Hey all, a marathon three setter here for Federer as he overcame Maran Cilic 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-4 to book his spot in the Quarter Finals against David Ferrer.
It could have been a much smoother ride had the Swiss converted one of his 6 match points in the second set but Cilic hung tough to force the decider. Pushing Fed extremely close before the Swiss finally got the breakthrough at 4-4 in the third before closing it out in style after 2 hours and 39 minutes.
Tough match and a very pleasing win considering Cilic had the momentum heading into the decider. From my money though, which isn't always well spent at 3.30am I thought Fed played the better tennis throughout before eventually getting his reward in the 9th game of the 3rd set just 40 minutes away from his 33rd birthday.
Quick Match Recap
The first set was largely dominated by Federer's serving and Cilic's hard hitting from the baseline. Both players had a chances to break, Roger in the 1st and 9th game; Cilic the 6th. Neither player could convert however and the set resulted in a tie break.
Here Roger was the more composed player, getting off to a good start and shaking off a shank on set point to take the breaker 7-5 after dominating a return point off the Cilic second serve.
The second set was another tightly contested affair with both players holding comfortably until the 10th game. At 4-5 down Cilic managed to fend off 6 match points and come through 12 deuces in a game that lasted 19 minutes. It was a mixture of big serving, a little luck and some poor shot choices from Roger when he could have easily put things to bed with some smarter play.
With 6 match points evaporated, Cilic pulled off the hold before holding again to force another tie break. Here the Croat got off to a great start and never looked back taking it 7 points to 3.
Momentum had switched firmly onto the Croat's racquet heading into the decider but we got to see some good fight from Fed has he hung in there when it mattered. There were a couple of hairy moments on serve but he always manages to find the Ace when it counts. After digging himself out of a couple of potential holes being down 0-15 in a number of service games he finally strung enough return points together and broke Cilic to lead 5-4.
With the match now on the Federer's serve he wasn't going to be denied, serving it out with ease to 15 condemning Cilic to his 5th straight defeat against the Swiss. Allez!
|M. Cilic||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||57%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||60/83 (72%)||55/67 (82%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||36/62 (58%)||23/39 (59%)|
|Break Points Saved||9/10 (90%)||2/2 (100%)|
|Service Games Played||17||17|
|1st Return Points Won||12/67 (18%)||23/83 (28%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||16/39 (41%)||26/62 (42%)|
|Break Points Won||0/2 (0%)||1/10 (10%)|
|Return Games Played||17||17|
|Total Service Points Won||96/145 (66%)||78/106 (74%)|
|Total Return Points Won||28/106 (26%)||49/145 (34%)|
|Total Points Won||124/251 (49%)||127/251 (51%)|
Thoughts on the Match
It's nice winning those kind of matches, because I also lost a bunch in my career. Especially this season I have lost some closer ones, especially in the stretch from Indian Wells, Miami, Monaco, Rome, Paris. So from that standpoint I'm very happy I came through tonight
A tough match that will have been a big confidence booster for Roger after bunch of missed opportunities in the 2nd set. Like Fed said in his presser, he's lost a bunch of close ones lately so it's great news to finally come out on the good side of one especially when his opponent was playing at a high level throughout the match.
I thought overall Roger played another solid match and served extremely well from start to finish, only facing 2 break points which were both saved. The only real let down was the return where he didn't put as many balls in play and the wasted match points. One of them was a very makeable volley he dumped in the net after setting it up perfectly and at least 2 more were wasted when he was the one on top in the rally. But on the flip, it's not like any of the match points came on his own serve; if you waste 6 on your own serve, then it's cause for concern but when returning it's a completely different ball game.
You can't not give Cilic some credit either, he has a reputation for blinking when it matters but he played some good stuff under pressure last night. He hits a mean ball and he did a great job of taking time away from Roger by stepping into the court whenever possible and hitting with great depth. Roger was just able to stick around and finally take an opportunity to get the key break and then serve it out. Big win on a day full of upsets where Wawrinka and Djokovic both crashed out.
Predictions vs. Ferrer
Next up is David Ferrer whom Roger holds a 14-0 H2H record against with their last meeting coming at the World Tour Finals in 2012. I saw that match live and it was a schooling, pretty much like all their other meetings.
Ferrer doesn't really have the weapons required to dismantle the Federer game so I think Roger will get this one in straights. He wins hands down in all areas, aside from maybe the return. We know Ferrer can hustle but Fed is just able to overpower and out manoeuvre him from the back of the court. I think the Edberg effect could help him get it done even easier if he's willing to come forward when Ferrer is scrambling.
Aside from the time difference, which is making it difficult to keep up with posts I'm looking forward to this match, as an opponent like Ferrer is a great barometer of Fed's overall level. They have been playing each other since 2003 and are both in the same generation of players. Fed's never had many problems with him before so will the trend to continue tonight? I think so. Fed in 2: 6-2 6-4. Allez!