ATP 500Davis CupRoger FedererSwiss Indoors

Federer Withstands Mannarino Charge in Basel

Roger Federer's hopes for an 8th Swiss Indoors title are still alive as he survived a tough three-setter with Adrian Mannarino to come through his Quarter Final match 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, in one hour, 43 minutes.

The Swiss went into his 15th Basel Quarter Final as firm favourite, having never dropped a set against Mannarino in their previous four meetings; but it was the left-hander who made all the early running as he nabbed the first set and forced Roger to hit a stunning backhand half-volley winner from the baseline deep in the third set to save a crucial break point. That proved to the be the difference though as Roger reeled off the next 3 games to move into the Semi-Finals where he'll face David Goffin.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Basel Mannarino

Federer kicked things off with a hold after being taken to deuce. Mannarino then levelled to 15 and he had the better of the opening exchanges as Roger found himself overhitting and making uncharacteristic unforced errors. Fortunately, his serve was clicking to keep it close but in game nine Mannarino played two great points for 0-30 and then broke to lead 5-4. The Frenchman then served out the set comfortably.

Into set two and Federer needed to find his base level. After holding for 1-0 he broke to lead 2-0 and momentum had shifted. Roger consolidated for 3-0 and then secured the double break for a 4-0 lead which put the set to bed as he cruised through his next two service games to take the set 6-1.

A decider looked to have Roger's name on it after he dominated the second but it wasn't that simple. In Mannarino's first service game the Swiss fashioned two break points but Mannarino showed his mettle to hold for 1-0. The Frenchman then missed a routine half-court ball which would have given him a break point for 2-0, instead, Roger held to level.

The pair then traded holds and in game six it was Mannarino who held two break points, Roger saved the first with a smart serve but had to come up with a genius half volley pickup backhand to save the second. Had that missed it could well have been goodnight but Roger held from deuce and reeled off the next three games as no doubt Mannarino couldn't believe he didn't break when he was able to hit a return that well.

Match Stats

Roger Federer Adrian Mannarino
Aces 12 1
Double Faults 2 1
1st Serve 53%(38/72) 51%(42/83)
1st Serve Points Won 84%(32/38) 62%(26/42)
2nd Serve Points Won 56%(19/34) 59%(24/41)
Break Points Saved 67%(2/3) 50%(4/8)
Service Games Played 13 13
1st Serve Return Points Won 38%(16/42) 16%(6/38)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 41%(17/41) 44%(15/34)
Break Points Converted 50%(4/8) 33%(1/3)
Winners 27 13
Unforced Errors 34 19
Net Points Won 62% (8/13) 56% (5/9)
Return Games Played 13 13
Service Points Won 71%(51/72) 60%(50/83)
Return Points Won 40%(33/83) 29%(21/72)
Return Points Won 54%(84/155) 46%(71/155)
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Mannarino Basel

Today was a battle. I had to somehow dig and fight and sometimes these wins are more rewarding than just leading from the get-go and dominating throughout and bringing it home. These are better matches to win sometimes, actually. I just had a tough time really getting into it and he was rock solid, so he deserved that first set, but the reaction from me was really important.

An important win here for Fed and he had to dig pretty deep to defeat an in-form Mannarino. Going in I thought the sets would be close but just couldn't see Mannarino getting a set, however he played such a solid game that caused Roger all sorts of problems.

The Frenchman has an unorthodox style; a very open stance with his hip doing most of the work on the forehand but he is able to move the ball around the court brilliantly and put his opposition in tricky spots. Couple that with his tricky serve that looks hard to read and he's able to hang with the best. I mean those two points he played at 4-4 in the first set to get 0-30 were top class and he's comfortable in every area of the court.

I think Roger actually made the mistake of getting drawn into Mannarino's game in the first set where he was content to let the Frenchman play from the back of the court, figuring he can't really hurt him with his groundstrokes. However, he ended up out of position and tried to hit winners from balls that just weren't there hence the unforced errors racking up. The second set was obviously much better where he got back on the front foot and the third was close with that bit of magic making the difference in the end.

Predictions vs. Goffin

Next up is David Goffin who defeated Jack Sock in straight sets coming from a break down the second to win through. Goffin's had a tough year with an injury but has found some great form in recent weeks winning his first title in three years during the Asian swing. As a result, he's played a tonne of tennis and looked to be flagging in Antwerp but he's played well in Basel and could give Roger a tough match later today. Fed leads the H2H 5-0 and all the signs point to a 13th final but Goffin is a great ball striker/mover so Roger will need to be the guy forcing the issue.

