ATP 500HalleRoger Federer

Federer Sneaks Past Tsonga to Make Quarter Finals in Halle

The Swiss came through 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 at the Noventi Open

Roger Federer fended off the sledgehammer serving Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to progress into the last eight in Halle with a 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 win in 2 hours and 16 minutes.

The win sees the Swiss remain perfect in Noventi Open last-sixteen encounters as he moved into his 17th quarterfinal.

He’ll next face Roberto Bautista Agut who came through Richard Gasquet earlier in the day for the loss of just five games.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Halle Tsonga 19

Tsonga won the toss and elected to receive. Roger kicked things off with a love hold but with Jo-Wilfried looking to mirror his serving performance from Wimbledon in 2011 he too got on the board with a love hold.

The pair then exchanged comfortable holds but it was Tsonga who made the first move in game five creating two break points, helped by a line judge correction at 0-15 which meant a replayed point that Roger lost. Roger erased them both to hold for 3-2

After another exchange of holds, a breakpoint came the way of the Swiss at 5-4 but a big t serve from Tsonga saved it to hold for 5-5 and we were soon into the tie break.

Into the breaker and Tsonga moved up an instant mini-break, getting Roger on the stretch with some heavy forehands.

That was soon 3-0, but Roger was able to get back on level terms, thanks to a slick half volley pickup on the forehand to level at 3-3.

Two points on serve then put Roger up 5-4 and a Tsonga second serve saw him run around it to fire the forehand to set up two set points. 

Tsonga saved the first with his own serve but Roger sealed it with a heavy delivery of his own to take the set.

Into set two and Roger got off to the ideal start, exploiting Tsonga’s lack of feel on the backhand slice to break for 1-0. A quick hold consolidated it for 2-0 and it looked as though Federer was well on the way.

However that all changed in game six when despite saving two break points to make deuce, Tsonga hit a stellar pass on break point and Fed couldn’t control the volley as it drifted wide. Game on.

Tsonga then held for 4-3 and although Roger levelled to love, that was the last time he troubled the scoreboard as Tsonga reeled off the next two games to force a decider.

With the Frenchman’s sledgehammer serve firing on all cylinders, a love hold put Tsonga up 1-0 in the third. 

Roger then found himself in deep trouble down 0-30 but a superbly well-worked point at 15-30 averted the danger and he held for 1-1.

Tsonga quickly held for 2-1 and Roger was again in trouble at 30-30 after a shanked forehand but a tame backhand from Tsonga let him off as he held for 2-2.

More big serving put the Frenchman up 3-2 and game six brought perhaps the worst miss of Federer’s career, hitting the ultimate Djokosmash at 30-30 to give Tsonga break point. Somehow he regrouped to force deuce and went onto hold for 3-3. 

After game seven the roof closed and Roger kicked off the indoor session with a love hold for 4-4. 

Tsonga, however, was still looking untouchable on serve and at five-all, a tie break loomed but Federer had other ideas, creating 0-30 out of nowhere then firing a sick backhand up the line for 0-40. Tsonga saved the first but he got his feet all wrong when back pedalling on the next point to dump a forehand into the net.

First serves were the order of the day for Federer but it was the 2nd serve that bailed him out of trouble at 15-30 when serving it out. 30-30 was quickly 40-30 and then an ace out wide sealed it. Allez!

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Aces 7 15
Double Faults 1 0
1st Serve 66% (66/100) 61% (59/97)
1st Serve Points Won 76% (50/66) 83% (49/59)
2nd Serve Points Won 62% (21/34) 53% (20/38)
Break Points Saved 71% (5/7) 50% (2/4)
Service Games Played 17 17
1st Serve Return Points Won 17% (10/59) 24% (16/66)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 47% (18/38) 38% (13/34)
Break Points Converted 50% (2/4) 29% (2/7)
Return Games Played 17 17
Winners 35 46
Unforced Errors 19 31
Net Points Won 59% (16/27) 56% (9/16)
Service Points Won 71% (71/100) 71% (69/97)
Return Points Won 29% (28/97) 29% (29/100)
Total Points Won 50% (99/197) 50% (98/197)


Press Conference

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Tsonga Halle 2019

I thought I took some wrong choices on serve location. It was a tough couple of points to lose both at deuce when I came back from 15-40 but already in the game, I thought I was serving in the wrong locations and he made me pay for it. After that, I thought Jo was able to pick up his game, do better on the return and he got a great break to win the set as well. For me the key was to stay positive, I wasn’t down in the score, it was even. Fought as much as I could, stay with him, he was really able to pick up his game. I always knew it was going to be tight, he’s got a great first serve, chances to hit great forehands and he’s dangerous throughout. I knew when I gave away the lead it was going to be tight. Federer on losing his break of serve and the second set.

A high-quality match from both players and one I had the pleasure of watching live. It’s the first time I’ve seen Tsonga play live in quite a few years so I’d forgotten how heavy a ball he can hit.

The Frenchman is not hitting the fastest serves out there but it comes through the court with some serious weight behind it and he was able to outhit Federer throughout with 46 winners to Roger’s 35.

