ATP 500HalleRoger Federer

Federer Sees Off Karlovic to Make 10th Halle Final

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

Federer Ivo Halle 2015

Roger won the toss and of course elected to serve πŸ™‚ . 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.

Match Stats

  R. Federer I. Karlovic
Aces 6 20
Double Faults 0 1
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
Winners 30 33
Unforced Errors 10 13
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

Federer Semi Final Halle 2015

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 πŸ˜† 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

Federer Seppi IW 2015

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 πŸ™‚ . 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.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Nice write up.

    Couldn’t ask for more really. Good progress on grass. Hard to feel like I know how to gauge Fed’s playing in terms of the competition at the business and week of Wimbledon – wish Niki were still in so Fed had a clear contender to brush up on and see where he is. But at least he’s not clearly playing poorly.

    Totally spot on Jonathan about how he handles these big servers. I’m always impressed at how he’s able to tame them, and always surprised at how guys like Ivo and Milos usually fold before him at crucial times. If I were Ivo I would be tempted to be demoralized a little. All that power, but consistently failing just ever so slightly at the big moments.

    What do you think we can take away from Halle in terms of any way it informs SW19?

    1. Zero really – Fed has proven he can win Wimbledon when he wins Halle or doesn’t win Halle. He’s also proven he can lose at Wimbledon when he’s won Halle or hasn’t won Halle πŸ™‚

      The main thing is just matches on the surface I think, know where his games at. And I think Seppi will give him a game tomorrow – flat hitter, consistent on both wings.

  2. Hi Jonathan

    Great match he really was on song, missed a couple of volleys but his serving and in the tie breaks he was so focused. And next up is Seppi – he has been lucky this week two retirements – hopefully Fed will come out all guns blazing and do it in two, hopefully he will want a little more revenge for the Australia loss, then Wimbledon is just around the corner – oh happy days Come on Roger PS I am ignoring the fact that he never wins a tournament if he plays Seppi

  3. Thanks Jonathan for the recap. Little to add again to a very imressive win against a heavy bomber in TBs. Ivo needed only one UFE in the TBs to have the sets to swing his way but Roger was unusually stingy πŸ™‚ . Having said that, I thought that Karlovic has improved substantially in the last couple of years. On another day, he could have beaten the most of players, really tough luck to him. With 20 aces, he could not even win a set. He goes into the list of those whose careers are affected by Roger standing in their way! πŸ™‚ .
    On final, agree with you with everything you said except for the final’s prediction – mine that Seppi wins no more than 5 games!
    Allez Roger!

    1. Yeah I agree, his forehand has got a lot better in recent times. They were saying on commentary he one of the hardest working guys on tour – and it shows I guess. Oldest player on tour to win a title this year and could probably bag a few more.

  4. I think it’s very admirable and encouraging with Roger showing the way for tennis to prevail over the talling bombers. To find the way vs. this is somewhat genius. Cheers for it – very gratefully.

  5. Haha, a lovely photo of the selfie moment. I wonder there’s an actual selfie exist?

    “Fed never even came close to breaking whilst at the same time never came close to losing” – that sums up the match, Jonathan. Agreed, who isn’t impressed especially by Fed’s mental side when he plays a bomb server. Could’ve been so easily frustrated and lost temper.

    Love to see him holding the trophy tomorrow πŸ™‚

    1. Crazy that the match was probably decided by a means that Federer hates a lot. The challenge system.

    2. Yeah that challenge was the turning point in the tie break really. Fed was 2nd best in set 1 up to 6 all, but went up a gear in the breaker. Karlovic was 2nd best in set 2 up to 6 all, was on the verge of going up a gear in the tiebreak after getting the mini break but then got rattled by Hawkeye πŸ˜†

      I thought it was out when I saw Fed hit the forehand, wasn’t a clean shot by a long way. Lucky just enough on it to find the line. If he loses that point then prob loses the breaker.

  6. Would be interesting to know the words exchanged between them at the net. Seemed pleasant. Karlovic was pointing his finger at something, and Federer was smiling. What exactly was he saying? That Federer’s shot before the challenge was actually out?

    1. I think they both said they get on off court a few times. That point at 3-3 was pretty huge as Karlovic looked like he was in the ascendency had that been out. And to think Fed isn’t a fan of hawkeye πŸ˜€

  7. I only watched part of the second set, but from the various writings I saw, it was a carbon copy of the first one. This was sort of a typically atypical (!) match:
    1) Serve well – game granted.
    2) Hope for oponent error: one break = game + set, Second break = match.
    3) No rallies.
    But this leads to another discussion: The way the game has progressed in the past decades (athletic condition of the players, rackets) has made serve a way too important hit. However, the court and net dimensions have not changed to account for this. (neither am I defending that…)
    The only thing that impedes giants as Karlovic from winning every match is that with increased height comes increased clumsiness. Boy, some of his failed volleys on set 2 were really embarassing moments.
    But the day will come when a 2.10 m tall player will be a skilled one, too. Think about a player with Federer’s coordination, Nadal’s wit and Karlovic’s height. Add some doping, stir well.
    (This is putting a bit of strain on biomechanical laws, but anyway…)
    Given enough time, an unprobable event, no matter how bizarre, will inevitably take place.
    And tennis matches will become a drag.


