federer closes his season having made the semifinals in all but 3 of the tournaments he played, and having made the final in a majority of the tournaments he played. Did he play fewer tournaments than his peers? Oui. Still: at 37, pretty darn remarkable

    1. What is also remarkable is that he is old enough to be Saschas father!!!
      Age cannot whither him,or custom stale his infinite variety-misquoting Shakespeare there but those lines
      could have been written about Roger.

  23. Australian Open : ?
    Rotterdam : ?
    Indian Wells : Final
    Miami Open : Round 2
    Stuttgart: ?
    Halle : Final
    Wimbledon : Quarter Final
    Cincinnati: Final
    US Open : Round 4
    Shanghai :  Semi Final
    Basel : ?
    Paris Masters: Semi Final
    ATP Finals : Semi Final
    Twice got to oldest No. 1,
    Year end No. 3.

    Thank you Roger Federer for another great year ❤ Onto 2019 ?

  24. Too bad Roger. It wasn’t meant to be today. It wasn’t your day, you had some bad luck. Especially the point that made it MP. And ofcourse… Sasha playing super duper well. Congrats to him, but now I need him to beat Satan !!!
    Believe it or not… 2019 will be even better than 2018 !!! Always believe in the Goat Roger untill Roger himself says to stop believing in him 🙂

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