ATP Masters 1000Miami OpenRoger Federer

Federer Overwhelms Shapovalov to Make Miami Open Final

The Swiss Maestro blunted his oppontents game to come throgh 6-2, 6-4.

Roger Federer is through to his fifth Miami final with a straightforward 6-2, 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov in 1 hour and 12 minutes.

In a first time meeting between the pair, the Swiss assumed full control early and put his opponent to the sword, leaving the Canadian chasing shadows for the majority of the first set.

Shapovalov managed to produce some better moments in the second but it wasn't enough to derail the three-time Miami champion who moved into his 50th at ATP Masters 1000 final and will bid for career title #101 on Sunday.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Shaopvalov Miami

Shapovalov won the toss and elected to serve. Like Anderson, the Canadian was under immediate pressure but he saved a break point before sneaking out of a 10-minute multi-deuce game for 1-0.

Roger levelled in 1 minute and 27 seconds and promptly moved up a break after an edgy looking Shapovalov committed a string of unforced errors.

The break was consolidated to fifteen and an interesting graphic popped up on the screen that Roger was taking the ball 2.5 metres further inside the baseline on the return than Tiafoe in yesterday's Quarter Final.

With little breathing room on the serve, Shapovalov was in more trouble in game five as Roger crafted a stunning point for 15-30 and a double fault on break point handed him the double break.

A hold to fifteen put the Swiss up 5-1 and he soon held two sets points for a breadstick. To his credit, the Canadian loosened up to reel off four points in a row to hold.

That looseness in the arm continued into the next game and if it wasn't for a stunning volley pick up from Roger, Shapovalov would have held two break points. Instead, it was thirty all and Roger took the set 6-2.

The set saw 20 unforced errors from Shapovalov and like the Anderson match, although Roger's first serve was low at only 40% he was able to put far more pressure on the return.

Into set two and a more relaxed Shapovalov held to love for 1-0. The Candian then finally made some inroads on the return creating two break points which Roger saved to level at 1-1.

That missed chance seemed to quickly derail Shapovalov's game and a double fault saw him slip to 0-40 before hitting a wild forehand to drop serve.

A love hold consolidated the break for 3-1 and the score quickly progressed to 4-2. Denis had to then save break points to hold for 3-5 and 4-5 to force Roger to serve it out.

The Swiss fired down a timely ace at 15-15 and won the next two points to move into the final.

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Denis Shapovalov
Aces 2 3
Double Faults 1 5
1st Serve 49% 52%
1st Serve Points Won 91% (20/22) 77% (27/35)
2nd Serve Points Won 74% (17/23) 31% (10/32)
Break Points Saved 100% (2/2) 73% (8/11)
Service Games Played 9 9
1st Return Points Won 23% (8/35) 9% (2/22)
2nd Return Points Won 53% (17/32) 22% (5/23)
Break Points Converted 27% (3/11) 0% (0/2)
Return Games Played 9 9
Winners 17 14
Unforced Errors 8 29
Net Points Won 88% (15/17) 50% (5/10)
Service Points Won 82% (37/45) 55% (37/67)
Return Points Won 45% (30/67) 18% (8/45)
Total Points Won 60% (67/112) 40% (45/112)

Shots of the Match

On Court Interview

Press Conference

Thoughts on the Match

Fed Shapo Miami SF 19

Yeah I think the first game definitely helped me get a bit of his read on his serve because I know he's got a nice swinger, a nice kicker. He's got a real elastic arm so I think it was a good first game for me.

I played really good today, it is not that simple to come and play well against a lefty straight away but it worked tonight and I needed it because Denis is a great player already and will be even better in the in future.

More quality from the racquet head of Roger Federer as he totally dominated the young Candian from start to finish.

Shapovalov started a bit like a rabbit in the headlights and Roger took full advantage by putting him under constant pressure from the word go. He looked rushed and even in the first game was sweating buckets as the nerves/pressure compounded and his legs weren't working too well and the arm looked tense.

As a result, Shapo never really found any rhythm. He's not exactly a well-rounded player yet either so his plays are usually to go for broke which doesn't work too well on this surface. That is why he hit 20 unforced errors in the first set, far too loose to trouble Roger who has been rock solid this week since struggling against Albot the fifth musketeer.

