Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Solid Federer Defeats Berdych To Make Semi Finals at Australian Open

A return to the Australian Open semi finals for the GOAT as he defeated Tomas Berdych 7-6(4), 6-2, 6-4 to make his 12th appearance in the last 4 in Melbourne. After winning the all important first set on a tie break the Swiss kept his foot on the gas to run away with the second set, recovered a break in the third and went onto take it 6-4 in 2 hours and 16 minutes.

It wasn't a vintage Federer performance as we saw vs. Goffin but an extremely solid one – 48 winners to 26 unforced errors and he won 24 of 29 (83%) net points to keep Berdych on the back foot throughout.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Australian Open QF 2016

Federer won the toss and elected to serve; he held to 15 to kick things off. Berdych levelled and in game 3 the Czech broke after a sloppy service game from Federer whose first serve went missing. Fortunately Roger hit straight back, taking advantage of a badly timed Berdych double fault and stepping up the aggression to restore parity at 2-2.

Roger then held for 3-2 before Berdych came through a marathon service game, fending off multiple deuces to level for 3-3. The Czech found himself in more trouble at 4-5, having to save a set point before holding. Both players exchanged holds to move into a tie break.

Into the breaker and Roger pulled off a sweet pickup on a shanked Berdych return on the all important first point. That small lead gave him the momentum required, moving up a mini break early, hitting a dreamy backhand up the line for 4-1 before finally taking it 7-4.

Set 2 saw Fed get off to a flyer, breaking instantly and consolidating for a 2-0 lead. The Swiss then held comfortably in his next two service games to lead 4-2 and secured the double break for 5-2. He served out the set to 15 to take it 6-2.

With Berdych looking lumbered and the hard work done set 3 looked like it would be a formality, of course though Roger went down an early break to fall 2-0 behind πŸ™‚ Like the first set he recovered it instantly and held to love for 2-2. At 4-4 Berdych slipped to 0-40 but saved all 3 break points, the third on a successful challenge to overturn a call. Three deuces later saw Fed have his fourth break point of the game which he converted to take a 5-4 lead. Serving it out was no issue and he did so to 15 to book his spot in the semi finals.

Match Stats

Stats Roger Federer Tomas Berdych
Aces 9 9
Double faults 3 5
1st serves in 60/87 (69 %) 60/111 (54 %)
1st serve points won 50/60 (83 %) 41/60 (68 %)
2nd serve points won 13/27 (48 %) 24/51 (47 %)
Fastest serve 206 KMH 217 KMH
Average 1st serve speed 187 KMH 200 KMH
Average 2nd serve speed 158 KMH 156 KMH
Net points won 24/29 (83 %) 9/25 (36 %)
Break points won 5/10 (50 %) 2/6 (33 %)
Receiving points won 46/111 (41 %) 24/87 (28 %)
Winners 48 27
Unforced errors 26 27
Total points won 109 89
Distance Covered (M) 1941.1 1963.2
Dist. Covered/Pt. (M) 9.8 9.9
SABR 0 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Berdych AO 2016

Another impressive display from Roger here, nothing like the Goffin match where he was floating over the court but tactically spot on and he won the vast majority of the big points to get it done. A few slight mishaps where he went lost serve at what could have been costly moments but Berdych wasn't playing well enough to take full advantage and he gave up the breaks when Roger applied some pressure.

For the most part though Roger's serve was again clutch, winning 83% behind it and finding the lines at just the right times. The forehand offered plenty too and allowed him to take control of the baseline despite Berdych's raw power. The backhand was a bit of a liability though in this one, aside from that sweet ripper in the tie break and there no real knee bend on most of them which ended up dumped in the net.

As for Berdych the first set seemed to drain him – he had played a 5 setter the round previous and by the end of things he wasn't coping well with some of the lower bouncing stuff. Overall he played reasonably well though to go up a break in 2 sets but wasn't able to play enough points on his terms. Once Roger had established the 1 set lead and set the tone for how the match would be played he was never in the running.

Predictions vs. Djokovic

Fed Djok AO

Next up is of course Djokovic who comfortably defeated a poor Nishikori in straight sets. Not the highest quality from either player but Kei has such a weak serve that he will always struggle against a premier returner like Djokovic regardless of how good or bad Novak plays if the points play out. I only saw a handful of the match but Kei looked pretty defeated out there early on and his record of late against the real elite isn't anything to write home about.

Into the semi final then and it's always tough to predict a match between these two, the H2H is 22-22 but it's Djokovic who has the edge both in Australia and in their recent slam meetings so he goes in as the big favourite. Roger hasn't taken a set off him on Plexicushion and he's lost their last 3 slam meetings (Wimbledon x 2 and USO), all finals. Many of you guys have been pushing for a semi final meeting between the two and that's finally happening so it will be interesting to see if that theory of it being a better time to play the Djoker has any substance to it.

From what I've seen so far Djokovic is operating like usual – looking a little laboured in some of his matches but still winning and ready to peak at just the right time. If that is the case then Roger will need to deliver a first rate performance to stand any sort of chance. Maybe Ljubicic and Fed have a gameplan ready to give a try which is surely worth a shot. Those 3 slams finals Roger lost have boiled down to just a few points here or there – so what can he do, if anything, to buck that trend and come out on the good side? Hopefully we find out πŸ™‚

I'm expecting a close match and Roger promised a SABR so I at least expect him to deliver on that promise. Live Chat will be on as usual. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


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. “Many of you guys have been pushing for a semi final meeting between the two and that’s finally happening so it will be interesting to see if that theory of it being a better time to play the Djoker has any substance to it.”

