He's done it 🙂 Roger Federer has sealed his return to No. 1 in ATP Rankings after seeing off Flying Dutchman Robin Haase 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 in 78 minutes to move into the semi-finals at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.
The Swiss will overtake long-time rival Rafael Nadal when the rankings update on Monday and with it will secure another three records to add to an already extensive list; not only will he be the oldest player to hold world number one at 36 years old, he will also hold the record for biggest gap between first achieving number one (February 2004) and recapturing it and have the longest period between stints at number one (September 2012 – February 2018). Not bad!
Quick Match Recap
Haase won the toss and elected to receive. Federer kicked things off with a hold to 15 and then created three break points on the Haase serve but couldn't convert. Roger then held for 2-1 and neither player won more than two points on the return up until 4-4 where Haase broke Roger to 15 and served out the set 6-4 to take a surprise lead.
With Haase serving well and Roger looking hesitant it was important the Swiss didn't let the match get away from him and he made the perfect start to set two, breaking with a crisp volley to lead 2-0. That was quickly 4-1 and with Haase looking somewhat laboured Roger broke again to lead 5-1 and he served out the set for the loss of just 9 points.
Into the third and momentum on Fed's side, he took full control, breaking in game one with a genius flicked backhand pass before securing the double break for 3-0 as Haase continued to struggle with his movement (Fed said in the on-court interview/ceremony Haase had been ill all week). With two breaks in the bag, the score was soon 5-1 and all Haase could do was try to hit his way out of trouble but he faltered again, double faulting at 30-40 to put Fed through to the semi-finals and regain the number 1 ranking.
|Roger Federer||Robin Haase|
|1st Serve||57% (35/61)||66% (46/70)|
|1st Serve Points Won||74% (26/35)||61% (28/46)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||73% (19/26)||38% (9/24)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/1)||38% (3/8)|
|Service Games Played||12||12|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||39% (18/46)||26% (9/35)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||63% (15/24)||27% (7/26)|
|Break Points Converted||63% (5/8)||100% (1/1)|
|Return Games Played||12||12|
|Service Points Won||74% (45/61)||53% (37/70)|
|Return Points Won||47% (33/70)||26% (16/61)|
|Total Points Won||60% (78/131)||40% (53/131)|
*No winners and unforced error stats unfortunately, if anyone has them please send.
Thoughts on the Match
I think reaching No. 1 is one of, if not the ultimate achievement in our sport. So sometimes at the beginning you just all of a sudden get there just because you’re playing so well. Later you sometimes try to fight it back and you wrestle it back from somebody else who deserved to be there and when you’re older you know you feel like you feel like you have to put maybe sometimes double the work in so maybe this one maybe means the most to me throughout my career, getting to No. 1 and enjoying it right here at 36, almost 37 years old, is an absolute dream come true, I can’t believe it.
A good win here for Fed who had to dig in again against a player who put in a solid performance and clearly wanted to upset the apple cart that had been prepped backstage for an on-court ceremony should Fed regain the Number 1 ranking.
The first set was somewhat similar to yesterday's encounter against Kohlschreiber with Fed playing a little hesitantly. Only this time Haase took his chances and won the set thanks to some big serving and some old school indoor tennis.
The loss of the opener seemed to calm Roger down though and rather than panic he upped his intensity to break early. Once he had the lead he was able to relax and things started to click into place. Haase, on the other hand, couldn't keep his level from the first set and he began to tire as Roger took full control making just one error in set two and then running away with the third set in similar style as Haase's shoulders dropped and his only option was to end up overplaying from the baseline.
So aside from making the semifinals, the big news is Fed is back to number one in the world. From my point of view, I don't get too excited about these things as I take tournament wins all day long over rankings but it really is quite the achievement at 36 and just testament to the hard yards he's put in over the years combined with a real love for the game that allows him to still play at the highest level.
The cooler part for me is that it's more of an accolade for his team and coaches past and present too rather than just himself. Winning titles is very much all about what Roger can deliver on the day, but being able to bring that solid base level of tennis week in week out to get to the finals (and as a result rack up the points to even stand a chance of getting to Number 1) needs that balance behind the scenes and reaching the top of the rankings is something they've all had a hand in from Carter through to Ljubicic and of course Luthi, Mirka, Paganini along with the Original RF + Lynette et al.
Predictions vs. Seppi/Medvedev
Coming soon. Hopefully, today's achievement is not going to affect Fed psychologically for tomorrow's match if he comes out flat having spent quite a bit of emotional energy during the cardboard trophy number one presentation.
As always let me know your thoughts on the match and Fed recapturing the top ranking in the comments.