ATP Masters 1000Indian WellsRoger Federer

Federer Takes Sock to the Cleaners in Indian Wells

A milestone victory for Roger here as he record his 50th career win at the BNP Paribas Open with a comprehensive defeat of American Jack Sock 6-3 6-2. This was a much cleaner performance than the match against Seppi and Roger did a top job on serve dropping only 7 points in the entire match, facing zero break points and breaking his opponent 3 times in an encounter that lasted 1 hour and 9 minutes.

The win sees Fed progress into the quarter finals where he'll face Tomas Berdych who defeated fellow countryman Lukas Rosol in 3 sets earlier in the day. It's the first time the two will have met in Indian Wells and it should be an interesting match. Roger has 2 titles to his name already this year and Berdych has 2 finals and 2 semi finals in the 4 events he has played so they are definitely 2 of the form guys so far this year on tour.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Sock IW 2015

Sock won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to 30 before Sock levelled. At 2-1, we got the longest game of the match which saw Roger miss 2 break point chances and had 9 deuces before Sock finally held.

Roger then held to love to put the pressure straight back on Sock who faltered as Fed broke for 4-2. The break was quickly consolidated for 5-2 and after Sock held his next service game Roger served out the set to love to take it 6-3. A hugely impressive set from Roger who used that extended game to really takes Sock's legs away (he's played 3 x 3 setters and doubles so far this tournament right after hip surgery).

Set 2 was never going to be close and Roger went up a double break quickly to lead 4-0. Aided by back to back double faults from the American in game 3 as the pressure on his serve began to tell. Bakery products were looking a real possibility at this point as Roger had 4 more break points in Sock's next service game but the 22 year old fired down some timely first serves to sneak out the hold for 4-1.

The scoreboard quickly ticked over to 5-2 and Roger had the job of serving it out which he did easily, firing down two aces in a row from 30 all to seal the deal and move into the Quarter Finals.

Match Stats

  J. Sock R. Federer
Aces 3 8
Double Faults 6 0
1st Serve % 53% 67%
1st Serve Points Won 24/38 (63%) 25/29 (86%)
2nd Serve Points Won 14/34 (41%) 11/14 (79%)
Break Points Saved 8/11 (73%) 0/0 (0%)
Service Games Played 8 9
1st Return Points Won 4/29 (14%) 14/38 (37%)
2nd Return Points Won 3/14 (21%) 20/34 (59%)
Break Points Won 0/0 (0%) 3/11 (27%)
Return Games Played 9 8
Winners 12 27
Unforced Errors 24 22
Net Points Won 0/9 13/15
Total Service Points Won 38/72 (53%) 36/43 (84%)
Total Return Points Won 7/43 (16%) 34/72 (47%)
Total Points Won 45/115 (39%) 70/115 (61%)

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Serving Indian Wells 2015

I played a very clean match, I think I served great. I was also actually returning very well. That gave me the opportunity to stay in the match.

Pretty much as I expected this one with Federer showing he is a class above the level Sock can play at. Like I said in my prediction Sock is very similar to Roddick – big serve + forehand but a weak backhand and not the greatest mover. He's too reliant on running around the backhand to really trouble the top guys and Roger was able to exploit that pretty well.

Like Roddick Sock can be dangerous when he gets his forehand into play after a decent serve but Fed neutralises that type of play nicely with some good returns and his own forehand which he hit very well all night, especially cross court which dragged Sock into the tramlines numerous times and got him out of position. I think Sock's legs went pretty early too after the 10 minute game and he's played three 3 setters on the bounce this week as well as doubles with Pospisil; that's a lot of tennis in his first tournament back post injury so clearly didn't help his cause. When you play against Roger you need to be right on the money physically to even compete never mind cross the finishing line as the winner.

From Fed's side it was definitely a cleaner match than the one against Seppi, perhaps the day conditions are more conducive to higher quality play but he served exceptionally well, was solid off the ground and returned very well too despite the conditions been pretty windy. Looked to me like he knew going in he had the measure of Sock and if he committed to playing the aggressive brand of tennis that has worked so well for him over the years then there would only ever be one outcome. Good stuff.

Predictions vs. Berdych

Federer Berdych Dubai

Next up is old adversary Tomas Berdych who defeated Lukas Rosol in three sets. Looked to be a fairly close match until Rosol dropped serve at 4-5 in the decider, bit of mental weakness there from him by the looks of things as he had chances in the set to break but Berdych has been in decent form this year making the latter stages at most events he's played at.

The Head to Head is 12-6 in favour of Federer but Berdych is definitely capable of causing problems and has scored 2 big wins against him Slams in the last 4 years. When Berdych goes up against Nadal and Djokovic he loses before he gets on court but with Fed he always seems to come in with the confidence of knowing he can cause Fed problems with his heavy hitting. It's just a much more suitable matchup for him as they both like to play attacking and hug the baseline.

Roger hasn't played Berdych since last years Dubai final where he won in 3 sets and I think his level has been on the up curve since that match as the new racquet has become way more familiar so I fancy his chances of getting it done. If he can prevent Berdych from getting on the front foot then it should be a 2 close sets. This court in Indian Wells definitely responds well to spin and slice when used which Roger has in abundance so I think he can mix it up to really throw Berdych out of sync. 7-5 6-4 for me.

What do you guys think?


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 only managed to catch a couple of games. Saw some crazy shanks but also some vintage Fed shot construction. I’m thinking the conditions are weirder than we realize out there – EVERYBODY is having a tough time settling in at this year’s tournament. Definitely a big improvement over the last match, & that bodes well for the next one I think!

    Some surprises in the QFs – I sure wasn’t expecting Lopez & Tomic! Didn’t expect Simon to fold quite so much vs. Nadal…. Berdych will be a tough test for our guy – hope he brings out the best in him.

    1. Fed looked to be way more settled with the conditions and balls against Sock though, looks like he’s getting used to it at just the right time…

      1. Yes, just as you say. Though it sounds like conditions are fairly variable out there this year – was that a Dubai-like windstorm??? (Apparently he contrived to get that on his Instagram account DURING his match!)

      2. Not entirely surprised about this. After all, his Facebook page has frequently sounded way too corporate for it to be Roger posting, so why not his Instagram account, too? I’m pretty certain his Twitter account is virtually all him, though πŸ™‚

        Could have been a time delay, of course, I suppose.

  2. Nice analysis too Jonathan, thank you. Good, as you say, to see that 1st serve % back up there.

    Was interested to hear the guys mention, in one of the Tennis Channel interviews, that Roger also always has dinner w/ Ellison while he’s here – and that Ellison wants to talk about tennis, while Roger wants to talk about “other things”!

    1. Obligatory dinner I bet, if he didn’t turn up he’d get the worst draw imaginable πŸ˜† but Ellison might be a cool guy, no idea. Least he’s actually interested in tennis and not just there for the cameras. Doesn’t look 70 either!

  3. Just got to know Berdych also knocked out Roger in Athens Olympics in 2004. quite surprised really considering the form he was in and Berdych was like 19 at that time.

  4. Thanks for the write-up, Jonathan. I agree that this is a real test and also that Roger will come through in 2, providing that he sticks to the plan. Trading rallies at the baseline will cost Roger more, though he will still go through.
    Allez Roger!

  5. The biggest problem for Roger against Berdych is in fact not Berdych’s massive hitting from the baseline; Roger has the capacity to absorb that pace enough to hang in when he needs it the most. What is a problem however is Berdych’s service returns which are actually quite fantastic as he makes full use of his wing span. Be prepared to watch him pummel some Roger second serves tomorrow. Long story short, I think it really depends on how well Federer is able to defend his service games !

    As for the Raonic vs Nadal match, I am actually pulling for Nadal to win that one because, this time, I think that Roger actually has a chance of beating Rafa if and when both make it to the semis. I mean, which person here does NOT want that H2H to improve ? πŸ˜›

    1. I know Berdych leads 2nd serve return points won, or he did about a month ago for the 2015 season so far (still in its infancy though). But his returns definitely aren’t the reason Fed has lost some to him in previous matches.

      In fact I just looked and Fed won 53% and 48% 2nd serve points in his previous two defeats to Berdych which are pretty good numbers.

      Obviously you are only as good as your second serve but every time I’ve seen Fed come unstuck against Berdych it’s when they’ve traded from the baseline and Fed has been overpowered. Berdych takes Fed out of his comfort zone and puts him under pressure by hitting big. That pressure builds and draws errors, tentativeness etc.

      Those strengths he uses against Fed are the same reason he struggles against Nadal and Djoker etc as they are in their element defending, making him hit one more ball, Nadal using his spin to draw the error or make him red line too much.

      Slow court may in fact favour Fed over Berdych as it takes some of Berdych’s effectiveness away. Although hearing it’s a day session so still might be pretty fast.

