A maiden post type for the blog here as for the first time since 2004 Roger reeled off two wins in one day with a 6-1, 7-6(6) over Leonardo Mayer and then a weather-interrupted 6-7(2), 7-6(6), 6-2 against Stan Wawrinka later in the evening.
The win sees the Swiss make semi-finals in Cincinnati for the 7th time and he's yet to lose in the final four, going on to win the title on every one of those occasions. It was also the first time since Toronto on July 29th 2004 that he played twice in one day (defeating Soderling & Miryni). Coincidentally he also played two matches that same month in Gstaad on July 9th 2004 (defeating Karlovic and Stepanek).
It was exciting to go through something new, only it was something I have done for the second time of my career maybe at the professional level. Felt like two separate days, actually, because this morning it was daytime, or this afternoon it was daytime, windy and breezy, and then we came out in the nighttime and it was black, and the sky [was] totally different. No wind at all. Different atmosphere. It was quite interesting, actually.
Quick Match Recaps
For his first match of the day Federer won the toss and elected to serve, holding to 30 for 1-0. Mayer was then under immediate pressure, having to save three break points to hold. However, in game four he donated the break with a double fault and Roger cruised through the set, breaking again for 5-1 and wrapping it up 6-1 in 23 minutes.
Into set two and Mayer had to save a break point in the opening game, that seemed to give him some confidence and from there he began to hit the ball much sweeter from the baseline. Conversely, Roger's level dropped a touch and although Mayer wasn't able to produce anything on the return, he too was untroubled on serve and the set went into the breaker.
A double fault put the Argentine behind the 8 ball from the word go and he was soon down 5-1, however, a run of four straight points put him level at 5-5. Roger then held set point at 6-5 which he couldn't convert; fortunately, his willingness to move forward got him another mini break and he sealed it with an ace to make the Quarter Finals.
Quarter Finals vs. Wawrinka
Fast forward 4 hours and it was time to take to the court again with fellow Swiss Stan the Man. Again Roger won the toss and elected to serve, holding to 15. Two routine misses in the opening return game prevented Roger from going up 0-30 as Stan held for 1-1. However, the Basel native soon began creating chances holding two break points in game six and two more in game 12 but despite being the far better player he couldn't convert.
That meant the set went to a breaker and things went awry for the Fedmeister as he slipped down two early mini-breaks en route to losing it 7-3.
Into set two and again it was Roger creating most of the openings, creating 30 all on the Wawrinka serve in game one, five and seven but he wasn't able to connect at the right time to do any sort of damage. In game 11 Roger was able to fashion his first break point of the set as Stan slipped up from 40-0 but again no joy and we were soon in another tie-break.
This time it was Roger's turn to get up an early mini-break, holding a 5-2 lead at one stage but at 6-4 he shanked a forehand way into the stands. Stan won the next point for six all but Roger managed to sneak out the set 8-6 to force a decider.
With bad weather closing in the deciding set was suspended at 30-0 in the opening game for 22 mins due to the closeness of the thunder and lightning. Upon resumption Roger held and he came out with more purpose than Stan, breaking for 4-2 and winning the next two games to take the decider 6-2 in no time at all.
Match Stats vs. Mayer
|Roger Federer||Leonardo Mayer|
|1st Serve||70% (38/54)||58% (36/62)|
|1st Serve Points Won||89% (34/38)||78% (28/36)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||69% (11/16)||38% (10/26)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||71% (5/7)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||22% (8/36)||11% (4/38)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||62% (16/26)||31% (5/16)|
|Break Points Converted||29% (2/7)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Net Points Won||80% (12/15)||40% (4/10)|
|Service Points Won||83% (45/54)||61% (38/62)|
|Return Points Won||39% (24/62)||17% (9/54)|
|Total Points Won||59% (69/116)||41% (47/116)|
Match Stats vs. Wawrinka
|Roger Federer||Stan Wawrinka|
|1st Serve||56% (50/90)||54% (60/111)|
|1st Serve Points Won||84% (42/50)||65% (39/60)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||75% (30/40)||67% (34/51)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||78% (7/9)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||35% (21/60)||16% (8/50)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||33% (17/51)||25% (10/40)|
|Break Points Converted||22% (2/9)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Net Points Won||73% (29/40)||58% (7/12)|
|Service Points Won||80% (72/90)||66% (73/111)|
|Return Points Won||34% (38/111)||20% (18/90)|
|Total Points Won||55% (110/201)||45% (91/201)|
Shot of the Match vs. Mayer
Highlights of Both Matches
Thoughts on the Matches
So this is the first time I've seen Roger played two matches in one day and just like playing them it was rather tiring watching the first at 9pm, then the second at 3am 😀
Obviously seeing Federer win makes it slightly more worthwhile but I'm not too keen on his game right now. I'm liking his intention to move forward but his forehand is very wobbly of late. He played a very efficient first set vs. Mayer which was ideal for the circumstances but in the second he tailed off a touch and as is often the case his serve was key to avoid any hiccups after his forehand went off the boil in the tie-break.
As for the Stan match, it was somewhat similar, he was the player holding most of the cards early but whenever a breakpoint rolled around things just didn't happen for him. Stan kept serving to the forehand, got the error and he played pretty solidly from the baseline to win that first set. Fortunately, Roger had enough resolve to grind out the second and it was really his serve + willingness to come forward (29/40 at net) that helped him over the line. The lightning interruption seemed to help a bit too with both guys coming out a bit flat, however, Roger was much lighter on his feet and his better footwork got him on top from the baseline to snatch momentum on resumption.
I just tried to remember [for] the core of the match, focus on your serve and try to do what we talked with the coach beforehand on the return games, but it was just never really connecting at the right times my way. So I just had to hang tough, not get frustrated, and hope that I was not going to throw in a horrible service game or that he was going to connect perfectly. It was a close match today, so I'm just relieved that I got through it somehow.
Predictions vs. Goffin
So next up is David Goffin who's had his best week in a while defeating Tsitipas, Paire, Anderson and then Del Potro to make the semi-finals. Judging by the scores he's been winning rather comfortably too dropping just the one set.
Goffin won the last encounter between the two at last years World Tour Finals in one of his best career wins but aside from that Roger leads the H2H 6-1 in what have been mostly one-sided matches. The diminutive Belgian doesn't really have the big guns to trouble Federer (he hits pretty big off the backhand but it's not a heavy ball) but he does strike the ball very cleanly and has great foot speed to get around the court. For me the match is simple; if Federer is moving well and in position early he's taking over the rallies and winning easily, but if his footwork is a little ragged then I think Goffin gets into a nice rhythm and takes control like he managed in London.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.