ATP Masters 250Mercedes Cup StuttgartRoger Federer

Federer Overcomes Kyrgios to Make Stuttgart Final

Returns to World Number 1 on Monday

Roger Federer is into the Mercedes Cup final after defeating No. 4 seed Nick Kyrgios 6-7(2), 6-2, 7-6(5) in a tight three setter which featured yet more tiebreaks between the pair.

The win guarantees that Roger will return to the top of the ATP Rankings on Monday when the rankings update and more importantly he's given himself a shot at winning his maiden Stuttgart title by making his first final in Baden-Württemberg in three attempts.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Kyrgios Mercedes Cup 2018

Federer won the toss and elected to serve, kicking things off with a love hold. Kyrgios has been rock solid on serve this week but had to save break point en route to levelling at one game all. Roger quickly held for 2-1 and in the opening exchanges, he seemed to be nullifying the Kyrgios serve nicely.

At 4-3 Roger had his second chance to break after a  double fault from the Aussie but he held and the set progressed into a customary tiebreak.

Into the breaker and Kyrgios got in front early, moving Federer around the back of the court to lead 3-1 and he was soon up 5-2. Roger needed to land two clean blows on serve to keep close but couldn't find his first serve, Kyrgios taking advantage pulling off a great dig to get the second mini-break and run away with it 7-2.

Set two saw Kyrgios start with a hold to 15 but in game three his game went off the boil, firing back to back double faults to drop serve. Roger consolidated for 3-1 and in game seven Kyrgios again slacked off, double faulting at deuce as Roger broke for 5-2 before serving out the set to 15 to force a decider.

With Kyrgios seemingly giving up the second set it looked like Roger might be able to take charge but with the Canberra native serving first he upped his game to fire down some big first serves to look untroubled. With neither player able to fashion a break point the set looked destined for a tiebreak and we soon got there as Roger held to love at 5-6, dropping just 6 points on serve in the entire set.

The tie-break had lottery written all over it but given Kyrgios's tendency to crank up his serve I made him a slight favourite and he again got off to the better start showing off great wheels to snatch a mini-break for 2-0. However, Roger recovered it immediately with a slick return to set up an inside-out forehand. A clinical serve and volley then put the Fed up 4-3 and after Kyrgios netted a forehand at 4-4 the Swiss had the set on his racket, only to blaze a forehand long.

Another timely serve and volley allowed Roger to get back in front at 6-5 and he sealed his first match point, coming up with a smart flick past Kyrgios at the net to move into the finals.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Nick Kyrgios
Aces 12 23
Double Faults 2 8
1st Serve 63% (54/86) 71% (79/112)
1st Serve Points Won 85% (46/54) 73% (58/79)
2nd Serve Points Won 75% (24/32) 48% (16/33)
Break Points Saved 0% (0/0) 50% (2/4)
Service Games Played 16 16
1st Serve Return Points Won 27% (21/79) 15% (8/54)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 52% (17/33) 25% (8/32)
Break Points Converted 50% (2/4) 0% (0/0)
Return Games Played 16 16
Service Points Won 81% (70/86) 66% (74/112)
Return Points Won 34% (38/112) 19% (16/86)
Total Points Won 55% (108/198) 45% (90/198)

Highlights

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Stuttgart Semi Final 2018

I'm very happy, very relieved. I thought it was a tough match like I expected against Nick. We've played so many breakers already, I'm losing count. It was close. It could have gone either way, naturally. But I'm happy I got it and get back to World No. 1 next Monday, so it's very exciting. And I've got another final, so it's great news.

It would mean a lot to me to win Stuttgart, no doubt about it. I'm really excited to play Milos. He's in great shape again. It's nice for him, and I hope we can play another great match and I'm really excited to be in the final here.

Big win here for Roger coming from a set down to make the final and recover the Number 1 ranking. I don't think it was the most enjoyable match we've seen between the pair but like all the other previous encounters it was extremely close and could have gone either way.

From Roger's side, he played a solid opening set, finished it with a poor tiebreak, then took advantage of Kyrgios going walkabout in the second and in the third he played that bit steadier like I expected to come through. It would have been easy for him to think it wasn't his day when Kyrgios fired that sweet pass for 2-0 in the breaker or when he fluffed the forehand at 5-4 to set up match point but he kept his cool and hung in there mentally to win the last point.

Other than that not much to say, some fun points, but mainly about the serve. I thought Kyrgios looked sharp too so he will be a handful for Murray in his comeback match.  His serve is a huge weapon with no real difference between first and second deliveries and his backhand looks to have improved too. He can be a bit too vocal out there which grated on me a bit today but Fed seemed to actively avoid getting drawn into any of the tom foolers and maintaining his focus certainly helped him get over the line.

