ATP Masters 1000Cincinnati MastersRoger Federer

Federer Wins Twice in One Day to Make Cincinnati Semi Finals

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

Federer Stan Cincy

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
Aces 10 2
Double Faults 1 4
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
Winners 23 6
Unforced Errors 22 23
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
Aces 7 3
Double Faults 1 2
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
Winners 31 21
Unforced Errors 48 41
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

Federer Mayer Cincy

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. 


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. Seems fine for me? I ran it through some page speed tests now and getting anywhere from 2s to 4s load time, which isn’t bad for shared hosting really. What’s being slow?

      1. Everything, really. It’s just taking forever to load, scroll down, react to typing, and for the YT clip the video got well behind the audio. I blame it on all those blasted ads that seem to have appeared from nowhere, especially that annoying bar at the bottom that I have to switch off every time I refresh the page 🙁

        (And this is on my *new* computer!)

      2. That seems like a browser issue rather than the site tbh. Maybe clear cache / cookies?

        Noted on the adhesion unit that goes across the bottom. Just testing it, I’ve changed the ads around a bit to experiment, the closer the site gets to breaking even the more I can justify writing posts when I should be doing real work 😀 I guess it’s not the worst as at least you can close it.

  1. That’s an unusually poor winner/UE ratio from both players, but particularly in the night match. Any particular reason?

    And ooh, did I actually get a first for a change?

    Just hoping Roger’s not too exhausted from those two matches. I’ve decided someone needs to develop a “FedTime” app: monitors the progress of the preceding match and sets an alarm off as soon as it finishes, thus giving you maybe 10-15 minutes to get up and get the TV/computer on and get ready to watch. It’d be a boon for times like this. Thanks, Jon, for your tireless work in doing this, and I hope you’re catching some shut-eye now!

    1. I had that idea a while ago 😀 I did actually get something working via IFTTT for sending my phone a notification.

      But now I just use Sofa Score – you can set an alert for when the match before him finishes and it will send you a push notification…

  2. 3am?! to watch and write? Hat off to you, thanks for the hard work, Jonathan. TennisTV’s reply saves my beauty sleep 😉 BP wasterer as usual vs Stan, it was frustrating at times but I enjoyed their 1HBHs’ rallies. Hope he recovers quickly and show who da boss tonight! I like Goff and nice to see him playing well again but still mad at him denied me to see Fed live at WTF last year.

  3. Exactly what Jonathan said about seeming to be the better player but then being unable to convert, & about looking ahead to the Goffin match. It’s supposedly even more humid than usual in Cincinnati, so maybe that’s having an effect – though obviosly that’s tha same for both players.

    I really hate those big red blobby squares on his outfit.

  4. Thanks Jon, what would we do without your nice consistency in nice and intelligent commenting? It worries me a bit what you say of his forehand. Some lurking hand injury?
    I would like some more highlights on the Stan-match though. Anybody has a link?

      1. Except it’s the same as what we thought we saw in the Wimby QF, isn’t it, when suddenly he wasn’t moving as well and his forehand was inexplicably misfiring & several of us wondered about some kind of injury? Or does it seem different to you?

  5. Thanks and bravo Jonathan for the great recap !
    The match against Stan was not good for our hearts once again… I really started to enjoy RF’s game as of the tie break of the 2nd set. (Stressed and not confident before and Stan really played well).

    As for intensity-length-nerves-running distance … the 2-set vs Mayer match + the  3-set match vs Stan match thus equal a 5 set match on a single day yesterday ?. Can it be considered as a good training ahead of the USO Grand Slam (with up to 5-set matches) ?

    The mere difference is that Fed won’t have the complete break day between two matches to recover and rest.

    Goffin seems in a good form… May Fed look for the “revenge” of the WTF 2017 match – as an extra motivation ? 
    The weather forecast for today is not very good in Cinci : very humid and 60% of risks of rain. Let’s hope RF’s semi won’t be delayed and that he did not catch a cold.
    If the semi’s outcome is a win, the sun is expected for tomorrow (final) with less humidity : better for the Swiss and his game, no ?