    Yes, but not on Plexicushion πŸ™ And especially not Plexi *and* a night match. Doubt he’ll win, but you never know, I suppose.

    I turned on Radio 5 sometime in the middle of the night to catch the half-hourly sports roundup, and Fed had been on break point with a chance to serve for the match until Berdy challenged and it sounded as though his ball was “in” by a millimetre or two (I still can’t get my head round a ball being in when 95% of it is out, but there you go – them’s the rules). So I was left there not knowing what was happening until half an hour later. I had visions of Roger being disturbed by the challenge, losing the advantage and then ending up in another tiebreak, but fortunately that wasn’t the case.

    Sounds like perhaps the sort of match Roger needed – not playing too brilliantly, but getting through in straights anyway.

    1. How do you judge a 150km/h ball and see if it’s less than 95% in? πŸ˜‰ Lines are the playing as well, so they count ^^

    2. Fed was actually GOATing on some challenges today so at least that’s there to comfort him before Djoker πŸ˜€

    3. KUDOS FED!! Semis of the years first slam! Bravo! He looked strong and very aggressive.

      Yeah – glad he’s got Nole in the semis instead of finals – and he’s done a fairly excellent job of getting through his draw quick, so counting on a fresher legs. But I agree about this being Noles best surface – and a huge ask. So if Fed losses I’ll still be hoping any future Nole-bot matches are semis in the final two slams this year.

      “one match at a time”. πŸ™‚

    4. Ah come on, fans wanted semi final as it would favour Fed. Now we are throwing in other qualifiers like can’t be at night, must be blue clay πŸ˜†

      I like the lines, they help me out plenty. How would you change the rules Alison? More than 50% of the ball over the line is out? Count me out of Line Judge Training School.

      1. Don’t forget I’m old-school, Jonathan – I’ve been watching tennis for a few more decades than you, so when a ball lands almost totally out, in my book it’s out πŸ™‚ I think that may have been Fed’s attitude too, at one stage.

      2. Ha. I knew J would come back all “wahhh” on the “qualifiers”! πŸ™‚

        My qualifier is that is if Fed doesn’t beat him here I’ll STILL wanna see a semi and not a final run in w Strikingly Boring And Maddeningly Frustrating Djoko-Bot Cyborg, (or SBAMDDB).

  2. Yeah, I woke up at 5 AM and something for a pee and saw on the smartphone that it was 2-0 in sets and 0-2 in set #3. “Nevermind, I tought, he’ll break back on the next game and it’ll be over when the alarm clock fires later.” He did, and it was.
    I don’t see RF beat ND in the SF. It’ll be close, but again no cigar. Someone please prove me wrong…

  3. Fab match i so hope he can pull off the win in the semis he is playing so well maybe Ljubi will come up with an axtraordinary game plan. Whatever the outcome it is wonderful that he is still playing like this Allez Roger

  4. BTW, when *was* the last time Roger and Novak actually met on Plexicushion? Is the statistic relevant? Must be pre-2012 or earlier, surely, and pre-new racquet, if that makes any difference.

    1. Last time they played at the AO was 2011. Frankly, Roger is playing better in this tournament than he did that one and Djokovic a tad worse. That means nothing, of course, but what I’ve seen from Fed he will have a serious shot if he plays the big points better than he did in the USO.

      1. AO 2011 was literally Djokovic’s absolute peak. No one was stopping him that tournament during that time.

    2. I think racquet does make a difference – serving better and backhand more solid. All adds up. Although Fed has not beaten Djoker in a slam with the new stick so who knows πŸ˜†

    3. And come to think of it, when was the Plexicushion introduced? I thought Roger had never won AO on the surface, but I could be wrong.

      1. The Plexicushion was introduced in ’08. Federer won AO in ’10, making him the only man to win AO titles on both Rebound Ace and Plexicushion.

  5. Well, I hope Fed appreciates the loyalty of his fan base because although I did not watch this match (too late), I was tossing and turning over/ and DREAMING about it all night–that he lost–and have a splitting head ache now as I go off to work. Imagine my relief when I checked the scores at 7 am! That said, here we go again. I, like many others, think a semi w Djoko is a better sitch for Fed–less pressure and somehow he doesn’t seem to press as hard. That is my ONE bit of advice to him: stop pressing so hard. Stop making ALL the moves–let Djoko make some mistakes, throw all sorts of sh*t at him–variety, movement, lateral running, slices, droppers, lobs, but do not press so hard! No matter what the result, we can take comfort in knowing that Fed is the LAST person Djoko wants to see on the other side of the net. Hoping Lyubi has given Fed some more killer instinct in GS big matches against Djoko.

    1. Novak is such an immense defender he puts the pressure on Roger to press more on the serve or a FH that causes the errors to string and for the nerves to escalate. Now that the title isn’t on the line directly it could aid him but I still feel it’s more or less the the court conditions that are more crucial when analysing this rivalry.

