ATP 250Istanbul OpenRoger Federer

Federer Scores Hard Fought Victory Over Gimeno-Traver in Istanbul

Not the dominant performance I expected from the GOAT here but he's into the Istanbul Semi Finals after a hard fought 7-6(3), 6-7(5), 6-3 victory over the in form Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

After looking fairly solid in his opening match against Nieminen on Wednesday the Spaniard offered a much sterner test pushing the opener to a tie break, levelling things up in a second set tie break before finally falling short at 3-4 in the decider.

What looked on paper like it could be a rout turned into a 2 hour and 28 minute affair but Fed got it done and will now face Diego Schwartzman in tomorrow's semi final. This glorious chance to vulture an ATP 250 remains a distinct possibility πŸ˜†

Quick Match Recap

Federer defeat Gimeno Traver Istanbul

Gimeno-Traver won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to love to kick things off before breaking his opponent with a fantastic dropshot to lead 2-0.

The quick start was soon over though as the Spaniard broke back, passing Fed easily and then coming up with a ridiculous return to get back on serve.

At 4-3 Fed then had 2 more chances to get back in front but Gimeno-Traver held firm and the scoreboard moved along to 6 games all.

Roger's 1-4 tie break record at the start of the match was less than stellar but he came good in this one, hitting a sweet dropshot en route to a 4-2 lead before closing it out 7 points to 3.

Gimeno-Traver made the final in Casablanca earlier this year so he's a capable clay court player and he proved it in set 2; breaking Roger at the start of the set. The World Number 62 then saved multiple break points as he progressed into a 5-2 lead.

At 3-5 Roger created 0-40 on the Gimeno-Traver serve and a tame error handed him the break back he needed. Gimeno-Traver then needed a medical timeout for a thigh problem before Fed held to 15 to level at 5-5.

Both players exhanged holds and like the first set two went into the tie break. Here it was Gimeno-Traver who played the steadier tennis, making plenty of balls and taking it 7-5 to level things up.

With momentum on G&T's side he looked to capitalise immediately, creating 0-40 on the Federer serve with yet more solid play. But then came the turning point as Fed battled back saving four break points in total to hold for 1-0.

After some more tough holds he eventually got the crucial breakthrough at 4-3 with a peRFect drop-volley before serving it out to 15. Phew!

Match Stats

  R. Federer D. Gimeno-Traver
Aces 11 2
Double Faults 2 2
1st Serve % 64% 60%
1st Serve Points Won 54/68 (79%) 52/76 (68%)
2nd Serve Points Won 22/38 (58%) 25/51 (49%)
Break Points Saved 6/8 (75%) 10/13 (77%)
Service Games Played 17 16
1st Return Points Won 24/76 (32%) 14/68 (21%)
2nd Return Points Won 26/51 (51%) 16/38 (42%)
Break Points Won 3/13 (23%) 2/8 (25%)
Return Games Played 16 17
Total Service Points Won 76/106 (72%) 77/127 (61%)
Total Return Points Won 50/127 (39%) 30/106 (28%)
Total Points Won 126/233 (54%) 107/233 (46%

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Gimeno Traver Istanbul 20154

A hard fought win for Federer here and one that I'm glad that he got himself over the line in. Not his most convincing match of 2015 but Fed's clay court performances haven't been great over the last 2/3 years so having to dig deep to overcome a seasoned Spanish dirtballer isn't a complete surprise. And given Fed's torrid 2013 this is the sort of “winning ugly” match fans were craving in 2014 so I don't think 2015 expectations have to be that much different πŸ˜‰

Gimeno-Traver doesn't have many big shots but he did play with a lot of consistency and showed good hands hitting lots of well executed dropshots and slices when playing up the court. He also picked his spots well from the behind the baseline, hitting with good spin for the most part but flattening out his forehand on some of his passing shots that left Fed in no man's land by the service line.

As for Federer it was just a mediocre type match – played well in some parts of it but in others just made some poor decisions. His game naturally operates on very thin margins and on clay I think it's tough to balance just exactly how he plays; on hard, indoor and grass he can lean firmly toward attacking tennis but on the dirt he probably has to reign in it a little but at the same time not get too defensive. Definitely not easy to do as it requires more thought process than just instinctive play.

However a tough match it might have been the result is all that matters and Fed came out with the win against an opponent he's never played before. Had he converted the break point chances it could have easily been a straight sets win but irrespective of missed opportunities he was the deserved winner over the 3 sets, winning 19 more points than Gimeno-Traver. It could have been just the type of test he needed to rediscover some form on this surface ahead of the 2 bigger upcoming tournaments in Madrid and Paris respectively.