      1. Agreed. Berdych hitting flat, from a high strike zone, is what really kills Fed. Pretty much the same problem Fed has had against say Del Po.

      2. Hmm, the numbers don’t match to what it felt like while watching the match ! I suppose I meant to say that other than the obvious fact that Berdych has easy power, his service returns trouble the Fed too ! His running forehand crosscourt gets Berdych from defensive to offensive pretty quickly while his inside out forehand really delivers the killer blow ! Really hoping for an RF victory here even if it is 7-6 6-7 7-6 because he is not playing for a long time now after Indian Wells ! πŸ™

      3. May have started that way but Fed mentally struggles against Berdych now too. He’s been pretty confident though and won 2 titles already, gotta hope that’s enough to kill Tomas’ hope fast.

  6. Great review as usual Jonathan. I believe Fed will be ready for the birdman. He should be aware that Berdych always comes out wanting to hit him off the court so he should have a plan. I was somewhat surprised that Sock was not able to keep up with Fed. He did not even try to get to some balls. However happy with the win.
    Next match will not be so easy but the Fed Express should go through.

    1. Hope so. Berdych only really got one way of playing, can’t imagine him coming out and serving + volleying πŸ˜€

      Sock was likely tired, plus that 9 deuce game was a bit of a marathon, match was 1 hour 9 minutes and that spell of games early on last about 25 minutes!

  7. From everything I’ve read, this sounds like a much better match from Fed. However, perhaps not quite as brilliant as it sounds, if his opponent was below par? And what on earth was that second Sock service game (don’t try saying that when you’re drunk!)?? I seriously thought my live scores must have got stuck, or the internet connection gone down, or something!

    What I do find disappointing, though, is that at this point, having had all the round of 16 played on the same day, they go back to splitting the QFs again. That leaves Roger’s half to play 3 consecutive days, I think, and given that it’s the tougher half of the draw as well, I think that’s a bit unfair. Potentially 3 tough 3-setters on consecutive days, as against probably 2-setters with at least one day’s rest inbetween. I’m sure Fed would have preferred to play today after such a one-sided match, and then have a rest before the SF (assuming he wins, of course), and I suspect the other contenders would have said the same.

    (BTW, how come the WTA are so much farther ahead? Did they start earlier? I think they may have done)

    1. Well you can only beat what is in front of you and Fed did just that. He moved great, served well and was in good form. Can’t ask for any more.

      Guess it’s a bit unfortunate on the scheduling but should be ok. I don’t think a day off is too big a negative, important he comes out explosive vs Berdych and a days rest can help with that…

    2. Agree on scheduling but can’t control that. Fed better be ready to comprehensively dispatch the Berd.

  8. Federer definitely betterer in match against Sock. I like that the 1st serve % has improved, and the UFEs down to a much more acceptable level. If Feds is confident on his serve, the rest will follow + Rosol pushed Berdy to three and had chances for the win, if he weren’t such a head case.

    Nadal looked much sharper in his match against Simon, although it has to be said that sparrow legs put in a pretty shitty performance – only 47% first serves, and rubbish percentage on returns also, so not much to be gleaned from that match. If Raonic serves well (obviously!) then he could pull off the win, as Nadal clearly nowhere near his best, but each match won is confidence gained, so I’m still thinking Nadal has that one.

    I’ll second Daya’s wish for a Fedal SF and an improvement in that h2h tally. Allez Federer! πŸ™‚

    1. Despite recent form, Nadal goes up a gear when it comes to later stages of masters and slams so unlikely Raonic pulls off the upset.

  9. I really like the title of this post. The title of the post before this, not so much. πŸ™‚

    1. You sure? I think it’s a bit OTT that he took Sock to the cleaners, I mean this guy has only just come back from injury and fans are going crazy over a win against the world number 50 something. This is too small fish, taking someone to the cleaners would be beating Nadal 6-0 6-0. Not beating Sockie 3 and 2. πŸ˜†

      1. Absolutely ! Oh my, when he came within 2 points of a famous double bagel against Murray at the WTF, I was profusely weeping with joy. I felt so evil, laughing at Murray’s total misery but I couldn’t stop myself. Some of the best tennis moments ever I must say !. I don’t know how much your nationality stopped you from reacting the same, Jonathan ! πŸ˜€

      2. Oh come on, Jon, it’s not the “cleaners” part, it’s the “sock” that made it humorous. I was going to ask, “Just one sock? Did he lose the other one?”.

