A 10th Halle final for Roger Federer awaits as he defeated big serving Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3), 7-6(4) to move into Sunday's title decider. Karlovic rained down 45 aces in his quarter-final victory against Berdych on Friday but he only managed 20 against Federer who swooped decisively in each tie break to record his 13th win in 14 matches against the big serving Croat.
Quick Match Recap
Roger won the toss and of course elected to serve 🙂 . A quick hold saw him lead 1-0 but Karlovic was in no mood for messing about and he held to love to level 1-1.
Both players then exchanged love holds but in game 5 Karlovic made his first inroads getting to deuce on the Federer serve. The Swiss then won his first return point but Karlovic levelled for 3-3.
At 4 games apiece Karlovic again got to deuce but couldn't create a break point chance; Fed went onto hold and 4 trouble free games later the set went into a tie break.
Roger had won his last 5 tie breaks against Ivo and he delivered in this one yet again, coming up with a well struck return at 3-3 off a somewhat timid second serve to get the mini break. The Swiss then held both his service points before Karlovic double faulted as Roger won the set 7-3.
Winning the first set was always going to put the wind in Roger's sails and he began to return with more freedom in the second set. However it was Karlovic who again made the first inroads, creating the first break point of the match in game 5 which was stamped out immediately.
Roger then had his first opening with a 0-30 chance but missed a makeable pass at 30 all and despite getting to deuce couldn't fashion a break point. After a brief period of half chances the dominance of serve returned and both guys exchanged speedy holds.
With Federer serving at 5-6 we got the point of the match where Federer defended a handful of brutally struck forehands before racing to the net to flick the ball past a stunned Karlovic.
That point set the tone for the second set tie breaker and Roger soon got up a mini break to lead 3-2; however he then misjudged a forehand which Karlovic took advantage of to get back on serve.
At 3-3 Roger ripped a forehand inside out which was called out and would have given Karlovic a big advantage, the Swiss challenged it though and Hawkeye proved the ball clipped the line giving him a 4-3 lead. Karlovic responded with an ace for 4-4 but Fed then got the ball in play and the Croat missed a makeable volley. That gave Roger 2 serves for the match which he delivered in style to book his spot in yet another final at the Gerry Weber Open and record his 50th match win at the event in North Rhine-Westphalia.
|R. Federer||I. Karlovic|
|1st Serve %||73%||68%|
|1st Serve Points Won||48/57 (84%)||39/48 (81%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||13/21 (62%)||16/23 (70%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/1 (100%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||12||12|
|1st Return Points Won||9/48 (19%)||9/57 (16%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||7/23 (30%)||8/21 (38%)|
|Break Points Won||0/0 (0%)||0/1 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||12||12|
|Net Points Won||15/20||13/24|
|Total Service Points Won||61/78 (78%)||55/71 (77%)|
|Total Return Points Won||16/71 (23%)||17/78 (22%)|
|Total Points Won||77/149 (52%)||72/149 (48%)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
This match went exactly to the script and peRFectly sums up the Federer / Karlovic rivalry: Roger finding a way to get enough serves back into play whilst first and foremost taking care of his own service games.
Fed never even came close to breaking whilst at the same time never came close to losing; it's not often you can say that 😆 but in the tiebreaks he's just that bit better than Karlovic when it matters. In the first breaker he took advantage of a Murray-esque second serve to get the mini break and in the second drew the volley error and then never looked back.
It's always been impressive to see Roger handle big servers on the tour and his record against them is extremely one sided. Karlovic probably has the best serve of them all but his return game is non existent so as long as Roger keeps his focus there isn't a chance of him dropping serve. If he keeps holding then he's always going to back himself to win one of the key points on return. Karlovic is definitely guilty of tightening up in the bigger moments too which helps.
Other than that there's not much to say as the rallies were non existent. Roger did come up with that genius point at the end of the second set though so he's clearly moving well and he was again very solid at the net and on the overheads.
Predictions vs. Seppi
Next up is Roger's Australian Open conqueror Andreas Seppi who after winning courtesy of a retirement against Monfils in the Quarters only had to play 5 games today as the man made from glass, Kei Nishikori, also retired with a leg injury.
Roger won their last encounter in Indian Wells very comfortably after the Aussie Open loss and combined with the dominant H2H record he goes in to tomorrow's final a big favourite.
I haven't seen Seppi strike a single ball this week so I can't tell you how he's playing but he's one of the purest ball strikers off both wings in the game. The Italian has no stand out weapon though which is why he doesn't beat top 10 players or win many titles and if Roger's serve + forehand combo work well tomorrow he'll win comfortably I think. They both go in on a level-ish playing field too – Roger was starved of rhythm against Karlovic and Seppi has hit very few balls on court in his last 2 matches so no player has a distinct advantage.
An 8th Halle title would be nice but there's more at stake here as Roger now has a chance to finally break the Seppi curse. For those wondering about the hoodoo at work here; Federer has never won a tournament when he has played Andreas Seppi so hopefully tomorrow that all changes 🙂 . Usually he has to win 3 or 4 matches after defeating Seppi to bag the title this time around it's a straight 3 set shootout so I like his chances.
I'll pick Fed in 2 close-ish sets. 6-4, 6-4.