Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Overcomes Early Blip to Beat Bolelli in Melbourne

Another win for the GOAT here as he overcame a difficult start to defeat Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to move into Round 3 at the Australian Open. After looking out of sorts in the loss of first set, even calling on the trainer for a finger problem he hit back to switch momentum back in his favour to level at a set apiece. Bolelli soon faded after his lightening start and that allowed Roger to take command of things from the back of the court; cruising home for the loss of just 4 games in the last two sets.

Quick Match Recap

Federer 2nd Round Aussie Open 2015

Bolelli got things under way in this one, getting pegged to deuce before holding for 1-0. Roger's serve has been on song after last years US Open and he levelled with a love hold. However at 1-2, he ran into a guy who wasn't afraid to red line his game and Bolelli broke to lead 3-1. A sloppy-ish game from Fed to drop serve from 40-30 but credit to Bolelli for hitting big whenever he got chance.

The one break of serve proved decisive for the Italian and although Roger did create a deuce game at 4-2 Bolelli came through untroubled to serve out the set 6-3.

Earlier in the set it was clear Roger had some kind of issue with his little finger on the right hand. From what I remember it happened when he was retrieving a backhand from way outside the court and was flexing it in between points and during changeovers from that moment on. The Doctor and Trainer arrived on court at the end of a set for a quick discussion but no treatment was given. The cameraman even tried to listen in but Roger asked him “Do you need to be this close?” before he hastily retreated. What was clear however was it wasn't a blister and there were no visible marks on the skin so it was a mystery as to what the issue really was.

The loss of the first set and the finger problem put a few question marks in the air over Fed's game but he responded well in set 2, breaking at 4-3 hitting a sublime open stance guided backhand half volley down the line in the process. He then served it out to level the match at 6-3.

Bolelli's record against top 10 players is abysmal and he proved why in sets 3 and 4; his serve began to falter and the pop on his groundstrokes evident in set 1 had all but disappeared. That allowed Roger to start playing the rallies how he wanted and at 2-0 in the third he was even confident to throw in another ridiculous dropshot. Another break soon followed as he stormed the set 6-2.

With the sun fading over Rod Laver, Bolelli's resistance soon followed suit and set 4 was all but a procession with Fed breaking in the opening game and again at 3-1 before he held a match point at 5-1. It looked like the breadstick was nailed on when Bolelli seemingly hit a groundstroke long on match point but he rightly challenged to get the call overturned before he held for 2-5. That only extended his stay on court by a matter of minutes though as Roger served out the match to love to cap off another solid performance and move into Round 3.

Match Stats

Simone Bolelli Stats Roger Federer
6 Aces 15
3 Double faults 0
56/109 (51 %) 1st serves in 62/92 (67 %)
35/56 (63 %) 1st serve points won 49/62 (79 %)
29/53 (55 %) 2nd serve points won 21/30 (70 %)
211 KMH Fastest serve 205 KMH
196 KMH Average 1st serve speed 188 KMH
157 KMH Average 2nd serve speed 159 KMH
11/15 (73 %) Net points won 21/36 (58 %)
1/1 (100 %) Break points won 5/11 (45 %)
22/92 (24 %) Receiving points won 45/109 (41 %)
35 Winners 36
39 Unforced errors 23
86 Total points won 115

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Volley vs Bolelli AO 2015

Happy I'm still in the tournament, because there for a while today it wasn't looking very good because Bolelli was playing very well. But it's always a good feeling fighting your way out of a match, like now, and winning the last three sets convincingly and actually playing really positive tennis. I served very well. So, you know, important is that you play the right way early because it's not always that easy. Today I had to do some adjustments because he was doing things very well. By figuring things out, it's a great feeling to have once you've got it. Then you're able to play consistently well, because actually he didn't have many opportunities on my serve. You always expect yourself to create opportunities, which I was finally able to do. Conditions were playing fast, and it's not so easy if you serve well to break.

A tough-ish match here for Federer that featured a sluggish / flat start, a bit of drama with a finger injury before ending how most of us expected – at a canter. The first set was wasn't a complete surprise though; as I said in my prediction the Bolelli forehand is a dangerous shot when he gets it into play and he used it to blow Roger off court during the opening exchanges.

Not exactly fun viewing for Fed fans at the time but it was always going to be difficult for Bolelli to keep that momentum up over 5 sets and once his level inevitably dropped Roger capitalised. Pretty much to the script in that regard and I thought he played a pretty solid match from start to finish. One bad service game is the only real blemish; that and some of his suicide approaches which didn't really pay off. Chip charging is of course a high risk play but I think Fed rushed a few of them early was begging to get passed.

The other facets of his game were all working nicely though; the serve was again ultra reliable, only giving Bolelli the one break point and his ground game – 36 winners to 23 errors is another tidy stat. The only real question mark is the little finger which gave him some hassle in the first set and clearly effected some control / feel on the racquet.

I don't know if it's a blister. I don't know what that thing is. It's the weirdest thing. I don't know. I feel it on the tip of my finger. Just felt really odd starting after the break, and for three, four games, it was the funniest feeling I have. I feel like it's numb and swollen. I just wanted to have a chat with the physio just see what we can do. I know there is nothing we could do. I knew we couldn't tape it up because then it would be even bigger and more weird. I just said, I hope it doesn't get worse or stay like this. Actually it went away, but now I feel again. I don't know what the feeling is.

Predictions vs. Seppi

Federer Seppi Shanghai

Next up is Andreas Seppi who defeated Jeremy Chardy in 4 sets. peRFect for Roger here I feel as Seppi doesn't have any stand out shots or real weapons to hurt him with. Chardy would have been a much tougher proposition based on previous meetings especially during a day session when the courts are flying that bit quicker. Seppi however is just a solid baseliner who is good on both wings but nothing more; he does everything well but doesn't have a pressuring shot to force the issue with which is why he's only one 6 matches vs. Top 10 in his career.

