Roger Federer is into the last four in Shanghai after seeing off Richard Gasquet 7-5, 6-4 in 1 hour and 18 minutes to set up a tie against his US Open conqueror Juan Martin Del Potro.
I'd billed the encounter as a foregone conclusion pre-match but Gasquet put in a spirited performance, moving better than I've seen him of late and playing further up the court to give Roger a stern examination.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. A good play against a guy with an average serve but Gasquet came out of the blocks nicely holding to 15. Roger quickly leveled to love but in game six it was the Frenchman who fashioned the first break point, encouraged by a quality get earlier in the game. Fortunately, Roger saved it to level at 3-3.
More offense from the Frenchman had Roger under pressure in his next two service games but he held firm to level at 5 games all. From there he was able to seize the set, playing a dreamy lob for 0-15, winning an extended rally at 15-15 and then breaking for 6-5. He went on to serve it out to 30.
With Gasquet no doubt disappointed to drop the opener, he got off to a terrible start in the second, dropping serve to love. I thought the match was done and dusted but Gasquet hit back, breaking straight back to level at 1-1.
The Frenchman then showed some mettle by saving two break points in game five but in his next service hold a lucky net cord at 30-40 gave Fed the break and he was able to serve his way over the line 6-4 in the second.
|Richard Gasquet||Roger Federer|
|First Serve Percent||62%||79%|
|1st Serve Points Won||27/39 (69%)||36/48 (75%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||11/24 (46%)||7/13 (54%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/8 (63%)||2/3 (67%)|
|Service Games Played||11||11|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||12/48 (25%)||12/39 (31%)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||6/13 (46%)||13/24 (54%)|
|Break Points Converted||1/3 (33%)||3/8 (38%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Net Points Won||6/13 (46%)||18/23 (78%)|
|Total Points Won||56||68|
Top 5 Shots
Thoughts on the Match
Another solid display from Fed here to make the semi-finals. Not quite as dominant as we saw against Dolgopolov but that's because Gasquet offered up plenty of resistance and some quality shotmaking of his own to keep Roger honest. All the numbers make decent reading again with the first serve up at 79% and winning 18 of 23 at net.
Usually, Gasquet is content to just sit deep but he went after his shots today and had quite a few chances in the first set to get in front. After faltering at 5 games all though, I thought Fed was the better player as despite never going away Gasquet looked a little tired towards the end. As did Fed to be honest but he has the game to bank those free points when needs them on serve to get himself over the line.
So another good win and another fun match. This court seems to offer a little bit of something for everyone and like the Dolog match this one featured some fast paced hitting, net forays, plenty slice, plenty spin and it's just been fun to watch.
Predictions vs. Del Potro
Next up is Del Potro who defeated Troicki in a tough three setter. Del Po has gone the distance three times already this week and took a tumble today in the third set with his left wrist taking the brunt of it.
The Argentine went for an MRI scan after press and has a wrist contusion. So I guess there is a chance he might withdraw, he'll decide tomorrow if he steps on court.
Should they play I'm picking Federer to win. The US Open was a big win for Del Po but I'm confident Fed is playing 20 to 25% better than he was in New York and should be able to take this one and move into the final.
What did you guys think? Will Del Po play the semi?