      1. Agree Alysha on ND defence and court conditions. If Feds can keep a high 1st serve %, perhaps get the opportunity to challenge the ND serve (which has looked wobbly in a few of his matches) and get off to a fast start, maybe that will give him more confidence/momentum through the match. After all, Nishi broke a couple of times; if his serve was better/more solid, could have been a very different match. A few ‘ifs’ and ‘maybe’s’, but the match has to be played and our champ is ALWAYS a threat, no matter who his opponent is.

  6. Despite waking up before dawn you were as sharp as Fed recapping the match very well, Jonathan. It was worth sneaking out from the bed to watch him in the dark! Again I’ll just enjoy the highlights now, avoid thinking about Fedole…even writing the word makes me want to cry.

  7. For the first 10 minutes Berdych was on top
    After that it was quite downhill all the way
    The winners from Fed’s racket wouldnt stop
    Obviously Fed didn’t want to take all day

    An efficient match, not as spectacular as the earlier one. Better an efficient win than a breathtaking loss now that we are in absolute business end of the tournament.

    Novak still doesn’t look convincing. Winning more based on sloppy play by the opponent. I fancy Fed’s chances, for sure.

      1. Love this poetry class
        Why can I ever miss
        Rogi stays on winning
        Murli carries on rhyming

        Forever please and thanks.

  8. I think it will come down to how good a serving day Roger is having. Djokovic will continue to play at a sustained level BUT Roger needs to disrupt his rhythm somehow. SABR him up bit and be postive on the BIG points. So many times Roger has come back against Djoker by playing some clutch tennis, breaking serve or winning a tie break but has played a lousy and casual next game and then lost all momentum. I just hope he continues to mix it up and has enough energy to last a few intense hours of tennis. BEL18VE!

  9. Not being overly critical, Roger did capitalised a little on Berdych’s long match on Sunday. It might have been a different story if Berdych took the first set. Kudos to Roger for getting break back twice and some really clutch serving. He played the big points well and have a very clear mind how he wants to break down Berdych’s game. I am glad Roger is in the semis again but very dissapointed with Nishikori. How did he beat Djoker at USD 2013 – is it a fluke match. IMHO Roger got to be calm, clear and play within himself, do not let Djoker’s acting of being tired get into his mind. His 2 losses at Wimbledon and USO probably due to pressure that he put himself trying to do too much. I am not trying very hard not to get my hopes up too high this Thursday, I will just try to enjoy the match. Who knows maybe, a small glimmer of hope Roger can surprise us all.

    1. Nishikori USO 2013 – I believe it was a bit of a fluke. If you remember, ND’s wife was due a fairly imminent birth and I don’t think ND was as intensely focused as he usually is. Just as Jonathan has already noted, Kei’s serve isn’t strong enough and against ND, he’s far too vulnerable to losing his serve, as was the case in this match. I didn’t think ND looked that great, but then he didn’t have to be. VERY disappointing from Kei, didn’t look invested at all.

    2. Dippy, Fed lost USO final because he was not trying to do much on BPs. He should be ultra offensive on return games specially on BPs even if he loses some of those. He’s going lose break chances by playing safe either. As Nambi also said, he creates those chances by playing aggressive but becomes hesitant on the crucial BPs. No point in trying the same thing again. Do everything on those points. Chip and charge, SABR, going for angles and lines, drop shots… do them on break points.

      1. Not really. Remember the one in set 3, Djokovic serving at breakpoint at 3-4, Roger had him on the run from deuce to ad, then Roger wrong footed Djokovic. He missed! That’s it. He did what he wanted to do, he just…made a huge execution mistake. It was a very easy cross court shot. Could you say he hesitated for that fraction of a second, in deciding whether to go cross court, or down the line, for a net approach? I doubt.

        That would’ve made it Roger serving for set 3. Didn’t happen.

      2. Yeah! Nerves… That’s where my point is. In the last few matches between these two, Fed seems to be nervous on all BP chances. That’s why I’m talking about a predetermined mindset – a BP is a chance for the returner, especially on 2nd serve. Just bang those 2nd balls on BP. Don’t think like “I should not let this one slip” in which case it will.

    3. USO 2014 was Nishi’s win.

      Yeah poor from Kei. But I don’t think it was a fluke, he fully deserved it – we saw today he can hurt Djokovic more than Djokovic can hurt him in point play. 3rd set he was on top but his serve is such a liability he’s having to concentrate on that so much. He can do damage to Djokovic with his groundsrokes but when he’s up against someone who gets free points on serve and returns out of this world then he’ll always struggle unless he’s 100% in the zone.

    1. Yeah that thought has crossed my mind twice now. Anyone else notice that? Don’t tell me that this the Ljubi value add!

      A factor to note: the court is said to be playing much faster this year (much more so than the US Open as well). That’s bound to help Fed. Wish it were Dubai/ Cinci fast though. That would be quite a sight!!

      1. Fed was doing this a lot on the practice courts as well. Could be trying to add to FH aggression. Also yes RLA is playing faster than I’ve seen it in the past but the night conditions still giving quite a high bounce. Not good for RF’s BH against Djoker.

      2. I too feel courts are playing very fast and the night session court speed too looks pretty decent.Although I have stated Djoker as the favourite but if federer doesn’t crumple under pressure ,he can surely win.