I thought the key to this match was how well he took time away from Shapovalov. Roger played so far up the court, 2.5 metres further up than Tiafoe in fact on the return, and gave Shapovalov absolutely no time to settle into the match.  

I also liked how he pounced on anything short and just when Shapovalov thought he'd finally got into a rally he dropped a groundstroke short and Fed moved seamlessly into the forecourt to fire forehand winners into the corners.

So another tennis lesson delivered from the Wilson Wand and who'd have predicted after Australia he'd make back to back Masters 1000's finals?

Predictions vs. Isner

federer-isner

I know what to expect, that he won't miss many serves. He's got an amazing serve, one of the best in the game of all time.  It's really hard to play against him, I saved match point the last time I played against him last at the Laver Cup which was tough.

I'm a big fan of his. I actually really enjoy watching him play. I honestly love watching big servers to see if they're going to ace every second or third point. To me that's exciting, it's like a penalty shootout in soccer, it's intense. So for me on Sunday I'll be the goalie, try my best and try to get as many balls back as possible.

Next up is John Isner who saw off Felix Auger-Aliassime in two tie break sets. The Candian served for both sets but couldn't close either of them out and that helped Isner give himself a shot at defending his title.

Like Roger said in his interview, this match is like a penalty shootout and Isner can win matches without even coming close to breaking serve. 9 of the 10 sets he has played this week have resulted in tiebreaks and he seems to enjoy the conditions in Florida.

Roger leads the H2H 5-2,  and the two haven't played on tour since 2015 where Isner won at the Paris Masters. However, they did meet last year at the Laver Cup where Federer saved match points in a very close match.

So far this week Roger's done a great job at nullifying opponent's weapons including Anderson's serve so I think if he can use that block return and chip to draw Isner forward he's going to create some chances. From there he'll need to protect his own serve so a higher % will be needed than his last two matches.

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

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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139 Comments

    1. Agree on finals…based on how Isner played so far, Roger better winning tie-break bit if he can get it done without that makes it easier…. hopefully Better finals here than IW…

  1. Thanks Jon, interesting analyze! – Just – as long as his second serves also serve him enough points, I won’t worry.

  2. First?

    As a Canadian, I hoped Shapo would make it a competitive match, although I expected Roger to win. But when Fed is in Maestro mode, like he was last night, no one will beat him, and Denis was too nervous to play his best tennis. But the youngster saw it as a positive experience, and said he will learn from it.

    If Fed can play at the same level in the final he should be able to handle Isner without too much trouble. I am just hoping there won’t be TBs. And that Roger will have a better first serve % than he did in the SF.

    1. I expected maybe a bit more from Shapo but he’s a wild player still, will have excellent wins when his game clicks but then dreadful ones when someone solid turns up.

      Fed has been wall like this week.

  3. Fingers cross for Miami. Didnt really expect him to storm in the finals finals the way he didnt. More than winning a masters,this final is pivotal for him now, if we look at tne seasons he’s won the bug tournaments /slam(s), he has almost always won a big title before the clay swing , tennis is all about confidence at the end of the day and federer obviousky knows this better than anyone. Yes the Dubai-IW-Miami strech has been unbelievable for him but a victory here could really settle things down aa he could enjoy the clay swing and hunt the grass courts subsequently.
    I bet he’ll be pumped given that he has a atleast 6-7 weeks of strevh before he steps on the red dirt.

  4. Too good, too fast, too early and too varied. Shapo punchdrunk and rushed from the off. Think Fed employed every BH under the sun in this match! 😃
    Wld like to see the 1st serve % improve against Isner but other than that, keep doing what you r doing Rog
    Allez

  5. Great match by Fed, Shapo was welcomed to the Fed House of Horror!! Fed is such a pleasure to watch. Unlike Anderson and Shapo, he doesn’t have to go to the towel after every serve and go through extended rituals like Nadal and others … and he doesn’t grunt. Fed is definitely peaking at the right time, he is playing so consistently on the ground game with incredibly low UFE count. Let’s get it done against the big John Isner!

    1. I didn’t notice Shapo going to the towel as much? Guess I was too focused on Fed’s level which was awesome.

      Anderson is slow between points, even between serves. Will be his mental coach with the take your time mantra.

      All the geniuses of sport seem to play at light speed. Federer, Ronnie, Messi. I guess only Phil Taylor is in the greatness category who wasn’t throwing at speed.