    1. It’s the reverse, the game is less about the serve now than it was say in the late 90’s. Go watch Wimbledon with the likes of Goran, Scud Krajicek etc.

      If the serve was way too important a hit Raonic, Roddick, Karlovic, Isner would all be slam winners. And a guy with an average serve like Nadal would have 0. He has 14 πŸ™‚

      It is now a sport of movement. And that is what impedes Karlovic from really competing on all surfaces. I don’t think we’ll see a giant winning slams either, maybe Raonic has a shot but even it’s tough to see.

    2. Jonathan took the words out of my mouth. I cannot agree with Rui. The serve is actually becoming a non-factor, especially on clay.

      It’s a sport of movement, which requires boundless endurance. They might as well have a worlds strongest man contest instead of slams.

      One way to counter the increased fitness and racquet technology would be to speed up the courts. Nobody wants to do that. This sport is literally becoming a game of pong.

      1. OK, I’ll concede on that point. Your analysis is right. It was certainly way worse in the mid ’90s but that was a sort of black-out period for me in what concerns tennis. This was shortly after Edberg retired – the last player of the previous century I cheered for -, the game became a shoot-out, and I put my racquet away in the closet (until 10 years later I started hearing about a certain guy who started winning by playing as opposed to fighting, and the rest is history; two of my four kids have taken tennis lessons, guess inspired by who?…)
        And yes, I would also leave clay out of the serve argument.
        But I would not go so far as to consider that Nadal’s game is all about “cheating”. He behaves questionably on court, yes, and I don’t like his game style, either.
        But I would not demonize the guy; I think he deserves some credit.
        Here and there, that is…

    3. You have got me thinking now. Wow can you emagine if they did make cloned tennis athlete. Believe it or not there documents to show that in the 1930s they created the first human clone. Theycloned plants and animals during that period also. There were also evidence that the Russian scientist successfully put two heads on a rottweiler that lived for 2 minutes. But the dog was totally confused as the dog didnt know what do. So that was back in the 30s, and 60s. Now they have the technology and data to do transhumanism that having bits of extraordinary champions and making a clone is not that far fetched. In about 5 or 10 years there will be humans who are designer babies. There dna will be changed to have less diseases, blue eyes, blonde hair etc etc. And all of these new breed will not be fully human and will have to have computerddownloads of information.
      Just like software and hardware programmed into them.
      The government have already had takes with the rest of the world about what laws and regulations there should be. As outwards they will look human but inside they will have no soul. I know this sounds like the Terminator and science fiction but believe you me its already happening right now. The rich and the elite already have clones of themselves as well as saving their organs for these clones.
      I know some people will laugh at what I have written. But so many things are happening it is beyond belief.

      1. I believe in the adage that, if you can imagine it, it is possible. What is seemingly impossible, becomes possible as time passes. Of course, there is no such thing as time, so there really in infinite time available.

    4. Nadal’s wit?

      Are you fucking kidding me? The guy is nothing but overly trained, takes all the time between serves to decide a strategy, uses all means at his disposal to throw an opponent off (MTO’s), gets illegal coaching signals, and at times blatantly talks with his uncle.

      That’s not wit. That’s cheating!

      Fuck me!

  8. It doesn’t make sense to me. At the French open, a poor kid finds a way to get a selfie with Roger, Federer and his fans are up in arms, and the French put what ten Mousquetaires around the King?

    Now a crazy, dangerous bear, who could’ve potentially shredded Federer to pieces, and consumed, jumps into the court, completely prepared with a selfie stick, and Federer seems to be enjoying the moment, even gives a thumbs up signal, and everything is fine with his fans?

    Why the fucking double standards, folks?

    1. πŸ˜†

      I’m not keen on using animals as props either. It’s exploitation. That bear should be living wild in a forest somewhere not spending 51 weeks a year in a cage.

      1. Hi there Jonathan. …regarding the moon landing they have only been there once. They only landed much later than the 69 tv special. They couldn’t land because of the the magnetic field at the beginning. They used cia operatives and The producer Stanley kubric to film a fake moon landing. This is why there is soo many mistakes in the film, the crosshares of the camera being out of place. The flag .oving about when there supposed to be no air wind. The light and shading are all wrong. This is why they are not releasing the film to the expertsas Iits all lies. So moon landing fake but they have been once and landed but on a much later mission.

    2. Ha ha ha. … yep well funny as usual about a Federer selfie. Like you said that bear could of eaten him alive! ! But he goes and complains about a harmless boy wanting a selfie pic with his idol. Lolthe ddouble standards. Lol spot on Sid. Well said.

  9. I think Fed is moving so well. I watched some of this weeks highlights and just focussed on his movement and footwork. Really impressive. Wish his forehand was a little more consistent though. Great serving this week.