Paris Draw

I'll do a post on the Bercy draw should Roger decide to play but you can see his projected opponents below:

  • Round 1: Bye
  • Round 2: Feliciano Lopez
  • Round 3: Jack Sock
  • Quarter Final: Dominic Thiem
  • Semi Final: Marin Cilic
  • Final: Rafael Nadal


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. 2nd!
    Said it before match! Knew this was tricky. Even thought Adrian might sneak it. He is greatly improved, fast, tricky, flattish early striker. Rog too passive but hasn’t really had a match with any rhythm til then and Adrian was so solid.
    Once he mixed the pace, slice, deeper top spin things got better. Mannarino disliking both the slower ball and the higher bounce, altho Rog was still in danger of losing that 3rd there.
    A wake up call which will do him good going into today against another v accurate steady hitter. Allez, and hopefully that cold will be going too!

  2. Thanks Jon – cannot but agree. What difference between 1. and 2. set – from being off for some reason, the enormous brilliance came out – cannot wait to replay that set! Amazing…also to see that distance between up and down in Fed’s performance. But extremely nice that it came out again.
    I think he’ll win today as well. Hopefully so! But if not, my consolation is that Goffin has for sure deserved some encouragement now. And I would like him to get to WTF.

  3. Thanks Jonathan, agree completely. In the first set, Roger was a bit passive. Rather than taking the charge, he kind of let it be rolled out. Adrian did not hesitate and played extremely well, especially with his short FH cross court with a sharp angle, which often forced Roger out of position and angle to hit BH. Adrian’s rally most of the times were close to lines, extraordinary; the guy is in very good form.
    I would expect Roger to beat Goffin in straight sets.
    Allez Rog!

      1. They might, but it went away so fast. I bet that Roger did not even look at where the ball went – pure genius 🙂 .

  4. That was pretty grim. Near the end of the first set I had to switch off and go back behind the sofa. Crazy shots all over the place. I checked out the score every ten minutes or so and came back out once he was five games up in the second set. Third set was not a load of laughs either. He’s had a cold before (at Wimbledon?) so hopefully he can carry on regardless.
    I haven’t seen Ljubicic about, maybe that’s not helping?
    I hope he doesn’t play Paris and gets himself back to full health for London.
    Fingers crossed for this afternoon.

  5. “Was battle” indeed! But he came through and yes, THAT pick-up 30-40 6th game in the decider to save a break point alone was a worthy of mention. It was one of ‘the shot of the year’ if not THE shot of the year 😀 And Fed the Errorer turned to Fighterer was great to see. Hope he’s already overcome cold as well.
    How can Adrian play like that is mystery to me…he looks like a casual club player with his upright/open stance and the floppy shorts? 😆

    1. Yeah Mannarino looks so different, but he’s way better than most of these other French guys at putting together points. Works out where to put the ball and where to be himself better than most.

    2. I have watched the replay twice and can’t stop imagining I am seeing a guy who got a Tshirt and shorts from Target and accidentally wandered into a professional match. (Mannarino not Federer) His manner seems so lackadaisical but his shots were effective. Luckily Fed pulled it out through sheer will…and talent of course!

      Also on twitter someone reminded everyone that Mannarino had a literal run-in with a ball kid at Wimbledon and was fined for his behavior. Glad Roger got his revenge on behalf of Ball Kids everywhere!

    1. Thanks, a little disjointed as I wrote half of it last night then finished this morning. They should get days off at Masters 500 level 😀 give me a chance to catch up.

  6. A little nitpicking here: Adrian fashioned the 2 BPs in the 6th game of the 3rd set at 2*-3, not the 7th. Roger was serving second, he served to equal the score.

    This half-volley pick-up was out of this world, probably a little lucky as well. After that shot I knew that Roger would come through, it would fill him with confidence and discourage the opponent. Who played great, I really love his style.