Fortunately, what Roger lacks in Tsonga like power, he more than makes up for with feel, variety and understanding how to play the big moments. The 15-30 point in the second game of the third set sticks in my mind as it was so well worked, soaking up Tsonga’s big licks and redirecting the ball to draw the error. Crucial!

Overall I’d say he got a little bit lucky to come through, winning 99 points to Tsonga’s 98 but he played the big points well, didn’t allow the fact his baseline game wasn’t at it’s most consistent and upped his game at the right moments. That was the difference between the two players on the day, Tsonga dumped a tame backhand at 30-30 in game three of the final set whereas Federer hit a clean backhand winner at 0-30 in game eleven 🙂

I think I played a really good first set tiebreaker, I was down in the score quickly, stayed calm, two good drive volleys, served well. He had chances, I had set point, so winning the set that way was crucial to settle the nerves.Federer on his win over Tsonga

Predictions vs. Bautista Agut

fed agut

Next up is Roberto Bautista Agut who came through Richard Gasquet in straight sets. Unlike most Spaniards, Agut is completely at home on the grass with his flat hitting bringing him success with two fourth-round appearances at Wimbledon and the title at Rosmalen title in 2014.

Roger leads the H2H against Bautista-Agut 8-0 and the only time he has been able to take a set was last year in Shanghai. The two have met once before on grass at Wimbledon in 2015 with Roger winning in straight sets.

Given his record of being able to dominate Bautista from the baseline in their previous meetings, I like his chances to come through but he’ll need to cut out some of the errors from the back of the court. Many of today’s mishits were due to the quality of Tsonga’s ball striking but Agut will make a lot of balls and return better than Tsonga so it could be another three-setter like their meeting in Shanghai. I’ll be again watching courtside so hopefully, Fed can set up the weekend for me, time will tell 🙂

What did you guys think of the thriller in Halle? Let me know in the comments.


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.

Related Articles


  1. So his stats were better than 1st match? I only watched last set but my TL was so negative talking about his struggles…. hmm?
    Tsonga is so unpredictable on a grass court, and brings a lot of power, taking the racquet out of Fed’s hand in serve for a while.

    Good for him for staying calm in key moments in set 3 and hope to see more of that v RBA who will not hv the power but who will make a lot of balls.

    Fed in maybe 3

    1. Tennis twitter always exacerbates his struggles. I thought he played pretty well, seems a bit annoyed with his forehand at times, was practising swings between points which I’m not sure if TennisTV showed. But he was calm, definitely had some luck in the third but we’ll take it 🙂

  2. @Jon: didn’t you mean “back pedaling”? Tsonga wasn’t trying to sell anything… hahaha.
    Jokes aside, he didn’t even sell his defeat expensive because the final break was in equal parts gifted by him and conquered by Roger who he was finally causing trouble to Tsonga with deep loopy returns.
    It’s one of those matches where these two things happen:
    1) Roger’s manages to scrape some extra overcooked beans from the pot bottom after causing cold sweats a bit all around the globe;
    2) We check the match statistics and find out a bit surprisingly that the ratio winners/unforced errors was > 1, the first service percentage was not that bad and in the great scheme of things he played much better than it seemed at the time we were busy burying our fingernails on the cheeks…

    1. I’m thinking if I watched a different match than the stats shows. Surely, unforced errors are purely subjective to the man who made the stat, but the rest…

  3. You’re in Halle! I remember you really liked it when you went before.

    Seemed like he totally lost his range there for a while. Not sure what to think about that, if anything – we know there are some weird bounces here.

    Did you think the roof made a significant difference?

    1. Yes 🙂 last minute trip.

      I think the roof was too late in the day to make a difference, wasn’t sunny or windy at the time so conditions didn’t change.

  4. Women’s world cup here on every channel except one which was showing Queens…so no Roger. Watching live scores is SO much easier on the nerves than watching the match. Tsonga is one player I’ve seen a lot of at IW. Definitely can hit Fed off the court. So sad the highlights are gone already. Would love to see that Djokerisk overhead!
    Thanks for the post you lucky dog. Having the roof is nice, no worry of the weather.

    1. Hi Sue, if you’re in Canada and watching TSN, if you are with a cable provider (say Bell) then go to and log in using your cable account, they are showing some Halle matches online although not on TV ,I guess they are showing only Queens because Auger-Aliassine and Raonic are there.

      1. Oh, thanks. Went to and looked like I needed to pay for an online acct. Does it work for Shaw?
        Yes, the Canucks are in Queens so over rules…what nerve.

      1. There was an article that said that the US Women’s team scored more goals in one day (!3 against Thailand), than the men’s team could score in 16 years (12 goals to be precise). And yet, the women don’t get paid the same as men.

        Go figure!


      2. I don’t think there has been many good games yet at the World Cup. Maybe now the group stages are done it will pick up.

        The USA Thailand game was a joke, but it’s a total mismatch in terms of professionalism, money etc.

        Th men’s world cup has the same problem, too many crap teams, I think it should be converted to a straight knockout tournament with less teams. Would be far more interesting.