    2. Yeah the elegant & finessed house of Fed horror!!!
      Beautiful write up & watching Fed dominate fairly was such a pleasure Denis mightn’t have won but all good & nice words for him by Roger too!
      Can’t stand BG but Roger handles him so well and his deft ability to frame his answers & promote the concept that Isner is thrilling & he treats it like a penalty shoot out & to see what he the goalie can save….you realise what a super sportsperson he is & ambassadorial gift to his sport particularly as he engenders interest in the next match & player ! We have been witnessing genius for ever really & even in his dotage win or lose, Roger is still such a joy !

  6. Caution. Page no longer keeps your thoughtfully drafted comment while you go check something on another page before posting.

      1. Chrome on ipad. Maybe I hit some kind of reload button by mistake.

        What I had started to say was something like, overpowers is exactly right; and I loved the last two points of the highlights you posted, Denis with the amazing get, proud of himself, even Fed looks impressed, then Fed nearly replicates it,some points later, & Denis has the grace even in the moment to applaud his opponent. Fun smiling tennis.

        And what I always remember about Isner is how he beat Fed on clay in Davis Cup all those years ago. But if each brings the level from their semi – ok, then it’s tight. But if Fed is able bring up that serve % as you said Jonathan, his chances are you good. And you know seve’s re-watching the FAA / Isner match to see what he can glean…

  7. I thought Shapo maybe a bit jaded due to a few intense matches but he is still young, plenty of room to improve. Roger what a performance, old man in the final all 3 tourneys he entered Dubai-IW-Miami. This is unreal for 38 year old. He will need to improve his serves %, against player like Isner it is dangerous to drop serve. Lets do this Roger!!!

    1. 3 finals on the spin is amazing. Even his distractors should really admit what Fed does at 38 is unheard of. But I won’t hold my breath as it’s easier to hate than respect achievements.

      I’ve even seen some of the NPC Federer fans already praying on their timeline Roger wins because Isner has backed Trump and liked a few of his tweets 😆

      1. Very tempted to comment on this. But I won’t! Just this: I wouldn’t like to see Trump on a tennis court

  8. Definitely a masterclass! Magical most of the time, one of those matches to save and watch again and again just to enjoy it. It was again for Roger a happy and relaxed match.
    Isner will have to work really hard to be up to the Maestro.
    Go Roger !

  9. Fed, the Schoolerer? Haha more like the headmasterer!
    Yep, it was worth wobbling out from the bed to watch live. Sharpo’s dream became rather nightmare but hope he’ll cherish the encounter and grow big as a tennis star. Wishing for tomorrow to be like IW final 2012 rather than LC last year which was too stressful for my liking. Needs better serving day, Roger!

  10. I call Federer’s new style “SLICE&VOLLEY”. 🙂 I have not seen such slice variety. Looks like a computer was evaluating the most uncomfortable position on court (for the opponent) and Roger simply just place the ball there.

    Can it work against Isner? No problem on Fed’s serve or after bringing the ball back, not to the best position for Isner to kill it. With this passive strategy we are easily at 6:6 in every set. At this time lottery starts, but Isner has always the winning ticket.

    FAA has tried another strategy and it brought results. Namely to do everything to break Isner before 6:6. Did succeed twice and … lost both sets. The holding part was a crap because of nerves. This will of course not happen to Roger.

    I think, Roger “lies” strategically, visualizing himself as a goalie at penalty shooting. I don’t see him staying at the wall. I think, he will do the same as FAA but with even more success and then holding. No tiebreaks this time for the cannon.

    The secret of Isner’s TB success? When something goes wrong and he gets broken, he takes maximal risk on next return . If it does not help, then on overnext. And when 6:6 in TB is closing, most opponents lose nerves. I guess,, just in case, this does not happen to Fed.

    It would be a nightmare for tennis to see Big Bullshit doing his work against the icon of the sport.

    1. interestingly Fed leads the number of tie-breaks wins on the tour with 432.
      Inner follows at 387.
      However I believe that they are equal in tie breaks against each other.
      Statistics are not my thing but I hope these are correct.
      Whatever,as you say a better strategy is to break during the set if possible.

