Well so much for revenge for Halle in 2010 huh? As a wise man once said, Roger Blewitt and he most certainly did losing to one of his old rivals 6-1 4-6 6-3 in just over 2 hours. I never saw this one coming in a million years as I thought Hewitt was a washed up former champion with his best years behind him, turns out for today at least it's the other way around.
I don't really know where to start but it was such a disappointing match from Fed, it started incredibly badly, got much better for a set and a half but then ended miserably. I'm struggling to take many positives from it as it's undone some of his good work these last couple of months and he's now back at another low. If Edberg thought he was just going to earn some nice cash to hit a few balls he was mistaken as he's got a big job on his hands now 😛
The worst thing about it is that he probably should have won it after winning the 2nd set, only converting 1 out of 10 break points and wasting 5 break points in Hewitt's first 2 service games of the final set is criminal. It just shows that on a fast hard court that one or two missed first serves or a couple of errors means you can be in deep deep trouble quickly and if you don't press home your advantage it will come back to haunt you.
From my point of view all the wasted break points came down to timid returning and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake, that might work against French players or juniors but if it doesn't work against a guy who's had 5 foot surgeries it sure as hell won't work against the likes of Djoker, Nadal or Murray and perhaps even anyone in the top 10.
If anything this match just highlighted that Roger was lucky to get past Chardy who self destructed. I was willing to give Roger the benefit of the doubt in that one but today when Hewitt showed resilience Fed had no answers.
Quick Match Recap
I won't spend too long on the recap but the first set was some of the worst tennis I've seen Fed play, there was one moment where he took a swing at a Hewitt serve and just missed it completely. He was broken 3 times and made 21 unforced errors, it was almost painful. He looks sluggish, almost stiff and just generally not at the races.
The second set picked up a little but when Hewitt came up with a crazily good backhand volley to save break point early I thought Roger might struggle to get back into it. At 4-3 Hewitt had another break point but Roger saved it with some clutch serving and then somehow managed to break Hewitt coming from 0-40 down before serving out the set hitting 3 aces and a bullet forehand to seal it.
So in the space of 5 minutes Fed had turned momentum completely around, I mean this is talent of this guy, he looks like a deadbeat but then suddenly breaks serve and hits 5 consecutive aces over 2 service games to steal the set. Something Hewitt could only dream of doing.
As for the third, you would think with momentum on his side there'd be only one outcome and truth be told there should have been. Roger had 7 chances to break but didn't take one of them, like the first it was painful to watch as he just didn't press home the advantage. All mental really as Hewitt stood firm and didn't really have to absorb too much pressure just keep the ball in play.
Roger then managed to drop his own serve with sloppy play, had a chance to break back but failed and the rest was history as Hewitt won his first title since Halle in 2010. But fair play to him, he toughed it out Nishikori and then showed Roger how it's done to deserve the win.
Roger Break Point Jokerer
|Stats||R. Federer||L. Hewitt|
|1st Serve %||64%||50%|
|1st Serve Points Won||38/55 (69%)||40/50 (80%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/31 (45%)||26/51 (51%)|
|Break Points Saved||7/11 (64%)||9/10 (90%)|
|Service Games Played||13||13|
|1st Return Points Won||10/50 (20%)||17/55 (31%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||25/51 (49%)||17/31 (55%)|
|Break Points Won||1/10 (10%)||4/11 (36%)|
|Return Games Played||13||13|
|Total Service Points Won||52/86 (60%)||66/101 (65%)|
|Total Return Points Won||35/101 (35%)||34/86 (40%)|
|Total Points Won||87/187 (47%)||100/187 (53%)|
Set 3 Stats:
|Stats||R. Federer||L. Hewitt|
|1st Serve %||48%||50%|
|1st Serve Points Won||9/10 (90%)||19/24 (79%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||5/11 (45%)||11/24 (46%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/2 (50%)||7/7 (100%)|
|Service Games Played||4||5|
|1st Return Points Won||5/24 (21%)||1/10 (10%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||13/24 (54%)||6/11 (55%)|
|Break Points Won||0/7 (0%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||5||4|
|Total Service Points Won||14/21 (67%)||30/48 (63%)|
|Total Return Points Won||18/48 (38%)||7/21 (33%)|
|Total Points Won||32/69 (46%)||37/69 (54%)|
Thoughts on the Match
As far as I'm concerned this match is a tough tough loss, too many matches have slipped through Roger's fingers lately (post Cincy 2012) and it's not good viewing. If you watch the highlights and switch off before the final point you'd probably think Roger won that's why it's even more infuriating.
He plays a joke of a first set, suddenly starts moving better and hitting cleaner, creates multiple chances, doesn't have the confidence to take them and then manages to get broken himself despite looking solid on serve for his last 10 or so service games. Hard to fathom but all clearly mental.
Hewitt didn't really have to find another gear throughout the whole match either, just stick around and let Roger do the work for him. Looking back I think it was the lob from Hewitt on break point in the final set that really finished Roger off, he had a couple more chances to break at 2-4 but didn't have that instinct to seize them and at 5-2 he was never coming back.
So great preparation for the Australian Open? Not really I don't think, played some matches yes, perhaps has an idea of what he needs to do but in current form I think a Quarter Final would be the best he can achieve right now. Yet some fans seem to think he can win a Calendar Slam lol.
In response to a few tweets and comments we now have one camp of fans who are content he made the final as he plays for the love of the game which I think does Roger a huge disservice and the other group who have already hit the panic button and are adamant he should switch back to the 90″ which is just ludicrous. I disagree with both of those. And I also disagree with those who think we need to cut him some slack or that he was “tired”. This is the first week of the season and he routined both opponents in his first 2 matches. Tiredness is not a factor.
He needs to stick with new racquet but it's gonna take a lot of work. No matter how much he enjoys the game he still plays to win, so just turning up to play some pretty forehands isn't enough for me as a fan nor is it going to be enough for Roger himself. Losing today is a blow and don't take what he says in press conferences as golden or start waiting for April when “he'll be back to his best”. I've kinda had enough of listening to Roger talking at the moment to the press as it feels like just a lot of hot air. About time he translated some of how great he's feeling into his matches.
Positives? Well thin on the ground but he's serving well and the new racquet seems to have some advantages but it's not going going to magically change things. It's still Roger Federer in there deep down with the game to beat anyone but he's gonna have to dig deep to get that confidence back and losses like today don't help. I guess we'll leave that to Edberg or at least hope 🙂