French OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Passes Tursunov Test in Paris

A tough test for Federer here as he overcame Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4 to book his spot in the fourth round for the 12th time in his career. It was far from plain sailing and up until the start of the third set looked like it could have gone either way.

After Tursunov started struggling with a groin injury momentum soon changed and Fed was able to play smart tennis and prevent Tursunov from playing the brand of aggressive tennis that had seen him reel off the second tie break with a succession of powerfully struck winners.

By reaching the last 16 Fed has once again set another record this time bettering the record set by Guillermo Vilas who reached the Last 16 on 11 occasions. Fed is now at 12 and I guess he could make about 14 / 15 depending on if he can maintain this kind of level. Anyway let's take a look at the match:

Quick Match Recap

Federer 3rd Round Roland Garros 2014

With overcast conditions I knew before a ball had even been struck this was going to be a tricky one. Tursunov is a huge ball striker on his day and when it's damp in the air players like him can still generate a ton of pace and go through the court.

Both players started confidently but by the 5th game a few errors had started to creep into Roger's game, mainly because he was constantly on the defensive. At 3 all Tursunov had a break point but Roger's first served bailed him out.

The Federer first serve was up at around 80% in the first set and ultimately was the difference between the 2 as the Swiss held firm at 6-5 and then seized the deciding break on his 3rd break point.

I thought Fed was pretty lucky to win the first set as he'd been second best for most of it. Into the second and it looked like the second was going to be a mirror image of the first. Roger saved a break point early and after exhanging great shots and service holds the Swiss created 3 set points at 6-5 but failed to convert any of them.

Into the tie break and Federer soon found himself with a 4-1 lead however Tursunov hit back to level at 4 all. The Russian then had set point at 6-5 but a fantastic swinging second serve up the T from Federer saw him level at 6 all.

Fed then had a set point of his own but more crisp hitting from Tursunov won him both points on serve before he fired an unstoppable winner down the line to take the breaker 9-7.

The third set saw Roger break immediately and Tursunov then took a medical timeout for a groin injury. When the Russian returned Fed immediately tested his fitness with 2 exquisite dropshots before breaking again en route to taking the set 6-2.

The fourth set had a feeling of inevitability about it and although Roger could only convert 1 of 9 break points he was looking the much stronger player as Tursunov struggle to return serve and he finally closed it out 6-4 in 3 hours and 7 minutes.

Match Stats

Stats Dmitry Tursunov Roger Federer
Aces 6 15
Double Faults 5 1
1st Serves In 98/159 (62 %) 81/120 (68 %)
1st Serve Points Won 67/98 (68 %) 65/81 (80 %)
2nd Serve Points Won 31/61 (51 %) 27/39 (69 %)
Fastest Serve 218 Kmh 204 Kmh
Average 1st Serve Speed 194 Kmh 183 Kmh
Average 2nd Serve Speed 148 Kmh 154 Kmh
Net Points Won 18/27 (67 %) 12/19 (63 %)
Break Points Won 0/2 (0 %) 4/21 (19 %)
Receiving Points Won 28/120 (23 %) 61/159 (38 %)
Winners 41 56
Unforced Errors 46 39
Total Points Won 126 153

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Come on vs Tursunov

A tough day at the office here but another match where Fed has got the job despite not really dominating proceedings. He was never the one bossing the rallies and most of his best plays were courtesy of defense rather than offense which isn't ideal but he's the guy heading into the fourth round whilst Tursunov is on a flight home.

Throughout the first set I was a little disappointed with Roger's level but the more I saw the more I realised that Tursunov is an incredibly tricky customer. This guy whacks a huge ball and it made things extremely difficult for Fed to really get on the front foot. Any sort of half court ball was spanked deep into the corners. The second set tie break just showcases that and even though Fed should have converted one of the 3 break points at 6-5 there was nothing he could really do in the breaker as Tursunov hit some huge winners to take it.

I'm pleased to be through. Like expected, it was not a straightforward, easy match. I knew that Dmitry was going to try different things, play aggressive, serve well and then take big cuts at the ball. That's kind of how it went. I think he was doing a very nice job with my slice, dictating play, and I tried to get out of it. I was trying to defend as much as I could, but I wish at times I could have played a bit more offensive and come to the net. But today was difficult because I think Dmitry keeps [you] on the back foot automatically by his big shots.

After the break and medical timeout the momentum of the match changed and Roger started to play at a slightly higher level and once that happened the result was never really in doubt. Although Tursunov was still slapping the ball when he could Roger just had a better court position and more time to manoeuvre his opponent around. It's slightly disappointing to see him waste so many break points with hesitant and timid play but it's nothing new really so I'm hardly shocked and overall the win is the most important thing. Job done.

Predictions vs. Gulbis

Federer Gulbis

Gublis is on a hot run right now winning the title in Nice last week and won comfortably today serving a high number of aces which is impressive. He of course has a win against Roger on clay from Rome in 2010 and he's a very dangerous opponent.

I think if Fed dictates play then he wins easily but if he get's into the sort of match he played today things get difficult again. Gulbis is another big ball striker with a better serve than Tursunov so the break points might not be as easy to come by. If you give him time from the back of the court and let him take advantage of shortballs you're going to have a very bad day.

If Fed can play aggressive, mix it up and just out think Gulbis I'm confident he wins in 3. Gulbis is the sort of player you can wind up mentally by playing clever points. He's going to try dropshot frequently so if Fed can win the majority of those exchanges I think he runs out of ideas and Fed can get into a nice scenario where the Latvian lacks belief.

I'll pick Fed in 3 or 4. 6-4 7-5 6-4.

peRFect Tennis Turns 3 Years Old

Finally today is the blogs third birthday as my first blog post went live on 30th of May 2011 when Fed beat Stan in straight sets at the French. I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this blog be it via just reading, sending me content to post, commenting, joining in on live chat or sharing Twitter / Facebook since it's inception.