      3. The conditions will definitely be slower at night: will that reduce the height of the bounce? Jonathan probably knows the answer to this. πŸ™‚

      4. Yup it will bounce lower at night. It is cooler so air pressure inside the ball is lower and molecules inside it move slower.

        Whenever you play on a cold day – the ball doesn’t bounce as much.

  10. Hi guys, long time reader and posted on twitter to Jonathan a few times but this is my first post here.

    I just read this and felt the need to post it:

    Roger has not lost a match against a top-10 player not named Djokovic since the quarterfinals of the French Open (Stan Wawrinka) the past May.

    Clearly he has played great tennis in the past 9 months and we should revel in the fact he is clearly in the top 2 in the World 12 years after he became World No 1 for the first time. Incredible. If it wasn’t for Novak he would have 20+ slams now.

    PS. Great site Jonathan.

  11. What does Roger have to do to win? Simple: Play the big points well, he lost that USO on the break points, he had several GAMES worth of break points and barely converted a couple. That’s where it lies for me, as long as he can make it competitive enough to get them (ie not like the WTF ^^)

    As usual were going to see Djokovic peak for the match, regardless of the way he’s been playing now. Could be a good one! Go Rodg! πŸ™‚

    1. Weird match between Djoker and Kei. Still hasn’t gotten rhythm back after the Simon match it would seem. 2nd serve points won for Federer usually dictates who wins when it comes to Novak. Just got to stay aggressive and hope Djoker isn’t in the mood to break him when he’s up 40-15 lol.

  12. Definitely not the JesusFed performance we saw against Goffin but still the best match I feel Fed has played so far. Forehand was at full throttle today and was incredibly mentally engaged throughout the whole match. First set was very key, if Berdych had come out on top of that or held onto the break it could have become another match. Saw a lot about how day conditions would’ve helped Tomas but people forgetting just how dangerous Roger is himself when the courts are playing fast. Unlike Wimbledon and US Open, I don’t feel he is untouchable on the serve which may prove to be a good thing going into the match with Novak.

    Speaking of, I echo your thoughts about seeing how a semi final instead of a final will effect Roger mentally. His chances would be pretty decent if they played during the day but on night the plexicushion is a totally different court. Novak’s dominance in Melbourne can be attributed to the tournament playing semis and finals in the night IMO. With hindsight and reflection I don’t believe Federer peaked early in Wimbledon or US Open, more about a combination of Novakk’s unbelievable defence and Roger not being mentally strong enough when it mattered. I believe it’s raining on Thursday so would be interesting if the roof plays a role in the outcome. For Roger to get out of this one it will take one hell of a serving day + catching Novak on a bad day. Other than that, he has played a great tournament and it promises to be another fab season if he can continue at this level.

    I had an amazing time at Melbourne Park this year and got to see Roger for pretty much all of the days I went. If you guys are interested in a fan report would be glad to do one πŸ™‚

    1. Good points Alysha – *and* you were there, seeing it all first hand and playing at his best too. Love to see the fan report, even though it will make me very jealous. πŸ™‚

      1. The chances of it never happening (and the gap not extending), of course, are pretty small unless Roger retires immediately. I just don’t like the prospect of the Djokofans going crazy when Novak finally overtakes him.

    1. It’s an impressive stat from Djoker to turn around H2H defecits as he is doing. Not a huge deal though, Fed did the same to many of his counterparts that were in a slightly later generation.

    2. If the h2h bothered him he would have called it a day long time ago. That way he could keep a positive h2h forever. But no he keeps on going believing in himself while in the meanwhile well aware it will most likely also end the other way. Gotta admire him for his courage and love of the game.

  13. Thanks Jonathan for your excellent sum-up. Excellent result and I thought that both of them played well, especially Berdych. I thought that Berdych played very well – aggressive and put off lots of shots, which he normally misses; he returned Roger’s serve very well. I thought that Roger’s service return was even more impressive. Well played overall πŸ™‚ .
    Agree with your points on the next highly anticipated match. Also looking back to Joker’s earlier match with Simon, it almost worked but Simon sat back too much (but still with 60 UFEs). Had he shown a bit more aggression, Roger would be playing someone else. The point is that (as some have already made it) Roger does not need to go all out attacking. On this Plexi court, both will benefit reaching some more defensive shots. In his last match against Kei, Joker’s winner-UFE ratio is still minus (5). IMO, it will go down to the same aspects, Roger’s serve, FH, BP conversion and UFE count. If they are good, good, good and low (single figure per set), Roger will pull it off.

    1. Yeah Berdych did hit some big winners and serves, whenever it got athletic though he wasn’t keeping up.

      I dunno about Fed not going all out attack. He certainly has to defend well as he can’t stop djokovic from playing somewhat offensive but he can’t get into some attritional battle. Nadal can’t beat Djokovic at that and it’s his trademark.

  14. A great win for the maestro and beating a quality player like berdych in straight sets is truly commendable.
    Talking about Fed-Djoker semifinal,it will be exciting and to me it is Djoker 75-25.Fed needs to take the first set otherwise it will be impossible so he will have to adjust to night conditions pretty fast and give Djoker a tough fight from the start.
    I think it is better for sure that it is a semi rather than the final,less hype and less pressure .Djoker looks vulnerable but he will rise up to the occasion.But still there is always a glimmer of hope and there is a minor chance for Federer.
    Hope Animal Boris and Novack lose!

