Easy work for the GOAT here as he routined Stan Wawrinka 6-4 6-2 to make the final in Rome for the fourth time where he'll face off against Novak Djokovic in tomorrow's blockbuster.
I predicted Fed to win this one in two sets and he made very light work of it, coming back from 0-3 down in the first set to win 6 of the last 7 games and then streaking away with the second set losing just 10 points to get the job done in just 54 minutes.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive to which Stan responded with a lightening quick hold to love. Roger then moved up 40-30 on his own serve but missed 2 routine forehands in a row to give Stan break point, Fed saved it but committed another error on the next point and this time Wawrinka converted for a 2-0 lead.
Wawrinka then quickly consolidated to lead 3-0 and looked like he was going to run away with the first set. However in game 5 he played an awful service game, committing 2 errors and then firing down a double fault en route to dropping service.
That break back completely changed the context of the match and Roger held for 3-3 before breaking at 4-4 with a sweet backhand return that clipped the line. Fed then served it out to 30 to take it 6-4.
Into the second and Stan regrouped to hold to love in his opening game but after Roger levelled for 1-1 Stan went AWOL, only winning 1 point in 4 games to fall 5-1 behind. He just had no answers and the mistakes flew from his racquet as Roger applied the pressure. Stan did finally hold for 2-5 but it was far too late to mount a comeback and Fed served it out to love, finishing with a slam dunk of sorts on match point to take it 6-2.
|S. Wawrinka||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||60%||73%|
|1st Serve Points Won||19/27 (70%)||28/35 (80%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||6/18 (33%)||8/13 (62%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/6 (33%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||9||9|
|1st Return Points Won||7/35 (20%)||8/27 (30%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||5/13 (38%)||12/18 (67%)|
|Break Points Won||1/2 (50%)||4/6 (67%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Net Points Won||5/10||12/14|
|Total Service Points Won||25/45 (56%)||36/48 (75%)|
|Total Return Points Won||12/48 (25%)||20/45 (44%)|
|Total Points Won||37/93 (40%)||56/93 (60%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Bit of a weird match this one as Stan came out hitting the ball sweetly and stepping into the court to race into a 3-0 lead but after playing a poor service game he went completely off the boil and checked out of the match. Some credit has to go to Federer for it as he did come up with some very intelligent shots that Stan couldn't really handle and put him out of position but he made things very easy for him.
Not much else to say on this one as it lasted well under an hour and there weren't many rallies of note. I thought Roger served well yet again which will be important tomorrow and he hit some pretty decent groundstrokes off both wings without leaking many errors. Basically he just did what he had to do and things turned out way easier than he expected. That return game at 3-1 in the second set was pretty special too:
The only other talking point is the court which looks to be falling to bits with potholes scattered around the baseline. I didn't see the earlier semi final but Djokovic was apparently complaining about the court at every changeover and Roger also had Lahyani down off the chair to show him it was dangerous. According to some at the venue the court staff only had 3 weeks to prepare the court so it's not finished to the highest quality.
Predictions vs. Djokovic
No surprises on who awaits Roger in the final as Djokovic defeated Ferrer 6-4 6-4 in the earlier semi final. I didn't watch it but Djokovic didn't drop serve once and saved all 3 of the break points he faced. Impressive stuff from the man bidding to win his 4th Rome title and 4th Masters 1000th of the year to date.
This matchup has been the best rivalry of the last 18 months really as both guys seem to bring out the best in each other so hopefully tomorrow is more of the same. Roger actually leads the H2H on clay 4-3 and as we've seen in all their recent matches he is definitely capable of causing Djokovic trouble by taking his time away and looking to force the issue.
I think the match is less on Roger's racquet on this surface compared with others but it's all going to be about who can take charge of the points when it matters most. If Federer has a good serving day and doesn't break down from the back of the court under Djokovic's relentlessness then I actually like his chances. It looks like there is just enough in the court to reward his attacking style of play and there are a few question marks of Djokovic's form this week. Of course he usually turns up the heat for the finals but he's dropped a few sets this week so far and doesn't look to be returning serve as well as he can.
As usual the key stat for Fed in this one is how well he can defend his second serve, anything higher than ~50% is usually enough to get the job done. He didn't return well enough when they met in the Indian Wells final earlier this year either so if Fed can get into more return games whilst holding his own service games without too much pressure things can happen for him.
On balance I'll pick Djokovic in three as he seems to find that extra gear this year when he needs it. Hopefully it's a decent final and both guys can play some of their best stuff. What do you guys think?