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Roger Federer’s Best Matches at Roland Garros

With a Federer-less French Open very much underway I thought I'd put together a quick compilation of Federer best ever matches at Roland Garros. Most of them wins, a couple of losses and some of them matches I've not had the pleasure of ever watching. Here we go in no particular order…

Roger Federer def. Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5) – 2011

An easy start with the the match that ended Djokovic's 43-match winning streak. Some of the shotmaking in this match was out of this world and the ace up the T on match point was a fitting end to the encounter.

The only disappointing thing about this win is that by winning Roger probably had his best shot at beating Nadal at the French in the final, missing a drop shot on set point in the first set and failing to win it from 5-2 up. Losing 5 games in a row after a Nadal medical timeout. Close but no cigar.

Roger Federer def. Tommy Haas 6-7 (4-7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 – 2009

The match that kept the French Open dream alive and featured that vital break point inside out forehand save at 3-4 in the third set. Perhaps one of the most important shots of Roger's career and just ultimate on court bravery to run around a backhand like that on virtual match point. Check out the break point in the next game too that ends with Haas going long with a fairly easy volley after a long rally. Epic.

Federer def. Del Potro 3-6, 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 – 2009

This one for me is Roger's most emotional match at the French Open where the crowd and chasing history got him through. Del Potro got off to an absolute flyer with his forehand firing on all cylinders but Roger battled away and eventually took away Del Potro's legs to win through in 5 helped by the French crowd who were chanting “Roger, Roger” incessantly.

Pat Rafter def. Roger Federer 5-7, 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 – 1999

Roger's first ever Grand Slam match where he showed some early signs of what he was capable of (with the commentators suggesting he was one for the future), firing off a no look smash winner with his back to the court.

Rafael Nadal def. Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) – 2006

Not an obvious pick this one as Nadal won the match easily but the first set is one of the best sets I have seen Federer play on clay. What happened after that was a different story as Nadal adjusted and Roger faded after such a brilliant start, the story of their H2H πŸ™

Roger Federer def. Nikolay Davydenko 7–5, 7–6(5), 7–6(7) – 2007

I put this one in because it wasn't a typical Federer match as he had to come from a break down in each set to win this one in straights. Davydenko played some really good ball and served for sets 2 and 3 but Roger found that bit extra to come through, serving clutch when he had to saving 14 break points and saving set points on the Davydenko serve.

Roger Federer def. Sargis Sargsian, 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, 9-7 – 2001

A bit before my time this one as I was a Henman fan but this win saw Roger make his first ever Grand Slam Quarter Final and also come back from 2 sets down in a Slam for the first time. An impressive win against Sargsian who put in some good performances in his career with 2 notable scalps being Phillipousis in Melbourne and Roddick at the French. Sadly there's no footage of this one YouTube. The match might not even have been televised?

Roger Federer def. Michel Kratochvil 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 2-6, 6-7 (4-7), 8-6 – 2000

Another match before Federer was on my radar as the only Tennis I watched in 2000 would have been Wimbledon. Like the Sargsian match this is another 5 setter and the first time Roger made the fourth round in a Grand Slam beating fellow countryman Michel Krathovil 8-6 in the fifth. Kinda cool there's some footage of this one.

Roger Federer def. Juan Martin Del Potro 3–6, 6–7(4), 6–2, 6–0, 6–3 – 2012

I included this match as I think it's Federer's last great match at Roland Garros. In 2013 he played that 5 setter with Simon which was good (although he was below par) but in 2014 and 2015 the first tough opposition he ran into; he lost.

This one was somewhat like 2009 with Del Potro dominating with his forehand but once again Federer hung around as Del Potro faded with a knee injury and the Swiss was able to up his game as the match wore on.

PS – I didn't include the Soderling 2009 final as even though it was a history maker, if you look at it in isolation I don't think it has that great match feel to it. With the matches against Acasuso, Haas, Monfils and Del Potro all high on emotion in rounds previous that one always felt like it had a Federer win all over it.

Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments. Any other suggestions? And has anyone seen Sargsian match?


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. Roger vs Delpo in 2009 was a roller coaster for me, I remember being in the office and following the score on my computer, thinking about the possibility of Roger not making the final. I was so nervous i was not able to work hehe. Roger vs Nole in 2011 was pretty much the same, i was attending some training from work but all i was able to do was listening to the Radio and also following the score on my computer and not paying attention to the teacher hehehe. I am pretty sure I wanted to scream when he won each match but sadly i was not able to ?.

      Thanks for the post Jon, it’s always welcome to watch some great Roger’s matches so we could show everyone he is the GOAT!