      1. I remember last time when they played round Robin wtf 2015 I gave Fed 20% chance and he won in straight sets and now I think fed has 25 % chance so if he plays well he can surely trouble Djoker and if it is his day he can win .

  15. Firstly, I repeat the stats which I gave in draw post:
    All finals: Fed trails 6/11
    All Semi Finals: Fed leads 11/10
    All other matches(QF or less): Fed leads 5/1

    Last 5 finals: Fed trails 1/4 (all in 2015)
    Last 5 semi finals: Fed leads 4/1 (2014 Shanghai to 2012 wimby)

    Pressure of a GS championship match is, I guess, a completely different thing. I think all of us agree that Fed lost the USO final because he was way too nervous in crucial moments. He came with the correct gameplan and executed it pretty well except on BIG points. BP conversion depends heavily on nerves. But there will be no “so near yet so far” feeling in the SF. Nerves should be much more relaxed. Does it give a glimmer of hope? May be, but that’s all, not much.

    What should be his gameplan? Jonathan didn’t point out anything specific. It will be interesting what Lijubicic puts in. I think the most dominating reason behind hiring him is THIS match. He has his work cut out now.

    I disagree with many of you suggesting a relaxed play, with variety and not trying too much etc. My gut feeling is to just go for the kill – an all out attack. That’s the only possible way to put the pressure back. I am not telling to pull the trigger early, but Fed should not miss the first chance of firing. And what about an ultra-offensive strategy on break points? This may backfire, because Fed may miss some of them. But gotta believe it will work. We have seen enough of this reluctant play in BP. This will release the tension and transfer it to the man on the other side, as HE will know that Fed’s gonna attack me on BP. I know it’s a lot easier said than done but it’s pretty simple and predetermined stance which may pay off.

    Having said all these, my head says Fed would end up being the loser. But the disobedient heart never listens to that!

    1. One stat you missed out is Grand Slam Semi Finals – Djoker actually leads that one. So they are a bit selective πŸ˜€

      Fed lost the USO final because he couldn’t break serve and didn’t return well enough. Nerves who knows.

      Most people are pushing for this up the middle play to Djoker because it was said on Eurosport and is now the go to play to beat Novak. I dunno if it is – nobody has really executed that and won, they came close like Simon but did not got over the line. But Fed is not that sort of player who makes you miss by running a lot. No way he comes out on top in a war of attrition.

      For me the goal for Fed has to be to prevent Djokovic getting any rhythm – so do whatever it takes that happen – first serve + forehand 1 2 punch has to fire, 2nd serve return has to be aggressive. Serve above 70% then it can be a close match.

      1. Yeah! GS SFs, OK..
        GS meetings
        Finals : Wimby – 0/2, USO – 1/1 overall Fed trails 1/3
        Semifinals: AO – 0/2, RG – 1/1, Wimby – 1/0, USO – 2/2 Overall Fed trails 4/5

        Semis still better… not at AO though, where, as u said Fed is yet to win a set.
        I thought he returned particularly well in USO final creating 23 BPs. But choked on them.

        [the goal for Fed has to be to prevent Djokovic getting any rhythm – so do whatever it takes that happen – first serve + forehand 1 2 punch has to fire, 2nd serve return has to be aggressive. Serve above 70% then it can be a close match.]
        I absolutely agree with u.

    2. Ankur, agree totally with you on “Having said all these, my head says Fed would end up being the loser. But the disobedient heart never listens to that!”

      That old tussle between head and heart whenever Fed plays Novak, and the poor stomach gets caught between them and gets tied up in knots!!!

    3. I appreciate the statistical discussion- as someone in finance its a fun thing to look at.

      But first of all, we are all federer fans. So when we talk about him losing his nerve in the US Open final, we’re going to neglect the fact that Djokovic was ahead at all points during that match. When we discuss how he should have won set three, we ignore how easily he got overwhelmed in set four. I don’t say this to discredit Roger, because the match truly was CLOSE, chances here and there deciding the outcome. But we always forget that Djokovic was at no point in danger of defeat. He was never down, and ended up winning in four sets (two of which weren’t worrying for him) without ever playing at his best. On a court that suited Roger.

      At Wimbledon, fed stayed with him for two sets. He choked away the Tb in set 1, but then could easily have lost the second. Whatever those two sets, he meekly got overwhelmed in 3 and 4. Like Murray makes a habit of doing in Aussie finals.

      On, plexicushion, fed has never taken a set off Djokovic. You can argue about conditions, about his game, about djokovic’s, but in all cases, it’s by out defending federer that Djokovic won. For my two cents, in 2011 fed played pretty damn well. He certainly put up a fight, and his destruction of wawrinka the round before was close to perfection.

      Right here, right now, though, I think only conditions determine who wins between these two. And you would be hard pressed to find better conditions for Djokovic if you tried. Semi, final, day, night, Djokovic may well be the best ever on this type of court (in fact, I find it difficult to disprove that he is), and should he play his best, I can’t see fed hitting through him well enough. We need to hope for a drop in his level, not just the elusive “fed plays literally the perfect game” that we all like to discuss and debate.