    Happy for Stan that his level is coming back even if he lost yesterday.

    Today is a day full of 8’s : 18/08/18… it has to be a good day for Roger. It’s his figure. 🙂

    Let’s prepare some coffee to keep our eyes open tonight… as the Fed app does not still exist.

    1. “Can it be considered as a good training ahead of the USO Grand Slam (with up to 5-set matches) ?”

      I think any matches are good practice here, needs a few sets in his legs on hard court. I guess it would be interesting to see him play a slam with no warm-up matches at all and see if he can use the early rounds to get into it, but maybe it’s risky…

  6. Fed lost 18 points in 16 service games. He has to tighten up his forehand but he’s got to be happy with his hold game thus far in the tournament. If he can find his rhythm off the ground then watch out.

  7. I am lucky that this tournament is in my time zone. I feel for all of you who were watching this match in the middle of the night.
    Jonathan, one of the many things that make your site so great is the detailed stats, including net points, something that is often hard to find.
    I haven’t seen much of Goffin in this tourney, but it sounds like he is playing great. Let’s hope all those “8s” bring some magic for Fed today.

    1. Cheers, yeah I always like to put in the winner / UE and net points. I’m not sure why the ATP don’t do it?

      I saw about 10 mins of Goffin vs Del Potro, Del Po looked a bit flat-footed. Hope Fed isn’t feeling that too.

  8. Murli, long time no see any of your true FANtastic Fed-poetry. I miss this colorful commenting even if FrenchButteRFly – and (some time ago) Wanda are making some compensating – but as Roger says – competing keeps your creativity alive – no?

      1. Thanks Wanda. Hope Murli is well and happy, and the reason for longtime absence here is a happy one…

  9. I think Roger is playing pretty well except for the shanks that he should avoid in the next 2 matches. Finals with Djokovic will be interesting. First time since Roger came back with the improved backhand early last year, no?

    1. Djoko will for sure be hungry for that. I think he was runner-up when Roger latest won it (2015?). I don’t know about me. I prefer to see him vs a player less boring and more elegant than any of the 2 possibilities this time. Well but still better than nothing!

  10. I don’t know ,somehow I Prefer Roger battling through and slowly improving rather than playing a few rounds really well
    and then going out unexpectedly as at Wimbledon.Didnt see the match but did see Warwinka play Fed at the O2 a few years ago.Rather a similar match in some ways except it went right to the line in the third set.Glad Stan is back,he can give
    Nadal and the Joker a run for their money in Slams.So glad Fed hasn’t got to play DelPotro who is so good at tiring players
    out before their next match .As for Goffin,nice to see his recovery after that freak eye injury.I don’t think he will beat Fed.
    That win at the O2 was weird,was tiredness at the end of the year a factor?As for the other finalist if Fed should get there,
    lets hope for a really tough 3 setter?Djokovic has had some tough matches lets hope that he has another one.

    1. I think Fed was deffo tired in that match in London. But he may also be tired tomorrow. Goffin can cause problems with how crisp he hits the ball and moves.

  11. Thanks for the unwavering posts, Jonathan. Such dedication to your blog doesn’t go unnoticed.
    Anyway, I was surprised to see so few fans in the stands. I wouldn’t miss the end of that match for the world. People going home for their beauty sleep tied at a set a piece?
    I don’t like the squares either but better than what Nike had in store with the giant V.
    Goffin is playing well. Hopefully Roger’s forehand woke up during the Stan match and will be the beast it can be.
    Anyone else think Mirka is looking slim and trim?

    1. Not sure about Mirka, but Roger certainly is more lean and muscular. A win here and US Open will make me forget that horrible loss to Anderson at Wimby.

      1. You know Ganesh, I was thinking about the Wimbledon loss, within a month of when it happened; and although of course it was disappointing, maybe more disappointing than the loss to Raonic (although of course that’s all tied up with the knee thing) – even so, I thought, it was NOT AT ALL as bad as what really was the horrible loss to Stakhovsky, back when. Helped to put it in perspective a bit.