    2. He should have lost that match in straights really, just grinded it out. Crazy run in to win the title really, dropping sets for fun Acasuso, Mathieu, Haas. I guess it was pretty big to get through Monfils in straights looking back. Needed that energy to see of Del Po.

  1. Interesting list, I missed to watch live anything before 11 on that list including 09 wins… In 09 only match watched was final. Even though he had some tough matches on that year before holding the trophy, amusing that many spoofs his victory as he didn’t win over Nadal… Though he didn’t win against Nadal not sure why that makes less of victory, if that’s the case no one seems to win French by going thru him for past 10 years….

    2011 Final was another Heartbreaker which he had fair chance….

    1. Fed Winning in 2009 FO and Wimbledon was justice for those jealous jerk who were hoping Nadal would prevent Fed from passing Sampras. It’s been what 7 years since and haters still pressed. Nadal won’t be able to use the FO to pass Sampras or Federer.

    2. 09 French prob my fave tournament as a whole. Lots of pressure, expectancy, fans very much aware. in In fact 2009 as a whole is maybe my fave year for watching – Wimbledon 2009 awesome, the AO 2009 was pretty epic, just a hatchet job in final from Fed and same story with USO.

  2. Hi all. .. yep all of them great matches. My favourite is the 2011 v Djokovic as the tension the rallies and the whole game was unbelievable.
    As for this year’s French Open just like the last couple of years its is one of the crappiest and boring Slam iv seen . I am watching now and even the p chattrier and s lenglen court is empty as the the french people and tennis fans can’t be bothered to seeing shitty match ups. And the ultimate bullcrap gluten free, no charisma Novacaine “puts you to sleep, and numbs you” djokovic is being given the trophy without having to play any one good.
    Tbh it’s getting really annoying as he keeps winning fixed matches. Tennis is proper rubbish without federer and dare I say Nadal who I don’t like but still prefer from Novacaine.
    Anyway I hope the extra weeks and days will be beneficial for Federers health.

    1. 2011. Federer an ace on match point. I haven’t watched any matches of this FO but congrats to Richard.

    2. Yeah 2011 will go down as a classic.

      Weather and added security have killed off the crowds a bit this year. Doesn’t look great that the organisers are already on the defensive about it saying they need to upgrade etc.

  3. They are all a bit before my time,I became a Fed fan in late 2011? so I have just watched Fed vs Delpo 2012 which was awesome.I loved the way roger got angry in one of the tiebreaks and yelled shut up.Fed vs Haas was pure emotion, not long ago I was watching the highlights and I still got goosebumps when I saw that virtual match point ,it was magical and that inside out forehand bought federer back again .
    I just miss Federer but he will be back soon. Tennis is boring and probably federer has mentally prepared us about how life is going to be when he retires in these past 4 months.
    As for the french open,good that Stan and Murray are going through.Stan will play left handed spaniard ramos vanolas and he is sure the favourite. The best scenario is stan and Murray reaching semis so atleast one of then can have a go at Djoker.I hate Djokovic and it would be great if he loses.We need Murray or Stan for that to happen.A slight chance (even for murray or stan)but anything can happen ,but god please make Djokovic lose.

    1. SHUT UPPPPPP! Haha he was mega annoyed at that.

      Yeah Stan looks to be getting into form. He has so many ups and downs though, if he could tighten up his game a bit – volleys, overheads etc. then he would be hard to stop. Never moves his feet. But he has so much power, backhand is unreal.

  4. 2011 match v Novak one of best ever Fed performances! Far better than 2009 final! Just such a pity the final fizzled out after that missed dropper in 1st set….???
    Current RG very very dull! And not just because Fed/Rafa missing. Even Monf and Dolgo might hv been more fun than current dull lot! I am terrified Novack will win so rooting for Andy and Stan …..crowds are poor and quality is down! Many players look overplayed and weary. Tennis beginning to eat itself…

    1. Yeah weather, security, withdrawals have all conspired to make Roland Garros a bit of a shitfest so far. I’ve only enjoyed watching Stan and Gasquet so far.

      Ramos-Vinolas playing well too, everyone surprised he’s won some matches but he always has an upset in him.

  5. I watched the 2011 match a few times over the years, I must confess! Such good shot making in that match. And that final, one of the biggest heart breakers we had.

    Anyone but Djokovic for the trophy. How about Gasquet? Ha.

    1. Yeah since the little delicate Kei has gone, Richard would be great, though he has to forget he’s French.

    2. There’s only one problem: Djoko and Gasquet played each other last year – the score wasn’t pretty, and even more one-sided than their Wimbledon semi. Otherwise I’d love Richard to get to the final – and not to fold.

