Roger Federer has title number ten in his sights at the Swiss Indoors after a stellar performance in today's semi-final against third seed Stefanos Tsitisipas.
The Basel native put in a rock-solid performance to win through 6-4, 6-4 in 1 hour and 18 minutes and move into Sunday's final where he will face tournament debutant Alex De Minaur.
The Swiss fired 28 winners, won 12 of 13 points at the net and saved the single break point he faced in the last game to move into his fifteenth final much to the delight of a packed St Jakobshalle.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Tsitsipas kicked things off with a love hold, firing down some heavy serves for 1-0.
A net cord gave the Greek thirty all in Federer's first service game, but the Swiss sealed the game with an instinctive overhead to level.
In game three, a squash shot forehand kept Federer in the point before he ripped a backhand down the line to set up breakpoint. Tsitsipas saved it with a big serve out wide into the backhand. Two more break points needed to be fended off but Tsitsipsas came up with some solid play to hold for 2-1.
A hold to fifteen put Federer level and in game five he again had a breakpoint chance after coming out on top after a lengthy rally. Tsitipas saved it, and another that soon followed. However, Federer persevered, keeping the pressure on and converting his third chance of the game with a good forehand approach that drew the error from the Tsitsipas backhand.
At 0-30 in game seven, a double break was on the cards, but Tsitsipas recovered to hold for 3-4. More stylish play from the Swiss, including a sick volley saw him hold for 5-3.
Tsitsipas kept some pressure on with a love hold for 4-5, but Federer held to fifteen to seal the set, bringing up set point with a beautifully constructed point and volley finish.
Into set two and a double fault gave Federer 0-30, that was soon 15-40 and despite drilling a forehand long with Tsitsipas at the net on the first chance, a crunching forehand down the line on the second secured the break.
A hold to fifteen consolidated the lead for 2-0, and then an exchange of holds moved the score onto 3-1.
Tsitsipas needed to change strategy to find a way back into the match and a couple of serve and volley plays saw him hold to fifteen for 2-3. However, he couldn't find any success on the return as Federer held to love for 4-2
Another comfortable hold from the Swiss put him 5-3 head, and he was soon at the service line to try to serve it out at 5-4.
A coaching violation was given to Tsitsipas just as the Swiss was about to deliver his first serve. That seemed to disrupt his rhythm slightly as he fell behind in the game and at 30-30, he went wide with a backhand. A good forehand saved the breakpoint, and he steadied the ship, sealing his first match point with a drive volley winner to make his 15th final in Basel.
|Roger Federer||Stefanos Tsitsipas|
|1st Serve||58% (30/52)||66% (43/65)|
|1st Serve Points Won||80% (24/30)||74% (32/43)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||77% (17/22)||50% (11/22)|
|Break Points Saved||100% (1/1)||75% (6/8)|
|Service Games Played||10||10|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||26% (11/43)||20% (6/30)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||50% (11/22)||23% (5/22)|
|Break Points Converted||25% (2/8)||0% (0/1)|
|Return Games Played||10||10|
|Net Points Won||92% (12/13)||75% (6/8)|
|Service Points Won||79% (41/52)||66% (43/65)|
|Return Points Won||34% (22/65)||21% (11/52)|
|Total Points Won||54% (63/117)||46% (54/117)|
Thoughts on the Match
A stellar performance here from Federer and I thought he played a great match.
He got in front early, exploited Tsitsipas's weakness on the backhand and showed excellent movement and serving when the Greek tried to work his way back into it with some big hitting.
The first serve percentage is a little low at 58% so I hope he can up that against a speedy returner like De Minaur but winning 80% and 77% behind the first and second serve respectively is top drawer.
Other points of note for me were Roger's movement to his forehand wing, he looked explosive and was able to get onto balls early and do more with them as a result. That put pressure on Tsitsipas who had to find more in his game and that brought errors. Roger was also far better on the return than his opponent, winning double the amount of return points in the match.
With the win, Federer is now 74-9 at Swiss Indoors and has won his past 23 matches on centre court. Can he make it 24 tomorrow? Hope so!
Predictions vs De Minaur
In the final Federer will face Alex De Minaur after the Aussie saw off big-serving Reilly Opelka in three tie break sets to make the final on his first appearance in Basel.
Federer has never faced De Minaur (I am unsure if they have ever practised together) so he's a bit of an unknown which is never easy.
The Australian doesn't have any huge shots. Still, he's rapid around the court, has a solid tennis IQ and from what I have seen plays a smart brand of tennis to get points on his terms — highlighted today when he made zero unforced errors in the second and third sets to ask Opelka if he could come up with the winners.
The good news for Federer is that De Minaur spent 2 hours and 34 minutes on court today and will rarely, if ever have played someone who produces the tennis Federer does which is fast-paced, suffocating and designed to rush you in all aspects of your game.
Fed is the favourite but he will need to be sharp and expect to play 1 or 2 more balls given how well De Minaur can get around the court. I'm hoping Fed can exploit his backhand by working the angles as it's a bit of a shovel type shot.
What did you guys make of the semi-final win against Tsitsipas? Predictions for the final against De Minaur? Let me know in the comments.