ATP 250Halle

Halle Draw 2014: Can Federer Defend His Title?

Hey all, Halle starts on Monday and it’s a fairly strong lineup for such a small tournament featuring Federer, Raonic, Haas, Youzhny, Janowicz and Gasquet. I am almost certain Nadal will pull out as he’s playing the French final tomorrow vs Djokovic. Regardless of result I can’t see him playing.

The draw has just been released and you can see Federer’s seeded opponents below. A decent draw and I give him a reasonable chance of defending his title, anything less will be a disappointment I feel. Especially since he gave it the big “my mind is now on grass” talk in his press conference in Paris after the Gulbis loss.

If Nadal does withdraw he’ll be the highest seeded player in the draw too so in all honesty he should be winning it. Of course I don’t think his Wimbledon chances hinge on Halle for certain but it would be good to start building momentum.

Federer’s Seeded Opponents

Federer Holding Halle Title 2013

  • 1st Round: Bye
  • 2nd Round: Joao Sousa / Jan-Lennard Struff
  • Quarter Final: Mikhail Youzhny
  • Semi Final: Kei Nishikori / Tommy Haas
  • Final: Nadal / Raonic

Full .PDF printable draw.

Thoughts on the Draw

Monfils Halle

First up is either a clay court specialist in Joao Sousa or German Jan-Lennard Struff. I’m almost certain Struff will get through that one as he’s proven he can play on grass making the 2nd round at Wimbledon last year losing to Chardy in 4 sets. But to even get that far he had to get through qualifying which is a good achievement. The only thing going against him is that he hasn’t got out the first round in Halle in 2 attempts, likely home crowd pressure, but this should be the perfect opportunity for him. Regardless of opponent I expect Fed to come through his first match comfortably.

After that it looks likely to be the man Federer beat in last years final, Mikhail Youzhny, who is a very competent grass court player making numerous Quarter Finals at Wimbledon. Roger owns this guy in the H2H but he’s no push over so Fed will need to be on good form should they meet I think. Youzhny has to get past Karlovic in the first round though which is possibly the worst opponent in the draw for a 1st Round grass court match. I’m not sure how fit Karlovic is as he withdrew in his match vs. Anderson at the French.

Into the semi finals and the seeded opponents are Nishikori or Haas. Haas usually plays well in Halle so he would be my pick. Nishikori has had no real notable results on grass other than making the Quarter Finals at the 2012 Olympics. This surface is going to be alien to him really, he won’t have played it on it growing up and because there are virtually no grass tournaments in the year he doesn’t have much experience on it.

Then the finals looks set to be against Nadal, if he plays, or Raonic. I’d actually pick Raonic to come through here as he’s had a decent French Open and his serve could carry him through. He ran Fed close here in 2012 too and he’s much improved since then so it will be interesting to see how he plays on grass. Raonic is W3 L3 at Wimbledon so not exactly top dollar. Kohlschrieber is probably the one to look out for in that half of the draw and he beat Nadal here in 2012.

Based on the draw I think if Fed is going to lose before the final it will be in the Quarters. If he comes through that then I make him favourite to defend his title which would be the first time he’s done it since winning Basel in 2010 and 2011. So it’s a good opportunity here to build some momentum, break the title droubt since Dubai and defend a title for the first time in 3 years.

What do you guys think? Can Fed take down the Halle title?


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Tough call to predict if Fed can make it pass the quarters, definitely nice if he can reach final and defend his title. Let’s go Roger.

    1. I think he can, I mean he owns Youzhny but depends if he is vulnerable after the Mugbis loss. See if he took it on the chin or it’s been a confidence zapper. I dunno what to expect really.

  2. Ooh! Bronze medal!!
    Agree Nadull will withdraw and if Fed holds concentration then predict a Fed/Raonic final!
    Fed needs a title and he needs to show some grit and a game plan pre Wimby! Am expecting plenty of net rushing!!

  3. It will be interesting to see how Roger is playing on grass more than anything. After his clay “season” where he’s definitely been a bit absent. Is his mind back into it properly? I hope so.

    1. Hopefully on his A+ grass court game, even playing doubles too. Although I would guess appearance fee clauses come into play with him doing that. Not sure though. I hope he reads my cynical comments and then hits back in his presser.

      “Some fans can’t just accept you want to play doubles every now and again, for them it has to be about money. Maybe you have to go back and think, why have I started playing doubles? Because I just like it. It’s actually sort of a dream hobby that became somewhat of a job. Some people just don’t get that, ever.”


      1. Weeeeelll, he might appreciate some extra grass practice, with nothing between Halle and Wimbledon …

      2. Actually, it looks as though most of the top players are doubling up here, plus there’s the consideration that he will probably need to play doubles one Saturday in September, so could do with keeping his hand in.