Fed leads the H2H 10-0 vs the Italian and it's hard to really see it not being 11-0 sometime on Friday. I think Fed can really take the initiative against this guy unlike Bolelli who kept him honest so it should be routine barring something freak happening πŸ™‚

Jonathan

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 tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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144 Comments

  1. Spot on with the breakdown of the Bolelli match. Roger would have to have both his shoelaces tied tgether to lose the next round against Seppi. But sometimes people do trip over their own feet.

    So Nadal struggles against an inspired American underdog. Of course he must be injured or unwell, because Nadal NEVER loses, or even has a close match, when he is fully fit, right? (Alternatively – more likely? – his cycle hasn’t properly kicked in yet.)

    1. Would be a big surprise to see Seppi cause the upset. Fed’s little finger would need to drop off I think and even then it would be close :0

      Nadal acting like he won a slam. Bit ridiculous.

      1. Not me too. I am just like Muzza… a 2 time slam wonder, who just cannot get to 3 because of the fierce competition πŸ™‚

    1. Hey Waleed, congrats with your win. I think I can answer your question. The last time he called the trainer was at Wimby 2012 (which he won, good omen or what? πŸ™‚ ) in the match against Matisse… or guys, am I wrong??

      1. I think you’re right Katyani – that was a back spasm also. Followed that absolute nail-biter against Benneteau I believe.

  2. Thanks Jonathan as usual. For the first set and a half, Roger was clearly not quite right, whereas Bolelli had his booming FH and BH, and he even passed Roger quite a few times with his quick reflexes. I still remember Bolelli’s play at Wimbledon last year, when he was very impressive (to his standard). Also, Roger seemed to struggle returning Bolelli’s serves during those games. A tiny blip with no harm done, especially in terms of on-court time.
    I am wondering who sent out this naughty bee?
    Roger should brush aside Seppi in straight sets in the next match.
    Allez Roger! 2 done 5 to go!

    1. I think Fed played ok in the first set, he dropped serve from 40-30 other than that he was untroubled. Sometimes you can only play as well as your opponent allows.

      Bolelli has a good game, just zero stamina and poor mental department.

  3. Watch out for Nadal if he survives the first week. You’ll hear the common theme of “first week battles gave me courage & belief” and whatnot, and magically, he’ll become indefatigable come week 2. As per usual, no reporter will be wondering why he looked so tired early on only to become stronger and faster as the tournament went on. They’ll do their usual mental gymnastics to justify the “transformation”. It has been going for a decade now.

  4. Incredible performance by Roger. Given the way bolleli played the first set and a half. Federer didnt seem worried to be honest, thats a big plus, Roger ’15 is even better than ’14. His confidence, composure is evident , one might get insecured about the “losing a set this early” troublesome. But to be honest it looked pretty convincing and quick, 2 hr 10 mins were enough.

    And great endurance by Rafa , being an Anti Rafa i apprecite his effort and though I was bit astonished as Tim didnt look to have any intentions to win the match (or maybe it was me) as a Rafa getting through for the sake of his reputation looked premeditated. :pp

    Though I dont see Rafa going and an upset is on the cards very soon ,to me he simply lacks intensity for matches at this point of time. Lets see.

    On the other hand Seppi and Krygios/Jaziri shouldnt be a problem for Roger.

    Fingers crossed , Allez Rog!

    1. Yeah he was focused and figured stuff out. Always good to see.

      I agree, Smyczek played the player at the end rather than the ball. Still good effort to take it to 5 but he really did have Nadal at his mercy and let up.

      1. Hard to blame him Jonathan, the guy played the match of his life and then getting taken to 5 by one of the most mentally strong players of this era doesn’t really put the odds in your favour. Speaks loads of his character to give Nadal a first serve after someone yelled in the crowd whilst serving for the match. Hope this helps him and not hinders him.

  5. Yep, Bolelli played well in 1st set, good serving, and painting the lines with those forehands. Feds poss lost a bit of focus with the ‘funny finger’ – consensus seems to be a bee sting? After that, he got back on track and it was pretty easy from there on. πŸ™‚

    And Nadal the cheater just escaped with some fine acting (worthy of a Razzie) and the usual unnecessary toilet break, MTOs etc: one minute sickly and fainting, next minute, fresh as… Usual thing from him, if he’d lost, he was ill; now he’s won – ‘courageous fight-back’. And Dudi Sela to follow – pah! πŸ™

    1. Yep. Really annoyed at Sela for beating Rosol – how *could* he? I mean, when does Sela do anything of note? I don’t think I can see anyone left in Nadal’s quarter who’s capable of troubling him.

      1. Ah well, nice for Dudi I guess, or possibly not πŸ˜‰ but he’s not going to bother Nadal. I believe it was Susie who mentioned Groth as potentially troublesome for Nadal (big server), and he’s still there but had a long match today against Kokinnakis (think that’s right).

      2. Got that wrong: actually Groth and Tomic face each other with potential meeting with Berdych. All Nadal has is Anderson: can’t see him doing it either. πŸ™

    2. AnderGOAT has the game to trouble Nadal but his mental strength is terrible. AnderGOAT becomes AnderCHOKE as soon as the pressure is on so doubt he can do any damage.

      Sela, would be a surprise.

      1. “A surprise”? I’d keel over backwards if Sela managed to beat Nadal.

        BTW, how’s Muzza doing? For the last couple of weeks I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that he might do rather well here. Difficult to tell thus far, of course.

        PS: We actually got *several minutes’ worth* of coverage of the AO on the BBC News channel just a few minutes ago in the 10.45 pm sports slot, not just Andy. So nice πŸ™‚

      2. He’s an interesting one. I picked muzzy to do well this year and this tournament. He’s not looking great at the moment, but it’s roughly where you’d expect him to be at this stage.

