Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Saves Seven Match Points to Miraculously Make Semi-Finals in Melbourne

The Swiss won through 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3 to make the last four in Australia for the fifteenth time.

Roger Federer is through to his fifteenth Australian Open semi-final after a miraculous 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3 over Tennys Sandgren that saw the six-time champion save seven match points.

The Swiss has now made the last four stage of a Grand Slam forty-six times and arguably pulled off his greatest escape yet, overcoming a leg injury and staring defeat in the face during the fourth set break to finally progress in 3 hours and 31 minutes.

Perhaps more impressively, Federer has still never retired once he's taken to the court in 1512 matches. Proving that if you do stay out there, even if the outlook is bleak, strange things can and do happen. That's why Roger will take to the court again on Thursday for a semi-final showdown against Novak Djokovic.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Sandgren Ao 2020

Federer won the toss and elected to serve. The Swiss kicked off with a hold but had to save a breakpoint to come through a scrappy game for 1-0.

Sandgren then found himself under pressure at 15-40 in his opening game but played solidly to level.

With Roger having the upper hand from the baseline a couple of slick net forays saw him hold comfortably for 2-1 before fashioning 0-40 on the return. 

Ther American saved all three break points with a flurry of big first serves and held thanks to a brilliant flicked Federer-esque pass.

Despite missing five chances to break, Roger continued to roll on serve with a hold to fifteen for 3-2. 

It appeared Sandgren had too found a nice rhythm thanks to two aces for 30-0, but a costly double fault at 30-30 gave Roger another break chance which he converted when a Sandgren backhand went long.

Federer consolidated the break for 5-2 before Sandgren held to force the six-time champion to serve it out.

Roger obliged with a routine hold to take the set 6-2, and he'd landed 71% of first serves to take it in thirty-five minutes.

Into set two and after holding from deuce, Sandgren took advantage of a sloppy Federer service game to break for 2-0. The American consolidated to fifteen to take a 3-0 lead.

Roger got himself on the board in game four, but Sandgren was able to maintain his lead with some reliable serving for 4-1.

That pattern repeated itself as more impressive serving from Sandgren put him a game away from levelling at 5-2. 

The scoreboard was soon a set apiece as Sandgren broke again to take the set 6-2. Federer had hit 15 unforced errors and allowed the American to grow in confidence.

Into the third and Sandgren picked up from where he left off in set two, holding for 1-0 and breaking immediately for 2-0.

Federer needed an immediate response, and after winning a 28 shot rally to set up 0-40, it looked imminent.

However, after Federer received a warning for swearing after dumping a backhand into the net at 15-40, Sandgren produced an excellent backhand to make deuce. An impressive response after a delay broke his rhythm due to Federer disputing the audible obscenity warning. The American went onto hold for 3-0.

At the changeover, Federer called the physio and received an off-court medical timeout. Upon resumption, he stopped the rot to hold for 1-3.

With Federer's serve speeds down 15 km/h from sets one and two, he continued to struggle on serve, and although he held for 2-4, Sandgren didn't lose his composure as he broke again to take the set 6-2.

Into set four and the pair exchanged opening holds for 1-1 but with Federer struggling to move well to his right, Sandgren was able to roll through his service games to forge a 4-3 lead.

The American didn't have it all his own way though as Roger mixed up his game nicely on serve, refusing to just throw in the towel as his serve speeds slowly improved which I assume was from a boost in adrenaline or the pain medication kicking in.

At 5-4, Sandgren created his first match point but got a little tight, failing to convert and another three that followed as Federer escaped the game to hold for 5-5.

With Sandgren making the mistake of already thinking he was in the semi-finals he quickly had to regroup when down 30-40 in game eleven. Federer had a play on the pass to break, but Sandgren recovered to hold for 6-5.

The Swiss then held to force a tiebreak which just half an hour ago seemed very unlikely. Into the breaker and both players took care of their opening service points as the score ticked to 3-3.

At the change of ends, a ball girl ran into Sandgren's leg which could have disrupted him, but he reeled off three points in a row to hold three more match points at 6-3.

As Sandgren was already well aware, Federer wasn't going to go down without a fight, and the Swiss asked him to come up with the goods by winning a patient rally and refusing to miss for 4-6. Roger saved the next on serve for 5-6 and then showed off some more skills to level at 6-6.

Sandgren then brought up his seventh match point but couldn't convert on the return, opting to play into Federer's backhand when the Swiss was struggling to move to his forehand.

Federer held for 8-7, and although Sandgren fired an ace to save set point, he dropped the next and Federer needed no second invitations to force a fifth set.

Into the fifth and Federer was very much enjoying a second wind, with his serve back to somewhat normality, he held his opening game comfortably for 1-0.

No doubt confused as to why he wasn't in the locker room already, Sandgren suddenly found himself down break point after holding a game point. Again the American showed good composure to save it and the second that followed to level at 1-1.

However, the two-time quarter-finalist in Melbourne wasn't having any success on the return and in game six, he dropped serve when the now moving freely Federer skipped around a backhand to fire an inside-in forehand winner for 4-2.

Federer then consolidated the break for 5-2, and although Sandgren held for 3-5, he wasn't able to derail the Fed express as he served it out 6-3.

