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How Federer Solved Del Potro

How Federer Solved Del Potro in Paris

Calm down everyone. I know why you're happy. I know why I'm happy πŸ™‚ But this is only the beginning. I feel now that Roger is legitimately back. Regardless of the result against Djokovic, Roger seems to have solved most of his problems and has laid a solid foundation for 2014. He didn't look like someone who lost three in a row against Del Potro. There was a calmness with which he went about his business, not something you would see from someone who has been owned recently, and not from Roger of late. It is this apsect that gives me real hope for the future. It appeared Del Po might not play at a high level given how much effort he has put in recently and to save himself for London. But he did up his level in the second. It took a ridiculous forehand from Del Po and a couple of loose errors from Roger, under pressure at 4-5, to even up the battle.

Federer Come on Del Potro 2013

Let's talk about how things panned out from 2-2 in the third set. But before that, a quick peek at the numbers. In the first set, Roger won 80% of his second serve points to Del Po's 44% and was rewarded. In the second, Del Po bested him 70% to 57% in that aspect to push it to a third. So, Roger knew what he had to do in the third, take care of his serve. But that's not all. Read on.

In the fifth game, Roger started with a stretched chipped return which immediately paid dividends as Del Po couldn't do much with the approach, and subsequent volley, and allowed Roger to make a scintillating pass. Roger then threw in a slider up the duece line that made Del Po run a country mile on the baseline. The cross court resulted in a beautiful forehand down the line winner. Del Po couldn't take the pressure and dropped serve. We can forgive Roger for giving up the next game as it stared with a joke of a forehand cross court forced winner from Del Po. That's what he does best, goes berserk under pressure or when he senses a chance. However, it was a crucial mistake by Roger that made the difference. He opted for a backhand top spin winner instead of the slider down the line that was so effective in the first set, and was duly broken.

It was back to 3-3 and we were all resigned to that familiar feeling, that Del Po will finish off Roger again. And we will all love Del Po for it. It was good to see Roger try that slider out wide again but he couldn't do much after the set up shot, unable to deal with a hot pass. But Roger persisted, and when stretched on the backhand, lured Del Po in with a soft mid court slice and burned him at the net. That yell from Roger said it all. It showed how much he wanted to win this one, for himself, and for his fans. What does he do again on break point? Another soft sliced cross court which induces an error.

Federer Serving Bercy 2013

Some of us must be wondering why Roger moved away from guerilla tactics in the second set. Perhaps he didn't want Del Po to get too used to it? Maybe he wanted to win it outright? But he had no choice in the third. It was important he made his move early and that's exactly what he did. Del Po may have a great running forehand but Roger can exploit the big mans mobility on low slices. What surprises me is that Roger offers the most variety to Del Po when compared to say, Djokovic, Nadal, and Murray, yet he has been owned recently. And a lot of it has got to do with Roger's refusal to choose the right shot. He is stubborn. That's exactly why he never really got the better of Nadal because he refused to change his game one bit.

Del Po was now clearly flustered. I fastened my seat belt for the missiles I anticipated Del Po would send Roger's way. I actually liked it that Roger went down the middle on the first point. As expected, Del Po donated two points to Roger with wishful forehands, only this time there really wasn't any conviction in either of them. Fortune favors the brave, but even the braves run out of luck at some point. Roger held. The next game saw Roger fall back to slices, a chip and a charge, and soon it was all over. A much needed victory. A fourth consecutive indoors loss would've been devastating. Roger really got into Del Po's head this time. He can do it again, and again.

In the third set, Roger won 60% of his second serves to Del Po's 33%. That paints a clear picture. Roger came in with a mentality that he will protect his serve and he did a darn good job today. No double faults. Overall, he won 63% of his second serves to Del Po's 48% which is significant. In their previous meetings, Roger has rarely lost a set when having a big edge in that department. It's only when Del Po inches closer to Roger's percentage is when things start going wrong. If they were to meet in London, Roger needs to stick to a similar pattern.