  6. Recap’s already up? Your writing speed has certainly increased a lot lately, any secret for that? A magic potion, Jonathan?

    I sacrificed my beauty sleep and woke up at dawn to watch the match. Soon felt it was a bad idea when we saw him dropping the 1st set and the finger incident. But thank God, no more drama afterward! I’m just happy for the win and to have witnessed some of magic shots! Then I gasped…

    Bolelli played aggressive and very well, reminded me of the last year’s DC match between them. Quite few inspired players out there on tour but the question is how long they can keep-up the high level of play, intensity and will-power. As you said Bolelli faded rather quickly as usual.

    Glad the next is up against Seppi πŸ˜‰ Hope nothing to worry his finger.

  7. Settling in nicely! Bolelli had some nice angles there. Glad Fed pulled himself together & looks pretty good.

    Some surprising results already – was disappointed to see Goffin out already, and VERY surprised to see Tomic keep his head on straight this long.

    Not sure what to think about Nadal.

    1. Me too. Except that if he gets to the business end of the tournament he will doubtless have played himself into form. As usual.

    2. Agree, shame about Goffin – I had him through one more round πŸ™ Tomic one of my pet hates – such a bad attitude generally (not helped by his violent dad of course) – so I’m surprised he’s through.

    3. No big surprise about Goffin going up against Bagdhatis, former finalist albeit on Rebound Ace but he’s a solid player. Slam winning potential I think but probably not fit enough or right mindset.

      1. I still remember that final Baghdatis played, he was just luminous, thought we’d see lots more of him – and then we didn’t. Maybe he’s found that magic again…

      1. Ooh, have I committed a heinous crime. It came from the Federer site – but it’s twitter, so the public domain, surely. πŸ˜‰

  8. Hi guys, a long post alert! – Donno if it’s even allowed?

    This is a part of a good read from today’s Times written by Matthew Syed.
    Federer as iTennis, anyone?

    (Need subscription to read the whole but here’s the link if you are interested.
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/columnists/matthewsyed/article4329320.ece)

    [Roger Federer epitomises beauty and the best]

    “Federer is surely the most beautiful sportsman of our time. …What few will dispute, is that when it comes to aesthetics, the Swiss is incomparable. He is the Michelangelo of tennis. …my growing sense is that the aesthetic dimension is not incidental to Federer’s achievements; on the contrary, it is fundamental to it…. My point is that the elegance of tennis’s most prolific champion is an integral feature of his success.

    After all, beauty is rarely trivial, in sport or life. In nature, evolutionary biologists are continually discovering the mechanisms that explain beauty in human beings. Most of us tend to find symmetrical faces attractive, for example. But this is not for purely subjective reasons; rather, it is because symmetry is an indicator of health and a strong immune system. Likewise, aspects of body shape reflect other factors associated with biological β€œfitness”.

    …With each aspect of his craft, there is an equally deep connection between beauty and β€œfitness” (in this case, the propensity to win tennis matches). Striking the ball at the precise moment when the racket has reached maximum velocity, as the Swiss does with unerring regularity, represents perfect timing. The stillness of his head at the moment of impact vastly improves the sweetness of the stroke, as well as its precision.

    Of course, beauty is not the aim of sport; winning is. Federer, a ruthless and entirely unsentimental athlete, is not interested in plaudits for artistic merit, he is solely interested in winning grand-slams. But that is the point. In the same way that physical beauty emerges as a by-product of natural selection, so the technical efficiency of top athletes emerges from the rigours of competition.

    …there is a correlation between elegance and sporting success, for the simple reason that efficiency has a particular beauty. A cheetah, for example, is the fastest land animal and also the most graceful when running at full tilt.

    …This is not, then, a subjective thing, but an engineering one. It is about beautiful design and ruthless efficiency. If Steve Jobs had designed a tennis player, he would probably have looked like Federer.”

    1. Wow! This guy’s surely a fan; he should be commentating here. I agree with some of it – Federer is (and Edberg was/is) elegant, perfectly streamlined for tennis. But would you hand these attributes to someone like Sampras, one of the most successful tennis players before Federer: he was efficient, but was he elegant? I like the cheetah analogy though. πŸ™‚

      1. It’s true that Pistol-Pete was as effective, but he got tired. Roger’s natural grace of movement saves energy and keeps him free of most injury – that might be the cause of his going on so strong for so long. I think there is a double effect via the love for the game – he loves it, because his body dances through – and his dance comes from love of the game. Of course he wants to win, and that’s more than half of the enjoyment, also for him – but the little extra beauty might have to do with luck-bringing love – and a positive and strong mind.
        A symptom more for this love is that he is so positive when meeting tough opponents – pushing to improve his experience and creative development of his art.

      2. Yeah! Nice read. Very well written. That’s why people love Roger so much.

        You mentioned Sampras as a counter example. What about Nadal? With same number of slams? Is it like “Exception proves the Rule” ? Or we’re missing the hidden “beauty” of Nadal’s game.

        Probably the latter is true. Otherwise how does he have so many fans? There must be elegance in his grunting, shot-making etc.

        Just compare two photos of the facial expressions of Federer and Nadal at the time of impact. Both must be beautiful! πŸ˜‰

        Does an Orang Outan look beautiful? It’s mating partner may not agree with you!

        It’s almost impossible to generalise something like beauty which is indeed a relative term.

    2. He got a lot of flack for slating women’s tennis did this guy a couple of weeks ago πŸ˜†

      Interesting read, someone asked Fed about the Religious Experience one in press the other day.

      1. I was going to say: David Foster Wallace mark II?

        Darn, I was in the library this afternoon – could have read the whole thing. (BTW, your local library ought to be able to get you past the Times firewall if you’re in the UK)

  9. Nadal the only sportman is history who has never lost a match (or won a close contest) when fully fit.
    Similar to the mate who has arthritis every time you have beaten him at golf, so in your own mind you never really feel you have ever beaten him fair and square.