Predictions vs. Raonic

So next up is Raonic who beat Pouille in straight sets. I've not seen any of the Canadian this week but he's been serving huge from all accounts. Like today, it's going to boil down to just a few points here and there. Fed needs to take care of his own serve and try to make it athletic out there on the return. The more running Raonic does the better and Roger will need to use his blocked + slice return to get Milos into awkward positions on the court. Expecting more tiebreaks…

What did you guys think of the win? Predictions against the Raobot? Let me know in the comments.

Federer vs. Kyrgios Stuttgart 2018 Rating

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

PHEW

Close match with Kyrgios firing down bombs but Fed managed to play a solid breaker to come through.

User Rating: 4.53 ( 6 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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57 Comments

  1. Wow, Jonathan, two posts in a few hours. Are you getting paid overtime? And I have 2 top 3 finishes. …never happens.
    The match vs NK was a nail bitter. I thought, here we go, Fed’s back on tour! Enjoying the tennis so much but not the drama.
    Hope the tennis gods are on our side tomorrow. Another trophy would be sweet. Oh, and I love your British sayings, just as good as RK.

    1. No, my blogging deal ended on March 1st. We are talking about a new deal but until then I will continue to blog here, it’s been a good partnership since 2011!

  2. Kyrgios going walkabout, lol that made me laugh, thanks Jonathan.
    Well done Fed for scraping through
    I think you spelt advantage wrong…

  3. Whew was my thought too. Good attitude, good play from both, glad he pulled it out. Would have liked to see more 1st serves but hey that still leaves him something to improve on. Movement & anticipation still both good. That slice/backspin followed by a topspin shot, which he can somehow do without losing it either long or in the net, should work with Milos too – they don’t see it so often, & you need to be prepared for the combined spins so YOU don’t put it in the net.

    Agree about getting Milos to run, though he certainly moves better than he used to. I’m hoping the win today will have given him good confidence for the final. It may be a good thing the #1 is already secured so he doesn’t have that in the back of his mind either. Fingers crossed!

    1. 63% is pretty decent, but he did miss a few in first set breaker.

      I hope Fed wins, I don’t like watching Raonic at all, looks like he’s made out of plasticine.

      1. I only watched SF from various highlights, but those two obviously have fun playing each other with swiftness and tactical challenging. Well poor Raonic plasticine image – greatness is manyfold, and charisma same. Of course the attraction comes from that. Want it to win – go Roger!

  4. I am a fan of Milos as well as of Fed. I think Roger is the definite favourite for the final, but Milos is finally injury-free. That, of course, makes a big difference in how he is able to play. I saw all of Milos’ matches this week, and his serve has been outstanding. Although Milos relies on his serve, he was not normally an ace-machine like John Isner. He would typically make about 5-6 aces per set. This week, however, he made 24 aces in his two sets against Berdych, and 19 in the two sets today against Pouille.

    Roger does have a big advantage in the rallies, so he just has to return Milos’ serve. I will be happy with either guy winning, but it would be great to see Roger getting his first Stuttgart title, plus title #98.

  5. I’ve seen Raonic-Berdych match and Raonic was hugh on his serves but had very little in any other aspect. Berdych chocked in the tie breaks.
    I think Roger’s quality will win.

  6. Watched parts of all the matches and Roger is looking great, considering the long break. I don’t want to say anything else for the fear of jinxing it.

    Do Roger and Nadal rent each other the No.1 spot for a short term?

    1. As well as sharing grand slams. Perhaps they could make some deal on Fed swapping masters 1000 titles with Nadal so he can claim the US open instead this year.

      1. There is no way either of these will exchange a slam for Masters. Maybe 5 Masters 1000 for a slam. But I doubt that. Perhaps Fed gets 3 Masters 1000’s on clay for a WTF?

    2. Yes,I think if Roger loses in Halle,any match,Nadal is One again.Makes no difference to the seeding at Wimbledon though I believe.And Nadal has the American Open to defend.May not get such an amazingly easy draw this time.😎

      1. Any loss starting Monday, and he will relinquish No.1. But that’s not all. Nadal has only 180 points to defend at Wimbledon. If he reaches the quarter final, he guarantees are return to No.1 after Wimbledon, no matter what Roger does.

        I think this is another No.1 year for Nadal as he has only 200 points to defend at the WTF too.

      2. I just did a quick count and it looks like until year end Nadal is defending 3,550 points and Federer is defending 5,560. Also by August Federer will be 37 years old!