Match Stats

Aus Open QF 2020 Tennys Sandgren Roger Federer
Aces 27 5
Double faults 5 3
1st serve in 65% (97/150) 61% (112/171)
Win 1st serve 79% (77/97) 71% (80/112)
Win 2nd serve 45% (24/53) 53% (31/59)
Breakpoints won 29% (4/14) 15% (2/13)
Net points won 72% (23/32) 67% (47/70)
Receiving points won 33% (57/171) 29% (44/160)
Winners 73 44
Return winners 7 1
Unforced errors 53 56
Return unforced errors 6 2
Total points won 161 160
Fastest serve 212 km/h 198 km/h
1st Serve Average 190 km/h 180 km/h
2nd serve average 152 km/h 152 km/h

Highlights

On Court Interview

Federer Press Conference

Sandgren Press Conference

A tough loss for Sandgren but I like his game and what he brings to the court. Composed throughout and as Federer said, this guy will be ranked higher.

Thoughts on the Match

Fed Ao Qf 20

You’ve got to get lucky sometimes. I was just hoping that maybe he wasn’t going to smash a winner, if he misses one or two match points, who knows what’s going to happen? I think I got incredibly lucky today. As the match went on, I started to feel better and just tried to play. I believe in miracles. There could be rain. Just let him finish me off in style, and he didn’t do that. I’m still standing here and obviously just very happy. Federer speaking to Jim Courier on court

Another drama-filled match that is a tricky one to analyse. There won't be many matches Roger wins where his opponent wins more points, hits 27 aces to his 5, only drops serve twice, breaks four times, wins more receiving points and fires 73 winners to his 44, but that's what happened. 

If Roger was lucky to escape John Millman last week, then all you can say about this match is that it was ten per cent luck, twenty per cent skill, fifteen per cent concentrated power of will. Five per cent pleasure, fifty per cent pain. And a hundred per cent reason to remember the name 😀 .

The first set went pretty much as I expected with Roger looking stronger from the baseline and Sandgren not making much of an impression on serve. However, as the American started hitting his spots, Federer's delivery tailed off, and he looked dead and buried from the second set onwards.

Federer's serve was down 15 km/h in speed compared to the first set and a half, and instead, he had to rely on hand skills to win points rather than footwork. But he refused to lie down, played well when his back was to the ball in that fourth set tie break, and when the finishing line was in sight, his level went up.

Sandgren, on the other hand, couldn't quite muster the right plays on those massive points and leaves empty-handed. Much like Federer at Wimbledon last year, I don't think he made huge mistakes on any of the match point chances, but for one reason or another, the chips didn't fall his way.

In hindsight, I think he had to be more ruthless in general in that fourth and fifth set and made a conscious effort to get Roger moving more to his forehand where he was struggling. Instead, he played a little bit safe thinking the result was likely a formality and paid the price. 

As for Roger what can you say, I said in a previous post, Fed is one of the most perspicacious guys out there, and he quickly figured out what he could and couldn't do movement-wise from the baseline. Choosing to mix it up, serve and volley and just do what he could to not hand the match to Sandgren on a silver platter.

It worked, and when he started to feel better through adrenaline or pain killers, he served top drawer in that fifth set to come through. Allez!

Predictions vs Djokovic

Fed Djok Atp F 2019

Next up is Novak Djokovic who took out the big-serving Milos Raonic with a routine straight-sets victory during the night session.

Novak has looked rock solid so far this year, helping Serbia to win the inaugural ATP Cup and now cruising through his matches in Melbourne without really being tested.

Conditions historically suit him at Melbourne Park and with the courts being slower and lower bouncing this year it's even more well suited to his game.

Based on form, H2H, Federer's groin issue and the fact he's been giving sets away like sweets so far in Melbourne then Djokovic is the huge favourite on Thursday. Novak is far too good at exploiting any limitations in Federer's movement so it will be interesting to see what Roger can produce. 

Roger is going in somewhat pressure-free having already used two get out jail free cards against Millman and Sandgren so I hope he can swing for the fences and see what happens. Hopp Suisse!

What did you guys think of the win against Sandgren? Predictions against Djokovic? 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 writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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153 Comments

  1. What just happened there?
    Has anyone ever saved 7 match points in one match at a grand slam before?
    I never thought I’d say this but Djokovic only saved 2 at Wimbledon 😊
    #neverstopwatching

      1. Kyrgios has saved 9 MP against Gasquet in Wimbledon 2014, I know it only because that owl of Scanagatta mentioned it

  2. OMG! I woke up to find him loosing and I was about ti cry ! then he raised from the ashes like a shining phoenix ! He proves every day that he is GOAT !! so happy even if I know that he won’t survive Djokovic’s encounter.

  3. “However, after receiving a warning for swearing after dumping a backhand into the net at 15-40, Sandgren produced an excellent backhand to make deuce.”

    Erm, your phrasing implies that the obscenity was Sandgren’s, Jon!

  4. If anyone ever wonders why he’s still playing then you just have to show those people this tournament. This is why he’s still playing, still creating unbelievable moments for him and his fans. Luckily it was the groin and not the same back issues, looked a lot better and more explosive in the 5th set and luckily he has just over 48 hours to recover so fingers crossed he has enough to run Djokovic close. I can’t see him winning for a couple of reasons but he’ll be able to take a lot from this and the Millman win mentally. Great to see him want it as much as he still does.