    So nobody has ever beaten him without a fitness advantage. Gotta admit, it’s an amazing record.

    Some gullible twat pundits who seem to think no tennis players has a cheating bone in their bodies will say in 5 years time: “In my opinion Nadal would have won everything he ever competed in, and would have been the greatest by a country mile, if it wasn’t for his rotten luck with injuries”.

    When Nadal was whingeing in Aussie final last year (and later he won an oscar for his performance), Andrew Castle said “could it be a dropped rib” – and then Nadal goes on to win that set. The Aussie open champ should be ashamed of himself, losing a set to a guy wincing in pain with a dropped rib.

    When you see 1000s of tweets from Nadal fans, saying “God I hope he’s ok” you wonder what shit they have for brains.

    1. Didn’t he says he felt really tired? After one match? Really…there’s no end to his BS antics and fakery. Looked like he was almost on his knees at one point, one pill and he’s firing on all cylinders again. Felt sorry for the American – his first time facing toilet breaks/MTOs taken when the cheater is losing. It really is beyond irritating: he and Unci Toni have promulgated the myth that he does not lose unless he’s injured’ and his fans have swallowed and continue to spread this BS πŸ™

      1. Yup. During his seven match losing streak vs Djokovic, Aunt Toni let everyone know that, “it’s very difficult to play with injuries”, and something on the lines of, “I hope [he] goes through the same issues”, effectively dismissing any credit due to Djokovic for his incredible run.

        What an asshole, this Toni, and his Mallorcan thug.

    2. – Some gullible twat pundits who seem to think no tennis players has a cheating bone in their bodies will say in 5 years time: β€œIn my opinion Nadal would have won everything he ever competed in, and would have been the greatest by a country mile, if it wasn’t for his rotten luck with injuries”.

      Which is wrong, Nadal needed those breaks to cycle out drugs out of his system, so some tournaments had to be sacrificed on his parts. Also let’s not forget that there is a very high chance that he has been suspended in the past. But hey, his team have establish the narrative that he is always injured hence his disappearances from tournaments.

    3. The longer Nadal spent out there, it was better for him, gonna be a tough guy to beat now. Nadal was definitely playing mind games out there, hitting serves that went from 127-190km/h in a mere few games after winning the 4th set.

    4. Are you guys telling me he did the timeout/MTO routine in his last match? That’s very surprising! Were you surprised?

      I agree with Scooter. Players like him can never be banned openly, or it would be the end of the business of tennis, as we know. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.

      By the way, I’ve told you this a couple of months ago. There is nothing that Nadal wants more than an AO title. There was never anything wrong with him. He was simply preparing himself for this. He wants to erase what happened to him there last year, when he was roundly booed.

  10. The serve is good. The BH is solid, although he does rely on the slice too much at times. The forehand is error prone, and he’s had trouble handling pace on that side. If Roger can get the FH sorted, I think he’ll be fine.
    Daniel K.

    1. The slice is one of his most useful shots. I don’t think he relies on it either, if anything I think he has hit the slice less and less in the last 5 or so years.

      If anything I would say he should use it more to control the tempo, rhythm and the dynamics of the match.

      Assuming of course we mean when he chooses to slice, rather than when forced too when he’s playing defensive / reactive tennis and is behind in the rally. The latter is kinda irrelevant though as he has no other choice but to do that so it’s out of necessity rather than a reliance on it.

      IF he is to play Nadal here which many expect, I think the slice will be one of the key shots, especially if he can slice it low down the line to break that loopy forehand to topspin backhand pattern.

  11. Hi all, not much to add here . Thought it was a pretty odd match. Fed came out sluggish and was made to look out of ideas and rhythm by Bolelli going for broke in the first set, but you just knew he Wld run out of steam. What is it with these Italians?. Good for one set, and then off for a cappuccino!

    Didn’t think this was a vintage performance but hard to get rhythm as Bolelli has little consistency. Feds net play was uneven and what were those short approaches, got passed every time!

    There is no doubt that against certain oppo, Fed is not out of first or second gear, and that can be dangerous. Seppi will be consistent but has no real power, nor a big serve so expect I do expect Fed to come thru in 3 sets. There’re, expect him to ramp it up a gear, reduce the UFE,s as he has now played a night and a day session, learned stuff he needs to use next match. However, he cld be put on MCA but suspect he will be day on RLA!

    1. Agree about Fed’s net play although like that he’s committed to it, will be important to get that confidence in later stages of tourney, Edberg effect!

  12. Thanks for the recap Jonathan, nice to see Fed easing his way into the tournament.

    I wanted to ask though, what are your thoughts on the Federer forehand? some are saying is not as potent as it’s was in Brisbane? Slower court perhaps?

    Also “Fed leads the H2H 10-0 vs the Itlian”

    Do you mean reptilian?

    1. I think Roger is getting used to the court and conditions still, so he’s trying to find some rhythm when it comes to that shot, but all in all, looking solid so far. RLA is definitely slower than Brisbane though, that’s for sure.

  13. Good win here for Roger after the slow start, thought Bolelli was handling the conditions well and taking his chances as they came, but couldn’t maintain that level which allowed Fed to get a handle on the match. Don’t really think he has reached the level he did in Brisbane yet so hopefully he is still playing himself into form. Watched Murray’s match against Marinko and although the latter didn’t put up a fight, Andy is looking very good and his forehand looks to be making an aggressive comeback, he’ll be a tough customer should he make it to the QF. Nice matchup for Federer here when it comes to Seppi, I assumed he will play RLA day. As you said no real weapons and a bit of a mental cookie at times (Shanghai 2013). Should Fed come through that one, looks to be setting up a tasty one with Kyrgios, I can already see the overhyped commercials on Australian TV now lol.

