A 13th Australian Open semi-final appearance for Roger Federer looms large as he defeated Mischa Zverev 6-1 7-5 6-2 in 1 hour and 32 minutes in today's Quarter Final.
The win sees the Swiss record his 85th match victory in Melbourne, and he'll next face Stan Wawrinka who comfortably defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.
Quick Match Recap
Zverev won the toss and elected to receive, a strange choice for his game style, and he got off to a dreadful start as Roger held to love and broke to 30 for a 2-0 lead.
Memories of Halle in 2013 must have crept into Zverev's mind as at 5-0 it meant he'd lost 17 straight games to Federer, but he managed to get on the board before Roger served out the set 6-1 in just 19 minutes.
It was tough to see how the German could make a fist of things in set two as he wasn't making an inroad on the return and having to hit volleys off his toes in his service games. But in game 4 Roger virtually broke himself to give Zverev a 3-1 lead. The lead, however, was short-lived as Roger broke back and at 5-5 got the break as he went on to take it 7-5.
Roger was always going to be a huge favourite in set three, and after missing a break point chance in the opening game, the Swiss broke to lead 3-2. At 2-4 we got the longest game of the match which featured ten deuces and a half SABR, Roger went on to finally break for 5-2 and saved a break point of his own at 30-40 before serving it out 6-2 in the third.
|Match Statistics||M. Zverev||R. Federer|
|First Serve % In||72/97 (74%)||54/79 (68%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||38/72 (53%)||37/54 (69%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||13/25 (52%)||17/25 (68%)|
|Net Points Won||30/75 (40%)||23/32 (72%)|
|Break Points Won||1/2 (50%)||6/15 (40%)|
|Receiving Points Won||25/79 (32%)||46/97 (47%)|
|Total Points Won||76||100|
|Distance Covered (M)||1456.3||1177.5|
|Distance Covered/pt. (M)||8.3||6.7|
|SABR||0||3 x Almost SABRS|
Thoughts on the Match
A super quick and fun match this one which featured some sweet volleying, impressive passes and all court tennis that's great to watch as it's such a rarity to see on tour these days.
Not the five-set thriller or baseline slugfest where the fittest wins, but one where hand skills, anticipation and quick movement get the job done. Everything happens so fast, and even if you're not a Federer fan, it's hard not to be in matches like this when he's whipping clean forehand winners inches from the ground.
Regarding how the match panned out, Zverev got off to a dreadful start as he looked nervous in the opening games but once he steadied the ship, he was able to work his way into things. Roger always had him at arm's length, but he still needed to be on his toes throughout as Zverev came up with some solid volleys to keep the scoreline close and he'll have been disappointed no to hang onto the break in the second set. After breaking back, Roger got back in the driving seat and from there on it was relatively plain sailing.
Naturally, little to learn today on how he'll fair against Stan as it's an entirely different game, but he moved well throughout, served ok and was the better player from start to finish. It wasn't physical in the slightest either, so he should have plenty in the tank come Thursday.
Predictions vs. Wawrinka
Next up is Stan The Man who defeated Tsonga in straight sets. That's an impressive win as you'd expect Jo to at least get a set but like we've seen with Stan before, if he comes through a big test early he can go on to play some great stuff at the back end of the tournament.
Roger dominates the H2H, but it's not the best indicator as Wawrinka has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and is a threat to anyone when his game is firing.
I think it will be an exciting match; we saw Roger give an absolute masterclass in how to blunt raw power when he schooled Berdych in Round 3 so he'll need to replicate that against Stan.
Wawrinka is, of course, better in virtually every area than Tomas, but the same principle applies – deny him the opportunity of playing his game and taking over the point with his heavy groundstrokes by taking his time away.
So can Roger make the final or will one of the twins get her wish and be skiing in Switzerland on Sunday? I think if he plays a similar level to the Berdych match, he can win in 4. If it turns into a game where he ends up grinding from the back of the court behind in the rally, Stan will come out on top.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments.