ATP Masters 1000Paris MastersRoger Federer

Federer Starts With Win Against Fognini in Bercy

A winning start in Bercy for Roger Federer as he defeated Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 to move into the Quarter Finals. This Swiss had the fortune of an extra day off after his 2nd round opponent withdrew, and he kept his court time today to a minimum, making progress in one hour and thirteen minutes.

The former champion has made the last eight at the Paris Masters 1000 event in five of his past six appearances now, although he's only lifted the title once before in 2011, so Title #100 is still a good way off and the draw gets much tougher from here.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Fognini Bercy

Fognini won the toss and elected to serve. The Italian kicked off with a hold to fifteen before Roger levelled with a hold to love.

The Swiss was out the blocks in quick fashion, taking it early and a sloppy service game from Fognini gave him the early break. That was quickly consolidated for 3-1.

With Fabio looking disinterested another sloppy game with two double faults gave Roger the double break for 4-1. Roger then had a point for 5-1 but failed to challenge a serve that would have been overruled and he ended up being broken. Fognini then held for 3-4 and was in with a glimmer to get back level but Fed held for 5-3.

A quick hold kept Fognini within touching distance and when Roger fired down two double faults for 0-30 in game nine the Sanremo native was able to fashion two break points. Roger erased them, playing a slick point for deuce and winning the next two to take the set 6-3.

Into set two and Fognini held to thirty for 1-0. Three aces in a row saw Roger level and he then held a breakpoint on the Italian’s serve but could not convert. A love hold put the pressure straight back on Fognini and he faltered to drop serve.

A comfortable hold consolidated the break for 4-2 and it was just two more service holds required to win a set without dropping serve 😆 . That looked unlikely when some wild errors gave Fognini two break points, but Roger dug in to hold for 5-3 then powered over the line in game nine, firing a sick backhand return and breaking to love to seal the deal thanks to a Fognini double fault.

Match Stats

Fabio Fognini Roger Federer
Aces 2 8
Double Faults 6 2
1st Serve 46% (32/69) 50% (27/54)
1st Serve Points Won 69% (22/32) 81% (22/27)
2nd Serve Points Won 41% (15/37) 59% (16/27)
Break Points Saved 43% (3/7) 80% (4/5)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Serve Return Points Won 19% (5/27) 31% (10/32)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 41% (11/27) 59% (22/37)
Break Points Converted 20% (1/5) 57% (4/7)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 14 21
Unforced Errors 25 21
Net Points Won 67% (6/9) 67% (8/12)
Service Points Won 54% (37/69) 70% (38/54)
Return Points Won 30% (16/54) 46% (32/69)
Total Points Won 43% (53/123) 57% (70/123)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Bercy R3 2018

A decent enough start here from Federer and he played some good first strike tennis from the baseline, taking it super early and not giving Fognini much time in the opening few games.

The problem, however, was his serve which has gone from being the Rolls Royce of tennis to the Lada. It was down at 36% in set one and had Fognini not already been on holiday mentally and ready for a rumoured ankle surgery then he could well have taken advantage of some very loose service games.

He very nearly did after averting a 5-1 deficit and holding two points to level at 5-5. But Fabio is Fabio and even at his best he needs rhythm to play with consistency and Roger didn’t really give him any. Either pushing forward to force errors or making his own from the backhand wing which committed 13 unforced errors in the match which isn’t great.

Perhaps the conditions are fast hence that number but I’m not really sure as the camera angle in Bercy makes it impossible to gauge the pace or trajectory of the ball.

Anyway, as we saw in Basel, a win is a win and he’s into the Quarter Finals without any real fuss. I guess the other plus is winning a set without losing serve, it’s all about baby steps right now so the next task is to try and win an entire match without losing serve ? can he do it? Time will tell.

Predictions vs. Nishikori

Next up is Kei Nishikori who exacted his revenge from Vienna over Kevin Anderson with a straight sets win.

I wasn't able to see the match but it looks as though Kei had a solid returning day and was able to neutralise Anderson's serve to get a break in each set.

Roger has a comfortable lead in the H2H and played a very good match against Kei last month in Shanghai in what was a high-quality encounter where both guys played some top-drawer tennis.

I'm assuming the court was quicker in Asia which obviously helps Roger so perhaps here it's more of a leveller and the Japanese will be able to win more points on the return. Feds gameplan will naturally be to try to jump all over Nishikori's second serve and make sure he's the first to get offensive. Should be another fun match and I rate it 55/45 in favour of Federer.

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


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. I didnt see the match but it sounds like a continuation of Basel form. I was expecting him to play Anderson in the next round so fingers crossed re Kei – its on very late in the day…

  2. Thanks Jonathan, again a quick and clever report. Agree with most people here, might at the least be fun tomorrow, so relieved with a nice fighter instead of the strong bomber. Could be tight, but guess Rog will find the way, again. At least he “only” DF’ed 2 times now, so serve on the way too to old standard?

  3. Same here. What’s with the serve? Toss still looks to me like it’s looping back over him more than what I expect to see… I often used to notice how laser-straight his toss was, and now it isn’t.

    Encouraging to see him moving well, some nice points there from both guys really. But overall – he wouldn’t have got through playing like that against either Coric or Thiem, for instance – they apparently had a fabulous match. Coric may have got himself an alternate spot at WTF.

  4. Roger’s serve was stronger in the second set. I think this may have been his breakthrough. Not a lot of pressure on him right now, he can lose to Kei without being embarrassed and he would avoid Novak. If he wins, that means his level of play has improved and he will have confidence against Novak. Absent some implosion, I see the remainder of this tournament as a win-win.

      1. Jonathan, I think today’s match with Nishikori may be affirm my assessment. We will see tomorrow I suspect.

      2. My edit skills have abandoned me. I meant to say that today’s match with Nishikori may affirm my earlier assessment. The match with Novak will be the bellwether.

  5. I couldn’t see Fognini misbehaving with Fed on the other side of the net. Who does? Looks like a full house, Forget must be happy. Mirka there on her own?
    Only a little over an hour of play to get into the quarters of a master. Not bad. Maybe Roger needs a serving coach?

  6. 2 spots left for wtf, but one more subst. Delpo? Hasn’t he drawn out, or? He’s still marked on the ranking home? – And what about Rafa? Also on the brink? Some hope for Kei still, even if King Roger beats him tonight? I really hope that, Fed needs to play Djoko, at least in order to figure out about him before London. – That is if D beats C, but that’s what we all take given, no?

  7. I just discovered that no French left in the draw. As earlier years the experience of the crowd was hugely awful when French players were pressed – or on the brink of winning – or whatever, just on court – I’m pleased that this won’t be so the rest of the time this year, probably. (Maybe except for supporting King Roger, bur that won’t be too awful?)

    1. No French players indeed among the last 16. Very bad result… Some are old (Simon, Mahut) or back from injury (Tsonga) or tired (Gasquet, Pouille) or not serious (Monfils) or prefer to spend time dye hair as a beetroot (Paire !) rather than train…. and I guess they prefer not to risk a burn-out ahead of the Davis Cup final (Nov. 23-25) in Lille against the Croatian  Cilicoric duo… As long as Roger is there, the crowd will cheer for him !

  8. Thanks for the summary, Jonathan !
    I just watched the highlights.
    Good match by Fed it seems and the ovation at the beginning was just wahouu ! Nishikori seems to play great … Tough match tonight.

    The Paris open is only shown on Canal + in France and you have to pay with a box subscription for it (except the Final which should be visible on France 2 for free on Sunday). One of the Canal + football commentators has an idol : Roger. He dreamt to comment one of his games. He was awarded the right to do it  yesterday and he posted this after the match against Fognini as he could talk to RF for a minute… I don’t know what they talked about but the handshake is nice… and the journalist is like a child who met Santa Claus…

  9. Yey, a set without serve broken! Hahaha our expectation has become as low as Fed’s 1st serve % in the set one. QF vs Kei, it’s gonna be another “fun” match for sure. Allez!