I won't pick out any individuals but without you guys I'd have struggled to keep the motivation to keep this site going and knowing people across the globe are part of the community here is pretty cool so thanks πŸ˜€

Most of you will know I usually do a dedicated post with a giveaway on my blogs birthday but this year things will be slightly different – I have something launching later in the year which hopefully will be pretty cool. It won't necessarily be on this site itself and you might not even know it's me behind it πŸ˜‰ but I think it is something a lot of you will enjoy. That's as far as my clues go!

I will also be doing a giveaway too, but that's going to be related to the first commenter leaderboard and will be at the end of the season in November. Remember you've gotta be in it to win it πŸ™‚

Review Overview

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

Job Done

Not the best match from the Swiss but gets some decent court time and got the win. Still very lax on break points.

User Rating: 3.45 ( 8 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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156 thoughts on “Federer Passes Tursunov Test in Paris”

      1. Jonathan, I did commented few times but not very often….earlier I used to sign in with Google and post comments but thats changed now I guess…Its Sweet surprise and bit of luck got in to first comment…:-)

      1. Dhruv, honesty has no place in this cutthroat race for first comment titles. You gotta be ruthless man πŸ™‚

  1. Flipping heck I can now read the full post in peace now that I know I have finally got a win this season. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. Lol not quite. Nambi beat you to it. Must be his / her first comment so I had to Approve it before it showed up. I think there was about 30 seconds in it!

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    I’ve never commented on the blog before but I read it religiously and I just want to thank you for all your hard work. You’ve built a great community here and I enjoy reading your insightful posts and the intelligent comments whether our Maestro wins or loses.

  3. Thought it was a decent match, considering Tursunov is a fairly tricky opponent. Gulbis is going to be interesting I think πŸ˜€

    Anyway, happy peRFect birthday everyone!

  4. Hope the match with Gulbis is without much drama. Liked the way Fed did everything he had to pretty well, other than the break point conversions.

  5. Yeah…Congrats Jonathan!! Long journey ahead….
    I saw today’s match from the beginning of the 3rd set. It looked cool from Fed! But I know that much of drama was already over by then… So now, Gulbis… could be an exciting match. Let’s see…Allez!

    1. Thanks πŸ™‚

      Yeah it was a tight match really. I dunno how big an impact the MTO made in the result. Fed started the third set well, the injury prob takes a little bit of gloss off his performance. We will find out more about his form vs. Gublis, it’s a very winnable match but also loseable depending on how Fed plays.

      1. Rene Stauffer in the Tagesanzeiger wasn’t impressed, that much I *can* tell you πŸ™

  6. Hi Jonathan

    Happy birthday – so pleased I found your blog love your insightful reports on the matches – the people that comment on the blog (apart from the odd troll or two) are great to read as well. I only managed to see the first 3 sets and thought it might be a tough one – I cannot remember seeing Tursanov play so well – I think Glubis could be a banana skin waiting to happen but hopefully fed is feeling confident and raring to go – hopefully I will get to see the whole match next time – don’t you just love sport channels that change to different matches when you are recording cos your at work all day!!

    1. And don’t you just love ITV for concentrating on Djokovic/Cilic and only giving us the tiebreaker on this one? πŸ™
      I was a bit surprised, reading the livescores, to see that Tursunov’s level had dropped off in the third set, and now I know why. Think Fed may have been a bit lucky here, although to be fair he never got broken, but for once I called this match right.

      Jonathan, thanks for the report: it’s good to have it, although it doesn’t leave me filled with hope should Roger, by some miracle, make it to the final and have to face you-know-who. (Oh, and you need to re-check your title)

      1. Eurosport had it all! Actually Jonathan I thought this was a good match for Fed. Conditions sre still heavy, his serve wasn’t broken, hit high% 1st serves and winners outnumbered errors. Defense was excellent and we all know Turs hits a heavy aggressive serve and FH. They always hv tight matches and Turs isn’t top 35 for no reason! Yeah, BP conversion low but he did convert when it mattered, end of 1st set, beginning of 3rd etc. Big points, made it count. Sloppy at 4-1 in TB but Turs served big, give him some credit. And critically, Fed hung tough at the end!
        Gulbis? Well, that’s a lottery as to which one turns up, but think/hope Fed will hv too much game. Agree, 3/4 tightish sets!!

    2. Thanks Trudi.

      @Alison Good spot, I saw it this morning when I woke up. Typing too quick I think, had spelt it similar about 10 times in the post.

      @Susie yeah his serve kept him in the match I think.

  7. Congrats on the 3 years Jonathan, this is a really good site, and your views on Rog are well balanced and informative.

    Glad Federer got through today but not sure that there are signs that he can jump up a level as the matches get tougher. Gulbis will be a real threat though I think with him being very confident that gives Fed extra motivation to school the younger player.

    I think it is 50/50, but should be a good match. Fed’s return and nerve on break points needs to improve a lot if he is to challenge the top players. Getting to the semis would be a great achievement at this stage, though Djok could embarrass him if that match comes about.

    1. Cheers Neil,

      You’d think after 3 years I could at least spell Tursunov correctly lol just had to correct it about 10 times in my post.

      I agree, Gulbis is a danger here. Fed hasn’t looked in tip top form so far. But 3 hours court time should have made him that bit more match tough I think.

  8. I couldn’t watch, just check scores. So I was really encouraged by the 3rd set, which looked like Roger had found a level we haven’t seen in quite a while, maybe since Dubai. But I’ve seen comments on other sites suggesting that wasn’t it at all, that Roger’s level was actually very poor, and if Dmitry hadn’t had the injury he wouldn’t even have pulled it out, much less 6-2. I don’t think we can really know what might have happened, only what did happen; still if Roger is NOT finding that better level, it doesn’t bode well for the round ahead. Hopefully he at least fired some old synapses to remind himself of the kind of play & mental game he’s capable of.

