Title Number 98 for the StuttGOAT as Roger Federer secured his first Mercedes Cup title defeating Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6(3) in Sunday's showpiece.
The win sees Roger land his 18th grass court title (imagine how many that would be if grass got a fair crack of the whip during the season) and extend his win streak on the green stuff to 16 matches.
Quick Match Recap
Raonic won the toss and elected to serve, holding to 15 to kick off the final. Roger was then twice forced to deuce en route to holding but in game three he began to find his feet, coming up with a slick return for 15-30, a sweetly struck inside-out forehand pass for 15-40 and then a blocked backhand return winner to cap off a peRFect return game for 3-1.
With Raonic rarely dropping serve it was imperative Roger consolidated and he did it the hard way, recovering from 15-40 to hold. Digging a ball inches from the floor to thread a forehand pass to save the first break point. GOAT stuff.
With the break secured the set continued on serve and at 5-4 Roger served it out in style with a classic half volley pickup on the baseline followed by a ghost to the net to serve it out to love.
Into set two and Raonic again started with a confident hold. Roger quickly levelled to love and the set continued to be dominated by serve. The Canadian was able to make a few inroads early having 15-30 in game four and 0-15 in game six but it wasn't until game eleven we'd see a player lose the first point on serve again as Raonic held from 15-30 to lead 6-5. Roger then matched him, holding from 15-30 to move into the tie-break.
A timid backhand saw the breaker get off to a poor start for Raonic but he reset quickly, firing a bullet return to recoup the mini-break at 1-1. Roger then held for 2-1 and the pair were able to win both points on their next serves as Roger moved into a 4-3 lead. With the pressure back on Raonic he faltered, double faulting for 3-5 and then the Swiss came up with a high quality passing shot to give himself three match points which he converted at the first time of asking to win title number 98.
|Roger Federer||Milos Raonic|
|1st Serve||67% (44/66)||72% (44/61)|
|1st Serve Points Won||86% (38/44)||77% (34/44)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||59% (13/22)||59% (10/17)|
|Break Points Saved||100% (2/2)||0% (0/1)|
|Service Games Played||11||11|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||23% (10/44)||14% (6/44)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||41% (7/17)||41% (9/22)|
|Break Points Converted||100% (1/1)||0% (0/2)|
|Return Games Played||11||11|
|Service Points Won||77% (51/66)||72% (44/61)|
|Return Points Won||28% (17/61)||23% (15/66)|
|Total Points Won||54% (68/127)||46% (59/127)|
Thoughts on the Match
I'm really happy. I thought it was a good final from my side. I think I played very well throughout the tournament, actually, having not played for a while. It's a great comeback for me. Maybe I was a little bit better on the bigger points. Of course, I'm so happy to have won here, finally, in Stuttgart.
He's had 11 weeks off but there's no stopping the King of Grass as he made the peRFect return to the tour to bag his maiden Stuttgart title.
Probably his best match of the week in terms of level and shotmaking; the Swiss was dominant from start to finish, playing a brilliant return game to break in set one and being watertight on serve throughout saving the two break points he faced. Some of the half volleys he played too from the baseline were pretty special and being able to fuse that stylish shotmaking with solidity when required proved too much for Raonic who will no doubt rue the double fault in the second set tie-break.
He can't have too many complaints though, aside from ramping up his serve in the second set he was second best in all areas with Roger coming out on top in all areas aside from ace count and there wasn't really a moment in the match where you felt he didn't have control of the tempo out there.
So a great week, Fed looks sharp and explosive, bags a title and heads into The Gerry Weber Open as Number 1 with a chance to win title number 10. That's a few matches away of course but this week didn't seem taxing physically so he's got a pretty good chance of doing just that.
The only negative is the short turnaround time, he'll drive back to Switzerland today to watch football tonight and then fly to Halle tomorrow for a match likely on Tuesday against Bedene.
What did you guys think of the final? Let me know in the comments 🙂