      For me, whatever tactics, Djokovic is the determiner of the winner in this match. The court simply suits his defence too well.

  16. I said before the tournament that quarters would be a good and semis a great result so I’m happy with progress to date and have enjoyed watching despite the hour and now we just need the miracle to get to the final.

    He’s so much the underdog here with no external expectations and as everyone has said its not a championship match so hopefully he can play freely especially on crucial points.

    I think Djoks poor performance to date is almost part for the course – and irrelevant.Doing just enough to win

    Despite that my prediction is he will beat Djok and could then lose the final and I whilst I’d love him to get 18 I wouldn’t be too distraught at that outcome. I agree with Emily’s advice throw everything at him to disrupt his rhythm get him doubting himself and let the UE’s flow (from Djokovic that is)

    1. It will be interesting to see how things play out. Whether Fed brings something different to the party. Not easy to think tactics when the pressure / adrenaline is pumping, always go back to what you know best…

  17. Everyone’s made excellent points, so not much to add. I’ve been comforted by the much better BP conversion rate throughout this tournament, close to 50% (and today also, against a very strong server). Apart from that one dodgy service game which led to the tiebreak, I thought RF was excellent throughout, and he did play that tiebreak very well. If he *can* be more aggressive (but also patient) on those big points, he can certainly give ND a good run for his money. High 1st serve % maybe even give him an edge. If he could get ND on the back foot…who knows? Whatever happens, he has once again given us some wonderful matches and magical Federer moments. Love you Feds, and allez πŸ™‚

    1. Totally Agree Ankur on that Breakpoints Play..Its not like that he winning many u playing safe…If he can create BP choice by being aggressive then it may not be bad choice to stay aggressive on them even if he looses few…

      As Most of pointed out, First Serve is something he really needed…if that’s give him some room. he could do better….Not many free points on server on both SW and USO last year..

      I wish i can stay with out expectations, but its impossible not to fancy his chances once he reaches later stages in Tourney…

      Let us hope, its going to be good one…Cheers..

  18. Pity they decided to play the semis and final at night now. It will always favor players like Djoker. My head says Djoker to win unless someone puts gluten in his morning smoothie.
    But, the heart says our man in four.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching this match. It had some vintage Fed and lots of drama. Not much to add here as everyone is so great at commenting. I don’t know if I’ll stay up to watch. Knowing me, I’ll be lying in bed awake knowing the match has started and up I get!

    Waiting for a fan story, Alysha! Thanks for your Fed devotion, Jonathan!!!

  19. And here we are again. Another showdown between these two. Only the semis, but almost feels like the final. Well, all we can really hope for is that he can play his best and doesn’t get uptight. Didn’t get to see the Berdych math live, but I saw an edited recording, and Roger looked very solid. I didn’t really expect him to win in straight sets, but it’s important that he did to stand a chance in the semi. He has a little bit more time than Djkokovic to recuperate for the match, so hopefully he’ll be fresh. Though Djoko is clearly the favourite no matter what, so no point getting carried away. Hopefully he can at least get a set or two, then I’ll take anything else as a bonus.

  20. I just watched the highlights and I am impressed. Without peaking too early (as in SF of Wimby 2015–a glorious, glorious display of magic) our boy looked very crisp throughout: groundies seem to be especially zingy, movement excellent, hands awesome. Is there ONE person in the tennis world picking him to win in the SF? Maybe that lack of pressure will help him. IF he manages to win the SF then he needs to beware of let-down in final. But that is getting ahead of ourselves. I thought his draw was very tough so I am pleased that he made it to SF. Allez!

    1. ps: Rain predicted for Thurs night–closed roof to help Fed? I guess there is no pt in conjecture; what will be will be. Still it is tough to come soooo close to 18 time and again and see it slip away….Then again, if he keeps getting all these chances, probability says that he will win one more, and soon.

      1. Current weather prediction: “Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/perfect4/public_html/wp-content/themes/perfect/framework/widgets/widget-weather.php on line 113” Huh? Does something need a bit of tweeking, Jon?

        Can’t see a closed roof being of any more benefit to Fed than to Djoker.

  21. [Roger hasn’t taken a set off him on Plexicushion]

    And he has to do it three times to get the win.

    *I hate my life*

  22. The hardest for us, is if he actually gets by Novak and loses in the finals… Oh well, gotta get passed Novak first πŸ˜›

      1. Let’s hope that will happen, i know for sure I’m gonna be pissing my pants if he makes the final x’D

  23. Great read folks, not much to add. Needs 70% 1st serve as Jonathan has already stated, attack 2nd serve, put away the volleys on the right approach. Remember Novak gets to everything, unlike Berdy, cut out those early errors particularly on the BH as 1st set absolutely crucial. A casual loss of serve as today, won’t be handed back by Novak….
    Tough ask, at night, slow conditions, prob under roof( all good for ND) but unlike USO, barely anyone expects him to win so all pressure on “Novack”.. Let’s see! Ps I love the grunting… Sexy!! ??

  24. And just to say, part of me is so totally gobsmacked that he is already following up his good form of last yr.. Fantastic omen for rest of yr I hope! Allez!!

