Rollercoaster match here from Roger as he fought back from 2-0 down in the decider to defeat Radek Stepanek 6-2, 6-7(4), 6-3.
I expected this one to be close in places but ultimately a straight sets victory for Fed. As it turned out it was a scrappy, topsy turvy affair and whilst not exactly pretty to watch ended up being a good match to win for the Swiss.
There were a few worrying signs too considering he got broken 4 times but to come back from a break down in the final set is definitely a plus. I'll definitely take the win here and what was close to being a very tough loss ended up being a good win so we gotta be happy with that.
Quick Match Recap
Into the match recap we go and Roger got broken in his opening service game after missing a regulation backhand pass.
He then broke back immediately and the first set went to the script as Federer closed it out in just over 30 minutes. Hitting 10 winners and just four unforced errors to win 6 of the last 7 games.
I didn't realise at the time but there were early warning signs from Stepanek and the second set saw him take his game to a much higher level.
The Czech broke to lead 2-1 and although he failed to serve it out at 5-4 he pulled away in the tie break to take it 7-4.
It was a disappointing set for Roger to lose as he did the hard work to get back on serve but played a weak tie break. I thought he got drawn into playing the game Stepanek wanted to play rather than his own and gave his opponent too much rhythm.
The final set was always going to be a lottery and with Stepanek coming close to taking a 3-0 lead another tough loss looked to be on the cards. Yet Roger had other ideas as he steadied himself, fought off 2 break points at 1-2 before then breaking to lead 3-2.
3-2 became 5-2 and at 40-15 victory was in sight, but of course he managed to break himself hitting 2 double faults to drop serve yet again. Luckily it didn't come back to haunt him as a Stepanek FH error in the next game handed Roger the victory on his 4th match point to move into the Quarter Finals where he will now meet Rosol.
|R. Federer||R. Stepanek|
|1st Serve %||62%||49%|
|1st Serve Points Won||39/54 (72%)||30/48 (63%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||16/33 (48%)||20/49 (41%)|
|Break Points Saved||4/8 (50%)||4/12 (33%)|
|Service Games Played||14||15|
|1st Return Points Won||18/48 (38%)||15/54 (28%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||29/49 (59%)||17/33 (52%)|
|Break Points Won||8/12 (67%)||4/8 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||15||14|
|Total Service Points Won||55/87 (63%)||50/97 (52%)|
|Total Return Points Won||47/97 (48%)||32/87 (37%)|
|Total Points Won||102/184 (55%)||82/184 (45%)|
Thoughts on the Match
It was almost a bit too late for everything, but I kind of hung around and I took the positives out of the match. Radek did a good job of putting the pressure on me and mixing it up. From that standpoint, it was a really difficult match. I’m very pleased to come through.
Weird is the best way to describe this match as it was such a volatile display from Roger.
After looking consistent against Becker he was like a yoyo in this one, playing well in 1 game and terrible the next.
It's not too much of a concern considering he won but to get broken in the first game of each set and serve 5 double faults at key times isn't great. I don't class Stepanek as a great returner but he managed to break 4 times which can't happen if he faces Djokovic in the semi finals.
From my point of view I thought Federer got dragged into Stepaneks way of playing. Rather than stick to a pre determined gameplan he went toe to toe; this gave his opponent rhythm and opportunities to hit confidence boosting winners. When Roger wax mixing it up and moving forward things were well in his favour, a few dropped point later and he was bogged down at the back of the court having to half volley backhands constantly.
But I think some credit must go to Stepanek too, he's a good match player and he undoubtedly prevented Roger from doing exactly what he wanted to do out there. I said pre match he was wily and I think that sums up how he plays well. He looks pretty scruffy in his t-shirt, hasn't got the most attractive game but is the kind of guy that will whoop you if you underestimate him.
The good news is the positive of winning definitely outweighs any of the negatives :D. They say winning fixes everything and that's true here; it wasn't clinical or great viewing but the score reads 6-2 6-7(2) 6-3 in favour of Federer and that's all that matters.
Predictions vs. Rosol
Next up for Roger is Lukas Rosol who I don't think needs any introduction here after his exploits at Wimbledon 2 years ago.
These 2 have never met so it's a little tricky to know exactly how the matchup will be. I think it favours Roger as he does well against out and out aggressive opponents like Blake, Soderling and Davydenko etc. Rosol is uber aggressive and will look to hit winners from anywhere so plenty variety and moving forward should get the job done for Fed.
I'll pick Roger in straights and as long as he doesn't get pinned back behind the baseline then it should be comfortable. 6-4 6-2. Allez!