Federer Del Po Bercy 2013

Conclusion: Roger focused on his serve, mixed up slices and drop shots strategically in return games, and the tower of Tandil, all of 6 feet 6 inches, came clumsily crumbling down. It's up to Roger now to make sure that the wall is never put together again. I am not concerned about the result against Djokovic. Roger's game is exactly where he wants it to be. He is ready for London.

About Sid

Roger Federer inspired me to take up the sport of tennis. I believe he is the GOAT because I don't see anyone who can better his resume. His loss at Wimbledon 2008 really made me love him and the sport; the only time I watch tennis is when he plays. If you are going to read my posts, be prepared for a thorough technical analysis.

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40 comments

  1. Got it this time??

  2. nicely written πŸ™‚

  3. Great win for Roger today. I extremely happy and more importantly, I’m happy that YOU’RE happy Sid, another DelPo loss and well… πŸ˜›

  4. Wow nice surprise, we have a treat with an another excellent post. from you, thanks Sid.
    He proved you were right about the stats for service points won. He had much better numbers both Ist and 2nd serves today and played a great solid match. Now I see the serve is much more important for him than to anybody else in Top.

    Btw, I meant to tell you since long time ago, I like your avatar, it’s soooo you, I actually imagine you like that in real life πŸ˜‰

  5. Hey Sid, nice post! Salient, concise, technically sound! Bit like Feds win! No more to be said! Serve well and you will be rewarded! His whole game has been freed up! Very very smart match by him! Allez!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Thanks, Susie πŸ™‚

      “As goes Federer’s serve, so goes his game”. I may have put too much stock in the second serve, which he played about a third of his points on, but Roger’s first serve was really good today, way better than in Basel. Huge difference. I’ll never understand. It can’t be the surface. It has got something to do with the state of his mind.

  6. I imagine quite a few of us Roger fans are actually not surprised with this result. Roger is building style and confidence every day. Really enjoyed the final in Bases. Future seems very bright again for Roger. He has some scores to settle.

  7. Really happy with the result today. It seems that Rogers getting his confidence back, I know the match with Djokovic will be a lot harder and may lose but overall this will be an exellent idea on how Federer will play at the WTF in London. But deep down it would be awsome if he could somehow defeat the Djoker at get to the finals in Paris. I think it will be another close match again, and if Roger can maintain and hold hie serve it could go down to the wire. Either way its been two good tournaments ina row for Roger. All the way Roger, Allez Allez le swiss. πŸ™‚

  8. Nice stuff.

    Federer played very good tactically, and even when Delpo got the pattern he wanted and unloaded on forehand after forehand, Fed’s movement and defense was great and his slice was clicking.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      You’re correct. Del Po got the patterns he wanted but like you said, Roger moved well, and tried to change the pattern as soon as he got the chance. He was having none of it this time. He just seemed calm through out though, a direct effect getting a lot of first serves in I suppose?

  9. Hey Sid, you write exactly like Jonathan. I thought it was his article until I saw your picture. Great post Sid !!!

    This is what I have been saying. Thank you to Annacone for getting Roger Wimby and world number one, but this is what Roger is and needs to be: a problemsolver on his own on court !!! (Not for long, maybe a half year, then it is time to look for a coach). He is alone on court and has to find the solutions himself. His win, his loss.
    I came home and found out that Delpo got the second set. When Roger broke in the third and got broken back to 3-3, I thought, well this is it, again a loss. And that would have been true for the Roger before Basel. But this Roger hung on, believed in himself, stayed focused and hungry and did not want to lose.

    Great Roger times are coming. Of course Novak will win tomorrow, but…. maybe THIS Roger will have other plans…. Afterall, we all thought at Cincy 2012 that Novak was playing too great and would win and what did Roger gave him in the final????

