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ATP Masters 500Roger FedererSwiss Indoor Masters

Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov in Basel

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

peRFexecution
peRFexecution

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.

Match Stats

Stats R. Federer G. Dimitrov
Aces 3 7
Double Faults 4 6
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

Fed beats Dimitrov

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

Federer 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….

Sid's Thoughts

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.

Review Overview

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

Still the Master

Much better display, still a little wobbly in places but saved 90% of break points and converted 60%. Definitely his best match of the week.

User Rating: 3.67 ( 18 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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54 thoughts on “Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov in Basel”

  1. I have just seen the match on youtube because I was busy watching the Sweden-Denmark Davis cup tie yesterday, and I must say I have been to many different tennis tournaments Wimbledon, French open, Olympics and many more but the atmosphere yesterday at that Davis cup tie was incredible. Even though there were only under a thousands spectators the croud was going wild. So if you haven´t been to Davis cup tennis you should, it´s wild 🙂 And by the way Denmark kicked Swedens ass 🙂

    But back to the Roger match, I think it was a great match from Roger and he´s looking much more calm and determind out there. There´s still some unusual errors but there´s longer in between them and it looks like he´s much more confident during the rallies, so I think there´s good things ahead! But Pospisil could be a threat later today so I expect a tight match.

    So neither of you (Sid and Jonathan) likes Grigor? I must say I´m a fan, I like his aggresive playing style and the fact he like Roger plays every match by his own terms is a perspective I´m a big fan of.

    1. I don’t mind Dimitrov. Just wouldn’t call myself a fan right now. But his game is very good to watch just I haven’t seen a awful lot of his matches yet.

      I think he is top 10 for sure.

    2. Nopes, not a fan, and most likely won’t be. I mean, really, there isn’t much to like about his game. It’s just a very inefficient, clunky version of how Roger plays. It’s like a C grade spoof of a classic movie. I don’t know if you guys realize it, but calling him “Baby Fed” is a huge insult to Roger Federer.

      If he beats Nadal though at a Slam, I might think favorably of him 🙂

      1. In all fairness, a rip off of Fed is still oodles better than any original style anyone else has managed to produce

      2. I kind of agree. Compared to Pospisil whomI think is a real prospect, Dimitrov, although gd to watch, doesn’t play with great intelligence, and puts a lot into the execution of the actual shot, without seemingly thinking about tactics. Long way to go! Tonight’s game was an absolute nail biter! Fed just lost it at 5-3, 15 love! And had to dig as deep as possible to get it done, BUT, he did come thru and that has been the massive difference this week. No point in going on about wasted chances, shanked FH’s, etcetc. His game is where it is, and he cld hv folded at 1-3 in 3rd. He didn’t and thr alone will ratchet up the confidence levels.

      3. Haha a C grade spoof of a classic movie.

        Dimitrov will get better for sure, he’s got a lot of talent. Not near Roger’s level of talent but that’s not essential to be successful, if he can get stronger physically and mentally then he’s going to be near the top.

  2. hey that s sooooo unfair .

    I pressed F9 like 15 times cause I could smell it was coming.

    Than the Children came in and spagheti Bolognese had to be served 🙁

    I m telling you its so unfair… Jonathan seriously you need a 40+ veteran category.

    At least Fed won :))

    1. Actually, I just watched the match on youtube went on the blog and posted 🙂 Like my tennis game I rely on my instincts 🙂 But it sounded like you had a good time with your kids. And now I´m hungry 🙂

    2. Haha the Seniors tour, maybe that’s a good idea 😀

      It was a good match from Fed, hoping he kicks on again here and plays at similar / better level today.

      Jonathan

  3. Yes Jonathan thats the word I was looking for . The Seniors First Commenter Tour. More realistic of a target as I cant expect much against all these young guns in here.

    Congratulations to you Mark for your win and to John for such a close second!

    Feds win now Very important indeed . Most important as Sid mentioned is that I will see Fed at the O2 !

    I was watching my fav basketball team playing a euroleague match in parallel with Rogers match . Although not 100% focused I have the feeling that Dimitrov rolled over somehow, or overespected Fed .
    Not that this wasn’t a solid performance by Roger but I ve seen Dimitrov play much much better recently .