    2. Who is big bullshit ? What are the lies you mention?
      Are you agreeing Roger did well or what PRF? All those words & it’s nine tenths confusing & conflicting !
      Go watch Rafa maybe? All are happy you come on seeking attention and destroying all the goodwill & fun we share !
      I’ve spent weeks unable to see Fed & these writeups mean the world the me & you yammer on like a fuckwit & irritate the hell out of my pleasure almost consistently !
      Just push off or STFU …thanks Jonathan for doing what you do & everyone else who knows their tennis on here!
      Go Fed & may clay season really be a great time immininently too!

      1. @Katie
        I’m sorry, but cannot guess how do you read something Fed-negative into this my comment. Is calling new Fed’s style “Slice&Volley” offensive or what? “Lie” was put between quotation marks – not enough to understand, it’s positive? I’m sure, Fed has more sense of humor.

        I have written tons of positives about Fed in my life (maybe even before you was born ;)). I’m quite old and Roger was always my hero.

        I have made manually a board with “Roger Federer Square 17…” in the forest near me. We were just waiting for 17th slam. Long ago but then I have arranged a feeding place for wild, so the wild visits daily RF Square – not nice?

        @Jonathan
        You couldn’t be better 😉

    3. Why would he lie strategically about a goalkeeper analogy? 😀 In a way that’s what all returners are doing, trying to stop the ball going past them. With an added dimension of trying to deflect it back over the net rather than put it anywhere.

      1. Right, Jonathan. Almost all.
        I think, Fed will do the opposite. Staying close for such serve means to risk life 😉
        But at the same time to be able to return the ball being on “normal” height.

        Fits into goalie metapher. Some stay back at the “baseline”, having just chances about which Roger was kidding.
        Guess, why the goalie must stay on the goal line until the ball is hit. It’s geometry. Thanks God, no such rules in tennis . When I’m not wrong, the returner may not only stay at the baseline, not at the back wall, but can move forward just after the toss, before the hit (SABR)..

      2. Ok got ya.

        And of course, although when was the last time you saw a goalkeeper stay on the line? That rule should be enforced but no referees seem to. Keeper’s are about 2 feet off the line by the time the ball is struck a lot of the time.

      3. @Jonathan
        I’m sure, you are right, but last time I was watching a football match, was light years ago 😉 I recall the rule, but no idea, how it’s executed.

        Should be easy to enforce with the goal-line or similar technology.

        Another difference between football and tennis – serve in tennis is not a penalty (or you are staying against BB) but privilege. Still for so many it works rather like penalty. First of all for ladies and there – first of all for Ostapenko 😉

      4. Apologies for creating aggression & controversy but the cryptic & goading nature in PRF musings do have a double meaning tome at times. Perhaps it’s even a case of lost in translation but just seems to have an undertone that’s derogatory to Fed. A tennis knowall who argues in circles & it’s tiresome as clarity or resolution is seldom reached imo!
        I am short on patience maybe apologies for that but weeks in hospital & no live matches do that perhaps!
        I’m in raptures over the writeup and clips and then puzzling is it PRF piffle raining on Rogers parade or?
        I’m seeing the cow pats still despite the protestations equally as tedious as the original assertions!
        Just enjoy Roger PRF & remember 99 % on here are happy if he’s just standing near a court!
        Allez!

  11. A great performance from Fed
    Very impressed by FAA.He had the chance to serve out both sets.
    Fed will do better than that I believe.

  12. Thanks Jonathan for the summary. I am on Cloud 9 now and agree that the maestro is impressive so far. On Isner match, Rog will have fewer BP chances and I am praying for him to achieve 50% BP conversion! He must not let Tsitsipass and Thiem matches happen again, which gave me sleepless rotten nights.

  13. I still think Shapo in a few moments esp. in 2. set exposed his huge dangerous talent. Some successfull training of hitting precisely inside the court might do wonders, also improving solid confidence. I like his positive fiery emotionel way, making him interesting to follow. It seems that he’s in a good process to tame it to be less and less disastrous.
    And I join of course the happy enthusiastc choir of Federer’s elegant and majestic mastership in full fast spring-growth and blooming. I think he can manage the next match too. Will be exciting to see how he (hopefully) does it!

  14. Its one of the best saturday morning coz our roger did a great job today and i watched his whole match while sipping my coffee Coz its weekend here:)

    I dont know what happened to shapovalov but roger’s infinite ways of shot making made him uncomfortable.