  10. Good game, practice session really for Fed, as he recognised all Socks plays and liked his pace. I actually don’t agree that he is like Roddick. As Peter Fleming stated. Roddick’s serve was much much better. Socks barely hit an ace, and Andy actually had a decent BH which improved over the years, and he was pretty quick. Sock hardly has a BH, and camps out too obviously in that bH corner without the spanish flair to dictate, and he still needs to lose some weight I think, to be quicker round the court. That said, Fed was much better and that bodes well v Tomas. Yes, going to be day session, so balls might fly.
    IMHO, pity they are not playing today as Bedych had the harder match so more mentally frazzled, but… Fed must must come to net as much as poss as Tomas doesn’t really possess the Novak passing shot. The balls might favour Tomas’s flatter hitting but if Fed holds serve easily, then the pressure will build on Tomas. Picking Fed to win in 2.
    Yes, was surprised at Simon, total wimp out! I do think Raonic will trouble Nadal here but yes, itching for Roger to reach SF and wallop Nadull who quite frankly looks bizarre. Puffy eyes, tired, twitchy, looks years older than Roger.
    Kind of disappointed Kei didn’t come thru to test Andy. Feli played a tremendous match and served great but has a poor record v Andy so expecting Novak v Andy top half. Can’t think Tomic can beat Novak but hey depends which Novak comes out….

    1. I think he’s very much like early Roddick 2000-2002 era – reliant on forehand and raw power. Of course their serves aren’t comparable as Roddick has one of the best ones of all time but both have a big serve with an abbreviated motion. Agreed on poor movement though, his footwork is pretty poor or at least it was last night.

  11. Hey guys.
    Just back from Indian Wells. I’ll write a story at some point. And I do have a few photos to share. My camera died during the Seppi match…can you believe that.

    Very hot there, even at night.

    Got to see Fed play 2 matches. Saw tons of other matches. Four day marathon of tennis…12 hours a day. Crazy or what. I need a holiday to recover. Falling asleep during a woman’s match, lol.

    1. Cool! What was the best match you saw? Lot of error strewn encounters so far… Feppi was bad.

      Everyone falls asleep in WTA matches, guess your’e not meant to talk about it but I saw so many people having a nap on centre court during a Venus match once πŸ˜†

    2. Hope you recover – 12 hours x 4 in that heat? You’re made of stern stuff Sue! I shall look forward to your write-up. πŸ™‚

    3. I was poking my eyes during that Seppi match, poor from both guys. Not sure how you survived in the stadium.

  12. I managed to stay in the shade, very lucky there. Hmmm….the match that was the most fun was Pospisil/Sock vs Lopez/Groth. They all had a lot of fun, small court at night. Twenty feet away from the players.

  13. Roger will be playing 1st against Berdych on Friday. His performance against Socks is good but barely push to 3rd gear. I think he is getting better as he progresses on, hopefully will be ready for next 3 tough matches ahead


      Oh boy, if it weren’t so late, I’d hurry straight over to MTF … Shades of Miami last year? I hope not!

    2. Yep, polishing up that reputation eh? I believe it was also some pain with a wisdom tooth. So pain in the back, pain in the tooth, and…pain in the ass.

  14. Good consistency from Fed here, reaching another QF yet again. Not sure what to take from the last few matches, first serve % improving but BP conversion still poor as ever. Berdych will be a much sterner test and I believe Fed has never beaten him on an American HC which is pretty shocking. I think this match will be a tight 3 setter and Tomas is known for ego when it comes to Roger. Not to mention would be pretty confident to set up another meeting with Nadal after Melbourne. it seems Fed will have to play 3 days on the trot should he progress so that’s not fun either. Will have to wake up extremely early for this one but hoping Fed comes through and if not we may avoid another Fedal meeting πŸ˜€ So far haven’t seen a standout match, can the big 4 back in the semis change things…

  15. My predictions are a Raonic / Federer semi with Roger making it to the Final. I think Murray will beat Djokovic and get revenge for Novak’s disgusting gamesmanship at the Aussie Open. Not sure who will win the final then as Murray will be very motivated. But if Roger really believes, he can beat Murray in Final. And then Roger is very well set up to win Monte Carlo ( no Miami so should be very fresh ) and Istanbul after that…

    1. Nadal’s consistency surely will be too much for Raonic to handle. If it was Cincy or Wimbledon than I’d give Milos a chance. Anyway else nahhhh.