  12. I have a feeling that today’s match against Goffin isn’t a given.
    Roger without his forehand and after a day with two matches is more vulnerable than usual.
    The Djoker seems like a man on a mission to get that last masters title under his belt.
    If I had to gamble, I would have put my money on Djokovic defeats Goffin on sunday.
    Roger never lost in the final four in Cincy. However, until Wimbledon QF Roger hasn’t lost to Anderson either.

    I hope that I’m wrong.

    1. It’s a moot point now.

      Goffin’s retirement is a mixed blessing; on the one hand, Federer gets a bit more rest but on the other, he might need more match play in order to get his game into shape.

      But I’m leaning towards rest as being more important. He played five sets of tennis yesterday and one today, don’t see how another one or two sets would have helped him find his “riddum.”

      He didn’t really look sharp against Goffin either, and that’s an issue because he will need to produce a level of tennis he hasn’t shown all year in order to best the raging Djokovic. The super backhand, absent since Basel last year, is going to have to make an appearance if he wants this title.

      It’ll be sunny and dry for the final tomorrow, hopefully that will help Federer with his timing. I guess we have to trust to his superb record on this court and his extensive experience. Hopefully he can put it all together and capture #8 tomorrow.

  13. Watching the Cilic Djoker match at the moment. Djoker looks so angry. It feels like he doesn’t really enjoy tennis, just going through the motions. Broken racket in the Raonic match and almost here. He got a time violation, tee hee. Again the stands are half empty. Corporations buying up all the good seats and leaving them empty?
    After the FO win, not the same player?
    Hoping Fed is well rested with serve and fh firing.

  14. Yes,but unfortunately the evil,furious Djoker keeps winning matches.I liked him better when he was Amorypas,and losing?
    The time violation was most amusing,the outraged innocence,etc.
    I think Fed wins tonight….

  15. Oh I think I just reminded myself of a thing. If Djoker beats Roger he will be the first man to win all Masters on tour. (Correct me if I am wrong)

  16. I have stated many times that we Fed fans are asking to much of Roger to keep winning Grand Slams. Best of 5 is really difficult for the body. I would rather see Roger play best of 3 tournaments then keep going for Grand Slams. We want more of Roger and I think he can keep playing at a high level if he plays best of 3 series. Look what happened to Goffin today (I felt bad for him he is such a nice guy). These guys serve the ball at 135 mph that takes a toll on wrist, elbow and back when returning these serves. I would rather see Roger win 3 ATP tournaments then another Grand Slam. This debate about the GOAT is silly and stupid. I will go with fan favorite. The way I see it if you take 100% of tennis fans. 70% see Federer as the GOAT. 20% see Nadal as GOAT. Djoker has the remaining 10%. I love seeing Roger play and I think for him to play till he is 40 is to not drain himself with the best of 5. That is one advantage that Serena has over Roger all of the women’s tournaments are best of 3. It’s just my opinion. I would be interested in what you think Jonathan?

    1. Fed himself has talked about how much he appreciates best of 5, that it’s a different challenge, & that he wishes there were actually more of it on tour. And I think he thrives on those challenges, whatever they are – pitting himself against a new set of circumstances & seeing how he’s able to deal with them. And I think more best of 3 would fail to nourish this part of him. Yes, he might win more matches; but if he has less interest in playing more of the same anyway, he just won’t play.

      Besides, Wimbledon is Wimbledon.


    In this interview – taking place yesterday after the Goffin match – Fed says he went to bed at 3:30 pm after his quarter final and 2nd match of the day… this may explain why he was tired and did not play his best tennis against the Belgian. But he won  – that’s what matters.  It will be his 150th final. 150 !! at 37 !! Let us rejoice brethren ! 

  18. SO much doubt here!! Raised his game when he needed to ( 2nd breaker with Stan, breaker with David). Serving has been no phenomenal. Yes rusty at times on FH but he hasn’t got frustrated by it.
    Novak hasn’t been great either so

    I pick Fed in straights if he can get off to an aggressive start.

    Thks for all the reports this tricky week!

  19. Not a nice way to win, but clever done by Goffin. Has to keep his health, looking ahead for big challenges soon. He has done very well tis tour defeating some tallers.

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