    He does seem in a very relaxed, even playful place within himself, and that’s good to see. I don’t want to have any high hopes, because the last time I did that he lost to Chardy; I guess we just have to see who shows up to the match with Gulbis. Thanks for the reminder about the conditions & their effect on the ball, & that we’ve noticed before that Roger doesn’t much like the damp.

    Happy PeRFect birthday – have a drink on us (you’ll have to collect when/if I ever make it back to the UK!). Thank you again for this resource, & its attendant insight & community.

    1. Don’t believe what you hv been told. Match played at a pretty high level and Fed played well. Stats are pretty gd. Turs lost 3rd set on his first service game, and from 1-2 down, went off physically and then mentally. Good testing game, similar yo Novak’s v Cilic. At the end of the day, one guy gas to go home, and it wasn’t Fed!

      1. Oh good, thanks for the input. I was thinking, those good serve numbers are not impacted by Tursunov’s injury, so what about the rest of it? Glad to know you saw it differently. Also reminding myself it’s been a while since he’s faced a player of this caliber. Maybe since Stan in MC?

  9. Hi Jon, thank you for this great and amazing blog, you have build a really interesting Federer/tennis forum where people can debate in a resonable and grown tone, which is really hard to do! Plus that you are a really good writer and a quick one too, there never goes long after a Fed match before s new post is born, so thank you very much.

    This match today was a really good test for Fed because Tursonov was really on top of his game, and beside the wasted

    1. *wasted BP Fed actually played very well and this match was the match of the highest level so far in the tournament, especially the first two sets, so mostly only good things to take with him into the Gulbis match which is going to be a close encounter, like you say Jon Gulbis is on a confidence role, so he’s going to be tough. Fed needs to be first on the ball to take time away from Gulbis so he dosen’t have time to setup that big forehand. Allez!

    2. Thanks Mark,

      Agreed, Gulbis windmill forehand is something he can surely exploit by rushing him. Been a while since they played each other though and Gulbis is a better player lately.

  10. Hi Jonathan, first of all, congratulations for the 3rd birthday of peRFect-tennis. In particular, I feel pleased and grateful to you for providing this blog in a way such that many Fedfans around world feel being part of ‘home’ and community – sharing our views and feelings of Fed matches has been a great experience. Over the years, I’ve contributed to other blogs and sites as well. Quickly, I felt disconnected and enthusiasm died out. However, this blog is quite unique and definitely a cosy place. Long may this continue! I wish your next adventure to be as good as this one, if not better. πŸ™‚ .
    On the Tursunov match, Roger’s face after his last inside out winner summed up his overall feelings of the match – he was not at all pleased. I guess that his poor BP conversion may have disppointed himself, which I thought was the noly less satisfactory aspect, as you mentioned. Perhaps, Roger wished that he could have been a bit more clinical in dispatching Dimitry.
    On Gulbis match, although Gulbis has got bigger FH than Dimitry, the later is a bit faster. So if Roger stays concentrated, I agree with you – it shought be a straight set victory. Allez Roger!

    1. Thanks Gang.

      Yeah I thought he looked a little frustrated. Prob cos he spent more time defending which isn’t ideal for him.

      I rate Gulbis higher than Tursunov but maybe he’s a slightly better matchup for Fed.

      Jonathan

      1. Stauffer quoted him as yelling something along the lines of “What do I have to do …?” in Swiss. I’ve closed the window, so can’t find the report now.

  11. Happy Birthday to the blog! I’m so glad I found my way here πŸ™‚

    I wasn’t actually worried at any point today that Roger might lose. I’m feeling a bit like that old saying if you can keep your head while all around you are losing theirs, ask yourself if you’ve really understood the problem! I always thought he would up his game when he needed to, which he did. Maybe he’s a little bit too relaxed at the moment, which worries others but gives me confidence for some reason. I do find the ongoing failure to convert break points a bit of a concern. He won’t get that many opportunities with certain other players. I’m hoping he’ll get better and better with each match. I think today’s was the first real challenge for him. And the conditions. If the sun comes out we might see a very different Roger out there. These damp, heavy conditions really affect his game a lot. Looking forward to the match against Gulbis anyway. I think Roger will know how to deal with him (one of my non-predicitons there :-))

    1. Agree with you, never thought he Cld lose and particularly in front of Edberg, now finally arrived and in his rightful seat!, yes, upped his game when necessary and there were dome delightful shots!

  12. On the break point conversion thing: I’m becoming more & more convinced we need a different way of reporting these that includes how many total games the break points occurred in. In this match, Roger converted 4 of 21 break points. Looks bad. However, those 21 break points occurred in a total of only 7 games. So the BEST POSSIBLE stat Roger could have achieved is 7/21.

    So he actually DID convert in just over half the games he had the opportunity to convert. Granted, the 0/7 game 5 in set 4 looks particularly bad, and it would be great if he can figure out a way to convert more of these situations where he has a guaranteed 3 opportunities to break (ie, where he leads 0-40 on the opponent’s serve); but part of it has got to be that Roger is just creating more opportunities in the first place.

    When the best possible stat is 7/21, suddenly 4/21 doesn’t look so bad.

    Set 1: 1/3 (2) (number in parentheses is number of games the break chances occurred in)
    Set 2: 0/3 (1)
    Set 3: 2/6 (2)
    Set 4: 1/9 (2)

    I worked this all out here:
    http://www.tennisbetsite.com/scores/stats/2014/05/30/145544.html

    1. That’s great Thinker! Worthy of your name.

      I’ve been thinking of a way to articulate that too. It doesn’t seem very good commentary that – if a guy has 5 break point chances in a game and only makes the last one then he has a lousy 1/5 ratio – which looks lame.

