ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Federer Overcomes Zverev to Qualify For Semi Finals in London

Roger Federer is into the semi-finals for the 14th time at the ATP World Finals with a 7-6(6), 5-7, 6-1 win against Alexander Zverev in 2 hours at 12 minutes.

Not the prettiest encounter but Roger showed off his variety to keep Zverev off balance and overcame a second set wobble to ensure he'll be part of proceedings on Saturday whatever happens in the remaining Group B matches.

Quick Match Recap

Fed RR Zverev London 2017

Federer won the toss, elected to serve and promptly had to save three break points to hold for 1-0. The Swiss then had a break point of his own but Zverev held and both players began to rattle through their service games. With return points at a premium the score moved to 5-5 in just over half an hour, from there a solid hold to 30 put Roger 6-5 up and he was unlucky not to take the set, holding two set points, one of which Zverev saved with a lucky net cord en route to holding.

Into the breaker and after being on the verge of winning the opener, Roger got off to the worst possible start, slipping to 0-4 down. However, he managed to claw his way back, taking advantage of a net cord of his own to level at 4-4 and he took the breaker 8-6 after saving a set point at 5-6

With Zverev looking demoralised after dropping the opener he played a terrible game to drop serve at the start of set two. Roger consolidated to love but in game four he fired down two double faults to help Zverev recover the break. That loss of concenration affected Roger's level for the remainder of the set and despite hanging in there he dropped serve at 5-6 having saved two of three break points.

Set three was anyone's for the taking and it was Roger who made the first move, breaking when Zverev sent a backhand wide in game three. After consolidating for 3-1 Roger then secured the double break, aided by Zverev's forehand going AWOL. The Swiss saved a break point to hold for 5-1 and he was able to break for the third game in a row with Zverev double faulting on match point.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Alexander Zverev
Aces 6 8
Double Faults 2 8
1st Serve 53%(52/98) 63%(67/107)
1st Serve Points Won 83%(43/52) 73%(49/67)
2nd Serve Points Won 54%(25/46) 43%(17/40)
Break Points Saved 82%(9/11) 50%(4/8)
Service Games Played 15 16
1st Serve Return Points Won 27%(18/67) 17%(9/52)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 58%(23/40) 46%(21/46)
Break Points Converted 50%(4/8) 18%(2/11)
Return Games Played 16 15
Return Points Won 38%(41/107) 31%(30/98)
Winners 26 20
Unforced Errors 38 45
Net Points Won 69% (20/29) 47% (8/17)
Service Points Won 69%(68/98) 62%(66/107)
Total Points Won 53%(109/205) 47%(96/205)
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Fed Zverev WTF 2017 RR
Bit of a shitter this one as it was an error strewn match that never really got going. There were certainly some nice points with Zverev showing some decent hustle and Roger using his slice to great effect but both guys unforced errors counts are sky high. Zverev especially was very up and down, he served fantastically in set one, but cancelled out his 8 aces with 8 double faults and his level tailed off big time in the decider when he needed to sustain his play from set two.

From Fed's side we saw plenty variety that caused Zverev a lot of problems which was good to see, but overall his first serve wasn't firing and there were just too many errors from him in the second set. He seemed to have no real rhythm from the baseline and he relied more on his defence than offence for the most part which isn't really how he would want to play. But viewing pleasure aside, Fed did enough things rights to bag the victory and secure his semi final spot so there can't be too many complaints. Two matches in, two victories and you have to think his level of tennis will pick up from here onwards.

Predictions vs.Cilic

Fed Cilic

Next up Cilic who's already out of the tournament. Cilic has a woeful record in London and on Thursday he has nothing to play for. I'm not sure if that makes him more dangerous as there's zero pressure but I can't see it being much of a match. Federer is already in the semi finals as well so there is no poinit for either guy to flog themselves out there so I'll pick Fed to come through in straights.

As always let me know what you guys thought of the match in the comments πŸ™‚


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. FS and FH worryingly absent, from what the radio commies said? The first set sounded really good, then tailed off. I did wonder if Sascha would run out of steam, but then I was worried that Roger already *had*!