    Next is isner.. roger was excited to have match with big servers, but me? Dont like.. its more convenient if he can put it to rally,….

    What i love from roger is he is he is excited for new challenges, its a big key for him not to retire for the next few years. He keep improving and adjusting his game…:)

    Allez roger!!! Go get it!!!!!

  15. Fantastic Federer, I bet it will make Isner feel a little uncomfortable to hear
    how Roger likes big servers. Thought Shapo would do better in the second
    set as he often seems to be all over the place in the first. But what can you say
    just too good from RF, that Panhandle return was just funny as well as good.

  16. Fed’s low skidding balls spread havoc on the other side of the net. At a point of set 1 every slice was returned straight into the net. Dennis and many others are much better prepared to trade bomb ground strokes than to deal with a variety of trajectories and effects. I know what I’m talking about because it’s the only way I can deal with one of my class mates, a nice fellow 25 years younger than me and an annoying pusher… hahaha.

  17. The latest Federer is beyond belief, he is such a pleasure to watch even after midnight. He has been sprinkled by fairy dust (and I mean this in the best possible way) to roll back the years. He even looked younger when he arrived to play Anderson, I noticed right away.
    I’ve been watching him for many years, and I’m sure most of you worked this out years ago, but what he does (when he is in the Magic Zone) is stop the person in the other side doing what he wants to do, e.g. normally hammer the ball as fast as possible back from the baseline, by an ingenious variety of speed, strokes and manoeuvres, plus briliant placement and crazily quick reactions at the net. Yes, pretty obvious! And how does he manage to narrow the width of the court? – he seems to be all over the baseline by some sort of gliding mechanism, not by haring along it frantically like Murray. Is it getting to the 100 that has freed him? Loved Anderson (yawn) being made to look even stodgier than usual and loved the normally exuberant Shapo being shown that it was not as easy as he thought it would be, but I rather like Shapo except for the hat. Hoping desperately that the first serve comes back from wherever it has gone and then all will be peRFect.
    Thanks for these wonderful write-ups Jonathan which we all eagerly wait for after a match.

  18. For two teens from a non-tennis country to be in the semis is awesome. Felix could not toss the ball, therefore his serve completely tanked. Otherwise, not a bad performance on that big a stage. Who has broken Isner two times in a match in Miami?
    Shapo was star-struck and never really played his game. I think Shapo uses a lot of nervous energy while playing a match. Unfortunately, easy to be exhausted at the tail end of a tournament. They are best friends and both will be good for the game.
    Fed seems to have a new found confidence in Miami. Looks like he really believes in his shots and is using such variety.
    Fun to watch. Beat Isner or I’ll kill you!

    1. Both Felix and Shapo need so much improvement with the ball toss. Improved serve will make them even more powerful.

      1. I know, Wanda. That would take years to accomplish, so thick and stretchy.
        Why are there so many empty seats with all the tickets bought? Hmm. Corporations buying them up and no one showing up?

  19. Hi, I think not too much unforced errors like against Shapo will be essencial also. To keep service, but if he return Isner’s service he will do a great job, because Isner can’t stand so much rally.

  20. I have (almost) exhausted all my rotten puns and pseudo “poetical” comparisons when writing/talking about Fed. The word “federesque” only sticks to his wonderful game.
    All week long, he was incredible at the net and in defense. 3 finals in a row… in a few weeks. Ranked number 4. And that happiness and interaction with the audience and fans. It’s fantastic.

    Thomas Sotto (a French journalist who wrote a book about RF last year) wrote this on his touitteur account  – I love it :

    Le @rogerfederer du #miamiopen2019 est un must ! Puisse t-il continuer longtemps encore à grignoter mes nuits pour m’offrir tant de bonheur à le voir jouer tellement bien… #NuitsSansSommeilMaisAvecLeSoleil
    ☉🎾☉👍☉

    Let’s build a chain to encourage Fed to win #101 tomorrow ! Fed, Jonathan, and all his faithful fans deserve it, don’t they ?

    1. C’est quoi le bouquin de Sotto?

      Il y a aussi le nouveau livre de Stauffer qui doît être disponible la semaine prochaine, mais je crois que là c’est uniquement en allemand pour le moment.