      But the only thing that matters is that he won the game. From a utility point of view of winning the match (in mathematical terms) he’s at 100% effectiveness. I.e., As far as what that game means mathematically to the overall match he literally couldn’t do any better.

    2. Hello Thinker,
      Break point conversion rate = Number of breaks / Number of opportunities to break.
      This stat really does give the correct picture. It does answer the question — Is the player good enough to make his opportunities count ?
      But unfortunately, Roger could not get it done when it really mattered. Tursonov was the better player while playing Roger’s break point chances. There are no 2 ways about it.
      On a positive note, Roger managed to create 21 opportunities. But Tursonov managed only 2 !!

    3. I disagree again, 4 / 21 shows Fed had 21 break point chances and only managed to take 4 of them. Why is that flawed? It doesn’t matter over how many games etc. It looks a bit like trying to doctor stats for Fed’s benefit πŸ˜€

      @Alb – I don’t see how it’s unfair that if you have 5 break point chances in 1 game and convert the last 1 you get 1/5. It just shows a. You are wasting break point chances or b. Your opponent is playing too good on them.

      1. Because it’s impossible to take all 21 of them. If he took the first opportunity in every game, he’d be 7/7. If he took the last opportunity in every game, he’d be 7/21. As soon as you take 1 in any one game, you can’t take any more in that particular game.

      2. Hi Jonathan,
        I think Thinker has a point here. It’s not just doctoring stats to Fed’s benefit as 4/21 is not only a story of failure but also a success (for creating 21 chances). If you don’t want to call it a success then why are you mentioning the number 21? Just consider the following two statements
        1. Fed converted 4 out of 21 break points.
        2. Fed had break points in 7 games and won 4 of them.
        Different informations…but the 2nd one is more relevant with respect to the scoring system.
        It could be the case that Fed got 21 break points in those 4 games only, all of which he won! He would be happy then. Notice that in this case, the second statement reads 4/4. On the contrary, if Fed had those 21 BPs spread over 12 games, he would be disappointed to lose so many chances. In this case, the 2nd statement reads 4/12. After all, games matter not points.

      3. I like what Thinker / Ankur have to say. Very interesting. Never looked at it that way. True, it’s a more apt representation of the way tennis is scored.

  13. So I’ve been thinking πŸ˜€ about something else too, namely the UFE number. We can sometimes have an almost viscerally negative reaction to a high number, or be ecstatic over a low number… but what does that number by itself really tell us? It seems to me that it’s potentially more useful when viewed as a percentage of TOTAL POINTS played – so I looked at some numbers:

    This match v. Tursunov – 39 UFEs out of 279 points played = UFE rate of 13.97%.
    Last match v. Schwartzmann – 34 UFEs out of 176 points played = UFE rate of 19.34%.
    Rome loss v. Chardy – 43 UFEs out of 193 points played = UFE rate of 22.28%.
    MC final v. Stan – 38 UFEs out of 196 points played = UFE rate of 19.39%.
    “Sublime” Dubai final v. Djokovic – 20 UFEs out of 163 points played = 12.27%

    Now, I expect some variation is down to your opponent, and conditions; but – he’s approaching Dubai rates, guys.

    1. Your way of calculation does in fact give a better picture of Roger’s performance. Roger actually did NOT play bad.
      But this stat can be made even better when the number of points is multiplied by average rally length.

      Unforced Error Rate =Number of UEs / Number of shots played * 100

      Number of shots played = Number of points played * Average rally length.

      The point i am trying to make is — The longer the rally, the chances of making a UE goes up. Its only natural for a long rally to end in a UE.

      We need UE rate calculated this way for Roger’s best ever match and use it as a benchmark to compare with each match.

      This would say that Roger played a very good match Vs Tursunov which is in fact true.

    2. Isn’t that flawed because total points played includes aces and points won when the first serve lands anyway?

      I like unforced errors as it is really, it gives you a good idea of Fed’s level.

      @Thinker – I think these stats are pointless. Comparing UFE to prior matches doesn’t work as it’s a completely different day and a different opponent on a difference surface. It would need to be against the same opponent preferably on the same surface. But considering matches can be years apart it’s pointless.

  14. Apart from his sublime serving, Roger was getting bossed around from the baseline. Thankfully he manage to hang on and get a W. I hope Roger wins easily in his next match against Gulbis – come out guns blazing and boss Gulbis around. Meanwhile Nadal is steamrolling his opponents and looks pretty solid to reach yet another final. Hopefully Ferrer or Murray can come with a godlike performance to stop him.

      1. Oh look, someone already playing injury card – something about back not too well. Is he trying reserve psychology yes?

      1. Yeap looks like he is back to his old form and his opponent so far are not able to make any inroads at all. Gawd anyone but Nadal to win FO please……

    1. Don’t really think Gulbis hits off both sides with the same easy power as Dimitry! Still think Fed has too much game for Gulbis, and this cld be the opportunity for Fed to approach the net more as Gulbis doesn’t have a Novak type passing shot!! 3-4 sets!

    2. Dippy, I know how you feel. I’m just so BORED with Nadal winning RG – and so, as someone said on the TV yesterday, are the French crowd.

      Nadal really seems to have had more than his share of luck in terms of draws recently, doesn’t he?

      And Ferrer carries on under the radar as usual …

    3. Look at the draw!!
      Nadal hasn’t played anyone of note, Fed has actually got a tough draw full of power hitters. Turs/Gulbis/Berdych if he gets thru!! Even Gulbis hasn’t played anyone of real clay court skill. Due to the top half carnage, all the better match ups in bottom half! I am looking for Muzza to come thru, Ferrer to take out Nadal(!!!) and Fed to down joker! Final? Fed v Ferrer! Come on!

      1. Susie, the next up for Nadull is a young, baby-faced, Lajovic, from Serbia πŸ™‚ . Nole has been passing on tips to him and this young stud wants to make a name for himself, just like Lukas Rosol πŸ™‚ ! Let’s hope that Lajovic will provide some entertainment on Monday πŸ™‚ .