      1. Just seen Djokovic is playing Dubai so if Fed loses tomorrow then he hopefully doesn’t have to wait too long to get some revenge

  5. Damn thought I might get first there. You guys must be using illegal nuclear powered laptops.

    On a serious note, I didn’t see anything until late in the fifth because I had to sleep, probably for the best since I missed another heart attack. From what I hear though he’s still not playing particularly well, though of course it took enormous mental strength to win. Given the fact he was struggling with an injury and hasn’t played well in the previous round, I don’t give him much chance against the winner of Raonic and Djokovic (which let’s face it, is Djokovic who is two sets up as I’m writing this). I think Novak will most likely win in 3 or 4. Would love to be proven wrong though. But at 38, having played two five setters, and also the mental energy used up to make those two comebacks, and the match against Fucsovics wasn’t ideal either, I just think he’ll be a bit flat against Novak, and it would be a big ask even if Roger played well. Anyway I said in the last post that if he got through to the semis I’d be perfectly happy with that and he has (somehow)! Whatever happens happens now as far as I’m concerned.

  6. I guess this match takes the prize for drama … Warnings, medical time-outs, losing and winning match points … even if he is the underdog for the next match, he has already won the trophy for exciting matches. After last year I guess he’ll take what comes his way … I can’t believe that he has never retired during a match? That in itself is an incredible statistic … Go Fed!

  7. He’s thinking of skiing today..hahaha.. Oh well.. That great escape again made him more relax than ever…
    Great win for him today.. watch the first 3 sets then got an emergency meeting with my boss, and honestly I cannot process what’s he is talking about.. 🙂

    I don’t know, if you will analyze his previous matches I think it would be very difficult for roger to pass novak. Inconsistent play and somehow the court was favored for his opponent and we add the fatigue that a 38 year old can handle..

    .. Still I have hopes deep in my heart… And I believe also in miracles….

    How can he win? let me know how…

  8. Blimey. Djokovic takes nearly 3 hours to finish off Raonic in straight sets. Roger’s match only took 3.5 hours for 5 sets. Novak’s had a pretty easy run through his part of the draw too, facing only a couple of lower-ranked seeds, but Roger will certainly be more battle-hardened. Not sure I can really see him winning the SF even if fully fit, but at least he’s justified his seeding.

  9. Second time in a row he faces Djoko with a very sloppy victory before and practically no hopes of winning.
    You all remember how it ended last time.
    CHUM JETZT

      1. Hopefully it is just groin pain. BTW, just like in the Finals, extra-pressure for Nole due to possible rise to No.1 of the rankings.

  10. As you say, behind in all the stats but somehow he won. Tennis, never has it been so true that you have to win the last point. Didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 😂
    Whatever happens on Thurs, it’s been a great start to the season, SF with no warm up event at all and tricky matchups throughout. Has Sandgren been the best server to date? Certainly proved you can serve a few aces on this surface!
    Can’t see anyone beating ND on this surface, but after this week so far, you just never know.
    This match also showed why players shldnt retire in a match unless they basically hv a broken limb. Never over til it’s over!
    Allez!

      1. Especially given it’s a Slam, and you’d have to figure he won’t have too many more shots at playing the AO. I think fans automatically assume that if he keeps playing there then he’ll injure it worse, but that’s not always true either.

        Heck of a tournament given how he’s got here anyway.

      2. I also can’t understand people who say that Roger shouldn’t play because he will make it worse. How do any of us know? The only people who know that are Roger and his team, they’ll have seen whatever scans, done the rehab with him. If they give him the all clear to play, he will. If not, he won’t. It’s a simple as that. Leave it to the experts.

  11. Another Houdini act, again Roger has no business winning that match. He relied heavily on shot selections, variety of slices and experience. This takes a lot of skills to overcome a player who is in the zone. After playing his last point Roger didnt even lift up his arms to celebrate just walked towards net to shake hands. This is perhaps my first time seeing Roger like that. I believe miracles can happen, hoping for another this Thursday 🙂

    1. This is because he’s a gentleman. He knew Sandgren had to win. But most importantly, I think he knew Sandgren would feel just like he felt after Wimby. And he was saying, very honestly, that he did not deserve the win.
      Great man as usual

  12. To be honest guys – let’s just enjoy what happened here – an incredible week or so and two great nail biting, nerve racking escapes by the great one – Roger Federer. What a pleasure to watch and witness a 38 year old titan of the sport battle if out there and literally escape death multiple times.

    Before the tournament, my expectations were to just get to the semis and I would have considered this a great result. Roger has done that. You can’t really expect him to do much more than that. The draw is brutal – it is what it is – there are no more easy matches – although for once I hope that the matches would play easier than they appeared. Roger is pretty much sapped physically and emotionally – I can’t ask for more.

    Djokovic is a machine and honestly, I’d be shocked if Roger even takes a set. I have extremely low expectations – so it’s pretty much over.

    Just enjoy what we witnessed – somewhere there Roger is happy that he won two 5 setters – and saved so many match points – it’s just that this was just to get to the semis.

    The only curve ball or wrinkle that I see is that it will be incredibly hot conditions in a couple of days – not sure if it will affect Roger or Novak more.

    And I’ll leave it at that.