    Who cared though ? Win counts and now looking to the next game.

    Allez !

  4. i still worry Roger’s serve, which lead him handing out a game. BTW, anyone notice he’s not wearing his own RF line of stuff ??
    what happen?? Nike is giving him up??

  5. Hey Jonathan, I don’t know if I am allowed to comment anymore, but I just had to say this personally to you.
    I will keep it short (goodluck to me for that…….).
    I don’t know if you remember this anymore, but this is to you personally:…. Finally….. I can breath again….
    Remember when I asked you a question in the beginning of this year. Actually I asked for your reassurance.
    I had kind of a dream or something where I thought this year history would repeat itself.
    I thought this year at Wimby Roger and Dimitrov would play for the first time (in my opinion Destiny was keeping them apart for a reason). I thought they would meet in the fourth round and Dimi would beat Roger (also in 5 sets). It was this year exactly 10 years ago that Roger won Wimby, he too defeated Sampras in 2001, they were both 10 years apart (like Roger and Dimi). Roger went for his 8th Wimby, so did Sampras. Roger was at that time compared to Sampras, they also said (I think) that Roger played like Sampras. All the things they say about Roger and Dimi now.
    So I was really nervous about them meeting at Wimby for the first time. You reassured me and said that Dimi was nowhere near what Roger was in 2001. So if they would meet at Wimby, Roger would win.
    That stuck by me, but I have been kind of really afraid for them to meet, especially this year. If Dimi would play “Roger 2012” I would not have given it a second thought. Can you imagine Dimi meeting Roger now, when he is “Roger 2013”, meaning losing a lot and low on confidence. What would have happened to Roger’s confidence now if he would have lost to Dimi?? Not only did he lose to all kind of players ranked 100 something and players he can beat with his eyes closed. But what would have been his confidence if he lost to the one youngster they all call Baby Fed? Who plays exactly like him? Would he recover from such a loss?
    His confidence hitted rockbottom several times, could it be lower if he lost to Dimi??

    You have no idea Jonathan how stressed out I was the whole day yesterday. Literally. Hopefully Roger will understand sometime what an effect he has on some of his fans…
    I was so nervous during the entire match and so glad that he won !!! The best game he played was when he hold off the third set when he was behind 0-40. Now that is what you all mean with confidence…
    From February this year to the last tour before Basel, you just know that there would have been a third set.
    But… he held on, most importantly, he remained calm and won the game. Of course he was lucky that Dimi was too nervous, otherwise there would have definitely been a third set.
    Roger played great against Dimi. But he has to get better. This Dimitrov will NOT lose this way to Roger the next time. He was nervous, maybe even starstruck or could not handle the crowd. But next time Dimi will not let Roger win this easy.
    So now there first match ever is behind, now I can be more at ease I think. It is done, so next time looking forward to a better performance from both of them. Roger won, which is good, but he has to play better.
    Him beeing without a coach is for now the best thing. He is on court and has to find the solutions for himself to beat his opponent. Only he will be blamed for the loss, only he will get praise for a win.

    Sorry for the long comment, but the match reminded me of the fact that I asked you to “reassure” me for the first time they ever met, and you did and it worked.
    They say Pospisil is not as dangerous as Dimitrov, but I don’t know. Hope Roger plays with a lot of confidence. If not, hope he hangs on and fights his way out of it….

    Katyani

    1. You weren’t banned from commenting anyway Katyani.

      But I will have to edit and remove comments if they are really long like this one for example.

      People don’t have time to read all this especially when it says the same thing in every paragraph.

      Jonathan

      1. Hey Jonathan, commenting short and to the point is for me a work in progress.
        I am still not good at that… Roger is my passion you know… I have so much to say about him.. but I see your point and I will try. But did you get what I was trying to say about Roger and Dimitrov???

      1. Hey John, you are SO sweet !!! I was not away, just busy with personal stuff and work.
        Roger has millions of dollars, I don’t !!! In this time, you know, anything they want you to do to work, you do, even working late for a long period. But I have tried to follow and I love your comments. Don’t worry, I will stay…
        Hopefully we will see again Rafa hitting a ball near Novak’s face !!! Remember John??