  4. I agree with Dull pulling out. But I have the feeling Raonic could be really dangerous here…. His serve is gonna hurt, and he’s defo an aggressive player… For me, only him and Nadal could trouble him here (bar a bad performance)

    1. Yeah Raonic could be a danger, his record on grass though isn’t that great. Improving daily though thanks to his coach, like I always say, a bit of Lube solves everything.

  5. Nadal I think is gonna play and obviously he is the favourite although Raonic is improving very fast.

    1. It heavily depends on the final. A 3 set drubbing of either player, then he probably plays. But if it’s a tough one then I can’t see him turning up.

  6. And Fed plays doubles as well! Can’t wait to see him as Fedless time has been already too long.

    Thanks for the draw post, Jonathan. I agree it’s definetely a doable one for Fed. Love to see him beating Nadal on grass again but at the same time I wouldn’t mind if Rafa decides to stick with his beloved dirt yard and not bother coming to Roger’s gardens (at SW19 too) ever πŸ˜‰ Otherwise Kolschrieber or Roanic will be across the net. Allez!

  7. Also, apologies regarding my last outfit post that is going to get overrun with comments.

    I think a lot of people commenting there are 1 time visitors who have never been on this site just trying to jump on the prize as it’s been shared on MoneySavingExpert etc where people will enter every competition going.

    Understandable I guess as Wimbledon tickets are hot property but there are a lot of comments purely for the sake of entry from Federer fans for a day, which I expected to a degree but not en masse πŸ™‚ So feel free to discuss the Wimbledon outfit here if you don’t want to be forever scrolling on that post.

    1. Thanks Jonathan for writing THIS comment….. I was almost going to leave a comment on the Wimby Outfit-post to ask you: “Did I miss anything?? Did you just get majorly popular without telling us?? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    2. Oh great …

      Mind you, I was wondering whether to enter. With those hospitality-type competitions I’m always worried that if I did win I’d be expected to go to all the food ‘n’ booze events rather than get a chance to actually watch any tennis πŸ™‚

      Can you somehow exclude all the non-regulars, or is that not allowed? πŸ™‚

      1. Actually, having scrolled through, I must admit that most of them do sound as though they are tennis fans. I did worry that someone might think they could get hold of a couple of tickets and then flog them on at extortionate rates.

    3. The problem is I don’t know who all the regulars are πŸ™‚ there are lots who read here but don’t comment ever, but might have commented to enter the competition which is fine. I just figure a few of them are competition hunters.

      With the prize you get a 3 course lunch and tickets to court 1. I think you can come and go as you please really. Sounds like it will be a good day.

  8. Love the outfit! It’s been a while..
    Love Halep! Proper tennus player, moves beautifully a la Fed and no screaming! However gotta admire the mental toughness and general “I refuse to lose” attitude of Shazza! Bottle that Roger!!

    1. Hey Susie. WTA just got some new great players, Townsend, Georgi, Bouchard, Halep. Deep respect for them. Future GS winners, especially the last 2. Did you see the final? Wow, Halep played beautiful and really got the chance to win, but Maria’s experience and mental fighting spirit got her through. This is why playing great on the big and important moments are soooo important. When it mattered, Maria was ruthless on those important moments and won the match. Wish Roger had that a little bit more.

      But today….Maria lost me as her fan. Kudos and admiration and deep and deep respect for her concentration and fighting spirit and her mental toughness, but man, does she know how to play gamesmenship or what??
      Most of you compare Serena to Rafa (which is partly true), but trust me…. there is an awful lot of Rafa in Maria…..sad…just sad….

    2. Sharapova is a joke. I struggle to watch her matches due to noise and various annoying habits. Weak umpiring from Nouni all match I thought. She takes about 1 minute between first and second serves. And that extended break at end of 2nd set was a joke.

      Let’s be honest, she is a talentless ball basher. Zero skills with a racquet. She tried to dig up a half volley flick and it went higher than a lob, she had a regulation volley at just above waist high, kept both hands on the racquet and it went into the floor :D. If she didn’t have this modern racquet she would be selling Sugarpova from a market stall in Moscow.

      1. Hey Jonathan, Halep played SO beautifully. I was soooo rooting for her. I never watch Sharapova matches due to noise, but this was the final. She was DISCUSTING.

        The bathroom break lasted 7,5 minutes !!! Poor Halep just waited, bye bye momentum. When Maria came back, that umpire said nothing. Why on earth give them trophies too??
        In the WHOLE match she got one !!! time violation, just one.

        Not that she will lose any sleep over it, but she really lost me as a fan.

        Three words for her which is not a compliment: PATHETIC FEMALE RAFA

  9. Oh and Pablo, if you read this… I owe you a correction. We were talking once about the most beautiful points Roger won and I asked if there were any of Rafa. Well…. against Andy, 2nd set 5-2 up. The point Rafa played to make 15-0 into 30-0…. Seriously, WOW. How does he do that? How do you even make such a point? How on earth do you make the ball turn it’s way? Almost a golf shot. How do you even call that point?? Just for that point… wow…just wow. Roger has COUNTLESS beautiful shots, but that Rafa shot…not bad, not bad at all…. anyways, I owed you that.