  21. Reaching back to back finals is a big Win for Fed after that dismal 2018 and cannot ask for more regarding ATP events. More importantly winning some GS’s is all I want from RF. Everything else is just icing on the cake. If RF can snag a GS and do better than Djoko in all the events, I think that YE#1 will be interesting.

    1. “Dismal 2018”, lol – with its Slam & its return to #1? I think you must be thinking of some particular moment of 2018….. oh! I think I’ve got it now! You just mean last year’s dismal MIAMI tournament, right? Misunderstood your meaning completely at first.

  22. Ha ha – schoolerer. Loved it😄
    In my view still alarming stats for Roger are
    1) BP conversion
    2) 1st Serve%

    If he can clock up these and continue with good return of serve and avoid becoming tight in tie breaks it should be done

    1. Stats never win a match. it’s old debate about Fed’s low break conversion rate.

      Compare these exemplary stats:
      Fed: 10 break opportunities – 3 won, conversion rate 30% – LOW!!!
      Opponent: 2 break opportunities, 1 won, conversion rate 50% – HIGH!!!

      Who wins the match?

      If in shape and on fire (like in Miami) Fed always creates lots of break opportunities. Which means – great chances for at least 1 break more in absolute numbers.

      Thinking in terms of stats you should be happy if Fed has high conversion rate, not high number of breaks.

      Imagine high conversion rate for a player creating so many opportunities. Would need to double-bagel every opponent. Why not? But winning 6:4 and 6:4 is enough, isn’t it?

      Continue with good RoS, you mean good stats on return, right? Against BB he will not have big stats on return. Or – good stats on return against Seppi is not the same as against BB.

      1. Sorry, “BB”? That makes me think “Boris Becker”, & I’m sure that’s not what you meant…

      2. Do you mean, if you are 40:00 on return, you have theoretically breaks and then maybe more, but if you break on the first, the others don’t count in this stat?

        This would falsify the performance. Or – it’s still not clear, if you got them with own winners or with opponent making 3 double faults in a row.

        That’s why I don’t care so much about these stats. They don’t disclose, what has actually happened and who created them. Than maybe you convert by double fault of the opponent, so is this really a conversion?

        Break opportunities created by winners and breaks created by winners – only these should count, but who cares? It’s only numbers.

        Watch the match and you will see, what stats will never tell.

        If you had a break opportunity but the opponent hit an ace, is this a problem with conversion?

        Also conversion against different players is not the same.

    2. On 2018 and 2019 so far he is taking his chances less often though I believe than previous seasons, statistically. So there is something in that stat.

      But stats can always mislead. The big one on breakpoints is that they never show if you broke or not. I could be 1 out of 10 on break points, so 10%. But if they call came in one game and my opponent saved all nine with good plays, then I’d feel like I’m 100%.

      1. Stats may not matter always. But today they do because against Isner serve you have to take them somehow unless it is unreturnable.
        I watched the whole match of 2012 IW final. There also in 1st set the first serve% was very less but still he somehow won it in tiebreaker. Second set was fairly easy.
        In my opinion the backhand slice is crucial today. Dropping it too short may not help much but dropping in the middle of the court on the ad court sideline can draw errors from the wing as Isner may be confused about going down the line or cross court.

  23. Too bad Shapo was too nervous to play up to his potential, but he did manage to drag Roger’s level a bit. Roger would have won if Shapo played his best as well, but that is moot. I’m sure they will meet more in future. Hope Roger serves much better in the finals. I am sure he will as he always rises to the occasion and it takes a Nadal or Djokovic at their best to win against the Roger in Finals. Thiem did manage it at IW, but not sure if the best Roger showed up in that. Isner is not in the same category. He will have his aces and free points, but I’m sure Roger will prevail in the end. I am expecting a straight sets win with at most one breaker. A win with any score will make us all happy.

    1. LOL at Fed saying he enjoys watching Isner play.A bit like watching paint dry I would have thought.
      But I agree that Fed will have him.Two sets.

      1. I have no doubts, Fed would rather like to watch him (from the box) than on the court (maybe this was meant) 😉 What was meant was like “Do you want to play BIB? Fed: No, thank you, I prefer to watch him in TV 😉
        Just like Shapo told, the best moment in his match vs. Fed was the warmup 😉

    2. Isner is good to watch though for many fans. Especially for those who play. It’s a challenge and seeing how many different serves he can hit then the returner coming up with a return that he had no reaction time on is great. Some of Fed’s most interesting matches at Wimbledon have been against big servers.