      1. Ahh Sid… Again??? What will I have to do to make you read the whole of my comments???
        You know Sid how long it takes a Dutch girl to comment in English (saying and writing the right words)??? And you still don’t read all??? Not fair Sid.
        Remember a while ago you replied someone twice in French?? You know how long it took me to translate that. But I did !!! Even with the online dictionary. You see how far I go to read all your comments??? And you cannot read a few lines of mine??? Ahh not fair Sid….
        But for you… ESPECIALLY for you, I PROMISE to comment short.
        Oh my God, what did I just promise??

        Anyway…. the two lines you read, hopefully they were the ones about it beeing a good thing that Roger is coachless. I think we are seeing the outcome of that.
        He is on court and it is up to him to find the solutions, like he did today. Go Roger !!!

        Sid, dude, please read all of this. It is three o’clock in Holland and I am getting sleepy….

    2. Hi Katyani,

      I guess I had missed something, didn’t see your comments for a while? What had happened?
      Anyways, You are the best Fed Fan Ever, you speak from your heart & that’s nice!

      Jonathan,
      I like your blog, thanks for the efforts.

      However, no one is forced to read Katyani’s comments, long or short, people manage their own time, right?
      There are lots of non-sense comments on any blog including yours and we have a choice to read or bypass, Katyani’s comments show the emotions of a true fan and I appreciate that, so do others, I bet.

      1. Hey Mac, oh you are also SO sweet !!! Thanks for the compliment, but I am not Roger’s best fan ever. I wish. Trust me, some are even worse than me !!! Roger is my passion, the “love of my life”, but sometimes I can get overboard with that. And then it is a good thing to stop me. So Jonathan did good.
        But thank you for sticking up for me !!! What do you think about the final??
        I think Roger will not dominate, but he will fight his way out… if he would not be too tired.
        Today’s match may have cost him too much energy, while Delpo is as fresh as a chicken…
        But I so hope Roger finds a way…

      1. Hey Scooter, I will stay if Roger lets me !!! He is too busy giving his fans (especially me) little heartattacks when he plays !!! Do you know I left my room in the third set 1-1??
        Seriously, I could not take it anymore. Roger is great, but he needs to mind the hearts of his fans…. So nerve wrecking when he plays like this…
        I guess he thought it would be boring for us if he won in straights…

  6. Hi everyone, sorry i haven’t had much time to comment lately, been very busy the past few weeks. Actually im about to go and play a tennis tournament myself in about an hour, so I’ll keep this fairly short.

    I haven’t watched a full match of Federer’s this week because of the unfortunate timing of the matches for me. I managed to watch a few sets here and there but not that much. But from what I have seen, Roger has been gradually playing better this week. Serve is improving, he is playing confidently under pressure and most importantly not wasting his chances with DF’s, UE’s and shanks. Hope to see yet another improvement today.

    PS: I can’t leave without giving my predictions for the rest of the tournament:

    Semifinal vs Pospisil: Federer 6-3 6-1

    Final vs Del Potro (I think Del Potro will make it): Federer 3-6 7-5 7-6(7-5)

    1. Hey,

      No worries, good luck in your tournament.

      Breadstick prediction, brave 😛 hope he does though.

      You are right, Del Potro made it. Beat Roger-Vasselin in 3 sets.

      1. ALLEZ ROGER! First final since Halle! Hope he can do well. Del Potro will be a tough match, but i stand by my prediction. For the first time this week I will be able to watch the full match live, so Roger better play well!

        PS: As for how my tournament went, I won one match and lost the other two. I never won a match before in three previous tournaments so thats an improvement. Only been playing just over a year so I think that’s pretty good. In case you are wondering, my playstyle is Del Potro like: big serve (for my level of play) and an even bigger forehand. Best shots for me today:
        1: A running crosscourt passing shot winner and 2: a massive forehand on set point in the match i won. It was one of those where it all comes together and you do everything right and the ball explodes off the racket. Was good fun.