    1. Hard to say. Fed made semis at AO in 2013 but we all know how that season turned out…His scheduling is super weird this year. I know he will probably play on clay before RG but adding Rotterdam and another grass tournament to an Olympic year seems like madness.

  25. Okay, okay. We have come to the nerve freezing moment when we start asking ourselves if the Real Roger Federer Wil show up against Novak Djokovic.
    So many game plans from everyone πŸ™‚ . D situation is a bit grim and Fed fans r satisfied he has come this far and a loss is digestible.
    Looking at the highlights (Djokovic/Nishikori) again, I see something. The Djoker naturally expects his opponents to go crosscourt as a defensive shot once he goes offensive and hence he is always ready in position to trade in that extra ball that gets the point. I think Fed in practice should try for more down the line balls (Nishikori got Djoker make errors on that) and mix up the pace: slow, slow, very quick, very quick, very quick, slow to get Djokovic out of balance.
    It’s not enough just slowing the pace and putting the ball in the middle for Djoker to either play it out in error or catch a sweet angle to make a point. If Fed should go with Gilles Simon strategy, he should be ready to hit the ball deep and not set it up for Djoker to make a sweet point.
    A lot of people haven’t said it, but has any one thought Djokovic probably brought his A game against Nishikori and we therefore can say he has peaked early. Some may argue that he only peaks in finals, yeah right , he is a god.#rubbish
    So, let me drop my own opinion, which of course is my opinion. No matter how good Djokovic is, I will always go a leg, an arm and a limb for Roger Federer to win even though the odds r in our favor . And I say Roger takes this in 3 straight tie breaks.
    And I won’t concede defeat till it is staring right at me in the face πŸ˜‰
    See you all after the match for more discussions.

    1. Utch–I like your ‘tude. I also take issue with this godlike, invulnerable status we tend to invest Djoko with. He MUST have nerves and insecurities too.

    2. I’d love that scenario to pan out… πŸ˜€

      Unfortunately, Djokovic didn’t peak against Nishi, was a pretty average match from him and downright terrible from Kei… Will see what happens, but Novak has been doing what he need to win.

    3. I don’t think Fed needs to change anything tactically in his game to beat Novak, they have met 45 (!) times now. Really all about if he’s mentally strong enough to overcome Djoker’s defensive pressure.

    4. Djokovic certainly flawed. Nerves, insecurities, every human has them. Make no mistake, he isn’t perfect. But that’s what is so god damn scary about him for me. He has nerves, but they’re better than the rest. He has insecurities, and weaknesses, but not as many. You don’t have to be invincible. Just invincible enough. What I’m seeing is a distinctly imperfect man who wins. Just wins, wins, and wins. In many ways I’d rather it be through perfection; at least there’s less to complain about, less of the “,oh well, he should have lost here, so he didn’t deserve it” talk people get fond of.

      He’s just very very lucky. As was fed in his great years. Haas, delpo FO2009. Roddick wimby 2009. Davydenko AO2010. Benneteau wimby 2012. Andreev US 2008. No one keeps winning without getting the rub of the green. It’s the players who somehow win despite imperfections that are truly great. So on my side, what can I say? Invincible? No. But more admirable because of that.

      1. Looks like Djoko is the tougher warrior. So no wonder he’s the favorite. But I have the feeling that Roger has worked on it – getting tougher, without losing his joy and laughter. He allows himself a little more grunting, a little more exclaiming, whereas Novak seems to control his temper most of the time. We’ll see. Exciting it is.

  26. Both Federer and Berdych played pretty well, IMO. The hot conditions caused the ball to fly so errors were inevitable. Federer was mentally very tough and stayed very aggressive, he controlled the court with his variety and never let Berdych settle into a rhythm, and he attacked the net repeatedly, never backing down. When his groundstrokes failed, the serve was always there.

    Federer has everything he needs to beat Djokovic, who has not looked as sharp as in years past. (Interestingly, at AO 2011 it was Federer who had played a five-setter against Simon and Djokovic who had made it to the semis with the loss of only one set; this year the situation is reversed). If Federer wins on Thursday, people will say that having less pressure in the semis helped him play better, but I really don’t know: given how close he’s been the last few times, things have to fall his way at some point.

    He must accept that playing aggressively will bring a few more errors, and continue taking it to Djokovic. If he does, in the end the Serb’s defense will break down in the crucial moments of the match. What was encouraging about the Berdych match was that he was spraying errors pretty regularly, but never backed down.

    And if he beats Djokovic, there’s still one more match to go, and he has to bring his A game on the final Sunday. But one match at a time. Go Roger!

  27. Let’s all agree not to make ourselves sick over this match! My nerves cannot deal…in a way it’s good that it is at 3.30 am EST. I cannot watch.

  28. Best of luck Roger!! Have faith guys… It’s hard but u will never know.. There’s always a silver lining..right?? πŸ™‚

    keep it up Rog!! πŸ™‚

  29. The measure of how well Roger is playing is his backhand – his weakest shot. If that holds up – which it must if he is to have any chance – then the rest of his game will be there.

    1. I think the serve dictates Fed’s chances. Once that flows, most aspects of his game does as well, especially on the return. We already know Djoker is going to target Roger’s BH the entire match so if he can defend on that wing and can run around and get the FH working, got a great chance.