  2. A bit of a error-fest match from both, I guess. I think that it was really up to who would make less errors in the match as it also seemed that Sascha really “choked” in the third set. Good thing is that Fed showed variety despite all, even if his game was more or less as a level from what we would expect… Now let’s beat Cilic. πŸ™‚

  3. Not a great match, I hope Fed’s level of play picks up in the semi-finals. I suspect it will. I see Sasha winning a grand slam in the next two years, particularly as his serve likely gets stronger. I would like to give him a haircut and take off the necklaces but hey, it is better than tattoos and earrings.

  4. Very accurate report Jonathan, ( I was court side).
    The ball was flying and it was quite hot on court so perhaps partly causing high error count and amount of missed 1st serves.
    The match was always on the Fed racquet for me but he did seem rushed on the FH, netting the ball often unable to get any lift on it. He did go to the Sascha BH a bit too much for my liking and struggled to find those short angles which were money for him in Basel.
    The speed is obviously different to what you see on telly and a few of us agreed it seemed quicker than last 2 yrs. Sascha always raises his game v Rog and Rog was pretty annoyed at not getting a handle on the Zverev serve.
    However, I never felt Rog was going to lose and when Sascha mentally went away from 40/0 on his serve at 1-1 in 3rd set you knew he was cooked ( not good). Better use of the slower slice by Rog as well in 3rd set. So straight shootout between Sascha and Sock on Thurs, and still the possibility of a repeat of tonight’s match on Sunday.

    1. Thanks for the courtside perspective and insight Susie. I have yet to see Roger play live so I definitely wish I could have been there. When I saw Goffin play live in Tokyo last month, he looked more physically imposing than on TV. I assume the same applies to Fed.

      1. I don’t think Fed looks imposing really. He has strong core / wide back but an overall a slim frame, most of his muscles are in the legs.

      2. He’s got great wide shoulders and v strong legs but everything is perfectly balanced and in proportion. His speed of shot is always impressive live and his own speed around that baseline. Yes, agree with J, both FHs were pretty flat. The contrast with Grigs/David was marked. Looked slow motion even live!
        Fed better beat Cilic, we need those 200 points please

    2. Thanks for the courtside view. Court seems really slow on TV. I was wondering how warm it was inside the O2. Fed never sweats, and Rafa wasn’t dripping as he normally is, so I figured it was quite comfortable inside. Wrong again. I thought I saw Rog wince a few times and wondered if that’s why his first serve was so piss poor. I just re-watched the first set and it wasn’t as bad as I thought watching live this afternoon. Still, there was something off the whole match. Sasha’s level dropped badly in the third and Roger picked up his level just enough to get him home.

  5. Woke up early to see the result.. not gonna complain for three sets… πŸ™‚
    hmmm..don’t know.. the ball bounces high so when @rogerfederer hit the ball it look like there’s less power than normal or am I wrong?.

    Nevertheless our guy is in semis!!! πŸ™‚

  6. It doesn’t seem like any player is doing well. Lots of errors from the lot of them. Watch match later. Odd tournament.

  7. 109-96 by points and 11 to 8 breakpoints face. Assuming that the lop sided last set was won by 10 points, we can easily say, and even though I didn’t watch it, that Federer survived a major scare.

  8. Not a pretty match to watch as you mentioned. Most likely, they will meet again in the finals. I hope Roger gets better from this point and his FS and FH are way better on Sunday to bring it home. It will be nice if he can stay undefeated in the tournament as well.

    1. Meet again in the finals… IDK… It would be either Fed v. Zverev or Fed v. Dimitrov.
      Fed will win this tournament, but I think there will be a SF between Dimitrov and Zverev. Dimitrov will probably be 1st in his group, so an encounter with Sascha is likely.

    1. Two reason. One, Nadal would’ve kept playing had he needed more points so the No.1 was gone anyways after the US Open QF exit. Two, it means Federer can get the No.1 if he takes part in a couple of clay masters. Nadal is probably banking on Federer not sweeping the hardcourt title like he did early in the year. A lot can happen before Wimbledon.

  9. Yeah, I thought it was a pretty bad match quality-wise, though it had lots of intense moments in the first two sets.

    Honestly I feel like Federer was lucky here. For most of the first set I thought it was mostly even with Fed having the edge but that breaker was started horribly and Zverev should have won it. Likewise, after that horrible start to the second Fed should have closed the door on him but that service game he played to drop was maybe one of the worst of the year from Fed, like he just totally checked out of the game.

