BOOM! Total GOAT display from Roger as he turned up the heat at the o2 to see off Andy Murray 7-6(5) 6-2 and make his third consecutive final in London where he'll now face Djokovic to decide the best player of the year.
There's no two ways about it, I wasn't confident going into this match, after the two lackluster displays against Ferrer and Del Potro everything pointed to a Murray win. I said in my prediction post that I thought Murray would win today and to win Roger would need a JesusFed performance. It's like he was listening to my request as from the middle of the first set onwards Roger weathered the Murray storm, got his shit together and started to dominate on both wings.
Gonna have to be JesusFed tonight against Murray if he's to make the final. Anything less and it aint happening.
— Jonathan (@peRFectTennisUK) November 11, 2012
Could this be Shanghai all over again?
Unlike a typical JesusFed like performance things started horrifically badly for Roger, he got broken in his opening service game after making 2 terrible forehand errors. It's worth noting Murray has broken Roger's opening service game in their last 4 meetings. Scary!
Murray got out of the blocks at light speed yet again and was really going gung ho on his ground strokes. He finds the Federer backhand so easily and once he got into a dominant position in the rally he very rarely relinquished it.
Even though Murray was the one in control early, I just felt like Roger could click into a gear at any given moment, a couple of points could get him going and that's what happened.
Enter Back Street Fighterer
At 4-2 Roger finally started to dictate play, he started going for the backhand up the line and cut out any sloppy errors that were handing Murray cheap points. Murray went from looking dominant to being put back in his shell, the crowd were pro Roger and he just moved up a gear to get back on level terms.
A backhand shank got the tie break off to a poor start for Roger has he slipped down a mini break 3-1 but a huge inside out forehand and then a big serve out wide got the score back level at 4-4. A drive volley followed that and then a Murray error saw Roger move within 2 points of sealing the first set and he did just that on his own serve at 6-5. Allez, there's a reason this guy has the best record in tie breaks of all time.
Second Set – JesusFed Runs the Show
The second set was all about Roger, he kicked off in the best possible manner with a love hold to level up at 1-1. In the next service game Murray went from 40/0 to deuce, deuce soon became break point and Roger sealed it when Murray made another backhand error. 2-1 was soon 4-2 and then Roger found another break point which he converted again! 3/3 out on break points, total destruction!
Roger then served it out in style, by this point he was in full flow, no longer was he scampering to his backhand side trying to retrieve Murrays big groundstrokes, he was camped on the baseline in full flow and moving seamlessly into the final.
It's tough to put into words how big a win this is for Roger. If he'd have lost today it could have had negative consequences on next season. It'd have meant he'd have lost 3 matches in a row to Murray, a near disaster and would also mean Murray moved 3 clear in the H2H.
Now the tables have turned yet again and it's Roger who heads in 2013 with the final say in that rivalry and he proved that even when Murray gets off to a barnstorming start that he can weather the storm and find his own way back into the match and make sure the match lies on his racket.
As for Murray I think he'll be disappointed, he went from dominate to passive in the blink of an eye. I think Roger's play put him there but he definitely made a few sloppy errors that cost him. I guess the atmosphere, Roger's level and the disappointment of dropping the first set effected him mentally. If he'd stayed aggressive and moved in more then things could maybe have been even closer but one's thing sure than when Roger plays somewhere near his best it's tough to find any sort of way back into a match.
Federer vs. Murray Match Stats
Predictions for the Final against Djokovic
Well this is definitely the most fitting final possible, it's the two best players of the year going head to head to decide who comes away on top. In my mind Roger has been the best player on tour this year, winning 3 ATP Masters 1000 titles, a Grand Slam and returning to World Number 1 for a record 300 weeks so I think he's coming away with another World Tour Final trophy tomorrow.
I didn't think it was possible after the Ferrer and Del Potro matches but it looks like Roger had me fooled and he does have one last push in him. If he can keep up his level from today then I think he's gettting it done against Djokovic tomorrow.
I watched the other semi final today and Del Potro dominated the early parts of that match, yet again it boiled down to his joke levels of fitness. The guy is puffing and panting after any sort of lengthy rally. Djokovic clearly saw he was dead on his feet by the middle of the third set and just worked him over. It was a shame as when Del Potro is on a full tank he can be pretty unstoppable.
The last time Roger played Djokovic in London was in 2010 and it was another JesusFed display, I think he broke his serve twice in the opening set, tailed off in the second and went down a break but then hit back to completely dominate. Hopefully that happens again tomorrow. It's clear Roger wants this now and perhaps it's written in the stars. It'd be a fitting end to a great year if he was to come away with the title and I hope he can do just that. Allez!