Predictions vs. Schwartzman

Fed Schwartzman French Open 2014

Next up is Diego Schwartzman who defeated Santiago Giraldo in 3 sets to make his first ATP Semi Final. This will be he third meeting between the two and the second of 2015 after Roger defeated the Argentine in Indian Wells.

Both Federer's victories against Schwartzman haven't been the cleanest of matches so it's not unlikely that he could run into more problems when they meet tomorrow. Schwartzman isn't particularly tall or blessed with big shots but he does take the ball early and will look to take time away from Federer on what appears to be a quick-ish clay court.

I'm expecting Fed to come through though, especially after today's match which should have given him some confidence and rhythm on the surface. Fed in two sets assuming the 2h 30m match today hasn't effected him physically. 6-4 6-2.


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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    1. Glad got one in Clay too…Hope Roger too does the same πŸ™‚

      Yeah, nervy match, ridiculous that Roger made Gimeno-Traver looked like player more than capable because of his own sub-par play…but in the end Win is all matters…Hopefully he play much better tomorrow……

  1. Much tougher match than any of us had anticipated perhaps, but G-T is no slouch on the clay; he kept up the pressure and kept his focus. Lack of BP conversion drew Federer into a much longer match than was necessary. However, it is to be remembered that Djokovic also required 3 sets to defeat this guy in Madrid in 2012, so he can be troublesome and he did play very well for the most part, very few UEs. Anyway, like you said, he got the win and that’s all that matters in the end. Still doesn’t look that comfortable ; seemed noticeably indecisive a few times. Like you said though, hard to get the right balance. He’s had plenty of practice now at least. πŸ™‚

    1. Fed’s BP conversion stats are pretty abysmal, let’s face it. I hope this was the match he needed, but 2 1/2 hours for 3 sets? That’s clay for you, I guess πŸ™ Hoping he recovers okay for tomorrow – I’d hate to see him lose because he’s tired.

      Wot, no W/UE stats? Difficult to gauge from those above how poorly he was playing.

    2. Didn’t know Djoker needed 3 to put him to bed. I know he challenged Nadal a bit in Rio last year but Fed should probably have won in straights if he took his chances. Did well to come back from 5-2 and was then 2-0 in the breaker…

      No W/UE stats available in Istanbul, guess they don’t want too many people on the payroll when they have Fed’s appearance fees to worry about πŸ˜‰

  2. As I thought it could be, it happened to be a great training and confidence boost for Roger.
    3 sets, 2 tie breaks, 2h and 30 plus, tough games with deuces and advantages (too many lost break points though), good rallies (Traver showed great variety and tactics).

    That was a good fight to win for Roger.

    I guessed DGT was going to be tough because he has potentially many things to show with his racket (and he did) and he’s in good form with some good results lately. So Roger might not be at his best but it’s a good win for him!

    He got the job done !

    Schwartzman could be quite a tough one too!!!

    And beyond, it seems Dimitrov is on a roll? I haven’t seen him play.

    1. Saw a few games in Dimi/Dodig match – hard to tell where he’s at; he’s still making more errors than he should is my opinion. No real challenges either of course. Who knows?

    2. “As I thought it could be, it happened to be a great training and confidence boost for Roger.”

      I think / hope that is the case too but we’ll only find out for sure when he takes to the court today…

  3. A positive win. Roger’s struggle in the first two sets had a lot to do with his low first serve percentage (<55%?). At the other side of net, this guy reminds me a lot of Carlos Moya. Not only has he got touches, but he also has got a composure under pressure. As you mentioned, Jonathan, I thought that his choices of shot selections were very good. In addition, like many Spaniards, he defended superbly. I thought in the latter two sets, Roger's net play was very effective.
    Allez Rog!

    1. I thought Rog’s FS % was over 60 all the way through? Not much over 60, but still …

      I wasn’t hugely worried for him; more irritated really that he seemed to be taking quite so long.

    2. Fed served at 61% and 71% in the first two sets, and 61% in the third. 64% for the match. Those are good numbers. I think his serve helped him stay in it rather than made him struggle. Had he been sub 55% then he might not have come through.

      He struggled because DGT made a lot of balls with something on them and showed some pretty good court awareness / anticipation.

  4. Hi Jonanthan

    Well that appeared to be a lot tougher than I expected and I honestly thought that he may loose it but thankfully he came through – he had so many break points and converted so few which is always a worry. Hopefully tomorrow will not be as tough and he will get the job done a little quicker.

