A good day in North Rhine-Westphalia for Roger has he won a record 7th Halle title defeating Alejandro Falla 7-6(2) 7-6(3) in 1 hour 30 minutes. Unfortunately the doubles title didn't put the icing on the cake as the Swiss Pair wasted 5 match points before losing in the Champions Tie break. No big deal for Fed but would have been good to do the double.
Anyway back to what matters, the singles and it wasn't the classiest of Federer performances by any means but job done and it's the first title he has successfully defended since Basel and the World Tour Finals in 2011.
As we've seen in previous matches on grass, Falla isn't the sort of guy who just rolls over for the Swiss and he put in a similar display today. Ultimately though I thought Fed played at a high enough level of aggression which prevented Falla from getting the rhythm he likes from the back of the court.
Both guys were comfortable on serve throughout and it was just Roger's ability to take his level up a notch in the breakers which was good to see. Here's how it went down…
Quick Match Recap
The first set was dominated by serve with Roger firing down love holds at will. Falla matched him though using his trusted lefty serve out wide in the ad court that Fed struggles to return.
At 3-4 Falla slipped up for the first time dropping serve and giving Fed the chance to serve out the first set. I was struggling to remember the last time Fed consolidated a break and true to form he didn't disappointment; serving up a double fault and a dumping a volley into the net as he handed the break straight back.
Tie breaks haven't been Fed's strong point this year either but in this one he came out firing, making big first serves and moving up a double mini break before taking it 7-2. Impressive come back after dropping serve at 5-3.
Into the second and this time Fed broke Falla immediately to lead 1-0 but yet again faltered when it was time to consolidate. Break point here was an epic choke of a slice forehand that went about 6 feet long. Complete brain freeze but it was the points previous that were more disappointing as he lost focus and relaxed. Break, Consolidate, Relax. Not Break, Relax, Fail to consolidate.
With Falla getting back on level terms the match again went on serve right through to 6 all. Neither player faced a single break point and it's seriously annoying to see Fed drop serve after breaking then hold without breaking a sweat for the remainder of the set.
Into the tie break and it followed the exact same pattern as the first, Roger going up an early mini break and then streaking away to take it 7-3. Very solid tie breaks from Fed in this match and in winning both of them he puts himself in a positive record in them for the year.
|Alejandro Falla||Roger Federer|
|1st Serve Percentage||64%||61%|
|1st Serve Points Won||78% (38/49)||83% (38/46)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||41% (11/27)||59% (17/29)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/2)||60% (3/5)|
|1st Return Points Won||17% (8/46)||22% (11/49)|
|2nd Return Points Won||34% (10/29)||59% (16/27)|
|Break Points Converted||40% (2/5)||100% (2/2)|
|Service Points Won||64% (49/76)||73% (55/75)|
|Return Points Won||27% (20/75)||36% (27/76)|
|Total Points Won||46% (69/151)||54% (82/151)|
|Service Games Won||83% (10/12)||83% (10/12)|
|Return Games Won||17% (2/12)||17% (2/12)|
|Total Games Won||50% (12/24)||50% (12/24)|
Thoughts on the Match
I really enjoy winning titles. It is what I play for, to play and receive a standing ovation at the end. I am very pleased with my performance. I work hard and travel the tour to win these titles and not lose in the quarters or semi-finals. With all the success I have had in the past, I need to aim for titles. I think I deserved the title this week.
Very pleasing title as it breaks his poor run of form in finals after Dubai. I don't think it was his most impressive win but as they say, winning solves everything. 79th title overall, 7th Halle title. Pretty much sets a record every time he steps on court these days.
Positives are the serve + forehand working extremely well and his focus in the tie breaks. I also though Fed did a good job of mixing it up on the backhand alternating between top spin and slice to prevent Falla building too much rhythm.
Negatives for me would be overall returns and his top spin backhands mid rally. Like I said in my prediction Falla has the lefty serve out wide and Fed struggles to return it.
I think he has to get more balls in play at Wimbledon to really have a chance of making the latter stages. As for the backhands they are just nothingy type shots that let his opponent get the upper hand immediately. With Murray's improved forehand he is going to lap them up should he meet someone like that in the 2nd week.
It's also a bit disappointing that Fed failed to consolidate the break of serve in each set. A match that could have been 3 and 4 ended up being 6 and 6. But Fed did win both tiebreaks comfortably which does make up for clowning up in those earlier service games. I guess he always has a tendency to switch off in matches where he knows he can most likely get away with it. As long as it doesn't factor in big slam matches it's not too big a deal.
Overall it's a successful week and I think Fed has got his season back to where he needs it to be. After playing well in Indian Wells it sort of went off the boil in Miami and then of course the twins came which threw things out of synch. Rome and the French weren't exactly memorable but now he's got another title under his belt and is slowly rebuilding confidence ahead of his favourite slam.
Fed is guaranteed the 4th seed at Wimbledon so with a good draw I think he has a decent shot at the 2nd week and from there on anything can happen. Allez!