    After he dropped serve I went to go do a couple chores expecting to come back to a 1-1 or 2-1 scoreline, and saw Fed was at 3-1 and Zverev erroring for 4-1. Honestly after the second set I really thought Zverev would kick on but up until that point I thought he was the better player overall on the day, but 4-1 the match was over and he couldn’t take his chances.

    I haven’t been too impressed by Fed so far this tournament, but I feel like Zverev was always going to be his toughest opponent here and if Fed can beat him when he’s playing at this level I can’t see how Zverev can come back and beat him in the final. I thought Fed did really well mentally, kept himself in points and games which probably won the day here.

    As for Zverev, I don’t know… I’m not sold on him. Mentally on the biggest stage I just don’t see it there yet from him. 4-0 up in the breaker when he has been serving maybe as well as he possibly can, and he plays some poor points to let Fed back in it. Even in the 2nd, he had so many chances after Fed let him back in it, even in the game he broke in to win the set he squandered two and Fed didn’t even find a first serve on any of them. And after going down in the 3rd it looked like he had lost all confidence in himself. Really, the way he started early on in set 2 and 3 was just not good enough, and he can’t keep doing it at these stages. There was one point that really stood out to me. I think he got to 0-30 at 4-1 in the 3rd (though it may have been in the second), and knocked his (makeable) return long. Those are the points he needs to be doing better in, all well and good blasting people off the court but if you can’t make those points and find ways to win them you’ll probably not be winning Slams.

    I was thinking after the 2nd that I have a feeling Cilic would beat Fed, but after Fed won and the match became a dead rubber I don’t think he will. Fed playing with absolutely no pressure tends to be the best version of Fed, and while Cilic will be able to go for his shots more too I don’t see how he ever beats a free-flowing Federer that’s got nothing to play for really in the match. I don’t think Cilic is playing awfully, and while I’m sure he’d love to end his season beating Federer I think at this point his mind is probably towards his holiday, so I’m going Fed in 2.

    1. I’m not a fan of his game but Zverev is only 20 though. What was Fed doing at 20? He certainly wasn’t winning Masters 1000’s or qualifying for the Masters Cup…

      1. Crikey Fed wasn’t that bad except his 1st serve. Defence was good, slice BH good, net play good. Oh and he won. Sascha always raises his game v Rog. Watching live there were some great rallies and at times I felt Rog was testing out which way to play v Sascha. Eventually the slower ball and the slice worked better and yes the serve went awol but the ball was flying.

      2. I agree that Zverev is only 20 and reaching big tournaments, but I somehow I can see him being a #1 but not a really dominant one. I think this would really depend from his couple of next years which will be crucial for him and his career. Although, I wouldn’t be too surprised if he ends up dominating for a couple of years like Djokovic. (Just as long as nobody reaches Fed’s records πŸ˜€ )

  10. Tough match indeed. Some very nice points. As we say : if Fed wins playing not so well, it should be easier when he reaches his A-game. The Cilic match should allow him to play freely being already qualified. Just saw his match will be in the afternoon on Thursday (2 pm London time). Good !

    Go champion, and :

    Play with wings on your feet
    Magic in your arm
    And love at your back.

  11. Agree with all the points made previously.Fed seemed rather bad tempered and crotchety .I wonder if Zrevev has a
    Del Potro effect on him making him unsure of himself and prone to unforced errors.
    The Cilic match can just be useful practise,an easy win for Fed here I think.

  12. Zverev gave away first set

    Fed gave away second set

    Zverev gave away third set

    Watched the match. Thankfully it went Fed’s way or else would have been a real waste of sleeping time.

  13. Highlights are blocked already!!! πŸ™
    Acc next one: I think Cilic will try to win to save a bit of honor. And Fed may tank to save energy. So I dread a lazy Fed and energized Cilic. Also Cilic’s usual stress may have diminished, leaving him with more relaxed energetic flow. But all may happen. I predict a nice and merry match with lots of good spirit between those good friends. Who to win? Who cares? Well me of course. I want Fed to win everything, lust and simple.