    Fingers crossed with the Seppi curse!

    Over at Queens, enjoyed the Simon – Anderson match. Anderson hitting the ball really well.

    1. Yeah he is floating above the grass this week. And agreed on forehand, not the forcing shot lately. No idea why – time to change racquet? Wilson Blade 98?

      1. Agree, unlike him to float FH DTL wide consistently- something to work on in the next week and will hopefully be ready for Wimbledon.

  10. Done and dusted in two, which is great. No physical energy expended!! I admire Federer’s patience and focus against these big servers, must be very frustrating at times – and a little dull – to simply walk from one side to the other in half the games. I too think Karlovic has improved – particularly on groundstrokes, well forehand really, especially the one DTL which paid dividends in his match against Berdy; the backhand’s generally still poor though. But the Feds still gets him on those wicked slices down to the feet – works every time. πŸ™‚

    Seppi’s had a easy time through to the final, but I don’t think this will be of any real benefit. Go Feds for 8th Halle title! πŸ™‚

    1. It’d be more frustrating if he was facing a joke server and dumping returns into the net. With Karlovic there is nothing you can do so just gotta accept it.

      Ivo definitely improved his forehand big time, almost a weapon along with the serve.

  11. That was some hot shot,wow! He was flying! Love to see him moving like this.

    Not sure what to expect v. Seppi. He’s been playing better, but as others have said has maybe been undertested this week. Hope it’s a good match & Roger gets to practice figuring some things out on the fly (successfully, of course!)

  12. Really mentally tough from Rog. As he always says, took care of his own game and grabbed the two chances which came his way! Serve % very good fom Fed when acrually he is under huge pressure to hold as Ivos service games are never on Rogers racquet. Got to admire Ivos serve. Very very fluid, and he utterly frustrated Tomas with it a day earlier. Tomas totally lost the plot and beat himself. Roger just kept so calm and didn’t use any negative energy even when he walked to and fro 4 times in a game!

    Great BH at 3 all in first TB and great challenge at same point in second TB! Match winning points both!
    And Seppi, no more than 6 games….

    Btw I agree with Jonathan and Sid re the serve in today’s game.. The French Open really demonstrated that, and even though Anderson has served really well this week, both Stan and Simon today has so many chances to win their matches..

    Yeah, good to see Roger get 5 matches under his belt pre Wimby on grass and still has a week of practice to work on serve/Volley with Stefan…..allez

  13. i do like Karlovic. He`s been through a lot. Stutters and is extremely shy. Is very funny, check out twitter. He almost died a few years ago of meningitis.

  14. You are right Sue. Apparently, away from the court, he really is the gentle giant. But on the court, he is not to be messed with! Have a feeling he and Roger get on very well off court.

  15. So, would be really interested to know to what extent Ivo was having an “off” day after yesterday’s recordbreaker (only 20 aces? How pathetic) and to what extent it’s because Roger reads his serve that much better than Berdych, so the aces don’t tend to happen?

    Hoping for a win tomorrow, obviously, but odd to guess where Seppi’s game is given his weird way of getting to the final πŸ™‚ Would certainly have preferred Kei, even if just for purist reasons of the draw looking better.

  16. Against big servers is always tricky, must have patience to wait for the right time to pounce. Not a lot of rhythm out there, just need to have excellent hand eye coordination. Its a good win for Roger and he was quite clutch today except for a few silly passing shot mistakes. Now on to Seppi, hope he can break that curse and gets 8th title. Allez Roger!!!

    1. i disagree about the rhythm. I think because Fed is so successful against big servers, he always plays by the same script whereas the server has no rhythm because Fed one of the few guys that matches the serving contest and can get the ball in play.

      8th Halle title=8th Wimbledon title?

    2. I agree with Dippy, the only rhythm you get against a big server is walking from one side of the court to the other.

      Karlovic doesn’t need rhythm from the baseline, his rhythm comes from serving aces. As we saw; he served them more or less in batches. Roger didn’t win a single return point until half way through the first set.

  17. Tight match but in the end Karlovic just a serve bot and no match for the variety of the Fed express. Thought he played an epic game at 5-6 in the second set, that flick at the net was just a touch of genius yet again. Dr. Ivo on the other hand just way too casual at the net, I mean some of the volleys he came out with were cringe-worthy. So happy Fed has made his 10th final at Halle (out of 11 appearances?) and I’d be very surprised if the Seppi curse wasn’t broken. Hope Nishikori can make a decent recovery in time for SW19.

    BTW, just curious, how is the baseline so muddy already? Is it because of the shade or something? Also the selfie at the end with the bear was just the icing on the cake, good stuff Halle!

    1. This is is 13th appearance, played every year since 2000 except 2009 and 2011.

      “how is the baseline so muddy already?”

      In comparison to what? Wimbledon? The courts are setup entirely differently for a 1 week or 2 week tournament.

  18. It was raining thundering aces
    Karlovic was making funny faces
    But as is Roger Federer’s norm
    He coolly weathered the storm

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