      I said this a few weeks ago in the comments, watching big servers is fun. Happy to have the great Roger Federer sharing that opinion 🙂

      1. I would add this. Watching big servers lose is very funny 🙂 Watching BIB defeating your hero is a bit less funny, hahaha …

      2. One of the best was when Fed lobbed Karlovic at the
        (I think ) AO, and was there not a ridiculous drop shot
        return at Indian Wells against Isner.

    3. How can you play to your potential against Fed in command mode? And – some players never play to their potential. Shapo is (or thinks to be) a showman but has no balls to play like Kyrgios, always over his potential if playing against big ones. Thiem was able to dictate and disable Fed’s Slice&Volley.

      1. @Sue
        Ah, you provoke me to tell more about how Thiem disabled Fed’s Slice&Volley. Remember, you asked. It was only one sentence. But you need more. OK – let’s go.

        The match started as expected with Federer ruling. So Fed was dictating first. But you may recall, even in the lost first set, Thiem was able to rebreak once. So he was trying to turn the tables just in the first. It didn’t happen, but was “coming”.

        Fed knew, he needs to win the second set in the same manner. And he was very close to break in to 2:1. But Thiem defended and this was the turning point.

        Thiem started to serve better (his serve is no more so predictable as 2-3 years ago) and to return better. Staying closer to the line. Hitting hard BH and FH (which he always does, but often with lots of mistakes).

        This pushed Fed behind the baseline and (even if he was still trying) and made his net approaches more risky. That’s how Thiem disabled Fed’s Slice&Volley and Fed needed to play 90% from the baseline, After some time of such a game, Fed’s wrist gets fatigued and loses accuracy, resulting in more UE’s.

        At the same time Fed is required to run more and get’s tired, losing his comfort position. Since this point the match is close to be lost. No matter, Fed still had a match point but missed to convert it. It’s not Thiem’s failure. Usually the player defending match points is praised. Not when playing against and defeating Federer. At least not here.

        Want more?

  24. I checked the ticket prices for the finals, at first I mistakenly went to the women’s final and was excited to see a seat for 16 bucks. But alas, the cheapest men’s seat was 166 bucks and up to 3500. I think the IW tournament director was right a few years ago when he mentioned the importance of the men’s game to covering the overall costs of the tournament; he should have checked with the PR guys though to make sure he could state the obvious or whether he needed to shade it to fit the PC narrative.

  25. Well, Fed has well exceeded my expectations for this week. I hope he can get the title, but frankly it’s hard to see back to back finals, especially at Miami, and complain about his level lmao. I feel like Fed should win this, but I can see it going 3 easily. Isner is playing very well. We’ll see. I do have to say, Fed’s level pre 100 titles to his level post 100 titles is considerably different overall. Feels like he’s digging deeper when he needs to, too. Good stuff. Thanks for the writeup Jon.

    1. Actually he’s been quite sharp since start of 2019 IMO. But sometimes come a hickup against our expectations. Overall he’s been a huge pleasure to watch latest months, and maybe he allows himself even more free flight and fun since the 100th.

  26. For some time I hated the tall powerplayers, and they seemed to breed, ruining artists’ entertaining variety of tennis. But now…Roger likes it, the challenge of their unplayable serves thrills him to still return them. That’s a way to grow great, to take on and LIKE the impossible challenges? And oh yes btw, Fed has impressed me lately many times returning powerserves. That certainly is the answer to that. Wow!

    1. Remember that it’s the ugliness around that makes us appreciate the beauty of Roger’s game even more than we would have.

      Let;s enjoy the contrast. I believe Roger will win (in which case he would lead the Singles race) but if he doesn’t,…that’s alright too.

  27. A question for the experts here.
    How many different players Roger defeated during his career?
    I think he has 5 new skulls just from the last two weeks or so, and had some first encounters in the last couple of years as well.

    1. And that, my friend, is another important statistic that has seldom been brought to the discussion… Damn, it is even recorded somewhere?…
      I think it is in direct relation to the number of matches played, possibly with some bias if the player under analysis and his opponents favor a certain set of tournaments.

    2. I think that’s accurate btw, I pulled the full match database from GitHub, filtered to show only Federer’s Wins, then de-duped the list of opponents.