  14. Not a pretty match, true. The 2nd set mental walkabout, yes. But really impressed our Fed’s dogged fighting sprit and the intelligent play. Fighting and winning a match when he’s in nowhere near his best has been his quality of this year.
    Hope to see him on Sunday live in London!

    1. That’s more or less what happened in the Basel final. When things are not going 100%, he always (well, almost) finds a way around. No problem with not playing well all the time, that is only natural; he’ll work things out, without any need to moan or act. That would only lead to more tightening and stress and it’s a trap where most will fall in. Pretty play, ugly play, that’s secondary. And that’s why he’s the goat.

  15. Poor quality match, Zverev suddenly went away during the 3rd set. Roger was grumpy rightfully so considering he should have won in 2. Hope his rhythm will get better now entering 3rd match and less pressure to win.

      1. Now it looks that Grigor will top his group and I hope that Alex will finish behind Roger. Grigor vs Alex will be a good match.

      2. I think Dimitrov is a real dark horse here. He will probably win his group and with Zverev probably being 2nd, they will meet in the semis… I guess the only ones that can make it to the finals are Fed, Dimi and Sascha…

      3. For strange reason I am rooting for Jack Sock to pull a W against Zverev. I have not warm up to Zverev and most probably will take a long time. Perhaps when he starts to beat Nadal/ Djoker/Murray then we can talk about how good he is.

  16. If say Nadal had won this match playing like Fed everyone would have been saying what
    a fighter this man is, so although this wasn’t the finest performance by Roger I thought
    It was a good match to watch. Have just read that Zerev says he played the better match
    And that they will meet again in the finals….doesn’t matter how good he played he lost, I do hope however they don’t meet in the finals, I am still trying to forget the year Fed beat Djo and then
    went on to lose in the finals. It’s quite funny to see our man getting s hacked off with himself
    makes him almost human!!

    1. I very much hope they do not meet again in the finals as he is probably the strongest threat to Fed.
      However Dimitrov is also looking very good at the moment.Rather odd that Zrerev considers he played the better match,rather smacks of hubris(or arrogance)
      I think Fed is extremely good at concealing emotion on court but somehow I feel Zed gets under his skin,a bit like Del Potro.

  17. Not sure what it was, just that Roger has not been feeling quite at home in these first two matches. Nerve (has not won it since 2011), court speed? surely not opponents! I do hope that not-affecting-results match against Cilic Roger could play a bit more freely. With the remaining matches and players, 75% Federer should be able to take the cup home.

  18. I would imagine Dimitrov will qualify,or has he already?Perhaps Thiem as well.
    Thinking of Theim,I wonder if he needs a new coach.Such a lot of talent but never seems to achieve,much.
    I know he has been with his coach for a very long time,a bit like Nadal with dear old Uncle Tony.The big difference of course is that has been a great success.Somebody summed it up very well,a simple but very effective game.
    Sad really,all the beauty and talent in the world crushed by brute power and unending energy.But not this year!

  19. Whew, that was ugly, but a win is a win. Reminded me of his US Open somewhat. Is it just me but it seemed like a rather high number of poor line calls? The Cilic match should be good fun and a chance for Roger to get the kinks out. And Sid, 100 points!! ?? Say it isn’t so, noooooo…

  20. The match between Thiem and PCB today was close, with both guys making some terrific shots. PCB played well at the net, but had too many UFEs. Thiem prevailed in the end. A much more entertaining than the Dimitrov blowout over Goffin.

  21. Rooting for Sock to beat Zverev.

    To me Sock has brought back an old-world charm to tennis with his pleasant personality like Andy Roddick. Unlike the robotic Novak, grim Andy, surly Rafa and morose Stan.

    If Goffin can put behind him yesterday’s thrashing, he can beat Thiem. And if Sock wins then great.

    Eventually could be Fed vs Baby Fed in the finals !!!

    1. I hope for Sock too. Boring Sasha needs a lesson. – I think too that Grigor may make it to the final. What I saw from his entertaining match vs Thiem (where both deserved to win), he is very much fit right now.

  22. I too am jumping on the Sock bandwagon, bit of humour is sorely needed at times.Ilove Murlis descriptions of the others,so apt.

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