  15. 2 other random thoughts.

    1. I wonder if these guys playing Fed are more confident AND risk taking than ever because : a) They smell more blood than in years past because of 2013 and knowing guys like Chardy and Hewitt taking him down is no longer an anomaly b) its still Fed – and so they also know they have to go lights out from the first point. …Fed is between a rock and hard place with his opponents.

    2. I wonder if Fed is so thin to avoid a back injury slogging it out on the slow and long clay leading up to Wimbledon. I’ve heard that even a few pounds of upper torso weight adds a great deal of pressure to the spine and hips and knees. Last year I thought he came into 2013 with what appeared to be obviously more muscle mass in his chest and arms. This year it seems he’s getting thinner and thinner.

    1. I would say not the first but but definitely part B. players know they have to play high risk and go for broke.

      Perhaps, last year he was out of shape due to no training though. I think Fed is pretty optimum weight for a tennis player. Nadal is an anomaly.

    2. I think your number 1 plays into the whole mental aspect of the game. So I think it does make a difference, though I don’t think Fed has lost his…. aura – you still hear his opponents talk about it. But if Fed comes in weak mentally, he maybe is likelier to lose than in the past, because the aura won’t carry him by itself anymore.

  16. Happy birthday, peRFect tennis! Jonathan, you do such a great job. I so appreciate being able to come here after a match and read the blog and all the insightful comments.
    I don’t watch the match but I did see a highlight and after Roger in the chair massaging his right forearm. Oh dear! I hope it’s nothing.
    Raonic playing well. I must admit, a little worried about Gulbis. He was my dark horse.

    1. Thanks Sue.

      I didn’t see that, not heard much about it either. Anyone got a clip?

      Big win for Raonic, did well to break immediately after failing to serve it out.

      1. Don’t have a clip but saw it. Occurred during the medical time out. He used his thumb to massage his inner forearm. Didn’t do it for long and once finished he got up, hopped around a bit and started practicing his serve. He was on the court ready to go when Tursonov returned.

    2. Gulbis dropped a set to Kubot who really hasn’t done much since Wimby last yr, saw off Vet Stepanek, not really a clay court grinder(!) and Bagnis(!). Huge step up now so we shall see! Actually think many expect him to beat Fed so he may feel more pressure and Fed less! If Fed continues to serve as he has, then expect him to come thru.

  17. Happy birth day PT πŸ˜‰ one of best blogs out there
    to Gulbis match, mmmmm I don’t know what to expect really! Gulbis reminds me of my Great Safin (my best player of all time πŸ™‚ , moody and when is he on aggressive playing mood, you can’t stop him, but that mood comes 2 out of 10 matches πŸ˜‰
    so hopefully its not one of those 2 matches.
    however, I like his chances this time, he is on roll and he loves playing with big 4. but if Roger play it smart and mix it, I think roger to win. he need to play it mentally and don’t go with toe to toe

    1. Cheers Shamtoot.

      Yeah pretty good comparison in terms of the mental side of things. Both guys are loose cannons.

      And I agree, Fed gotta mix it up. If he does that he wins.

  18. Happy B day J. your blog is a real pleasure for every RF fan; I really like your sharp writing and light attitude that helps me sometimes put things into proportions.

    question for you: how far do you think Fed is aiming in this year’s RG? does he wont to go as far as possible or does he just want to defend his ranking points looking ahead to Wimby?
    I get a feeling that he doesn’t believe he can win it and just want to stay in shape for the grass-time.

    I have a real conflict here of who do I rout for… I mean of course I’m routing for Fed to go all the way but seems so unlikely… and on the other hand I cant stand to see Nadal winning again. and it is unreal how tough Nole’s way to the final compare to Rafa’s, it’s like the tennis gods conspired against him, so he needs all the support he can get!

    I think only big RN fans are cheering for him. I bet the rest of them, more or less neutral tennis fans, have had enough of his single reign in Paris. I find myself cheering zealously against him (it is the first time in my life that I cheer *against* somebody in this fanatic manner)…

    1. Thanks Feddybear.

      I’m not sure really, based on form so far probably the Quarters but things change pretty quickly on the day.

      I can’t see him beating Djoker if he makes semi finals and I’d like Djok to win the FO. Nadal looking solid so far though and has a much easier draw.

    2. I so agree. Think even the French public are bored of him! They are aching for a French win. The emotions were v high today on the Monf/Fog farce! And they will be out of control for the Jo-Willy/ Novak match up tomorrow! Can’t wait!

    3. Fed said in an interview a few months ago that he thought he still had a chance of winning any of the GS apart from RG. So I guess we’ll see what’s what in due course.

      1. Not so sure! If By chance either Muzza or Ferrer take out Fed his chances go up exponentially!!

  19. Sometimes the life is tough. But a little thing makes you keep going if not giving you a joy. The little thing for me is Roger and the peRFect tennis.

    Many thanks Jonathan and all. Happy 3rd birthday!

  20. Happy Birthday to PeRFect tennis!

    Jonathan, why don’t you add a picture of a cake with the number 3 on top? Of course, Roger winning French would be the icing on it πŸ™‚

  21. Nice one Wanda. You know, no matter how bad Fed’s game is looking. As far as he just finds a way to keep winning his next four matches, I’ll be fine.
    Congrats Jonathan, I remember when I joined this blog. Ever since I’ve been addicted to every post you have on Fed’s match. Keep it up!
    I’ve never come 1st when yyou post, but one of this days, it’s gonna happen.
    Cheers!!!

  22. Adding my voice to the growing chorus of happy b days Jonathan. You seem like a very bright, wise, and grounded fan of the game and of Fed. You do such a tremendous job running this great blog. So much fun for so many.

    Many thanks and congratulations on a well deserved milestone.