      Matches from this year and back end of last were missing had up to US 2018 loss so I manually picked out the others: Shapo, Albot, Hurkacz, Edmund, Tsitsy, Copil, Medvedev,

  28. I wrote about this in the previous thread but it was essentially dead. So, here it goes again: it’s wrong to say that numbers (as statistics, specifically) lie. They don’t because they can’t. It’s our elaboration of judgment based on them that fails. PRF’s example about break point conversion is perfect. *Almost* no one will say that Anderson returned better that Federer because he converted 100%. This number is true. He had 1 break point, which is just as true as the previous one. With this second number you refine your original judgment. And so on: you add more statistics, give each one a relative weight and improve the quality of the judgment. This can go on virtually for ever: take the goat/sheep/llama debate… and there are certain observables that cannot be quantified which just complicates the matter even further.
    How do you measure the quality of footwork? … wait: even that may have an answer: measure the amount of dust collected on Roger’s socks on clay courts. Zero. There you have it: another number!

    1. No we don’t. As for me, I love Fed’s happy reaction (he obviously likes facing all kinds of challenge) to this unavoidable breed, and I can’t wait to see his handling it.

      1. He also likes coming to the net and has a decent volley in spite of some difficulties inherent to his height. He didn’t defeat DelPotro last year by mere luck…

  29. Fed was the 2017 Miami champion (beat Nadal in 2), Isner was the 2018 Miami champion (beat Sasha in 3) — playing for the final in 2019. Nice.

      1. That is surely amazing, Annie. It would be interesting to watch that match, or highlights, if we can.

      1. That young bloke with the ponytail and wearing ridiculous clothes 3 numbers above his body size had some decent play. He might have a future…

      2. And he is playing just as well today – well yesterday – better, even? Thanks, Jonathan, that was fun.

  30. Watch this https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3bfxv0 (12 minutes highlights from Fed vs. Isner US Open 15 to understand where Roger must and will stay on return. Returning most of Isner’s serves was in 2 first sets not able to break but won easily first TB, with some work the second and finally got a break in the third set to 7:5.

    Is this scenario probable today? Not really. Both were 4 years younger and watching these highlights the match must have been entertaining, lots of rallies, Isner running like gazelle, Roger like a lion 😉

    Today the match will be probably more static but who knows? If it goes to look like in 2015, can be good to watch and then 3 questions:
    1. Does Isner serve better today than 2015? – probably yes
    2. Can Federer return so well or better? – not sure if he can create such a power but probably he can return better
    3. Who will run better – in short-term probably Federer.

    Conclusion: Fed must give everything to break and to win in 2. They say (about slams) – if you don’t win in 3, you lose in 5.

      1. Well, I quoted a popular saying – I’m not the author 😉

        It was more than true and very painful for Thiem in 2017 against Delpo, The Cheater. 🙁

        In any case I would prefer Fed to win in 2 today. The third can go to TB and lottery starts 🙁

  31. What do you think, what will choose Fed if he wins the toss? I think, he chooses receiving, but I mean he should choose serve. If Isner wins, he chooses of course serve, He prefers to serve first in TB 😉

    1. 2 breadsticks would fit better.Bullshit could save money for crouches. That’s how every big bullshit should end. I have no guilty conscience when wishing them all to disappear from tennis, whatever way. They don’t belong here and they have ruined a lot of young careers. And they started to play tennis at own risk.

      Fed returned like I expected, Bullshit had maybe problems before the match started, but hammer throwing is an injury-prone sport. Who goes next?

  32. Ahem, right… another mug for the shelf.
    (And I’m spending the afternoon in the hospital with my son… hoping for the second good news of the day)

      1. Thanks. He says hi. It’s a suspected appendicitis. If it is, knife it is, if not, the betterer.
        Did I calculate right or Big John just got 3 points on Roger’s serve? This is insane.

  33. Incredible first set.A shame about Isners injury but I believe Fed would have won anyway.His movement was
    sublime😊

    1. And JI’s movements of injure seemed not un-exaggerated. Did’n’t look totally genuine to me. Got nervous that Fed’s killer-instinct might be injured too. – But JI made a very nice congrats to Roger. And Fed was a bit touched, – did I discover a small tear? He was very happy indeed. So very much deserved.

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