Hey all, it’s always interesting to get other Federer fan’s perspectives on his matches and today a long time commenter of the blog, SidTheCookieThief, who I’m sure most of you will know put together a running commentary on the Federer vs. Tomic match.
It’s almost like the BBC Sport style of live updates, just better and more interesting. So for anyone who missed any of the match or wants to check back on how it went down then this is the perfect recap:
The Appetizing lead up
Tomic can’t be blamed for mouthing off too much about it. The blame could be placed squarely on the scribes, who have a way of putting words into the mouths of players.
Either ways, none of that matters. Roger isn’t exactly amused with all of it anyways and it’s time for Tomic to put the money where his mouth is, time to find out if he has learned anything at all from the schooling he received last time.
First point and Roger shows he couldn’t be more ready. A crisp approach and volley winner finally leads to an early break. The perfect start, for the perfect player.
It seems as if Tomic is walking the walk. He makes some noise with a down the line backhand winner and gets the crowd excited. He follows it up with a great return and crisp volley. Federer aces to close the game. Roger 2-0.
Tomic settles his nerves to get a fairly easy hold. Roger 2-1.
A love hold for Roger makes it 3-1.
Tomic looks a lot crisper and committed compared to their last meeting on Rod Laver. Gets a decent hold but Roger remains ahead at 3-2.
In almost a stubborn way, Roger keeps going wide to Tomic, four times, in the deuce court. Tricky deuce game but is able to hold. Roger 4-2.
Tomic has found his service rhythm. Two unreturned deliveries and an ace to get a love hold! Roger to server at 4-3.
Roger squanders 40-0 but finds a first serve at the right time to get to advantage and holds to preserve the lead at 5-3.
Tomic gets cheeky on game point and Roger gets to the drop shot well to stay in the game. He saves three break points to ensure Roger has to serve out the first set. Could Roger pay the price?
A bit of trouble at 15-30 but Roger finds his first serve to close it out and bag the first set. Easy does it. 6-4, in 34 minutes. This is beginning to look like another routine match.
Set II – The Main Course
Roger misses out on break points in Tomic’s first two games but keeps holding with ease to level scores at 2-2.
Then comes the point of the match so far. Tomic creates an angle on the Federer backhand and follows it in. Federer hits an unreal dipping cross court pass, to make it 30-0.
The set is now 3-3. Federer gets to 30-0 on Tomic’s serve. Follows it with a chip and charge but Tomic get lucky with a net cord assisted pass, apologizes but conceals his glee, much to Federer’s dismay.
Crucial point. Could’ve given Federer three breakpoints. Tomic holds to take a 4-3 lead.
Tomic is showing some signs of fatigue, perhaps the long hours in the heat against Brands taking its toll? Federer may have sensed it and creates two break points. Tomic saves both with stellar play. Losing this set would certainly mean game over for Tomic, and he knows it.
Multiple break points are saved. Tomic keeps finding the big serves. And when he takes an early mini break in the bester, thanks to a running, on the stretch, forehand down the line pass that Roger is unable to deal with, it seems that he is destined to make it a best of 3 affair.
Roger keeps incredible focus down 3-5 to win what has been the defining rally of the match. Tomic cannot believe it, looks clearly rattled, is unable to win any more points, and loses the bester at 5.
Federer is now up 2-0. Only two men have beaten him from that position, Tsonga, and Djokovic. And Tomic is light years away from being anywhere close to them. There is no way the Master is going to let this one slip by.
The key to the second set has been Roger’s ability to neutralize Tomic’s heavy balls to his forehand, that have been a nuisance.
Tomic eats the humble pie
Sort of an anticlimactic start to the third as Roger throws in a couple of charitable donations on his serve but is able to come out unscathed to take a 1-0 lead.
The crowd seems to be in a lull as it realizes the daunting prospect their young challenger faces. It shows as Tomic finds himself in a 0-30 hole, saves two break points, which has become a ritual.
Will this be just like the second set? Roger, the King of squandering breakpoints. Twice, Tomic gets a little too creative with drop shots and pays the price.
Roger arrives at break point no 1304. Correction, 13. Tomic saves it with some heavy hitting and a clean forehand down the line.
Finally, the moment arrives where Roger snatches the soul out of his young challenger. Break point number 14. Roger rushes to meet a dying, dipping, short ball, and sweetly whips a cross court forehand winner that may have been the proverbial final nail in the coffin.
Roger goes through the motions to jump 3-0 ahead. What has Tomic got left? The firewall he has built has been breached. He tries to mix it up with a surprising serve and volley and Roger duly obliges with the most casual of backhand passes.
But he serves well, goes back to his early strategy of keeping Roger on the run on the forehand wing,
and stays in touch at 3-1.
Roger gets a routine hold and is now two service games away from a potential clash with the dangerous Canadian, Milos Raonic.
The crowd is so sedated now, that the only thing anyone can hear is the sound of string beating the felt, and the squeaking of the sneakers.
Jake Garner sounds tired and risks falling asleep. What a boring game this has become. Is this the only time ever that the Aussies aren’t exactly enjoying a Roger win?
Tomic seems resigned to his fate. He knows that his best so far has not been enough. It shows as he continues making errors, continues saving break points, but cracks eventually, to give Roger a 5-1 advantage.
It’s over! Roger holds and puts Tomic out of his misery. The King has shown the young Koala, that it takes more than just a hot head and trash talk to even be considered a worthy loser.
“It’s hard to explain. He is a bit better [compared to last year]”, says Roger. Where does Tomic go from here? He can learn a lot from this experience, as Roger said, or he can go back to what he seems to be doing best these days, driving his Ferrari and picking up traffic tickets.
Breaking down Roger’s performance
Overall, Roger didn’t really learn much from this clash. Nor has it prepared him any better for the big serving Raonic. He couldn’t have played any better than what he did today though. Compared to their last Grand Slam meeting, Tomic was injecting a lot more pace in his ground strokes, and tested Roger on the running forehand, time after time.
It was played at a frenetic pace and Tomic couldn’t even stretch Roger for a full two hours. The only worry would be the alarmingly low break point conversion rate, a product of Roger’s high percentage approach of dealing with them, and Tomic’s nerveless hitting in those moments.
The only time Roger attempted a forceful top spin return on break point, he did so from uncharacteristically way behind the baseline, and failed miserably.
Statistics at the net were phenomenal. Roger won virtually every time he was in the front court, 26 out of 30 to be precise. This would be very important in the next match.
Dealing with the Raonic serve will be the biggest challenge, especially with the courts playing faster. If Raonic serves well, which usually is the case when he plays Roger, it could go four with a couple of really close ones.
Roger cannot afford to lay waste any break opportunities, which could be harder to come by compared to their previous
In keeping up with tradition, the prediction for this match: 6-4 5-7 7-6 7-5. On a really bad day, Roger may be stretched to five.
Hope you enjoyed this, I’ve done my usual match report and thoughts on Roger’s performance here and next up for him is Raonic. Could be an interesting one! Allez.