    1. I just saw, 37 degrees on Thursday, 40 on Friday as top temperature o.O (and again 21 on Sunday)
      Damn it’s gonna be a russian roulette

      1. I didn’t remember that moment, what match do you refer to?
        I remember when he was almost going out with Fucsovics at UO 18 though!

  13. So far, the 6 remaining speciemens are from:
    Cretacious: Roger
    Jurassic: Nadal and Stan
    Triassic: Novak
    Last week: Thiem
    Last evening: Zverev

  14. Isn’t the order is:
    Triassic
    Jurassic
    Cretaceous
    ?

    But yeah, next gen is false advertising.
    In 2030 the answer to the question “when someone not of the big 3 takes a GS?” will be “next year”.

  15. Well we all know we should never,ever write Fed off and this match today proved it conclusively.
    So I am not going to write him off against the Djoker.
    We shall see.

  16. Could Roger win his 104th title at the same time as his 104th match win at the Australian Open?
    Nole is in the way.
    We shall see.

  17. I can’t believe what we just saw! To me, it feels like Roger won this tournament within a tournament. Can you honestly think of another player who could pull this win off? The match seemed like it went on for days not 3.5 hours. Roger must be so exhausted.

    Thank you, Jonathan!

  18. A liberated, free-flowing, recovered Fed will sail to the final where he will beat Stan, Zverev or Thiem on Sunday to hoist his 21st major trophy.

  19. This was a miracle. I still can’t believe Tennys didn’t finish him off in the 4th set when Fed was forced to play like a crafty, older recreational player at the club who has declined physically but still knows how to win points by changing speeds and using spin and short balls. So needless to say it was a pleasure to see Fed recover enough in the fifth set to snatch victory from the vicious jaws of defeat!!

  20. Roger can certainly put his fans through the wringer. In the fourth set I just wanted the match to be over, it was so painful to watch. But after this, I will never give up on Roger during a match again! He was very gracious, acknowledging he had been incredibly lucky. You do feel sorry for Sandgren, who probably will relive this match over and over.

  21. Well, he’s Roger, he’s got a chance against Novak. Sure, his body has to hold up, and with the way Novak Djokovic has been playing this tournament – arguably never seen him looking sharper – it’ll be tough. But by the same token, he’ll be up for it, will feel he’s on a role, and with the adrenaline this match will bring, well we’ll see.
    There have been times when Roger has looked ridiculously good during a major, whereas Djokovic essentially does no more than win his matches quietly, a lot of hype is built up around Roger, but when they meet in the final, it is Djokovic who all of a sudden shows his true colours, suffocates Federer and wins handsomely. A perfect example is Wimbledon 2015.
    This is Roger’s chance to reverse the trend. Big opportunity for Roger here.

    1. ooh, and what if he doesn’t beat the huge favorite…? his chances are small, everybody (?) think so, but not the first time “everybody” got wrong

  22. That was AMAZING!!!!

    AND it was a reality check. This fighting is Roger is VERY old in tennis years and has to fight tooth and nail against guys who would not have taken more than a set off of him as recently as 2017.

    You don’t just get old. You get old faster with each day.

    But that just makes it more of a beauty to behold how his pure drive and cunning are powering that body to withstand tough opponents.

    Fed is SAPPED emotionally and physically and will – I think- be easy pickings for Novak and Rafa.
    There is no shame in that. They are more than half a decade younger (?).

    THANK GOD FOR THE GOATERER

    1. He was amazingly strong in 2029. I don’t think that aging goes that fast. It was a strain coming from whatever (age, you would perhaps say, but also younger ones get it now and then) But I fear you may be right about maybe a bit easy this time… My only hope goes to that his strength returned somewhat in set 5 when probably the painkillers had worked.

    2. I don’t think he is sapped emotionally at all. He has shown very little emotion on the court after winning. It is part of the reason he has managed to win these matches.

      He will be drained physically but when you save 7 match points, you think anything is possible.

      1. No…I think he was gassed in spirit and not just in body.

        Roger always looks composed when he is playing points. But you could see signs in other ways.

        Right after the match, he was getting emotional in his interview w Courier. You could hear his voice wobbling and I thought you could even see him welling up a bit in his eyes; holding stuff back.

        Even after match point- when he bent over – I think – by the look you could make out – he was trying to contain his overwhelmed emotions from all the tension.

        In his post-match interview, he seemed emotionally subdued, not at all l like after Millman when he was more ebullient.

        Who knows what rest time will do. I think he could be rested enough more than I did after the match, but I think the signs were there this took a toll beyond the physical.

  23. I like your percentage splits, Jonathan. It was a bit shocking how the match unfolded. I hope that Roger can have a decent recovery and will be revitalised in the next two days. The last three runs have not been kind to him this year and hence having reached the semi is a decent achievement. I also wish that the trouble will not be very serious.
    Allez!

  24. Absolutely all the best to Fed as always.
    On the other side of the draw let’s hope Stanmal turns up.
    Djoker so lucky to have missed Stan,Thiem and Sascha.
    Hoppe Suisse!

  25. OMG, what a weird match. Roger was definitely not at a 100%, not even 70% I would say. But I don´t know how he did it, but he won and that´s what matters 🙂 He lives to fight another day. Its gonna be almost impossible to beat Djoko if he is not fully recovered, lets wait for him to get better quickly.