  5. Following the livescore can be a bummer. Ones heart is always racing. However this was a very good win for Fed. Much needed practice. Hope it works for him in the upcoming matches. Thanks for the recap Jonathan.

  6. Never thought he wld lose but boy was his concentration all over the place!! Missing those break point at 5 all in 2nd set was a bummer but at least he fought his way thru. Overplayed the attacking BH return I thought. Has clearly been practising it but was just not effective enough, often enough. Also made some v unwise net approaches on 2nd serve which were deservedly punished! As usual Fed took the positives from the game saying the fact that he won, and kept up the pace gave him confidence. The interviewer was hilarious for those who missed it, going straight for the jugular asking why so many mishits and missed BP’s… .
    It is v clear at this stage if his career that he struggles to compromise his game for clay as he is so intent in first attack and quick points. His mentality is , Can’t go back now so it’s either win the way I am playing or goodbye Clay season!
    Personally I now think he will go on to win this tourney. Madrid? That’s a whole new ball game…

    1. Yes Susie, that interviewer was funny – her first question: ‘There were a lot of mishits’ LOL. But she wasn’t wrong. Let’s hope this long match is the clay practice Feds needs. I do hope the Schwarzman is easier, for him and for us.

    2. I liked that interviewer, it was too the point and accurate. Better than pussy footing around asking something irrelevant like they do in America. Now Roger we know you love tennis, but do you like Baseball??? Wahooooo. Are you a Dodger’s fan Roger?

  7. Apparently Fed said the match was fun in the court side interview. Did we watch the same match? Wasn’t too much fun watching him being spectacularly passed and drop shotted by G&T. Glad he pulled this one off in the end. I needed G&T myself afterwards for sure!

  8. Holy COW! On second thought, I almost HAD a cow. Could only follow scores though – couldn’t find a commentary, swiss lematin seems to have quit doing one. When I finally got to watch highlights, I didn’t think Fed looked as abysmal as some had been saying. Yes, the odd mishit, but moving well, some great touch from both, some serious pace and changes of pace from both. Agree with what others are saying about indecisive – but as in having too many choices, perhaps. In that sense this match will have been some great practice – what works, what doesn’t work? How do I move on & try something else?

    Loved how he said on court “I’m not going to complain after a win”. ok Rog, I hear you πŸ™‚

    Schwartzmann at least is a somewhat know entity, & I’m not anticipating these kinds of problems from him. Allez Roger!

    1. Yeah I don’t think he played by any means, was just patchy, some great shots and then some silly ones.

      “I’m not going to complain having won a match, that will never happen.” πŸ˜†

  9. Lucky to get a W here, poor decision-making and lack rhythm. Hopefully he will fare better in the semis. Its quite pathetic that vultures are going for kill at atp250 event.

    1. Arhh, as he said, he was able to create a lot of chances, which was good, but Daniel was too good at saving them, which was not so good. Roger showed physical fit and many a brilliant shooting, and most serve games very convincing. Daniel was on top of saving breakpoints!
      I think Roger told the truth that it was fun. Many a good rallying!

  10. It was a nerve-wrecking match and I was relieved that Roger got the W. The Garcia-Lopez vs Coric match was interesting too and I couldn’t help comparing GL’s backhand with Roger’s. GL’s backhand is so dependable and he is contented to hit the ball from that wing all day long. He isn’t compelled to run around it to hit forehands like Roger often does. Also GL hits his backhand with less swing/brush motion; sort of like using the pace of ball to direct the ball and that shot of his is sure bread and butter of his game. Just saying……

    1. GGL has a decent backhand for sure. Although what were you comparing it with Fed’s for?

      Running around a backhand isn’t a weakness though, it’s an upgrade. Of course you can do it too much like Raonic was guilty of sometimes but Fed’s ability to upgrade backhands to forehands is why he wins so many matches…

      1. The comparison came up almost instinctively when i notice how GGL were able to hit his backhand consistently even under the barrage of strokes from Coric whereas the match between Roger and DGT saw a number of backhand errors from Roger when being pressured on that side. Especially on clay does Roger’s backhand seem vulnerable against double-handed dirtballers. It is his only ‘weakness’ in my opinion on this surface and thankfully it is compensated by his serve and net play.

  11. Once again, thanks for the post Jonathan. Great news for me, my son and family are visiting from Oz.
    And thanks for the highlights.

  12. No streaming except the ones Mcfee blocks so I follow live score. Very nerve racking. Next week will be better. Thanks for the highlights Jonathan.

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