Hey all, seems there is some life in the old GOAT yet as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 7-6(2) to move into the semi finals in Basel. It was a much better display from Roger than we've seen recently and you got the feeling he was right up for this one.
He alluded to that with a tweet earlier in the day when he posted a picture from Basel entitled “the calm before the storm”. Looks like he knew this was an important match for both himself & Dimitrov as well as the fans / press who had hyped this one up big time.
I thought he played really well to shut the door on a guy who's been on a real streak of form winning his first title a week ago. It wasn't quite JesusFed level or anywhere near his very best but there were some promising signs and good play under pressure which is something we haven't been able to enjoy in quite some time.
Quick Match Recap
The start was always going to be important and Roger looked focus from the get go; it looked to me like he had a good read on the Dimitrov serve from the very first point which definitely helped his return game throughout the match. Slack play saw him drop to 0-40 in his opening service game which was a worry but he regrouped quickly to hold and denied Dimitrov the chance to take an early advantage.
At 3-3 Roger created his first break point and for once actually took it with a nice passing shot; he then held to love hitting some fantastic shots off both wings from well inside the baseline. It was important Dimitrov kept within touching distance but he wasn't able to as Roger broke him again to take the first set 6-3.
One break would have been great but breaking Dimitrov's serve again was the icing on the cake here and clearly knocked his confidence which had implications on the second set.
The second set saw Roger drop his own serve for the first time early, throwing in a disaster of a service game to lose it from 30-0 up including a double fault on break point. Dimitrov looked like he would be able to level this one up as he had 3 more break points at 5-3 but Roger held and then broke back with Dimitrov gifting him it with a shocking overhead miss.
3-5 became 6-5 for Roger but to his credit Dimitrov held and took it into a tie break which proved why Roger has the best record in tie breaks of all time. He got the early mini break, applied more and more pressure to take a 5-2 lead and then closed it out with 2 big first serves. It was very nice to see him serve with that extra pop when he needed it to close it out.
|Stats||R. Federer||G. Dimitrov|
|1st Serve %||56%||49%|
|1st Serve Points Won||32/38 (84%)||24/37 (65%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||16/30 (53%)||21/39 (54%)|
|Break Points Saved||9/10 (90%)||2/5 (40%)|
|Service Games Played||10||11|
|1st Return Points Won||13/37 (35%)||6/38 (16%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||18/39 (46%)||14/30 (47%)|
|Break Points Won||3/5 (60%)||1/10 (10%)|
|Return Games Played||11||10|
|Total Service Points Won||48/68 (71%)||45/76 (59%)|
|Total Return Points Won||31/76 (41%)||20/68 (29%)|
|Total Points Won||79/144 (55%)||65/144 (45%)|
Played well under pressure.
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Overall I'm very happy with today's performance from Roger, it was clear he was up for it from the start and I liked that. There was no disinterested or resigned looks and he ultimately wanted to win more than Dimitrov.
Everyone was talking about how their games compare and match up but I think Roger was just about superior in every area and it was good to see him dominate things both physically and mentally out there. Even though the level was up and down in parts Roger always had things under control and won more of the important points.
As always we got to see some fantastic shots but personally I liked how Fed played under pressure as he didn't let up and dictated most of the points. We saw Dimitrov hit some flash winners against Dolgopolov a day earlier but Roger kept him at arms length and was always just that bit smarter when he needed to be, coming into the net at the right time and finding the angles to drag Dimitrov off court to boss the point. Holding from love 40 twice in the match at key times is always a good sign too so I hope this one does wonders for his confidence.
As for Dimitrov he looked a little tired throughout this one, probably a combination of how much tennis he has played lately plus the mental drain of playing Roger for the very first time. Roger plays very fast and will move you around so if you're not the freshest when you step out on court things aren't going to get any better. I'm not quite a Dimitrov fan just yet, but he does seem like he has a very good future ahead of him if he focuses on his tennis and I'm looking forward to seeing him boss around a few baseline grinders in the future.
Predictions vs. Pospisil
Next up for Roger is young canadian Vasek Pospisil who booked his place in the semi finals with a good win over Ivan Dodig. Pospisil is on the up this year and looks like a very promising player, he has a much more rounded game than Raonic and I think he will be a tough test.
Roger beat him fairly comfortably in 2011 at the Roger's Cup, although there were signs then Pospisil had solid game even then so 2 years on it'll definitely be trickier. I figure Roger will have taken confidence from beating Dimitrov though and be able to see this one out.
It will all depend on how he serves most likely, so as long as he holds comfortably himself then I'm pretty sure he will find a way to break serve; Pospisil has a big first serve and isn't afraid to come to the net but Roger usually does well vs though types of players especially indoors so I'll pick Fed in straights.
That's all from me, but Sid has also put together some quick thoughts on this match which you can read below….
So, a matchup lots of Federer and Dimitrov fans had been relishing at the prospect of. I had no interest in it and may not have watched it if it weren't for the
fact that Roger needed a win to keep his London hopes realistic.
There were no butterfly patterns of play. Hardly surprising as both these guys like to take the initiative. As a fan, I was nervous about how Roger's game would match up, and what patterns of play could be used. The match itself was decided by three passages of play and for a change, Roger came through in all of them.
Dimitrov started with a baseline painting put away and raced to 40-0 in a fashion that would've made Federer proud. Jakobshalle would erupt a moment later as Federer won his first point, ironically through a shank from Dimitrov. Federer's next game was a huge mess as he threw in unforced errors but survived with some aggressive play to wipe off five break points and hold. This was a very important moment as we've seen recently how Roger has struggled after conceding an early break. He gets restless, irritable, and resorts to some baffling plays subsequently. In the seventh game of the set, Dimitrov made a couple of tactical mistakes. He approached the net twice with feeble inside out plays that gave Roger all kinds of options at passing. He obliged, and with the help of a lucky half shank that set up a winning approach, ran away with the break.
By the time Roger held his first game of the second set, it was clear the the Master had figured out his opponents game, devised a quick formula that included serving to the backhand, using the inside out effectively, and the implied threat of the forehand cross court that his opponent wasn't able to handle effectively all night.
Dimitrov looked deflated and was getting ready to fold his cards. Or was he?
Now we know that Roger has a flair for the dramatic, so he decided to make things a bit interesting. Against the run of play, he gifted a break, courtesy of two double faults. It was such a pathetic game that Dimitrov might as well have stayed in his chair and exchanged texts with Sharapova. After coming close twice to getting back the break, Roger was faced with another 0-40, serving at 3-5, the last and perhaps the most significant passage of play. He reeled off five points in a row to stay in touch. Dimitrov seemed fazed with letting the opportunity slip by, was broken, and toasted in the bester. Roger has now packed a whopping 180 points for his London trip, and with a favorable Paris draw, will surely be sighted at the O2 arena.
Dimitrov didn't seem to be playing at his best, possibly a combination of fatigue, and the occasion. He was serving at 49% and if Roger wants to beat him again in Paris, should they meet, he will have to serve better than 56%. I was very surprised that he wasn't able to deal with Roger's inside out, which seemed to have a lot of juice on them. The quickness of the surface, and as pointed out, the lively balls that were used may have played a role. I do not like Dimitrov, but I've got to say this; if this kid works on his fitness, he can be a force in the near future.
But for now, the danger has been averted. Darth Fed has fended off the attack of the clone.