    #GoRoger

  26. Everyone still alive after what Roger put us through?? 🙂
    I can’t count how many times I have heard that Roger is a gracious ballet dancer tennisplayer, who’s techniek is out of this world, but that he is not a fighter or a warrior… I always say to those people… “you don’t win 20 GS by not being a fighter or a warrior”. But people only think those words about Rafa and Djoko and not Roger.

    Yes, beating Djoko won’t be easy, especially since Roger is a bit injured and a lot tired physically and mentally. BUT he did beat Djoko the last time and we will beat him again. The way he beat Millman and Sandgren… Roger TRUELY DESERVES to win the damn title.

    We had our two “Benneteau-2012”-matches, so Roger is going to win the whole damn thing 🙂

    By the way… 27 aces from Sandgren?? I have to be honest, I never saw him play or know anything about him, but with what I read about him on TL (racist maybe and Trump supporter), I already made up my mind about him.
    BUT… from the long recap on Eurosport, I really like him. Plays fair (yes, does get angry). Plays extremely good, almost a Novak player. I thought he was very calm and played really good. Roger deserved the win, but he also got lucky. If Sandgren had won, I would be upset for Roger, but I would say that Sandgren deserved the win.

    BUT thank God Roger won and now we are coming for Djoko 🙂 🙂

    1. Like I put in my preview, Sandgren was an early victim of cancel culture. In tennis twitters mind he has the wrong opinions. Oh he supports Trump! Orange man bad.

      I like him, cool guy, good game and really good athlete. I think he can get better results too across the year, I thought that when I first saw him play a few years ago, keeps it simple and has some good weapons.

      1. You are right Jon. My college said before their match that Roger would wals over him, but I said that you don’t make a QF of a GS for nothing. He must be good and he was. I was ready to dislike him… yes I know… not good from me, but I really liked his attitude and how he plays.

      2. Yeah I’m pretty much as left wing as they come, but more the old style. Not a fan of the idea of banning people from speaking or airing their views at all. Hell, even if a group of neo-Nazis want to walk down the street chanting and doing Hitler salutes then fine, we can just point and laugh. There’s a great British tradition of parodying extreme political views and making them look stupid. I always think that’s the best way to deal with it, not censorship.

      3. @Armstrong7

        Perhaps you’re missing my point. I really dislike Nazis. I do not agree with them, in fact I think they’re scum (genuine Nazis this is, not talking about conservative politicians generally). All I’m saying is, if they want to organise a protest/march/whatever, and it’s not violent, and the people there don’t incite violence, they should be allowed to do so. Similarly, any counter protesters or whatever should turn up, massively outnumber the Nazis, make them look like idiots. Obviously anything that crosses the line into incitement shouldn’t be allowed, like actually trying to start a riot or stuff like that. All I’m saying is that we should let people who we disagree with have a chance to air their views, and if they are complete crackpots they’ll look like it and everyone will realise. Don’t know if you’re from the UK but a few years ago we had a political party called the BNP who were suggesting repatriating anyone who wasn’t ethnically British, said gays should ‘stay in the closet’ and stuff like that. They were invited on for a high profile political TV programme because they had a few percent of the vote at the previous election. There was a protest to try to stop the programme from airing and so on. You know what? The protesters needn’t have bothered. That one TV appearance did more to discredit the BNP than any amount of protesting. The studio audience spent the entire time laughing at the BNP guy’s ridiculous views, and he was made a laughing stock on national TV.

        Anyway I won’t say any more on the matter because I don’t want to turn this into a political debating platform. If you write a reply to this I’ll read it but I don’t want to derail Jonathan’s blog by writing any further replies on this topic.

      4. Jonathan, you need to read more widely. The Wahington Post has kept a record of Trump’s false and misleading statements and documented 16,241 in his first 3 years in office. You can verify this on-line if you wish but simply listening to the man should be enough to see he is a pathological liar.

      5. @Charlie

        Germany today enforces a strict ban on Nazi symbols, like the swastika or the salute, or anything to do with the glorification of the 3rd Reich, as hate speech. It also has a law criminalising holocaust denial.

        The Nazi Party was insignificant in the 1920’s and often ridiculed. It is impossible to ignore what it became, with the resultant deaths of many millions world-wide.

      6. BTW, Jonathan, the source of my information from WADA was the former Director General, David Howman, who has since left that role. I have known him personally – as well as professionally, in my career as a journalist – over many years. What he said to me he wasn’t able to say publically.

      7. Not interested in a newspaper owned by Jeff Bezos.

        Is it not a huge problem that the Director General of WADA can you tell you that the sport is rife with doping when he’s had a few beers down the pub, but he can’t say anything like this professionally? Wasn’t his job to uncover doping?

      8. @Armstrong7

        Yeah that’s different in Germany, and perfectly understandable given what happened. However I would say that’s closer to something like blacklisting a terrorist organisation, which we have in the UK as well. What I’m saying is that people should be allowed to express racist and anti-semitic views if they want to, but given the history of that actually being implemented in Germany I understand why it would be banned there. That’s a different situation to in the UK, where we’ve never had a fascist/Nazi government, and we defeated fascist parties in this country by ridiculing and counter protesting. Again, just a difference in perspective.