    Tomorrow, D-day. Rooting for Nole πŸ™‚

      1. Yeah they all look the same: 50 shots, inside out forehand, boom. rince and repeat

  10. I read that Stan and Dimi are going to play doubles at Queen’s. It has been so long since they were out of RG, even forgot they were in it the first place πŸ™‚

    1. LOL. They have *5* matches scheduled on Centre Court for tomorrow. Will they all get played? More importantly, will they all get played before BBC2 goes off the air at 6 pm?

  11. Hi Jonathan

    Looking forward to seeing Roger play – not sure if its a good idea for him to play doubles as well – just want him to concentrate on retaining his singles title – but we will see I hope he is ready for battle and shows all of us how he can play on grass. Wimby tickets arrived yesterday I am so excited even if I do not see him (althouygh all fingers are crossed) play Wimbldedon is just such a special place. Love his outfit pure class just like our Man PS the blog seems to have a lot of new fans!! will we ever hear from them again do you suppose?

    1. Probably not. Trying to cash in on the freebies then off to the next blog that runs a competition πŸ™‚ but I don’t mind. Maybe some stick around, guess I will find out.

    2. Hey Trudy, I thought exactly the same. Love that Roger will play singles and doubles, but won’t he get tired and won’t it cause him the singles title (like Brisbane)? Good that he does it, but he is no spring chicken anymore…

  12. Hi Jonathan,
    I’m visiting your site after a long, long time πŸ™‚

    Great post, as always but I have just one question…..why is there a picture of Monfils?? And why isn’t anyone else asking this question? Am I the only one seeing it on my laptop due to some queer mix-up in cyberspace? πŸ˜‰ I know he’s in the draw but I don’t see him being mentioned anywhere in the article….

    I think Haas is the only threat in the draw; home guy plus he is the sort who can play tricky and tough, and has not let the presence of Federer overwhelm him, even when our man was in his prime. H2H is one thing, but the attitude they bring into the court matters too I think.

    Raonic’s game has improved vastly after Ljubicic started coaching him; prior to that he seemed to me only a big server and not much else and I thought he might go the Karlovic way, but there is so much more variety now. I think Federer can easily handle him though.

    I’m hoping we get to see the tournament here in Malaysia, smaller tournaments are not often telecast as this is not exactly a tennis crazy country; the priority is always football πŸ™

    The only cup RF won last year, worth just 250; I can practically hear the critics rubbing their hands with glee and preparing scathing write-ups in advance in case he fails to defend it….I just want him to deny them that joy!

    1. Hey Vandana,

      Good to see you returning πŸ™‚

      The picture / pose of Monfils relates to “My thoughts on the draw”. Nothing directly about him, the pose is well suited to the content that follows it, that’s it πŸ˜€


  13. Am I the only one who can’t stand Sharapova?…. Man, she’s f-ing obnoxious…. Screaming, taking twice as much time as Dull between points, 10 MINUTE toilet break??? What was she, constipated?! Damn it… Hope Djoker saves Paris today…

    1. Yeah she is awful. When she first burst onto the scene I thought she was hot. But I was clearly young and naive lol. Gamesmanship, no tennis skills just ball bash. You only gotta watch her matches vs. Silliams, when she can’t overpower her opponents she is useless hence why Silliams owns her.

  14. I’m not keen on Fed defending this title, I just need the Wimbledon title. I think Edberg is really confident about this title and I think he will school Fed on d serve and volley.Anything Fed, just listen and win!
    I need a hign point this year. Still waiting….

  15. Quite a nightmare, that French open final turned out to be.. Not only did the sun come out in spite of rain predictions, Novak appeared sick from set 3 onwards. What a shame! I truly believed he will win. Now Nadal is up to 14. He may grab another couple of Roland Garros in next 3 years. Novak as the perceived protector of Roger’s legacy has failed. So I think it is imperative now that Roger takes things in his own hands and wins a slam. I think his only realistic chance is in next 2 slams, with some help of draw or some upsets. Nadal mentioned that his priority is wimbledon. I want Roger to win this Wimbledon really bad.. come on Roger! Come on Edberg.. 1 more wimbly to take your combined tally to 10!!! πŸ˜€

    1. It’ always been in Fed’s hands. I guess Nadal is probably favourite for Wimbledon after the French but I dunno if he wins it. Murray maybe the one to beat, his game is ideal for grass.

      1. Someone has to take out Nadal for Murray to win. Murray seems to crumble upon seeing Nadal at the other side of net.

  16. Well, the commies at Queens today seemed to think it would be between Nadal, Djokovic and Murray … I do hope they’re wrong.

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