      1. Actually, now third(ish) on Chatrier: one of the unfinished matches (the Gasquet one?) has been sneaked in before it.

  23. Haven’t posted lately but I always read your great blog Jonathan, and all the interesting comments, and I wish you and Perfect Tennis a very Happy 3rd Birthday (and many more to come!) πŸ™‚

  24. Hi Guys,
    I watched the whole Nadull-Mayor match today. Nadull ‘back to his best’? I am not sure. Mayor has got no weapons, hitting balls so late consistently. Still he managed to break Nadull twice in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Nadull did show some of his best stuff but he was also pretty vulnerable at quite a few games. Fair enough, Nadull did not have to bring out his best to beat Mayor. Nevertheless, if this was his best for this RG campaign, quite a few players can take him down.
    On tomorrow’s match against Latvian hot head, Rog should pass this test with little complication. Yes, Gulbis could take a set. I could not put my head around of Gulbis beating Roger. Clearly, potential danger is there. I believe that the father of four will not need four sets to send home a guy, who feels that female players should think of having kids more than having a tennis career. Allez Roger!

    1. Come on, guys, Gulbis reminds you of Safin? I watched Safin beating Roger at the 2005 AO SF – both played almost flawless tennis. Marat was absolutely awesome on that night. Gulbis is half a million miles away from Safin.

      1. Chill out Gang πŸ˜‰ we are not comparing his game style and an talent, Safin is FAR away.
        we are comparing his mental side and how easy you can beat Safin if he is not in the mood of playing, like this Gulbis man. also his character wise and the way he speaks πŸ˜‰

  25. According to toni he totally owns nadal here’s an phrase from tv interview.
    “Whether Rafael plays great or not, I always tell him that he’s not good enough. I rarely comfort him. I am severe because he’s my nephew. Because I want him to get high. Because I know that it’s good for him. I’m like that with my kids too. If I weren’t like that, Rafael would probably not become the player he is today after all that happened to him. I’m not like this with other people.”
    13:42 to 14:50 : “Rafael has kept the same team because I dont cost him anything (smiling) but also because when he does something wrong it’s his fault, not mine, and he knows it. He may want to change coach if he loses too much but one day he said to me “No need to hear another coach’s advice. It’s my own problem, not a coach problem !””

    1. Sorry Dhruv, have to disagree. Rafa listens a lot to his uncle, more than he should, but he is not his uncle’s puppet. Don’t buy that. At all. Sorry.

  26. Hey guys. Congrats Jon for the 3 years. Good article.
    And guys… you are worried about Rafa, but you should be more worried about… Ferrer. He is playing some great great tennis and if he defeats Karlovic, don’t be so sure he hasn’t got a good chance against Rafa. I really think he will beat Rafa. Rafa is winning, but with difficulties, with beeing tired. And Ferrer is just cruising through, gaining confidence. IF Andy defeats Kohli, I really think even he can defeat Rafa. Not by playing better, but by hanging on.

    And about Roger, well, even if RG is not his first priority, I think there is a reason he was the first of them all to come and practise at RG. He does want this. Gulbis will be difficult, but to me, he is trying to play a game by getting under Roger’s skin. He might win, but I don’t think so. Roger is not going to bagle him, but he knows what to do with players who have a big mouth.

    And eventhough I was kind of upset at Roger for not taking advantage of his last two breakchances, he played very well. I am so proud of him. He played great, focussed and above all took his time. He didn’t try to hush. For me that was important. Would like to have seen him be a bit more offensive, but like Nole said after winning his match, at the end the important thing is the win.

    So… come on Roger. You can and will do it. Win. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh and dangerman??? How about Jo Willy?? The way he dismissed Jerzy was mighty mighty impressive.
      Nole better not underestimate him and the crowd…

  27. Fuck this sh*t…

    Let’s drop a bomb on Paris and rebuild this stadium into a fast indoor grass court….

    Damn it…

  28. Hi guys, just dropping in to congratulate Federer on his amazing choking display and incredible ability for shanks, unforced errors and missed first serves. Worst match I have seen Roger play since 2013 USO vs Robredo. Absolutely pathetic.

    1. Yes, horrible, especially the missing first serve.

      Jonathan, was it you who was wondering whether the new racquet was ideally suited to clay? If so, have you drawn any further conclusions?

  29. Well. Shit.

    That was…bad. What a choke. 5-3 40-15. One set up and up in the forecourt, and I’m thinking 2 sets to 0 baby!! And the idiot sends the smash into the ONE part of the court where Gulbis didn’t have to move a centimeter. The moment that ball came back I knew that he was going to lose it. Shots like that shake him up (US Open Djokovic return anyone!!?) and he doesn’t recover.

    And the fifth set!! The first game woes continue. Seems completely disinterested out there. No fighting spirit whatsoever. The fifth set is where Champions show why they’re better than the rest. Here we have a 17 Slam Champion against a guy known for being a mental midget. And our man comes up short. Unacceptable. This isn’t the way a champion plays. Pathetic.

    1. Players like Nadal and Djokovic get out played for a set and a half and still come back and win. This idiot can be up a set and 2 set points up and still lose a match. That’s the difference. Watch how Novak (if they reach there) tears him to shreds.

      1. You have no right to call Federer an idiot.Get that straight. Federer is 33 and has won everything there is to win.So give him some respect or don’t tell anything if you feel really angry.

      2. Of course I do. If he doesn’t think he can win, he wouldn’t be playing.

        I respect him more than enough, thank you very much. Actually I respect him more than almost anyone in the world. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t call him on his crap play. If I’m going to laud him when he plays well, I certainly have the right to diss him when he doesn’t. And today, he didn’t. So quit whining Ajay.

      3. And regardless of age, 33 or 93. You DO NOT flub a fucking over head that is barely crossing the net on set point. And then crumble like that after missing it. That doesn’t have anything to do with age. I’m sorry, but it just doesn’t.

