Whoopa! This was the funnest match I've seen in a while and required Roger to call upon all his fight and competitive spirit to book his place in the Rotterdam final against Juan Martin Del Potro.
Unlike some, I haven't been placing great importance on this tournament, but seeing Roger come back from a set and a break down to turn the match around has more than pleased me.
Davydenko, despite being 16-2 against in the H2H with Roger had played himself into form this week, so I knew he would be a tricky opponent.
The first set didn't look too promising for Fed fans, to be honest it looked as though Roger was treating it like hitting practice. He was serving relatively well though which got him through most games, but Davydenko was getting on top in the vast majority of points from the baseline. Roger shanked more balls than I care to remember and didn't look like he was really putting in a great deal of effort. Davydenko broke at 4-4, saved break point himself and took the set 6-4.
The second set looked to be heading the same way, Roger was still struggling for timing and was broken early to face a 2-1 deficit. From here I guess you have to say it didn't look good, I still thought Roger had a chance because it wasn't like he was getting severely outplayed, he was just making a few errors and not capitalising on the opportunities he had.
At 3-2 Roger started to find some rhythm, he broke back when Davydenko hit a relatively easy volley long, it was a smart play from Fed because Davydenko struggles to control a high ball at the net due to the limitations of his technique.
At 3-3 0-15 we had the point of the match, Davydenko was totally bossing Roger around from the back of the court, he had Roger scrambling to hit a scooped defensive forehand and then played a backhand into the open court, only for Roger to track it down at lightspeed and hit the sweetest cross court backhand pass you have ever seen. The crowd went wild for that shot and I think it gave Roger a huge boost which allowed him to turn the match around. Roger broke to lead 5-3 and then served out the set to love. Game On!
After seeing Roger hit back from a break down, it looked like momentum was going to carry him over the line as he immediately created 3 break point chances on the Russians serve, however, Davydenko saved them and upped his level despite showing signs of fatigue.
Saving the break points somewhat rejuvenated Davydenko, and he had a break point at 3-2 only for Roger to save it with a serve out wide and a drive volley into the open court. At 4-3 Davydenko, Federer half volleyed a backhand wide to slip to 0-40. If he lost this game, Davydenko would serve for the match and it looked like it could be over. What followed was the most pleasing aspect of the match, time and time again we have seen Roger seemingly fold when it mattered, but not here – yes he got lucky at 15-40 when Davydenko missed an easy backhand but the ace to get to deuce and then take the game was a sign of true fight and determination.
Roger broke in the very next game, served for the match and hit an absolute gem of a forehand up the line on match point to book his spot in the final.
Federer vs. Davydenko Highlights
Federer Press Conference
Predictions vs. Del Potro
Del Potro is clearly a much tougher proposition than Davydenko, so if Roger wants to win he will have to up his level big time. Del Po totally demolished Berdshit in the other semi final so he's clearly playing some good stuff. I think it will be close and of course I want Roger to win, but I'm not too bothered by the outcome of this. I've said before, it's not a big tournament, and I saw all I needed to see against Davydenko. You have to go back 33 matches to the last time Roger won a match from a set down, so this is a very good sign. Whether he can replicate such fight and have a “winner's mindset” against Nadal is a different matter, but it at least gives me hope he can.
In terms of my prediction, I think Llodra showed earlier in the week that Del Potro struggles against variety so that's something Roger must bring to the table later today if he wants to come out on top. The positives are that Federer beat Del Potro in Australia last month, so he clearly has a slight mental advantage. On the flip, I think Del Potro won their last meeting indoors back in 2009 so it could be pretty even. At the minute head says Del Potro, and heart says Fed.