    RE Nadal, didn’t believe he was injured for one second, and at risk of sounding like a sour Fed fan, was gutted Tim couldn’t pull off the win. His level of shotmaking was immense and his sportsmanship admirable, Nadal needs to take a leaf out of his book. Rafa’s level of emotion of coming out of that one alive might just spur him to the title at this stage, the guy is a mental rock, not sure who can stop him before the SF now, another Fedal SF on the horizon? Gross.

    1. Totally agree on all your points Alysha. No way Dudi Sela or Anderson are going to stop Nadal. Unless there is some doubt on the wrist – very unlikely after all this time, Just leaves Berdych, who’s actually looking good…but against Nadal?

    2. Sometimes showing emotion early is a bad sign. Seen it before and players have nothing left like Fed Olympics Semi’s, Murray done same before.

      But remember Nadal is a freak of nature and his owner will make sure he’s up for the next round.

  14. Sitting on the corner (near player entrance) row 10 from the front, during Dulls match, I was forced to watch him scratch, every…single…serve…

    Tim was incredible last night, and I can say almost half of the crowd was going for him.

    As expected, doctors and toilet breaks (just as per Excuse Guide Book, by Uncle Toni). And when at the end he said he was tired after the first set, a lady next to me ask ‘so he called the doctor just because he was tired?’. I just laugh…

      1. R1 and R2 (it is easy to swap ticket here if you get night and you want day session, AO is the best)

        And 2x on the practice court. Got his autograph today (finally saw him very close, OMG!) and will see him tomorrow too.

        I am so happyyyyyy!

      2. Oh do, Amar, I’d love to hear it & I’m sure others would as well. Every time we get a fan story, it’s a special treat, like getting to be a little bit closer than usual.

  15. Thanks Jonathan for the write-up. Yeah, strange thing about Roger’s finger. Hope it`s nothing.And glad it`s Seppi (who is really more German than Italian) for the next round.

    When Nadal is off tour it`s like an obnoxious neighbour that has gone on vacation. Then the neighbour returns and you remember how bad it is!

    1. Hahaha…v. funny Sue – good analogy. Would be so much better if the neighbour retired, sold the house and you never saw him again!

  16. Its a good test for Roger but not for me though, I tend to get heart attack when he drops a set. Good thing the bee sting didn’t effect his play but did distract him a little during the 1st set. Next match should be less stressful for him, thank god Seppi beat Chardy.

    Sore Fed Fan: I just cant get over Smyczek loss to Nadal, he was in prime position to beat Nadull in 4, not sure if it was lack self believe, tired and being overly concern with Nadal’s Oscar winning performance. For a moment I was hoping Nadal to concede w/o but looking at how Mafia Toni reacting, he will play till his dying breath. This will put Nadal in prime position for semis/final after such a hard won battle. Arggghhh I just sooo frustrated, Smyczek was the better player throughout, so gutted.

    1. Indeed, nice but dim, Tim πŸ˜†

      Not sure how Nadal has fans though tbh with his antics, call me ignorant but unless you have brain size of Squirrel I can’t really comprehend how you could appreciate him one bit.

  17. Lol! Fed fans quit being gutted. I was also broken after Smyczek lost but I’m still hoping that Sela takes Nadal out. I see there is no head to head record, so I am hopeful.
    I hope Fed puts everything on the line in every match! Tennis luck just has to be with us! The bee just has to be a good sign πŸ™‚
    I promised myself this year I won’t panic during any of Federer matches but nothing has changed. My heart still races and I can’t do any other reasonable thing till the match ends #whew
    Go for it Roger, so your holiday afterwards can be well deserved!

    1. No! I don’t want Nadal to lose earlier than semis. Not for my tigermobile points! I want Fed to beat him. This IS the moment. Nadal is yet to face Fed5.0.

      1. Unfortunately, Fed had plenty of chances when he was in top form and Nadal wasn’t (or wasn’t playing on his best surface), and still couldn’t capitalize.

        Need I remind you of:

        * Wimbledon 2008 (gifted the first two sets, hitting returns of Nadal’s 120 km/h 2nd serves into the net)… He was in very good form that tournament, regardless of FO 2008 and mono
        *AO 2009 (Federer was in amazing form, Nadal played a 5 hour semi and still beat Roger in 5, with Federer disappearing completely in the 5th)
        *FO 2011 (Federer playing his best clay court tennis since at least 2007, Nadal not up to his usual clay GOAT level, faster balls than any of the previous years, Nadal’s confidence shaken by 4 loses to Djokovic in a row… Federer chokes the first set away and never recovers, losing the match)
        AO 2012 (both were in great form… just as usual Nadal stronger in the crucial moments)

        I mean, yeah, Roger is in great form and has done great for the past year (especially for the past several months: Wimbledon final, won Cincy and a final in Montreal, won Shanghai and Basel, WTF final) and Nadal has barely won 5 matches in the past 6 months, BUT on the SF day, you can bet Nadal’s level will be much higher and Roger will most likely go back to his usual brain farts against him -_- (of course if both get to the semis). Frustrating πŸ˜€

    2. Sela might put up some resistance but night session going favour Nadal here I think.

      Fed5.0 vs Nadal is certainly interesting, he said last year at the AO that they were working on things to beat Nadal which I thought was stupid and he got rinsed in 3 sets. This year he said he his playing better so I guess we’ll see if they meet. I’m not convinced both of them will make the semis though.