        PSS: Couple of good Federer videos i found (not sure if you know about these) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmIjrcmCWbM
        and
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX8xEeDN05U

        Anyway, I’ll finish with this.

        Go Roger!
        Allez Roger!
        Los Roger!

      2. Good that Roger won, maybe not in the way we would have liked, but still a W is a W. Unfortunately it is hard for me to have much confidence in Roger after the match against Pospisil so I will go with Del Potro in 3 sets: 3-6 7-6(8-6) 1-6. Hope Roger can prove me wrong though!

        As for my tournament, I won one match and lost two others. First one I played against a higher rated player and got destroyed 4-0 4-0, but I wasn’t too bothered. Second match was against a bit of a pusher, and once i figured him out, after going down 2-0 in the first set i won 4-2 4-0. The last match was against another pusher, but my strokes just weren’t working as well as in the second match so I lost 4-0 4-2 after trying to get back into the match from 4-0 3-0.

      3. Hey man,

        Cool stuff. How old are you?

        Playing to 4 is very tricky as one break makes it very tough to get back. And pushers are always tricky to beat especially if you’re not feeling confident in all your ground strokes off both wings. I’ve lost to players like that plenty of times by going for too much and making a ton of errors.

        Jonathan

      4. It was a 14U tournament so I’m probably younger than most of you on here, but most people who meet me think I am older than I am because I am pretty tall for my age. And yeah playing to 4 is a bit awkward, in the juniors you don’t get to play full sets usually until you are playing regional or national level.

  7. Roger is definitely playing a little better with each match. I’m maintaining a restrained optimism though because we’ve seen so many tournaments this year where he’s got through one match easily then lost the next with poor play. The most encouraging thing for me in yesterday’s match was the fact that he seemed to be in control and when things went wrong didn’t look either angry (with himself or his opponent) or bewildered. He stayed calm and looked as though he knew how to put things right. First serve percent still not good enough, and lots of errors from both players (all those double faults!). Anyone know how many unforced errors from Fed? I had the feeling there were fewer.

    After the match Roger said he had the feeling Dimitrov would beat him in the future (probably true) and that he wished people would stop calling him baby Fed because it was funny at first but was now getting tiresome for him (Dimitrov). I think that was nice.

    I now want this Del Potro match to finish so Roger’s match can start because I have to go out in 2 hours (to the opera) and if the match isn’t finished I’ll just spend all evening worrying about the result and not being able to check it until I get home again 🙁

    1. Yeah, he’s improving slowly.

      Quite a few errors, but quite a few winners too. Dimitrov made a lot of errors.

      Dimitrov can prob beat Fed in the future, just not yet though.

      Hopefully Fed gets it done in straights so you get to see!

  8. Ahhhh, I accidentally rated the match one star! Sorry, I’m not used to typing on iPad, I meant 4 star, can you fix it for me, Jonathan?

    Great reports both of you, thanks, Sid and Jonathan.

    It was a good win with much better fighting spirit from him. Like you said ‘holding from love 40 twice in the match at key times is always a good sign’, those 2 games were very important moments of the match, though they gave me nearly heart attack. Loved their BH rallies, I still prefer Fed’s BH and Dimi’s FH is nowhere near Fed’s quality.

    Hope he will continue playing better every match. Allez 🙂

  9. I keept refreshing the home page for the first half of the day, hoping to get there first.
    Now I come home and see that not 1, not 2 but 3 posts where put up.
    Anyway really happy with this win!

  10. Firstly everyone should stop calling Dmitrov Baby-Fed coz he is not Federer’s clone. Just similar strokes, still have a long way to go if he is really planning to emulate Fed. It was an entertaining match except for diva moments. Hope this gives Roger wings to fly higher.

      1. Funny as always Sid 🙂

        Don’t know about you guys, but I think King Fed is back and I see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel. Here is to a great end to 2013 and a greater 2014.

  11. Had to leave after the nightmare end to 2nd set, thank god I didn’t sit thru the 3rd but he won and that’s that! First final since Halle, and first top tenner since Rafa so let’s see! Just hope semi hasn’t tired him too much! He will not be the favourite to win final which will help him! Allez

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