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Well, I’ve been reading his posts for quite some time now, so obviously I learned from the best πŸ™‚ I think you find similarities because we both write in first person. I’ll put up a post soon in third person but for that, Roger must win something meaningful first/

      • He will win Sid, something meaningfull. I really believe that with all the problems he faced about qualifiying, he will win WTF. Maybe even Paris, but no pressure, he already got to the semis.

        So………
        while Roger gets the dangerous Novak
        while Novak gets the dangerous Roger
        while Ferrer gets the dangerous Rafa………. Rafa gets Ferrer???? What about that?
        Do we even have to watch their match? Ferrer beeing a fighter, but against Rafa???

        Fortunately I cannot watch Roger’s match (would be too nervous anyway), so hoping for Roger to win and cause a upset…..

      • Rafa has to face the No. 4 in the world, he deserves respect.

    • Writing like me is not a compliment Katyani lol. I don’t really enjoy the writing aspect a whole lot tbh, but I like maintaining the blog.

      @Pablo come on man, Ferrer is a hustler but he always bends over for Nadal. Might stay close for a set until he remembers he’s not allowed to win.

      • I agree Jonathan, Rafa has a big mental advantage against him but against most of players as well, what i wanted to say is although Rafa usually beats him it doesn’t mean he is one of the toughest guys you can meet in the draw, he is the defending champion by the way.

      • he doesn’t mean he is not one of the toughest… sorry

      • No no no Jonathan. Big compliment. Take it as that, big compliment. You and Sid write great articles. Or you can see it like this… You are the teacher, the others are the students… so you thaught them well???

        And….seriously, respect for Ferrer !!!

  10. Yesterday was a the first time since July that I actually watched Roger play. Nice victory, clean shots from him and a beautiful mix of calmness and aggression from him is a sure sign he’s back on track.

    Oh and good post by Sid. I actually thought it was Jonathan all the way until scrolling down for the comments πŸ™‚

  11. Initially , i thought it was written by jonathan….hehe
    Good job done sid…very comprehensive and precise like GOAT…..

  12. The Greek Gambler

    Very good post Syd!

    I can see Jonathan wearing an RF with yellow stains of mustard , selling hot dogs outside Stanford Bridge to Chelsy fans! hahaaha πŸ™‚

    Come on now Jonathan don’t tell me you re concerned about train ticket from Bradford to London. I am
    sure that Uncle Roger takes care of all those expenses for you. And I dont blame him , you own his best Fan Blog.

    Live chat is a lot of fun although tough for me to follow. Fast typing and watching simultaneously. And as if that was not enough wife children and Father and Mother in law showed up. Fuck man….

    ” Alexander , tell me about your job you re life and everything…”

    @(#*&$^$#%#^@*

    No complains though cause that’s the price for me being @ o2 in a couple of days!

    As for today’s match I ll be happy with a good fight from Fed

    • Haha you’d be surprised Gambler, if peRFect Tennis was a business it’d be unviable.

      You gotta get the setup right, tennis on TV, chat on iPad, or split screen viewing. Then it’s all good. I’m running twitter, live chat and watching. Who says guys can’t multi task?

      Have you got your tickets yet?

  13. Just a quick question to Jonathan, Sid and maybe to the others…
    If Roger wins Paris and WTF with his smaller racquet, should he change to the bigger racquet in the off season?? Or should he stay with the smaller racquet and work out some flaws he has been having lately with it???

  14. Great post Sid. And great match from Roger. Great observartion from you with the slice, it was so effective today, but again everything was great today, espeially that first set, some of the best I have seen from Roger ever.
    He looks so much more confident on court now and his movement is like a junior who has falling in the pot along with Obelix πŸ™‚ And like you I predict good things to come in the future regardless the outcome of the match against Nole today.

    And now I sound like computer idiot I am, how do I get an avatar? ItΒ΄s about time now πŸ™‚

  15. Nice post. The serve is indeed key and the percentages go up with confidence. Then Fed becomes awfully hard to beat.

  16. Every time someone has criticized Roger, he has come back stronger and more refreshed.
    It’s just a matter of time when he will be back on top.

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