    2. Well said Gaurav. I agree 100% with you. I’m actually annoyed with Fed with manner of that defeat. Friggin Gulbis??? Clearly he will be **** against Berdman and bow out at the very next hurdle like all Fed victors seem to. What chance would Fed have had against Djok or Captain Asspick Caveman if he can’t get past bleeding Gulbis? Even when he won the first set I was very worried, just like I was at SW19 v Stakhovsky last year after the tight first tiebreak. It seems if you can keep chipping away at Fed, and stay with him by sharing the opening 2 sets, there’s a good chance he will crack by the final set. Just what is his 5 set record now? I swear he must have lost more 5 setters than he has won now, so many 5 set defeats it’s untrue. Just where is his champ mentality in the final set? Has anyone noticed he seems to struggle a lot in tiebreaks these days as well. What happened in that second set? A missed smash which would have put him 2-0 in sets up, and even in the tiebreak he lead 3-2, then lost 5 points on the bounce, against Gulbis!! Absolute crap. Absolute no hope for Wimby bow, grass or whatever. Probably 4th round or quarters at best. The confidence just isn’t there.

      Am furious that I put that embarrasing performance before a beautiful day outside.

    3. I disagree Ajay, as a fan you are definitely entitled to criticise Federer, it doesn’t mean you don’t respect him. He’s not God you know, god wouldn’t have clowned up that overhead πŸ˜†

      If you pay money to go watch him or subscribe to paid TV Channels then you can have your say :mrgreen:

    4. Hey Gaurav,
      Now you admit that there must be some sort MENTAL problem Fed has. You just can’t attribute this loss to any technical reason. Just ONE point… and it’s gone!

    5. And no, you don’t flub that overhead like he did. I thought he sort of shanked/mistimed it. I get the feeling he made a very late decision. But you know, it happens. It was a coin toss. Had he gone down the line, and had Gulbis decided to run, he may have passed him and we would’ve been saying he should’ve gone the other way. Still, plenty of way he could’ve finished it.

      Well, ****!

  30. A very disappointing result. I didn’t see most of the match. Gulbis was my dark horse. He can play and is holding it together mentally now.
    We never really know what’s going on with Roger. Is he getting enough sleep? Is his right arm ok? He has been massaging it. At his age with all the tennis he has played, he just can’t keep up the intensity every time. Shame. On to grass.

  31. I really think Rog need to be honest with him self and decide if he really wants to do this or if he just hasn’t found anything better to do. At 2 set each I was sure he would fold in the 5th. I wasn’t even disappointed. He is not the same guy we used to root for. But lets face it. To play at this level you really have to want it and at 17 slams, who can blame him. He is only human. Yes, we would like him to be a god of tennis but considering how much he has given us (not that he hasn’t been rewarded himself :-), lets be happy for that. Too bad there is nobody left to watch. Roland Garros ended early this year.

  32. Does anybody notice that really annoying thing Gulbis does regularly where he holds up traffic with his left hand, then quickly hits the ball with his right. I’m sure he does this to put the opponent off and distract them. A very annoying Nadal-like tactic. For a split second when you first see the hand go up, you actually think he is about to complain about something to the umpire, then he quickly strikes the ball.

    How annoying that he’s able to smash a racket to pieces with frustration in a match v Fed, yet despite that he won. Which says a lot for Fed today really.

    1. Gulbis is pretty annoying, I never had an issue with him but I’ve not seen him play a full match before. I guess he speaks his mind so is bound to be divisive but medical timeout was poor.

    2. Yes, it was really annoying. I kept thinking he was Challenging, and then I realised that Hawkeye doesn’t operate here.

      Oh well, I’ll look in tomorrow because I’d like to get to see a bit of Lajovic, but after that I don’t suppose I’ll pay an awful lot of attention.

  33. B*gger – is all I have to say! And to think we’ve got another week of Roland Garros to sit through before we get onto the grass!

  34. Well…. I will keep my word. I said I would apologise if Roger didn’t win RG 2014, so that is what I am doing: I am sorry for having said that Roger would win RG 2014. I really believed it.

    I would like to apologise more for it, but after some of the comments I am reading here… I just have to say: Why does Roger need Fed-haters when he has some of his fans??

    Roger lost. I am extremely extremely disappointed and sad. More because he SHOULD have won the 2nd set and with that the 3rd set. Gulbis played good, not great. But he didn’t win this match as much and Roger lost it.
    That MTO was pathetic, but in my opinion Roger should have overlooked it. He should realise by now that eventhough he is older, others are more injuryproned, and although he STILL is a gentleman, others are not and are doing everything they can to disrupt his momentum.
    I am not going to make excuses. Roger lost because of his own doing. BUT that doesn’t mean I am going to stop believing in him. He played great, now he has to play greater on important points as well. And he really needs a mental coach.

    But guys… to call him an idiot, because he lost?? Come on. If by some miracle he wins Wimby, you will be the first to gush over this “idiot”.

    Atleast be fair to the guy. Don’t make excuses for this loss, because it is his own doing, but don’t burn him too much either for it….

      1. Oh Rita, my comment wasn’t meant for you. I liked your comment πŸ™‚ Made me laugh πŸ™‚
        Be mad at Roger, be very angry, very disappointed (like I am), but don’t call the guy an idiot. If he wins Wimby, you will be all worshipping him again (till his next loss after that). The same thing some commentators do on his own site. Not to be found when Roger wins, when he loses…… there they come….

        Your comment was funny Rita πŸ™‚

    1. Ah, Katyani, in that alternate universe where Roger brought a) his first serve and b) his brain with him, I’m sure he would still be in with a chance …

      And yes, I am pretty mad at Roger (although probably not as much as he is at himself – look for the bruises on the shins where he’s been kicking himself over the next few days πŸ™‚ ): he pretty much had the match in the palm of his hand at the end of the 2nd set, and choked – badly. He should never have lost this match, that’s what it boils down to. But he did, so we have to try and move on and hope that he gets his brain back in gear – and soon.