  18. FAO Jonathan. …. Thanks for these last couple of posts. πŸ™‚
    Re: bolleli match. ….. I thought Simone played pretty good. But I am going off you tube video highlights. Really happy with the win. As this shows his strength and motivation to keep winning and hopefully go deep in the tournament and keep the streak of consecutive SF or better to 12 years , I think? ??? Plus Iif he ddid pl hhis nemenemesis I really hope fed can beat him and then anything is possible! !! Please fingers crossed but that is still far away. Next match Seppi. Come on Roger! !! πŸ™‚
    Ps. I can’t believe on the tiger mobile competition that in round 1 . I was number 7 on the leader board and now overall with both rounds I am number 10. Really chuffed about that. At the moment username Shawshank is no.1. He definitely doesn’t need redemption if you know what I mean (re: prison escape film??!! Really good film also. ) Any way alls good even though I don’t think I will be winning anything. Thanks to Jonathan for the link. Serajul

    1. Hey, No10, that’s really good Serajul. I was at 49 I think; Robredo, Tomic, Goffin and now Monfils blew my picks so I’m probably further down the list now!

      1. Thanks Slamdunk πŸ™‚ I can’t believe it myself. I am joint no 19. Now. I am on 72 points with only 5 behind. But I think I have messed up a bit now as the usual suspects like clown fils have lost. So has messed up my draw. I don’t know about you but I predicted the whole draw in one go instead of doing it round by round. And for some reason I can’t change anything at all. Anyway at least you have given it a go next time you will be an expert at it and use the old jedi mind powers to predict the results. Good luck mate and to everyone else who is playing. Cool man! !!! Serajul

      2. Serajul, for this game you HAVE to do the whole draw in one go, that’s why. (The Wimbledon game last year was different.) In this game, no changes can be made after the start of tournament play. You predict everything at the beginning, and then see how much of it comes true – which you seem to have done really well!

    2. Cheers πŸ™‚

      They have just been updated for round 2. First place has 77 points so far, that is good going.

      Two joint leaders in the peRFect league. I am going to ask them to make the leaderboard display more than just top 10 so we can see everyone.

      Even if you don’t win this one, there’s 12 more chances across the year πŸ™‚

      1. Damned, I am dropping down to 117 with 64. It seems that I will have to do qualifying rounds for RG πŸ™ .

      2. How do you see the league? Is it because you’re the one who created it? Shouldn’t members be able to see the league too?

        I guess people are using wildly different names from the names they use here if the 2 leaders are both in the peRFect league…

        Gang, don’t feel bad, I’m even a little lower than you at 62. Some sections of my tiger draw are a total shambles, though I was pleased (& a little surprised) to see I still have a few 3rd round matches right on both sides.

        Wish they would display like a golf leaderboard – T-1, 3, T-4, etc. There must be a bunch of people tied at 10th. And they don’t seem to be consistent about what order they show the tied players in… hope they recognize how brilliant your request is Jonathan, and display the whole thing!

        Still really wishing I could see my predictions and actual results on one page, somehow. Maybe make the player’s name in strikeout style once they’ve lost? Although that doesn’t help with showing who actually IS progressing through the draw. Maybe show the actual results in the standard bracket, & have a smaller, smaller-font box above & below showing predicted bracket.

      3. Got 68 points I think if i remember correctly, I’m in 60th place overall and just outside the top 10 (don’t know exactly as it doesn’t display) on the PeRFect Tennis league.

      4. ok, to answer my own question about how to see league results, though it’s fairly cumbersome: go to My Account, View Leagues; scroll down to Current Leagues You’re Part Of, & double-click on peRFect tennis.

        Well done MarkWandy & GSMolderer, whoever the latter is!

  19. Yeah Ankur, me too. I will like Fed to play Nadal and win.
    But right now, I will take what comes easier.
    Nadal seems to play the match of his life against Federer in order to prove a point. If there is a situation where they meet before the semi’s maybe in the earlier rounds, all the better. But I don’t want a last chance to get Nadal out in the Semi’s too risky, that is putting him in a position to play for the title if he wins the semi’s. Can’t risk that.
    I will prefer he is knocked out way before the finals. It’s no more about the H2H record, we still have the Grandslam title record to protect.

      1. Roger losing to Nadal in the semis would be a ?#@*&%! for him (This is approaching FO level of awfulness). Nadal’s H2H would be 4-0 at the AO and 5-0 at the FO. That’s almost embarrassing for Roger and it would basically mean no chance of winning a tournament if he has to play Nadal -_- .

  20. I’ve just caught up with the highlights. Based on those, I’m quite surprised Roger won!

    I agree: I really really want Roger to beat Rafa for a change – because Rafa hasn’t been there all the times when I thought Roger capable of beating him – but worry that Rafa would just up his game like he did last year, just because it’s Roger. You notice he played markedly better than either the preceding or the subsequent round, back injury or no. And if Rog has to go through Andy, Rafa and say Novak, then I doubt it’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s a shame they never get to meet earlier in a draw.

    1. I can almost guarantee it, one of three things will happen:

      1. Rafa will lose early
      2. Rafa will get to the semi against Roger, up his game and blow through the match easily
      3. Rafa will start the match sluggishly (maybe loses the first set) then pull his usual shit with MTOs, bathroom breaks, taking way too long before he serves, illegal coaching etc, and storm back to win the match despite his so called injuries, and will then be labelled as the heroic victor of an epic match by the media.

      1. Well Uni –
        I would imagine this is Rafa’s plan indeed. But he might not succeed this time? Roger will be prepared – you can say, he also was it before, and did not overcome anyway. But this time might be fortune’s time? Roger might have grown, not let the annoyance, nerves or whatever, go to him? He won by very very farther election to be the most popular player. Feeling this support might help focus? I mean, accept you are annoyed, that’s ok, and then put it aside, focus on game again. Rafa’s little games are so absurd you might laugh out loud.