      9. Jonathan, that isn’t a credible response; it suggests that you disregard information that doesn’t reflect your political views. The Washington Post’s statistics on Trump lies have not been refuted by other media or information source. But any observation of how he conducts himself shows that he has an utter disregard for truth and accuracy – about anything – and only his die-hard supporters are unable to see that.

        As for the comment from the former D-G of WADA, there is a distinction that has to be made between what he and his colleagues believed, according to their best informed assessment, and what they were able to prove. The latter they could claim publicly; the former they couldn’t – and that is for legal reasons as well as the organization’s public credibility. But I still think he is likely right with what he told me – even if, again, it doesn’t suit your preferred views.

      10. @Charlie

        6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust were the result of your “right to express racist and anti-semitic sentiments”.

      11. Trump threatens to break up the Amazon monopoly. How does the Washington Post respond? 😆 Glenn Kessler is an opinion columnist disguised as a fact-checker so I have zero interest.

        Fair enough, I suppose the WADA director did what he could on limited funding.

      12. Jonathan, Trump threatens anyone he doesn’t like or who disagrees with him or criticizes him – including many of those he once praised when he hired them. He smears without proof and refuses to allow those with knowledge of his activities to speak to the American people through their “highest deliberative body”, the Senate. Your admiration is better reserved for Roger.

        As for WADA, the issue isn’t just one of funding but that doping remains far ahead of anti-doping. As Richsrd Pound has said, you have to be “dumb or careless” to get caught.

  27. Hey Jon, thanks for the post, a great recap.
    But… why is no one talking about Stanislas??
    The way he is playing and winning… he could win the title under everyone’s noses 🙂

  28. Greatest escape I have seen, though it comes against an unknown, just shows Roger’s will to win even if everything seems to be going against him. With the opponent playing his greatest hits, Roger was having one of his so-so days. Nothing seems to matter when Roger defies odds by playing clutch tennis when most needed. Great luck factor of course, but what an amazing escape. I still can’t believe it. I don’t have any expectations from Roger next round, not even winning a set. I just hope he is healthy and plays a good match. I’m also hoping Stan comes thru in the other half. The court and conditions have Djoker Nadal final written all over it though.
    I’m still rooting for an all Swiss finals 🙂

    1. I wanted Zverev, I think he will produce better tennis against Djoker. Stan is on an upward swing but not enough to compete with the best IMO. See if can build some momemtum now he made a slam QF.

  29. I am surprised that people are already locking a Djoko-Rafa final for sunday. the thing is I dont see it happening magbe not for djoko but most likely not for Rafa. Thiem is my pick to make the finals from that end. Djoker in 4 sets os what it lools lkke but we never know what the great escape artist has in mind. He feela like he has nothinhg lose. That shoild relax his nerves and we ll see.

    1. Thiem doing well so far. Nadal been up a break in both sets but lost both in breakers. Some good hitting from Thiem and his fitness is right up there now, hard to hit past.

    1. Not sure why you think Fed shouldn’t show up. From his interview, he is not really injured, but just the wear ‘n tear of old age after 5 rounds in a GS. Nothing that he hasn’t been before in his life. Happens all the time in his 30s. I think he should and will show up. Might still be Djokovic in the finals, but not because Roger didn’t show.

      1. Because groin pain doesn’t go away with one day of rest.
        If it was a contracture, he’ll feel relieved in two days but the pain will come back when the match goes on, so it’s pointless against Djokovic.
        He could get seriously injured also.

    2. It is not in Roger’s DNA to not show up, so he will. I hope he can win a set. Can’t see him going past Djoker in this form. Nevertheless, SF after 2 impossible 5 set wins is more than enough already. Wimby is the place where it will happen, if it does at all. I don’t like Roger’s decision to play the Olympics, dunno why he attaches so much importance to it.

    3. If Federer has any problems with his groin I doubt he’ll make it through his semi. Those issues need time and rest to resolve; two days isn’t enough.

      1. If he really had groin issues he wouldn’t be able to move like he moved. He will be fine to face Nole but sadly he will be destroyed. This Djokovic is unbeatable in Melbourne.

  30. Sandgren has transformed himself physically. He has muscles now like Nadal. His coach was built the same when he was on the tour. Steroid city. How to go from journeyman to a serious threat in a slam at 28.

    1. I may share your suspicion. Even more bulky than Rafa. But Sandgren told no nonsense in the presser why he lost, and how he feels, and what to carry away with him

    2. Why is he only ranked 100 if he’s now doping?

      You can put on decent muscle by just lifting weights and doing callisthenics.

      I’ve watched quite a few of Sandgren’s matches. Clear is he a hard worker and is looking to get those extra percentages out of his game.

      1. Most pros go to the gym. They don’t have muscle anything like that – with the telling exception of Nadal. Sandgren is currently playing at a level way better than his ranking suggests. His ranking will eventually catch up to his playing level.

      2. You need to take a look at Federer’s right arm. It is huge.

        But he doesn’t wear sleeveless and he has long arms which reduce the appearance of it being bulky.

        Sandgren was 41 in the world last year. He is now 100. Are you suggesting doping makes you worse before you get better? 😆

      3. Roger’s physique is nothing like Sandgren’s; when Roger changes his shirts it’s almost embarrassing. His right arm is no Popeye effort. Nor does he rely on “muscle” in the way he plays.