      1. Hey Alison, Gulbis didn’t win the match…. Roger lost it himself.
        I want to give credit to Gulbis for the win, but after the MTO, I lost all respect for him.
        Always rooted for Berdych (except when he is playing Roger of course), now I want him to beat Gulbis so badly. I honestly wouldn’t have mind if Roger lost to Berdych, but to Gulbis?? The guy is 25 years old and needed a 5 setter to beat a 7 year older TIRED player…. Roger helped Gulbis win. That’s it. That’s all. Roger fought till the end, but if he would have won the second set, he wouldn’t had to fight more.

        I don’t mind Roger losing, but to that big mouth Gulbis???

  35. Ok, I think I am ready to make a fair analysis of this match, it is far enough behind me now.

    I expect a lot of you will disagree with me on this, but actually I think Roger is playing pretty well right now. Once again he is ‘knocking on the door’, regularly reaching the middle rounds and later rounds of tournaments. I still have a belief that sooner or later, it will pay off. And even if I am wrong, and Federer ends his career with ‘only’ 17GS, 21MS and 302 weeks at No.1, I will still see him as the greatest ever. Nothing he does or does not achieve for the rest of his career can ‘tarnish’ his achievements. Even if Rafa breaks most of Roger’s records, he will never be able to play the game like Federer. I still make Federer 4th favourite for Wimbledon behind Djokovic, Murray and Nadal in that order. Other results are that Tsonga has been destroyed by Novak and Murray wins 12-10 in 5th set vs Kohlschreiber.

    Looking forward to the end of the season of Mr Topspin Moonball and the beginning of the GOAT’s favourite part of the year.

    #FedererGOAT4Ever

    1. I’m not judging his season on clay as he was never gonna win the French but it’s difficult to say he’s knocking on the door based on recent results or matches. Looked pretty poor this French campaign overall.

      Halle will be an interesting one. He fluked the title last year, so I wanna see if his level has gone up from then.

  36. OK. I think we all agree by now that our man needs atleast a double break to serve out a set without fear. Also, he fails to concentrate for a LONG time after missing a golden opportunity as his mind stays on that point not on the one he is playing. The moment it was 5-3 deuce, I told my friend – look if he loses this game he would lose the match. AND…. As Gaurav pointed out, it’s the same story as WTF 2012 final against Nole.
    And the MTO! Gulbis should pay Nadal half the match benefit for it! A peRFectly executed gameplan. He probably planned it before the match but timed it correctly. Just one year ago Roger took a timeout against Simon in RG 2013 4th round match. He also came back strong after that but being a bit gentler, he took it after the set, when the tension of serving it out was over. Gulbis showed today the right timing and almost took the match in the 4th after MTO!

    It’s really unbelievable that how this man won 17 GS titles with these nerves. But there you are. He could have won at least 25 by now. His brilliance won him the titles and nerves robbed off the rest.

    You know, that’s why we love him so much. Inspite of being such a champion, he is like you and me… gets so much nervous at crucial moments, falls under the cheap mental traps… gets frustrated inside but doesn’t show it… Hey gentleman! Crash some racquets, get a code violation… shout off the frustrations we won’t mind… WIN when you should. We also don’t mind losing to a better player but don’t surrender to your naughty nerves.

    1. Hey Ankur, I agree with your last paragraph. Luckily Roger is not going to be the ATP Players Council President again. And now…. I think he should not bother with the ATP Fan Favourite Award anymore. He gave his fans so much, they will make sure he will continue to win it anyway. Now…. enough with this mister nice guy. It is bringing him nothing, other undeservingly players walk all over him. They know he is not perfect, but is “too nice”. He also needs to be nice, but also selfish, thinking about winning and winning.

      And was the MTO the “card” Gulbis was talking about?? Didn’t use it in the 2nd set, or the 3rd where he was winning, or in the 4th just before HE himself had to serve, but convienently before Roger had to serve for the set. Even the Dutch commentator said after the second point Gulbis won after he came back from the MTO: wow, didn’t he just have a small injury where he needed the MTO for?”

    2. When did Roger take a timeout against Simon last year? I was rewatching that only the other day, and I don’t remember seeing one. A bathroom break, sure, but if he’d taken an MTO I’d have been more convinced than I was that he most have done himself some damage with that fall.

      Gulbis’ MTO certainly was exceedingly well timed from his point of view: I hadn’t seen any sign of injury from him, and he certainly showed no sign of it when he returned. But Roger’s an old enough hand that he oughtn’t to be put off by that sort of thing.

      1. Yeah I was talkung abt that bathroom brk. But u r right .. he needs to be able to ignore them…

  37. “It’s really unbelievable that how this man won 17 GS titles with these nerves”. The Weak Era. When Nadal and Nole increased their levels he disappeared.

    1. Increased their levels of what? The dose? Or the egg?

      Roger won slams in an era when surfaces rewarded all court skills. You didn’t have to be big, and powerful, and ripped. You needed a lot of talent. Today, you get huge powerful racquets, buff up, use steroids, then get slow surfaces to play on, and bash the ball.

      [When Nadal and Nole increased their levels, he disappeared]

      You are either ignorant, or a liar. Three slams in 2009-10. And a slam in 2012. Or, did the so called, “Golden Era” begin after Wimbledon 2012? Is that when Nadal and Nole started increasing their “levels”?

      Jonathan, why do we have to continue putting up with such stupid statements?

      1. He is directly insulting the player we adore the most, on the players fan site, with absolutely no rational reasoning behind. I had to reply. Trust me, depending on what he says, it can get real nasty.

  38. Pablo should be banned IMO, its gone past the point of him expressing his views, to just blatant trolling and wind-ups. Go on a Nadal fan site you troll.

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