Hey guys, the GOAT's underway in Shanghai and if you were expecting a routine drama free match then this one will certainly have caught you by surprise. I'm still not quite sure how Fed won it really but he did so 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(7) saving 5 match points in the process.
Mayer clearly should have won this one in straights but for whatever reason he couldn't get it done. Throwing away the first set when he was up a break and then missing his first match point by a couple of centimetres. Fair play to Fed though, he saved 4 more of them with some clutch play and then came up with a delightful lob on his first match point to get it done.
A tough match and a big confidence booster to come through in two hours and 42 minutes and he plays Roberto Bautista Agut next in the last match on the Stadium Court tomorrow night.
Quick Match Recap
No doubt like most of you guys I thought Mayer would stick around for the party but never really stand a chance in this one considering his poor record of 1-16 vs. top 10 opposition. However he soon dispelled that notion as he broke Fed in his second service game before moving into a 3-1 lead.
The Argentine was impressive in all areas from the word go and bossed all the rallies from the baseline with some crisp hitting. 3-1 almost became 4-1 but Roger saved 2 break points before holding. Both players then traded 2 service holds and Mayer served for the set at 5-4.
Here we had a mammoth service game where Mayer saved 4 break points before Roger finally converted his fifth to break back for 5-5. Needed a little help with a bad overhead miss but good hustle from the GOAT to stay in it.
Roger then had to claw his way out of his next service game, coming back from 15-30 and 2 deuces to hold for 6-5. Mayer looked like he would force the tie break at 40-15 but Fed reeled off 3 straight points to create his first set point hitting an insane backhand passing shot at deuce. Mayer saved it but Roger then created a 2nd opportunity and took it to take the set 7-5.
Into the second and I thought the loss of the first set would have broken Mayer mentally however Fed decided to give him a huge boost by dropping serve in the first game.
That was quickly consolidated for 2-0 and although Fed had a break chance to get back on serve he failed to take it and was broken again at the end of the set as Mayer took it 6-3. Sloppy set from Fed really with some horrendous volleying.
Third set deciders are a complete coinflip in best of 3 but with Mayer having momentum and serving first the advantage was ever so slightly with the Argentine.
Both players exchanged comfortable early holds as the score progressed to 3 games all. At 4-4 Roger had a slight inroad into the Mayer service game but he couldn't turn it into a break point chance and the world number 25 held for 5-4.
Here we had dramatic moment number one of the match where Fed found himself staring down two match points at 15-40. For the first one Fed came in behind an average inside out forehand approach and then had to hit a full stretch volley to stay in the point, Mayer was in perfect position to hit a backhand up the line for a clean winner but he struck it straight into the net tape. Unreal miss real and huge slice of luck for the GOAT who saved the next with an inside in forehand down the line before holding for 5 all.
With Mayer serving to at the least ensure a tie break he then slipped to 0-30 but reeled off 4 points in a row to hold for 6-5. Fed then forced the tie breaker with a solid service hold.
If third sets in Masters 1000 are coinflips then I'm not quite sure what third set tie breaks are but they're certainly tough to call. In this one Mayer got off to a great start, getting a mini break and progressing into a 5-2 lead.
It looked like the match was getting away from Fed as more match points came the Argentines way at 6-4 and 7-6 but again he couldn't close the door and when the Swiss finally got himself in front for 8-7 he came up with a gorgeous backhand lob to take it first time of asking. Heartbreaker for Mayer but a big win for Fed 4.0. Allez!
|R. Federer||L. Mayer|
|1st Serve %||71%||64%|
|1st Serve Points Won||63/92 (68%)||49/75 (65%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||19/38 (50%)||25/42 (60%)|
|Break Points Saved||9/12 (75%)||6/8 (75%)|
|Service Games Played||17||16|
|1st Return Points Won||26/75 (35%)||29/92 (32%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||17/42 (40%)||19/38 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||2/8 (25%)||3/12 (25%)|
|Return Games Played||16||17|
|Net Points Won||25/47||20/36|
|Total Service Points Won||82/130 (63%)||74/117 (63%)|
|Total Return Points Won||43/117 (37%)||48/130 (37%)|
|Total Points Won||125/247 (51%)||122/247 (49%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Definitely not one for the routine Federer win list but a pretty impressive win for the GOAT and it's not often an opponent has 5 match points but can't close out the match. In fact it's Fed's second best ever performance in terms of saving match points and going onto win and you have to go all the way back to 2003 to better it. Back then he saved 7 match points in a 4-6 6-3 7-6(10) win over Scott Draper in Cincinnati.
I have no idea how he saved the ones in 2003 but I'd probably go with 50% luck and 50% skill in terms of escaping this one as Mayer really should have made that backhand at 4-5 15-40. Fed did come up with a great get on the volley though to at least force Mayer to make the shot so credit where credit is due.
Assessment: pretty clutch overall when he needed to be but not the cleanest match from him by a long shot. The serve was fairly solid for the most part but his volleying was club level if not worse. I lost count of the amount of easy balls he dumped into the net from close range and he ended up 25/47 overall which isn't great. But a wins a win and some of the shots he came up with under pressure were ridiculous. That passing shot in the tie break at 2-5 was seriously good along with the lob on match point and a handful of other genius moments.
As for Mayer well what a heartbreaker; he looked like a broken man at the net which isn't surprising. 5 match points, serving for the first set and clearly the better player throughout the match but he's the one with the loss next to his name.
From his perspective I know it will be hard to really see the positives of something like that but he played a very good match overall just needed to better in the big moments. On the plus side he has moved from 94 to 25 in the world in a year and very nearly beat Fed first time of asking. I don't think he can be too disappointed with that.
Predictions vs. Bautista-Agut
Next up is Bautista Agut who came through a tough match with Vasek Pospisil earlier in the day. I didn't see any of it but I did keep track of live scores and it was a close one, both players getting into each others service games with ease and they each one 102 points each in the match.
Fed dispatched this guy at the USO in straights but it wasn't the most convincing performance looking back which is why I think tomorrow could get interesting. On a Federer good day Agut is a weaponless baseliner who will get run ragged around the court, however on a Federer so so day he's the kind of guy that makes you play an extra ball and chases absolutely everything down. That makes him tricky to play against as Fed will need to be extremely sharp to get the job done, he'll also have to volley much better than tonight.
I'll pick Fed in 2 assuming the win vs. Mayer has given him confidence of performing under pressure. 7-5 6-4.