        Previous generations of tennis player used the gym – notably Lendl, but Aussies like Laver and Hoad also lifted weights. Physiques like Sandgren (and of course Nadal) in pro tennis are a modern phenomenon. Pumping weights by itself doesn’t do it, or most players would be built the same.

        The power and accuracy in Sandgren’s game is now up there with the best, yet for years he was just another guy playing Challengers and not really cutting it on the main tour. He is another “late developer”, an all too typical phenomenon in pro sport today.

        Doping runs through all pro sports; I would be very surprised if Sandgren isn’t part of the show. And why wouldn’t he? Against Roger he was 7 times within one shot of achieving the fame and money of a slam semi – and maybe further. The player he used to be would still be struggling on the lower level of the tour.

      4. Armstrong7: “When Roger changes his shirts it’s almost embarrassing”….

        NO IT IS NOT…. Not for the ladies here anyway 🙂 🙂 🙂

  31. Oh Roger you really are phenomenal but you make us all nervous wrecks! Yesterday’s match was such a rollercoaster. Between Fed’s grimace and bear it style of play much of the match, the obscenity violation and stalking over to the line judge, the obvious injury (had his back gone again?), a randomly beeping microphone, the ball kid tripping over Sandgren, 7 match points saved, etc. So stressful. I have no idea how Fed’s players box can handle it all 😉

    Christopher Clarey writes in the New York Times “Federer planned to undergo medical tests on Wednesday, but if he is able to play, Djokovic will deservedly be the solid favorite in their 50th match.”

    BUT IF?

    I guess the world will find out in 24 hours.

    1. And my newspaper here cried out in fat headline – FEDERER CREATED MIRACLES – and referred what Maestro honestly told on court int. And then paper just told whom he’ll meet in the SF.
      But we’ll see. I hope really he’ll spare himself, if there’s any doubt acc health

    2. Yeah interested to see if he plays. My own feeling is that he will but who knows. The injury clearly wasn’t enough to stop him playing. Has he practised today?

      1. A fit Federer easily beat Djokovic at the WTF. He also had match points on Djokovic at Wimbledon. He is also a 5-time winner of this tournament. “No chance”? – you’re full of sh*t.

  32. True, people are wondering why Fed didn’t pack it in during the match. It’s not about anything else BUT further injury. It could be serious stuff if he has a major tear. Medical tests today? Will he be risking too much playing in the semis?

      1. He doesn’t have a major tear. But I would think a strain or a pull can only get worse if he continues to play. (I say that after having just strained an adductor – the same area as Roger’s complaint.)

  33. So… I said that no one was talking about Stan (and that he might win the title under everyone’s noses)… and now Stan lost….

    So… If I will say now that no one is talking about Rafa or Djoko…does that mean that they will also lose?? 🙂 🙂 🙂

      1. Right. I’ve noticed that as last season approached its end, Zverev was trying more and more not to lose his temper. On some occasions it was so evident that I asked myself: “Hey, has someone given him an anesthetic? He looks numb. Normally now he would be smashing his racquet into an indescribable polygon.”
        It’s not something that can be fixed in one day, and to be honest I haven’t seen any of his matches this tournament, not even highlights so I have no idea how his composure is now.
        But clearly he’s been working on it.

      2. First slam semi finalist from Germany since 2009…. that’s like 10 years ago….wow.
        If Roger is not in the Final, I will be rooting for Sasha.

  34. Last check for Rava vs Thiem, Thiem already serving for the match, now it is 6-6 on 4th set, Tie Break 6-4 and Thiem serving.
    Aaand Rafa saves 2 MP now

    Another Houdini?

    1. Nope
      It’s Domi vs Sacsha for a place in the championship match.

      20 not this time for Rafa… Although I don’t think he had a chance vs Novak so it doesn’t change much. Well maybe who is no 1 in the rankings. If Novak wins the whole thing (likely), he’s taking it from Rafa.

  35. So, the semis are set. I had a feeling that Thiem will get through and beat Nadal so I am happy for him. Also pleasantly surprised by Zverev.

    To me, we are most likely looking at a Djokovic – Thiem Final. If that materializes, Djokovic will win.

    If Federer produces another miracle, you never know.

    Roger will play. He was able to get into some rallies in the 5th set and step into a crosscourt forehands. The serve speed also increased so obviously it wasn’t a tear. It’s most likely a strain. MRI to confirm no tear, some physical theraoy and kinesio tapes and he should be good to go.

    Serve must improve if he is going to have any shot.

    1. What do you expect if Fed barely passes the ball to the other side only. He’ll get crushed.
      No point in playing like that, gives a free defeat.

    2. I wouldn’t count Thiem out of it if he were to make the final and meet Djokovic. His level is higher than it ever has been on hard court, and he did take out Djokovic at the French last year (albeit that it was clay). He was better in the long points than Nadal; he could likely stay with Djokovic.

      But that’s two matches ahead. Roger will have to be completely fit to stand any chance against Djokovic – and that doesn’t appear to be the case after his last match – and he would have to be in his 2017 form, which we also haven’t seen. I hope it isn’t his first match retirement.

  36. Was glad that Thiem and Zverev won today.
    I’ll be happy if one of them lifts the trophy and sets a new decade for tennis (unless Roger is in the finals 😉 )

    I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow really.
    If you look at the H2H, the last year or so was very tight – A super tight match that Novak won (Paris 2018), a match that only god knows how Roger didn’t win as he was the superior player on court (Wimby 2019) and an impressive Federer win (WTF 2019).