    3. Gasquet is playing better tennis this year though, impressive wins vs. Kyrgios and Special K. Hitting through the ball quite a bit. Dunno if he can withstand the top guys making him play one more ball though…

  6. First of all, happy 5th blog Birthday, Jonathan. Big congrats for becoming the GOAT GOAT-blog, you have done a great job. Thanks for the hard work! Hope you work even harder very soon πŸ˜‰

    Like many of you, 2011 against Novak for the great outfit, some unreal defence, shot-making (the flick BHDL winning the point after long rally!) and finger wagging in the end. Agreed with Jonathan, against Delpo in 2009 was sentimental one – I remember Delpo said he wanted Fed to win the trophy if not himself. Lovely scene at the net after the match.

    Great find of 2000 and 2001, interesting to see him being already something different and very special.

    1. Ah yes thanks, tbh I had forgotten but my blog is 5 years old today πŸ™‚ time flies huh. I’ve not done a Birthday post for the last couple of years. Not got a whole lot to add from the ones I did before other than thanks to everyone who reads here and adds to the comments / discussion.

      Never imagined I’d be blogging in 2016 tbh as I thought Fed might have given up by now, I always had 2015 in my head around 2012 time but he’s still knocking around πŸ˜‰

      1. Hopefully he’ll come back stronger than ever!!!

        Congrats for the blog birthday… Keep the Fed family together for many more years ???

  7. Rain, rain, rain…when Fed withdraws from a slam, this happens.
    The trophy for Gulbis, anyone? Never say never, right?

  8. Pardon my french, but this has been quite a shitty tournament, I say.
    Instead of playing tennis, the brave racquet wielders look like they are spending 90% of their time and effort stumbling on a potato field. How many service games were lost in the ND/RBA match? Not even womens’ matches reach these depths (usually…)
    (Have I ever mentioned that I hate clay, by the way?)

  9. Dayum! Warinka must be the master at peaking at a slam. I thought Fed and Djokovic were good, but these guys have such a high average all year round level that peaking isn’t much of a peak for them, if you get what I mean. Wawribka sure knows how to lose in first rounds of every master 1000 and then kill it at a Slam. Go Warinka. At this moment I’ll take anyone but Novak!

    1. Me too. I want the winner of Standy to be the one who has the best chance of beating Djokovic in the final – can’t see Thiem putting him out before then. (On the other hand, if by some miracle he does, then all bets are off!)

    2. Wawrinka’s out now. I am hoping (and praying) that Andy is in the zone throughout the final. If he plays the way he played against Stan and handles difficult conditions and phases of the match, the way he did in Rome, I’ll back him to win this in four sets.

  10. Well, here comes another Djerkorray final. (yawn)

    !Breaking news from planet Zork!
    Our zorkastronomers detected a sudden decrease in life activity on the distant planet Blue Marble during last day 3371 (the natives call it june 5). Apparently 6+ billion beings fell asleep at the same time due to what seemed like a sudden strike of a boredom virus.

    1. LOL. Yes, another one to give a miss to. Such a shame, when I actually have the opportunity to watch on TV πŸ™

      Go Garbine, I guess. Go Andy (just don’t expect me to watch you!)

    1. Oh yes… All of us are getting pretty desperate with the way things are shaping up for the Djoker. Four in a row. That’s something.

      Even at his dominant best(2004, 2006-2007), with Nadal across the net, I expected Roger to lose in Paris.

      1. Well, yes, but then Novak isn’t facing a dominant Nadal in the same way, is he?

      2. He isn’t. Those who disagree should watch the 2005 French Open semi-final between Roger and Nadal and also the 2006 final.

        In both the matches Roger was quick (excellent footwork), played incredible shots and yet, each and every ‘supposed’ winner came back. Djokovic beat Nadal last year and credit to him for that. But, he definitely wasn’t the phenom who was dominating clay courts for the last 10 years.

  11. Hey Guys,

    I read on ESPN that Fed is scheduled to return in Stuttgart. He is scheduled to practice on Sunday.
    Soooo looking forward to his return.

  12. Yes indeed, you are the greatest. Rest in peace, Ali!

    β€œInside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” – Muhammad Ali

  13. And today the good guys/gal won. Damn, Garbine hits a mean ball! All SW could do was go about her grotesque antics as usual.
    Later on, the doubles final was very entertaining. It was a great achievement for Feliciano, but Marc dissolved himself in tears by the end. Well done.
    And as for tomorrow, I’ll go biking.

      1. I can’t warm to them, either. OTOH, I have a soft spot for Feli Lopez, so was glad he and Marc won.

  14. Go andy!
    You can do it ,believe in yourself and please win it for your fans and Fedal fans.
    Desperation grows.?

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