An upset at the Miami Open as defending champion Roger Federer fell at the hands of Thanasi Kokkinakis 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) in 2 hours and 2 minutes.
In what's been an already injury-plagued career the 21 year old Australian recorded his biggest ever win and inflicted a second third tie-break defeat to Roger's in as many matches who sees his Number 1 ranking return to Rafael Nadal who will move back to the top of the tree when the rankings update on April 2nd.
Quick Match Recap
Kokkinakis won the toss and elected to receive. Federer kicked things off with a hold to 15 and by game four he was nicely into his stride, overcoming a shocking line call to break for a 3-1 lead. The break proved decisive as Roger strolled to the first set taking it 6-3 with no trouble.
Into set two and Kokkinakis drastically needed to improve his serving numbers having landed just 42% in the opener. However, he began in similar fashion slipping down a break point but Roger couldn't seize the opportunity and the Australian held. Failing to get into what would have been an early and likely unassailable lead proved costly as Kokkinakis then broke to lead 3-1 and rolled through the set to take it 6-3.
Into the decider and Roger started confidently with a love hold. Just like the decider in Indian Wells the Swiss was able to hold his service games comfortably but couldn't get himself the break, frittering away a break point in game six and letting Kokkinakis sneak out of one too many service games which saw the set result in a tie-break.
Into the breaker the Aussie had momentum having held from 0-30 at 5-6 and he got off to a great start moving up a mini break. Roger pulled it back quickly for 1-2 but after the change of ends Kokkinakis held for 4-3, secured another mini-break for 5-3 and finally won through 7-4 to record the upset.
|Thansi Kokkinakis||Roger Federer|
|1st Serve||52% (57/110)||65% (55/84)|
|1st Serve Points Won||77% (44/57)||82% (45/55)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||55% (29/53)||55% (16/29)|
|Break Points Saved||80% (4/5)||67% (2/3)|
|Service Games Played||15||15|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||18% (10/55)||23% (13/57)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||45% (13/29)||45% (24/53)|
|Break Points Converted||33% (1/3)||20% (1/5)|
|Net Points Won||82% (9/11)||72% (26/36)|
|Return Games Played||15||15|
|Service Points Won||66% (73/110)||73% (61/84)|
|Return Points Won||27% (23/84)||34% (37/110)|
|Total Points Won||49% (96/194)||51% (98/194)|
Thoughts on the Match
A flat performance here from the Fedmeister and it's the first time since 2014 he's lost back to back matches. For whatever reason, he wasn't able to shake the hangover from Indian Wells and over his last three or so matches the Swiss has looked to be low on confidence and not quite sure of his game out there. He's not playing badly but just isn't winning the important points or forcing the issue enough.
Today he was able to start well enough, winning the first set with a +5 Winner to Unforced Error ratio but in set two his first serve dropped to 54% and from there, his level never really picked up. Once it was deep in the third he had chances but played the big points without any real conviction which was a shame as Kokkinakis looked to be there for the taking, blowing hard after a couple of lengthy rallies at the tail end of the set. But with no real rhythm (partly due to Kokkinakis taking an age between points) or flow to his game, the opportunities went begging and another poor third set breaker cost him dearly.
Perhaps somewhat misleadingly, stats wise it actually looks pretty good and it's the 29th time in his career that he's won more points but still lost the match. In fact, from the raw numbers, he's better in virtually all departments but Kokkinakis hit some decent serves when he needed them and reeled off some mini momentum streaks at the best possible times.
Following on from Del Potro we've had a couple of tough losses now but I'm not too concerned. Fed is still playing well he's just lacking that cutting edge and a bit of luck needed to get over the line in some of these close ones. I think Rotterdam and return to Number 1 has almost thrown him a little bit in terms of short terms goals, what's at stake and his overall freshness. Heading into Indian Wells he suddenly had the Number 1 ranking to protect and a title to defend, he came within one point of doing both but in those moments where clarity of thought is crucial things seem to get bit mid muddled. Given how much he's won of late he's probably due a let down too but at 17-2 for the year so far it's not exactly panic stations just yet.
Finally, after the match, Roger confirmed in the press conference that he's taken the decision to not play any clay this year. Smart choice I think given last years winning formula and perhaps even more so given his level over the past two matches. Time to go do some relaxing in the Swiss Mountains rather than chasing form and figure out how to win a final set tiebreaker again 😆
What did you guys think of today's match and his decision to skip clay? Let me know in the comments.