      3. I think there should be four groups that start with 3 teams each. Then, you do a knockout for the remaining four spots (one in each group) as a first phase of the World Cup. From there on, you simply have four groups of four teams each and it would be very competitive games. But then, how do you make money of pointless group games and make it a truly global sport?

        About women’s soccer, which is the bigger joke, the 13-0 drubbing of Thai women, or those who said that the American women players deserve equal pay as they scored more goals in one day than the US men’s team did in 16 years?

  5. From the tone of his voice in that interview, I’d have thought he’d lost! Distinctly lucky there, I think, but a win’s a win.

  6. Great win which turned out closer than I thought. Tsonga played really well and served so well. He did well to claw his way back and win the second. Win is a win and 3 more from the 10th title here. Lets go.

    1. Tsonga surprised me, I didn’t think his level would be up to much but he got on a roll. Tricky matchup for Federer really, H2H not as lopsided a many others.

  7. John one request. I didn’t see your photo yet. May be on Twitter I can but let’s make it little interesting 🙂as you are going to the match, please display some placard or banner or any sort of interesting stuff so that they show you on TV😃
    I will try to recognize you🙂 you need not to reveal what it is but display something that gives hint about you or your blog😊😊

  8. Nailbiter till the last point. I think Rog was nervous. Doesn’t have his usual emo on the grass yet. Batista Agut also can give him some trouble. Go Roger

    1. I thought he played clutch on the big points. Didn’t look nervous, just not playing great on his groundstrokes. I know he said it takes 5 mins for him to work out what to do on grass, but still seems a little unsure of how to play from what I saw, does he go full attack or rein it in.

  9. “The key was to stay positive” – it was for us too on the chat. Wow look at the last three stats on points won %, was very close match but you are right about Fed being better on the big points. While Jo’s being French…and what’s wrong with his slice?? Flying all over lol. Really pleased Fed to get this one!
    And happy for you Jonathan to have watched the match live there. Thanks for the detailed recap. Did you talk to him? Would love to read a fan story 😉

  10. I watched the game at 5:5 third set, when Tsonga was broken and cannot understand, what happened to Tsonga just in this game. No first serve. easy errors (overrunning on the backhand side and then hitting simple forehand into the net – twice the same) or playing Fed to the racket to hit backhand winner.
    I looked like giving Roger back the last game of the second, in which Roger was making one uncharacteristic error after the other, letting Tsonga win, without his own input 😉

    Well, the big difference was, this was the game to lose the match.
    I guess, Agut will not show such weakness. Roger will need to beat him. Good news – RBA has no killing serve or killing shots like Tsonga. He will try to make Roger run and make rallies long.

    So I guess, we will see completely different Fed’s game. Aggressive, serve&volleying, to avoid longer rallies.
    Fed in straight sets

  11. Two good wins today – David def.. Zverev in Halle and Felix def. SquareHead (S.T. from Greece) 😉
    Hierre-Huhues to defeat The Bor(na)ing C. would be nice too.

    Zverev did expect from Lendl to make him a slam beast, but the ontly thing of a beast he started to have since this season is being vocal when serving – no news in his game. Since Lendle her is losing and losing and losing. But hey – Lendl told him when starting the coaching “Be patient” 😉

    1. Goffin played well. Zverev was up and down like a yo-yo, he goes from fist pumping and looked pumped, to shoulders slumped in the space of a point.

    1. Indeed. Very clutch and Royal Bank of Andorra is a fine player on fast courts. It looked like there was a ball attractor on Fed’s court sidelines.
      He can be excused for having crapped in his pants on the last game because he knew Fed would clamp the fangs on his service.
      (But I don’t need this dish 2 days in a row! Hahaha!)

      1. The same scenario as with Tsonga.
        In the last game Federer didnt need to do nothing but stay on court, 3 simple unforced errors to lose the game for free,
        There are maybe some other theories than crapping in his pants.

        Both Tsonga and Agut are not ones to do this.

        Second win for Fed not so much deserved. I don’t see him defeating Berrettini in the final. Or the same scenario again?

        Frommy younger years, when I was football fan, I remind a definition of football from those times. “it’s a game, where 22 guys are running here and there on the grass, kicking the ball nobody knows why, but on the end who wins is Germany”, hahaha …

  12. It was Gary Lineker who said that.
    I add that football is a primitive game where 22 bullies try to steal a ball from each other and even so 3 policemen on the are not enough to keep order.
    On the other hand, in tennis, two gentlemen speak to each other over a stretched net:
    -Here, have this nice ball.
    -You’re too kind but I decline the offer. You’ll make a much better use of it. There, take it.
    -Oh, please, I insist!
    -Are you quite sure?
    -Very much so, yes.
    -Alright, then. Let’s hug.
    -Not yet; I have a few more to spare. Later, when the cameras are on us and everybody is cheering.
    -You know? This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

  13. In my opinion it is not just a question of Fed staying on the court.
    It is scoreboard pressure and probably the head to head stats coming home to roost.
    I don’t remember seeing Berettini play but he has to get past Goffin first!

    1. Both are playing well, Goffin more on clean placement, Berretinni more on hard hitting and both with very good ball touch. It should be a very interesting match. I think the semi finals are well served with players who are pleasant to watch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button