  7. Glad that Fed got his act together in the second set, Don’t know if it’s because he is not feeling quite right but just wanted to get on as quick as possible, as we know AM too good a player for that. Not anything to do with Roger but does watching Cilic serve make anyone else nervious, what with ball bouncing (seen that before) and his legs look wobbly one wonders how he can make it work but it does until he meets Delpo…..who now has a bad back as well. So C’mon Roger we know it’s not easy just make our day x

    1. I like Marin (not his game style), but that excessive ball bouncing is awful. He bounced the ball around 20 times at some points. He also does it between 1st and 2nd serves. I wish he would get TVs already to force him to get on with it. But the umpires are too lenient unfortunately, also with other time-wasting offenders like Nadal or Del Potro.

      1. Yes, his ball bouncing was driving me crackers and I felt for the opposite player wondering when (if) the ball would ever come over the net. Quite a few times after he had bounced for ever he put the ball into the net, so we all liked that. Even the crowd objected at one point and he had to start again.

      2. He can bounce the ball as much as he wants as long as he doesn’t exceed the time limit between points. As long as he is within that limit, you are required to play at the pace of the server.

    1. He wants to be 100% for WTF as that is his priority he said. So, a Paris withdrawal, whatever excuse he cooks up, would be no surprise.

  8. I was at the match in Tokyo when Goffin beat Mannarino. Mannarino hits the ball very flat and Goffin was able to handle it pretty well. Goffin however lacks variety in his shots which should be to Fed’s advantage today.

  9. Hi from Paris.
    – Fed in the semis in Basel.
    – Tsonga and Pouille in the semis in Vienna…
    – Caroline Garcia in the semis in Singapore…
    What a busy week-end…
    Fortunately,  Be In is a multi-channel TV…

  10. Yesterday Fed played against a “Manna-rino-Feroce” but won in the end… A very nice match… but our nails suffered ! The second set was fantastic.

    If he reaches the final, I guess he will appreciate one more hour of sleep with the winter time coming tonight. I wonder what time Goffin went to sleep last night ??

  11. This is just great. If Fed beats Goffin, he once again meets the talentless cabrón from Tandil, with long legs and a forehand. Not looking forward to it but I hope Federer takes care of the next two matches.

    1. Hi Sid,
      I have never seen Del Potro before,In reality that is,and I was struck straight away by how huge his legs are.He does not move around on them though and the forehand breaks down under pressure .

  12. Greetings from Basel!
    Very impressed with the St Jacobshalle venue.Lots of nice things to eat and drink without tremendous queues and
    excellent public transport,free in Basle!
    We saw three quarter finals all of which went the distance.Very impressed with Agut who came very close to beating
    the slug like Del Potro who was saved by his serve.
    The Cilic match was also very close and seemed interminable because of the endless ball bouncing.
    And so to Roger.
    Having been received by the crowd as though it was the second coming,he proceeded to play an atrocious set of
    tennis with masses of unforced errors.However in the second set the crowd really got going,and Fed seemed to remember who he is.Mannarino came back strongly in the third and Jonathan has described the sticky moments it
    contained.It was an amazing experience to see Federer playing in his hometown and I recommend it if you can.
    Today we saw the two semis.Del Potro seemed to lose the point whenever he had to move and Cilic couldn’t get a first serve in to save his life.Unbelievably poor standard from both of them.
    It was a relief to see Fed who was in blisteringly imperious form.Poor Davide could do nothing to hurt him(and also played very late last night)and seemed quite glad to get off the court.
    Tomorrow,if they both play as they played today Fed wifi win in straights.However Del Potro has a nasty habit of raising his game against Fed.Interestingly it is Potros forehand that breaks down under pressure,Agut started to have success when he targeted the forehand not the backhand.Is he saying he is injured again?Sounds like a pre-emptive excuse to me,he looked fine except he hardly moves,but that’s normal isn’t it?
    Sorry for length of post.

    1. Sounds good. I really enjoyed it when I went, cool city, great venue. All runs very smoothly. Although transport is only free for tourists with a Mobility Ticket for duration of the stay which hotels and guesthouses hand out.

      Del Potro Cilic was a joke, hopefully Fed plays like he did today although different matchup…

    2. Hey Annie, great that you’re having a Fedonistic time in Basel. Sounds lovely so it makes me want to go there next year! Look forward to the final recap!

  13. Lovely writeup Annie, really like your candour telling how it was. Fed brought back to earth from the intoxicating arrival on court but finding the way was a good match to see total Fed range live, before the god match! Am thinking David Goffin might be more focussed on Davis Cup at a subconscious level anyway and he had a good run in Asia, unpleasant scheduling in Basel & 3 former champs in Semis!

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