    However, they met four times at the AO, 3-1 Djokovic, with the only Federer win at 2007 (R16), over a 19 yo Novak Djokovic.
    Since then three SF (2008.2011,2016) went to the serb, as he continued all the way to the title (14-0 in AO SF&F combined).

    So yeah, a miracle should happen for Roger to make that final.
    And btw, if he somehow does, I don’t like his matchup with either Zverev or Thiem.
    If he reunites with Norman on Sunday, then I can’t see how someone can say he’s not the GOAT.
    Absolute fairy tale…

  37. Is it just me or has anyone else noticed Roger’s obsession with the “serve straight to the opponent’s forehand” kind of? I mean, I get the whole variety/versatility thing and the opponent’s anticipation and stuff, but I think he’s been over-serving to the forehand side, as if he thinks he’s playing against lefties of lately. What happened to the good old fashioned aces down the T man?

    1. Against Sandgren on the first serve he hit 58% of serves into the backhand and 42% into the forehand on the ad side. On the deuce side, 47% backhand, 50% forehand.

      1. I think on the deuce side he is always going to hit more into a right-handers forehand as that’s the natural angle for the serve out wide. One of his best serves.

  38. An incredible Hitchcockian match yesterday again for Fed.  What a fighter he is !

    To illustrate Roger’s fighting spirit, I love those comments read on twitter by :
    ɼค๓ﻉรɦ  @zbrain

    “It’s not the size of the Rog in a fight, it’s the size of the fight in the Rog”.

    “He will kill us all and then resurrect us all”.

    … and this one by Klaudia :
    “You can defeat Roger Federer but there are two stages. First you have to beat Federer himself, then you have to beat his spirit”.

    One (stupid ?) question : do you think the fact that the Match in Africa is scheduled on Feb. 7 in Capetown (only 9 days from now) may have an impact on Fed’s decision to play or not his semi-final tomorrow ? What about the insurance fees if the Match For Africa vs Rafa cannot take place (because Fed has worsened his injury) while a fully-packed stadium (with 50 000 tickets sold) is waiting for him to play (even an exho with no stakes) ? This match seems to be important for Fed due to his South-African roots… and I guess he wouldn’t like to miss it, no ?

    Personally,  I think he will play tomorrow because he loves the Australian audience.  He knows lots of people spent a lot of money and travelled from all parts of the world to watch him play what is maybe one of his last AOs/Slams.  It is respect, just respect and it is not the least of his (numerous) qualities. 

    Good luck, Roger !

    1. He doesn’t care if the match is sold, his health is first.
      And the exhibition can play it in one leg, that’s not a problem.

  39. Federer’s fighting spirit is second to none…incredible that a 38-year-old man with a young family, who’s already the most successful champ in the game’s history, still battles so hard despite injury and a difficult opponent. He loves the game so much.

    Psychology, experience, and match management–so important in this match! In the fourth he was able to adjust his game plan to survive and stay in energy conservation mode, staking everything on being able to hang on till the TB, where he was able to turn on his best stuff for a couple crucial points and win it. Then in the fifth, Sandgren began to fray and there was only going to be one winner.

    I’m sure Sandgren’s still asking himself how the hell Federer managed to snatch that match out of his grasp. I think Federer’s still asking himself that too.

    Happy with what he’s done so far, but hopefully he can recover physically for Djokovic. He’s got to be confident and battle-hardened after coming back twice from seemingly hopeless positions. If he’s not injured, I think he has a great shot at making the final. C’mon Roger!!!!

  40. I saw an image of the practice schedule, and while everyone has their turn Fed is supposedly to go to the press room…

  41. Hey guys, almost time for the D-match. I will be watching livescores very nervously.
    Djoko defeated Milosh in straight sets while he had problems with his eyes… So a healthy Djoko against our Goat. For me the main thing is that Roger doesn’t make his injury worse and that he doesn’t get bagelled.
    But on the other hand, Roger is LITERALLY THE ONLY ONE who gives Djoko problems and who comes close to beating him.
    Djoko really has to work hard EVERY TIME to beat the Goat. So today will be no different.
    But there is just something about THIS year’s AO. Roger won two matches he should have lost and he won them and is still here. It is almost like it is written in the stars.
    But Roger has to produce his best. Luckily he always does that with Djoko.

    So come on Roger. 99,99% of the tennisworld and tennisfans thinks you are going to lose… lets prove them wrong. I know you love to prove people wrong. Believing in you al the way upto infinity and beyond…
    YOU GOT THIS ROGER. YOU REALLY DO. Love you Goat. Go get him Roger, you got this…

  42. Damn, forgot to write what I actually came here for 🙂
    The 7 saved mp are on TL. If all of you saw them… how the HELL did he save mp number 6??
    The one that got him at 6 all in the TB. How can you save a mp like that?? Or the others for that matter??
    Please do another Houdini act… or preferably 2 more 🙂

  43. Well all quiet,bit like it is at Hong Kong at the moment.
    So sad.Why didn’t he serve out in the first set.
    It’s just a mind thing with Djoker.
    Go Therev or Thiem!
    M

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