      1. Yeah, good thing that Kei’s serve is shit as well, so Roger will have plenty of opportunities to break back….

  10. Roger playing better at least starting off better, if he could sort out his serve,
    at times he seems to be doubting himself. If it was a back issue surely he
    wouldn’t be as mobile, and we saw his forehand is not as bad as it was, but
    maybe the hand and arm just isn’t back to scratch. Looking at the draw
    Cilic/Djo… many balls will be bounced before a strike in ernest!
    C’mon Roger be good x

  11. I agree with Thinker about the serve. I thought he was tossing the ball higher last night. Recently he has been occasionally tossing it lower and it often goes into the net then. Zverev once asked him how to win tournaments (or something to that effect) and Federer said don’t let your serve get broken ten times (or similar). Good advice. Please take it Mr. Fed. At the moment watching your serve is killing us.
    I rather like Fognini, at least he has a personality and even smiles or laughs to himself on court and his play is often entertaining. I know he is sometimes a bad boy too.
    As for Federer, he lurches from brilliance to playing like a banana. When he played Nishikori recently he was Brilliant-Fed so here’s hoping Brilliant-Fed comes out to play.
    Thanks for your perceptive write-ups, Jonathan.

    1. Interesting. Maybe he’s experimenting a bit. Dolgo serves his ball on the way up! Very quick serves, many faults…

    2. Can’t say I noticed the ball toss, From the Bercy camera angle though everything looks different.

      Re Dolgo serve – not many players hit the ball on the way down, those that do have pretty poor serves. Berdych for example.

  12. In the recent Kei matches I’ve seen recently, Nishikori played very well, so I think it is 55/45 in favour of Kei. So here’s hoping that “Brilliant” Fed does appear and we can enjoy a Roger win.

  13. Spot on analysis Jonathan.Fed has been fortunate so far with a withdrawal and then a match against a lacksydaisical
    opponent .(so you were fight Muser and I was wrong)?
    Tonight will be a whole difference in class though.Saw Nishikori play Anderson and he was reading Mr Andersons serves
    really well.So may the best player win.
    Glad Theim is through and hope Cilic can at least make a fight of it against the Joker.I rather like Cilic,rather shy I think with
    a gorgeous smile when he is not being too serious.When I saw him play the crowd started to slow hand cap him because of
    the prolonged bouncing before serve.He looked up in what seemed genuine bewilderment and then carried on bouncing the ball.So it seems to be something he needs to do.Rather different to Joker who always seems to do it more on tense
    Friends coming for the weekend so won’t be able to watch any more matches?so to those who can,enjoy!

  14. Roger is quoted saying “I didn’t come here to win Paris, I came here to win London. But I do expect a win today and hopefully a win for Cilic against Djoker.

    1. Agree and that makes him free. And me hopeful!
      Ha – C and D – competing who bounce most times before serving! Well I wish well to C, this time! (But what I count as likely, is …- but never say never!)

  15. I live in a great retirement community and I enjoy playing tennis year round. And I always joke that tennis players are so much fitter then golfers. When I see an obese golfer I always think, no way can he play tennis. Anyways, my question is how on earth with the power and speed generated from some of these great service games, more from the receiving end, why don’t tennis players have issues with their wrists? I understand Delpo has had more then one surgery but I am amazed that when a ball comes at you at 200 plus km/h and you use a backhand to return service, how on earth does that not eventually tear up your wrists and elbow?

    1. Interesting. A lot of players have injures like that, no wonder Fed too had a tiny share of it. Seems to be recovered now!!!! (He maybe just has to get used to that…?)

      1. Tennis is such a demanding sport physically. That stop and go on the ankles. I still think that just because Fed is 37 not to expect that from Nadal and Djoker. I just think that Roger has a better game that allows him not to wear and tear his body. I do hope he gets back his 1st serve before London.