      3. I made two tables that will make it easier for the points count:
        Nadal
        Wimbeldon 180
        Canada 90
        Cincinnati 180
        US Open 2000
        Beijing 500
        Shanghai 600
        Paris 180
        Total 3730

        Federer
        Halle 500
        Wimbeldon 2000
        Canada 600
        US Open 360
        Shanghai 1000
        Basel 500
        WTF 600
        Total 5560

        The slams will determine, as both players have one slam to defend and another one in which they can gain plenty of points.
        Also, other competitors for world no 1 can gain a lot of ground in the remaining slams (Zverev, Delpo).
        If Roger manages to defend his titles on grass he will be in a good position, because Rafa never retained a title out of the clay and the hard courts are always a challenge for him.
        But that’s far away in the distance. I hope Roger wins today. 🙂

      4. I think it is easier to look at it from the Race to London ranking point of view. Nadal is around 1700 points ahead but this para of the season is obviously more suited for Roger. I think that health will be the most important factor and because of this I don’t write off Zverev.

  7. So frustrating having to watch this by following the live scores.Bloody useless Eurosport,Sky Etc.
    But a great win for Fed,so clutch in that 3rd set tie break.In the end it was the courage to go for the serve and volley
    That sealed the deal.
    I predict he will beat the rather lumbering Raonic in straights.Kygios served 22?aces in that match and still didn’t win.
    @Jonathan,that is a terrible draw for Murray,where is it going to happen.Having said that isn’t Murray Kygios’
    cryptonite?
    .

    1. [Kygios served 22?aces in that match and still didn’t win.]

      With 10 double faults to go with it, and a few of them at crucial moments.

  8. I really shouldn’t tempt fate, and perhaps already regret mentioning this, but if (a big IF) Roger can go on a dream run and win all 3 grass titles he will seal his 100th title at Wimbledon. PeRFect. Come on Roger! 3 weeks of incredible tennis ahead to further your legend!

  9. Another close one, but Roger was the better player the whole match. Could be a serving contest which Roger always wins. I hope it is not too close. We fans deserve an easy one without any stress.

  10. I had to admit by set3 I found the serve fest so boring that I completely checked out of the match until the tb. I thought Fed was quite determined to get #1 back. Halle’s draw is very winnable so can he pull out a hat trick in the grass season and get his 100th at Wimbledon? If so what a dream run it will be!

  11. Got to admit pretty clutch serving by NK throughout the match except for mental walkabout during 2nd set. Though not as entertaining as their Miami match but again went the distance with 3rd set TB. Glad Roger won the match.

  12. Another “fun” match v Nick. Imagine what this rivalry cld hv become if Fed were10 yrs younger!
    Nick has definitely got the capacity to raise his game in the pressure cauldron of a TB. He loves them and he played great in TB 1.
    Felt he threw that 2*-4 game in 2nd set to serve first in 3rd but never got a sniff of a BP on Rog serve.
    Good to see Rog hang in on there in 3rd TB. He wanted no 1 front and centre! So likes being the front runner.
    Yes, whatever happens will be no 1 seed at Wimby. ( seeding formula)

    Raonic? Hv watched him this week. V focused. 50/50 on TBs again. Allez Rog

  13. No channel is telecasting this tournament in India as they are occupied with Football World Cup and cricket tournaments. Unable to watch this match. But going by the highlights it lived up to its billing. A great win for Federer considering the way Nick is serving. Good confidence booster going forward in the grass court season. We can say he is well and truly back on the tour after a lo g break.

    Can anybody suggest any link where I can watch the streaming of final free?

  14. Thanks Jonathan, summed up very well. I quite enjoyed the match, which was indeed a nail biter and very high quality. These days, Nick has become another player, who is pumped up every time when playing Roger. Roger did an excellent job. Carrying on in this form, we all will be pleased. Nick’s play was exceptional and he could do some damage at Wimbledon, if he plays like this.
    On final, I feel that Milos is slightly easier to handle than Nick, which is much more explosive and quicker. So Roger should lift his maiden trophy in Stuttgart.
    Allez!

    1. Kyrgios Raonic H2H 3-3 I think, so guess they are fairly even. Raonic more consistent but NK probably capable of playing a higher level overall when he’s really on.

      I just hope Fed can move him around.

  15. So enjoyable to watch Roger dancing happily as a colt on grass after winter. He looks as effortless and precise as ever – nice nice nice- and good omen for winning

    1. Roger was Mr. Cool all the way, almost as he wasn’t caring at all. And at the right moment, bang! you’re gone, Botzilla.

  16. I am always nervous when Fed plays because of the lapses of concentration that can let dangerous players back into
    a match.But this time I felt completely confident that he would win in straight sets.Kygios was far more dangerous yesterday.
    So Roger has a nice new car and a new title😀

  17. I saw the match. Roger played great. He radiates happiness. The 98th title on the résumé.  Magnificent ! So happy for him…

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