  21. Hey guys, I just posted a long rant and I just want to say it here and get it out of my mind, so please bare with me πŸ™‚

    Yesterday night I saw the replay of the Rafa match. And…. all I could do was feel…. SAD. Not angry or frustrated or mad, not disappointed, but just sad. How can people just be like this? Has Rafa not got a conscience? Has the crowd not got a conscience? How about the commies?? I listened to the British Eurosport commie. Don’t know who it were, but I thought I heard Mats Wilander. Did you know that one of them ACTUALLY said when Rafa got broken in the 2nd set “well this is how you can see that Rafa is slightly injured and the effect of him not playing so many matches”. Can you believe that?? Not that it maybe had to do with Tim upping his game or going for it or heaven forbid beeing better than Rafa at that moment… no… Rafa got broken because of the lack of matchplay. How can commies be that stupid?? It went on and on. Doesn’t Rafa have a conscience?? He took the match away from Tim who should have won it. But his gamesmenships?? They are getting worse and worse.
    At the end of the 3rd set, Rafa was very dizzy, was wobbling on his legs, I thought he was going to faint for sure…. and yet… he won the last 2 sets. And the commies just kept saying “champion, never gives up, etc, etc,”. And the most discusting were the crowd with and without the Spanish flags. They were so in awe of him. Cheering him on like a champion. Beeing impressed by him. How stupid can they all be?? Rafa is throwing up, dizzy, almost fainting, takes ONE little pill and suddenly… wins 2 sets?? No one even questioning him??
    And then people’s reaction to Rafa on the net. “Oh such a great champion, never gives up, normal players would have quit or lost hope, but not this champion, respect, bla bla bla”.
    Did you know that one of the commies actually said that upcoming young players should watch this match to know how a champion plays and reacts?? Isn’t that the most discusting thing you have heard?? They never said anything about his gamesmenship, but only praise for this “hero”. Don’t you just… lose faith in tennis? Because I honestly kind of did. I was soooo sad. Because you know what will happen next. Rafa will struggle all the way to the SF. Yes, he will not lose. And in the SF….. AGAIN…. he will play the match of his life like nothing ever happened and beat Roger. And again… the tennisworld will shout, wow, what a champion and how can Roger ever beat a healthy Rafa when he could not beat an injured Rafa?
    Things like this… no matter how much I love Roger, just want to make me kind of stop watching tennis. I cannot believe I am saying this, but watching Rafa and watching everyone LETTING him get away with it, just makes me want to stop watching. How can Roger have a fair chance of winning?? Now I understand why some of you guys were talking about Rafa winning a lot or overcoming Roger would be the end of tennis. Now I get it. Just the fact that he gets away with it and still come across as a winner and a rolemodel and a champion.

    Anyway right now… I am just sad and tomorrow my mood will be better and I will be all for Roger winning it. No matter how much they are trying to stop him.

    But lastly I want to talk about 2 things. First is, no matter how low I think about the Great Uncle Toni, he keeps getting creeper and creeper. No wonder Rafa has no choice than winning or dying. Did you see his face?? He looked like he would beat Rafa up if he lost. And in the 5th set one of the last points… ON CAMERA…. he was coaching Rafa. Can you believe that?? He isn’t even scared of doing it on camera, because he knows no one will stop him or say anything about it. How pathetic is it that a 14 GS winner needs to be coached to win a match he is about to lose? Rafa is a not a demon or the devil, but he is a creep, but his uncle is way way worse.
    And the last thing… Rafa may have won the match, but Tim Smyczek has won hearts and respect. Even if he made one bad point that cost him the match. But respect for this real fighter. He never had a chance against Rafa and his gamesmenship…. and his uncle’s plans.
    End of rant πŸ™‚

    1. Oke… I just want to end with something “positive” πŸ™‚ How about this??

      Roger and Novak playing in the final. Both going for history. Both can become the first to win 5 AO. Novak going for his 8th slam and Roger for his 18th. Crowd behind Roger. Novak using atleast 3 mto’s, but Roger keeping his head cool and is aware of Novak’s gamesmenship AND…. Roger winning the title. In front of fans, friends and family, receiving the trophy from the 2 best men in the game, Rod Laver and Stefan Edberg. And… Roger in his winning speech making a dig at JMac and Agassi for doubting him and telling the tennisworld to finally stop saying that he won most of his slams in a so called weak era.

      How about that? πŸ™‚

    2. Katyani,
      I can feel your feeling though. I was sitting in between nadal fan and australian lady during the match (she was going for Tim), really awkward, hahaha.

      For a 14 GS winner and one if the favorite, surely nadal has a lot of haters on the court. Half of the crowds were cheering for Tim, the lady next to me said it is due to what he did last year against Stan.

  22. Fed forehand way off, gotta hope his game clicks soon and he can execute. Seppi not even serving that good, needs to attack that second serve. Cmonnn!

    1. Agree but it’s a long way back, gotta hope Seppi as well loses it mentally. Rog already with a break in the third-struggling with gaining momentum here. Needs to be aggressive on that second serve. Net tactics also not working as well as he is hoping, gotta get some extra depth on his groundstrokes, should start to see Seppi making some errors then on the baseline. Allez Maestro, still in this!

  23. Let me be the first to comment! I’m very disappointed at this loss.
    I think Federer should stop all this rubbish exhos at the end of the year and also stop warm up matches before the start of a Grandslam.
    Asides that, a short session folks, I hope Fed comes back from his holiday quickly unless, we are going for a bit of hibernation for a long time.
    Now it is over, I hope he is disaapointed at this performance πŸ™‚
    On the other hand, I can’t wait to see Murray vs Nadal

    1. Totally agree on exhos: he’s tired, that is clear. So this might be a blessing – a much longer rest. Wished otherwise, but he’s not superman.

      Murray’s looking good, and although Nadal did get an easy win (at least 2 sets), I watched a bit of 3rd set and he wasstill pushing balls short. Indeed, if Sela was even the slightest bit better mentally, he would have taken it at least to a 4th set. Murray/Nadal will be interesting.

  24. And of course as is usual with guys who beat Roger, Seppi will probably lose pathetically in the next round.

    Roger was way too dependent on serve and volley, and volleying in general to stay in the match. Not enough on slow courts of Melbourne. Seppi was too solid in the baseline rallies.