  16. I expect Roger to up his game to night as he did vs Kei i Shanghai, being a wonderful challenge trying beating a wonderful fighter like Kei. And he may win too. Only worry is that he may be as tired afterwards as he did then, when lost to Coric in the next. And this wouldn’t make any of us happy this time, as this probably will be vs maxi Coric. But let’s see and I’ll try not to be too pessy. Afterall he won the AO 2017, beating Kei and a lot more great players, – and this was a grand and wonderful surprise. Could be again! Alléz Roger, have fun!

  17. Read a tweet that made me laugh, from Kamakshi Tandon, he said
    about Roger ‘ Sometimes he looks like Federer. Sometimes he looks
    like a crazy person who thinks he can play like Federer!!

      1. Again I don’t quite agree. He has ups an downs, yes, but I think it’s the usual exaggerating his downs…

  18. Yes, I agree with you, Muser.
    Let’s remember the sentence written by a Swiss journalist I had recently reported on this blog after this year’s USO : 

    “Roger Federer’s  decline has been predicted too many times to imply a hurried judgement about his loss, but we have to admit that at 37 of age, his victories are outstanding, not his defeats”.

  19. Cilic gives Djoker a challenge. Could have been nice if they were after Roger’s match.
    Cilic is probably going to choke again.

  20. Seriously can Roger get some help? Djoker loses 4-6 first set then wins next 2. Cilic 26 years old, Thiem 24 soon to be 25. Is Roger at 37 expected to be the only player to beat Djoker????

  21. We can not criticize Fed if nobody at the present time is beating Djoker? Seriously Fed is beating guys much younger with fresh legs and pain free. Fed is amazing today 1st set serve and volley was as the French would say “MANIFIQUE”.

  22. Best performance in a long time for Fed. He was the master and made it look so easy. If he plays like this tomorrow then we might see an exciting match. But as I stated it seems that nobody is doing much against Djoker and only the truly GOAT can give him a real challenge. ROGER at 37 you shame everyone else.

  23. Fed’s level of play was much better today. I don’t think he is feeling a lot of pressure at this stage. To get to the semi-finals at a masters with only two wins and the poor form he was in only a few days ago is a testament to his grit and fortitude. This is not easy folks. He just finds a way. Interested to see Jonathan’s summary and prediction.

  24. Whatever Fed does tomorrow, he never stops amazing me that he is so incredible. Djoker fans can watch and see for themselves who the crowd will be cheering for. Whenever Djoker plays Fed the people overwhelming cheer for Federer. Even if Djoker finishes number one, he will “NEVER” replace the 80% of tennis fans for their GOAT, Roger Federer. the remaining 20% are split between Nadal and Djoker.

  25. Roger the amazing maestro! We’ll see if the zig is zagging today – never mind if so – confidence in London is what counts (and still I hope for Kei there too). But anyway – ALLEZ ROGER – today, tomorrow and many years forward!

  26. After looking highlights and reading some reports (didn’t watch yet the match) it seems his serve is on standard royal rolls royce again? Or nearly? And quick reactions certainly are! Has a chance then today. ALLEZ Roger!

  27. I also didn’t see the match,Fed always plays really well when I am not watching so perhaps I should never watch,for
    the greater good!That score line is very encouraging (was Fed not broken) also that Cilic took a set off Joker.So we shall see tonight.I do think it is very unfair that Fed always has these late night matches,but perhaps he is used to it now.

  28. Would be great to see Roger turn the clock back today against Novak, but I don’t see that happening. Expecting a standard 6-3 6-4 type defeat, but when you are the GOAT, however old, however off form, there is hope. Always.

  29. Sure hope. And Djoko might be nervous. Roger not, I think, just excited. Only it got very late last night, so he might have a little back draw acc. this. Katyani? What do you say?
    I say: 6-4, 6-3 Roger, and Djoko smashing his racket.

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