      1. And you were right. I tweeted that Raonic cld push him at IW and so it proved. Hoping Fed and his net play will however be too much for him, plus that was a gruelling match. However, my respect for Milos grows, much more game than most of the Other challengers, Tomas, Dimi, Ferrer, Cilic. Clearly works damn hard and listens to The Lub!
        All that said, taking Fed in 2 tight sets to make the final where I am tipping him to meet Muzza. Novak has had too much time off and hasn’t played a day match…Muzza looking determined but depends on the serve, and he hasn’t really played anyone of note..Hard to call…..

  16. For those who have SkySports I’ve just noticed (because it didn’t appear on my planner) that 7pm Federer/Berdych match is on Sky Sports 5 RED BUTTON. Fortunately I’m in tonight or would have missed it!

  17. Oh! Jonathan… You are spot on. Robreddo indeed has taken out Dimi. This Dimi and and Nishi have thrown away my Tiger iPhone… πŸ™

  18. Some people say it’s Larry Ellison’s wife. Some say it’s his daughter. I think he just divorced.
    Who knows for sure? She is VERY young.

    1. That’s what confused me, Sue. Someone mentioned daughter a couple of years ago, and she, or whoever she was at that time, looked like a teenager. Not to mention the slander was that she is a huge Nadal fan, and was crying after his loss. πŸ™‚

      1. Sid,

        Google dude. Nikita Kahn is Larry’s Girlfriend and has been since 2012, a Ukrainian waitress, aka model, actress.

        Larry’s daughter is Megan Ellison, 29 years old and she is very tom-boyish with short hair, looks nothing like Nikita. Of course since I live in the Bay Area, I know.

        The girl next to Larry, though is petite and looks like a minor, she isn’t, anymore. Nikita is very young and close to 50 years younger than Larry. When one has $41 Billion dollars, dating minors becomes legal. Money talks !

      2. Dude, I have better things to do than snoop on other people’s personal lives. Not my style. I read what I read right here on this blog, and ran with it. Turns out it was wrong.

        I highly doubt he was dating minors though. That’s pure slander. πŸ™‚

  19. Watching Nadal Raonic now. It’s great watching the dull one on every point of his service games. Picking at his sweaty butt and then rubbing the offending fingers along his nose. What dignity, what class!

    Looking forward to the GOAT schooling him tomorrow (hopefully…gulp). It’s been a while!

  20. I thought that was PERFECTION. Berdy totally folded in that last set – Feds had all the answers. OK Berdy’s serve took a dive, but I reckon that happened because the Feds was sublime. International Day of Happiness – it was for us Fedfans!

  21. Well, well, well. I go out for the afternoon. Come home to Fed bageling Berdych and Raonic battling past Nadull. What an afternoon!

    1. Hopefully, Fed ends the curse of Seppi by winning this tournament. Fed needs to put Raonic away and not do like Nadal did by letting Raonic linger in the match. Raonic made plenty of errors especially on the forehand side. Usually Nadal makes you pay if you have too many loose UE.

    2. So, once again when I start thinking Roger might have a chance against Rafa, Rafa falls short. So I guess it’ll be back on clay before they meet again, giving him another chance to increase the H2H.

      Sounded like stunning play from Roger in that second set, though.

      1. Exactly. I was actually looking forward to this and was convinced Roger would put one across. Not to be.

  22. This is what Nadal said after losing to Raonic
    β€œI think I did well,” said Nadal. “I enjoyed the fact that I felt well with myself on court again. I felt competitive. I felt strong, with the right energy. I lost that match thinking much more positive things than negative ones.”

    My brain translated that to be
    “I enjoyed the fact that I will not have to lose to Roger in the next match. It is bad for my H2H. I lost that match thinking much more positive things than negative ones.”

    1. Still a step slower tho, not back to full match fitness. Visibly weary in 3rd, and missed mor Fh’s than he Wld hv liked. Full credit to Raonic for not going away. Allez Fed, in 2 Plse! and no heart stopping TB’s…..

      1. ‘…no heart stopping TB’s’ – I’ll second that Susie – hate them. But when it’s Raonic, they’re expected.

        Clearly Raonic has not only improved massively, but he’s one cool customer – all those MPs saved. I watched last two sets (that’s all that was recorded) and have to say Raonic has my admiration for hanging in, hanging cool, and getting the win. Kudos to him. Agree, Rafa was fading in that 3rd set. It’s about the only thing I got right on the Tiger mobile! I would say he’s close to MF and of course not long before he hits the clay again.

        Obviously Raonic v fit, but surely he’ll be feeling it, that match was nearly 3 hours long!

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