  25. Points to Note
    We are losing soooo many points *hot tears*
    Media will come up with Federer’s demise 2015
    Federer fans will need to go under their shell and be silent for a while
    Federer fans will hope fervently someone takes Nadal out asap.
    Federer will take out time to sort himself out. Either short or long, both have their advantages and disadvantages
    Anti Fed fans are going to be giving us a headache.
    Fedfans will seek for any explanation possible that led to this loss.
    For me, I wish I could wake up from this horrible dream.
    No more tigermobiles for me Jonathan, I think it jinxes Federer.

    1. Just avoid any other tennis sites – Nadal fans will be out in force jeering and trolling like there’s no tomorrow. Like Federer, we must try and forget this one and move on. Tournament ruined for me now. Yep, all tigermobiles fault!

  26. Alysha…………………..Smile, when you are feeling down
    S.M.I.L.E
    I’m out of words… whew….wish I knew last week that it will be like this today πŸ™‚

  27. Oke guys, when I left for work Roger was 3-3 in the 4th. I really hoped he would get a 5th set, but it didn’t happen. BUT…. kudos where kudos is deserved. Seppi played great. The Dutch commie said he is playing the match of his life. What else is new right?? The signs were already there. Chardy is a great great player. For Seppi to have beaten him, he must have been good. What is this now?? Players who lose 10 times or more to Roger, now suddenly decide enough is enough?? But… I have to be honest too. Roger was in the 2nd set in the TB up 4-1 and he lost. Somehow he did win the 3th. So happy that he didn’t lose in 3. But… Roger had sooo many chances. Those bp…
    One thing I do want to say is that kudos to Seppi. He was concentrated all the way. Thank God he didn’t overreact after winning the first 2 sets.
    But… lets not get worried too much. Roger has time off. He has to take one week vacation and after that practise and practise hard. And I do agree with Utch on one point… enough is enough. Roger should stop letting himself get used. All the other top players don’t do that much in the off season. He shouldn’t do any exho or maybe only one for his own foundation.

    You fought Roger. And you fought hard, but you also made stupid mistakes…. Come on Roger, I still believe in 18. And how nice would it have been if Edberg was the one in the final handing you the trophy….
    You are the Goat of scheduling Roger…. please remember that πŸ™‚

    1. Absolute disaster. Federer was v. sluggish in first set and Seppi took full advantage. Never seen him play so well – volleying too; never thought that was his style. Awful match really from Federer, huge number of errors. I think he is tired. Shouldn’t play the exhos – even short ones include travelling. Last year he had a good rest and a good block of training and it def. paid off. Oh well, he must rest now and regroup. I’m feeling v. sad – first time he’s not reached the semis. And to top it all, Nadal’s back on stream… πŸ™ πŸ™

  28. Hey guys, a question. Has it ever happened in a GS before that first Roger was out and then Rafa?? I know it has happened the other way around, but… first Roger out and then Rafa before a final??

  29. Well, not a fun match. He almost turned it around but it wasn’t to be. Played fairly poorly to be honest. Just a lousy day. Trying to rationalise it by saying that it would have been a tough draw in the future in any case. Looks like there won’t be much tennis for a while. Horrid way to go into a break.

  30. Such an OFF-day! But I think something has happened, looking at the stats (I did not watch the match). Hopefully nothing serious – that finger? The back? Well, could be a mind thing, too much hype, interviews and all. Too much telling of high expectations. Well the good thing is there is time for rest and finding out and working on it. And nobody can for sure tell about slam or not. Why not visualize some more, might be better than worry and negative guessing.

  31. @ least if he was taken out by Nadal he won’t have lost any points.
    Wow, It seems like yesterday I welcomed the AO, now it’s all gone!!

  32. Bad day at the office I think, but there may be something else wrong. He seemed very passive in that last set in the rallies.

  33. Looking back at this, I’m not sure how surprised I should be. Am I surprised that Roger Federer hasn’t made it to at least the QFs of the *AO*? Yes, undoubtedly. Did I go to bed so confident that he would win this one that I wasn’t even worrying, and did I get a horrible shock when I bothered finally to go onto the ATP website this morning? Yes. At the same time, my comments above about how I was quite surprised he won the Bolelli match given how he seemed to be playing, and that little comment, perhaps out of context, retweeted on rf_link about Roger wondering during that match how he would explain it if he lost a 2nd-round match – when he was only *one* set down – should perhaps have made me wonder a bit more if something wasn’t right.

    That said, looking at the bare-bones stats, to my relatively inexperienced eye, they don’t look particularly bad. Sure, numbers are high, but the ratios of good to bad are generally not that much worse than usual. BP conversion has been worse. Obviously too many DF, but still well outnumbered by aces. UEs just about outnumbered by winners. Roger has won many matches with stats not that different from those, even when he’s not played well. Was it just unfortunate – a bad day at the office – or something worse? It feels so much like the Stakhovsky match at Wimbledon – and the score pattern is the same, I think.

    It’s ironic, isn’t it? Fedfans worrying about various players in the draw and rejoicing when they get taken out of Roger’s way, yet in some ways they are better-known quantities than the people who are capable of putting them out. I was already looking ahead to Fed vs. Kyrgios – clearly a bad move, and just what I was doing at Wimbledon 2013. As it says on Roger’s T-shirts, respect all …

  34. At least his press conf seemed slightly encouraging. And he has a very good team, and I’m sure most capable people will care and help in a most competent way, if there would be any physical thing – Bee/Back – mind game – whatever. He will perform next time in Dubai – so interesting! Oh, but I feel so grateful that he still performs – and doing so well, – on and off court….

  35. @ muser, is he really going to Dubai? Come to think of it, we have 500 points to lose there.
    Can’t he pass and put in a full training block and get ready for the 1000s hard court and clay?

    1. Utch: He said so in press conf. But Dubai does not start until 18. of febr I think. I think he feels well and likes to be in D.

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