  30. Not so sure that being an SF is an advantage – keep thinking of USO 10 & 11. On the other hand there’s quite a bit of new history between them since then, so maybe it’s true that the fact of not being a final will allow him to play more freely.

    What was it he did so effectively at WTF round robin? (Though I remember – & agree with – Sid’s comment that maybe he gave too much away by winning that – so maybe we shouldn’t say πŸ˜‰ .)

    Ljubi is supposed to be well- regarded as a tactician, and of course he’s played on the surface himself; it will be interesting to see if he is able to present some ideas in a way that Fed can take on.

    1. Rog played greWA in the WTF match, but I always felt that win was more an issue of how poor Nole played than in other matches Fed won against him last year – like Ciny and Dubai where Novak came ready and juts got outplayed by the Genius.

      But Novak’s ability to work himself out of cobwebs through earlier rounds and come to a final in his machine-boring and insanely-impenetrable mental and physical peak is pretty well established by now. Doesn’t happen every time, but more often than not he’s ready by the end. And I think that was what we saw at the WTFs.

  31. In non Fed/Djoko news, Raonic has made the final four in Melbourne for the first time. Does he have enough to overcome the hapless Scot and make his first major final? Would be interesting to see a Federer-Raonic final–esp. since Raonic just won their last encounter. Federer surely wants to test himself against the rising generation on the big stages and this would be a wonderful opportunity to do so–if both players can win their semifinals.

    1. I think that Raonic has pretty good chance to win it all … he looks mentally strong now, and after he was able to beat Roger in Brisbane, he can believe that he can beat players from top 4 .. and his h2h against Murray is 3-3, so his chances are not bad in semifinal .. a then in final whatever can happen .. if I should bet my money on AO winner, I would pick Raonic as best risk/reward ratio πŸ™‚

  32. Raonic is not just another pretty face. He’s very determined to get to the top one day. Improving his weaknesses…return of serve, movement, bh. BUT he’s no Roger.

  33. Thanks, Kyle. From your keyboard to gawd’s ears. And for sure RF has the best feet in the history of tennis. Let’s hope the stars align. Djoko can’t ALWAYs have the good luck, right? In any case, I will sleep through it. Another reason the AO is not always on my radar–the time diff just makes it all seem so remote.

  34. Hey guys, D-Day-Part 1 tomorrow. Believe in Roger. He will win. After the loss to Seppi, you can see he wants this soooo bad. Look at his reactions during Berdy’s match.

    And yes…. I have said it before and it will happen…. this is the beginning of the end of Novak (“Novak 2015” will fall). Maybe not right away, but it wil happen. Players will and are beginning to figure him out. Luck and mental toughness (next to being a damn good player) will wear out. It cannot help you all the time.

    Just a note to Roger…. if you defeat Novak… please try to do that as fast as possible without using a lot of energy. I don’t want Muzza or Raonic to benefit in the final from you being too tired πŸ™‚

    I cannot watch the match, but I will follow live scores. I will be so stressed, hope I can get my work done πŸ™‚

    Go Goat πŸ™‚ Always believing in you, no matter what πŸ™‚

    1. It is still a HUGE ask IMO – but what would be so good about Roger winning this match: not only will his legs be fresher than if it was a final, he will – if he wins – get a full extra (3rd) day of rest than his opponent in the final.

      So I don’t think he has to worry about coming to the final tired. I think he just has to worry about getting there.

    2. Katyani–agreed on the pendulum shift and Novak. Every dog has its day. The Wheel of Fortune, probability, averages. Good points. And now I get off my computer. The next time I check it this hell will be over! (Actually, I always get a thrill out of RF at the late stages of any tourney but it IS anxiety central!) If RF doesn’t make it I won’t bother even following the finals.

  35. Hey Jon, just a quick note to you. You mentioned on your TL (which is really funny by the way πŸ™‚ ) that in the QF Roger had a few challenges right. I saw a bit of the repeat of that match and…. after a while I was like…. “wait a minute…. did Roger got ANOTHER challenge right?? What the hell?? What is happening??” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Seriously… he is always suprising us πŸ™‚

  36. This comment is going to be riddled with contradictions. So please forgive me. I am going to ramble.

    The most clichΓ©d statement made these days is -Head says Djokovic and heart says Roger.
    I am about to disabuse people of the notion that the heart wins. No it does not. No way it does. Fed winning this match is almost impossible. I added the caveat “almost” because you never know what Fed could come up with.

    Historically, the surface at AO favors Djoker. So, I am going out on a limb and saying that Djoker is going to win easily. Djoker has Fed’s number on such slow courts (IW is an example). People who say that their heart is with Fed are deluding themselves. They are hallucinating. Any hopes of Fed winning should be eliminated from the heart and the brain. It is not happening.

    Yet. Fed’s serve has been outstanding. He was won 84% if his 1st serves and 44.9 % of return points as against Djoker’s 75% and 43.5% respectively. He has returned better than the djoker despite facing a few good servers.

    Yes the heart and the head story is clichΓ©d. I just criticized it. But, I am still going with my heart. I am going with TMF aka The Mighty Federer.

    My prediction- Federer in straight sets πŸ™‚

    1. Good one, ani_sudar! I am just pleased that he made it this far. When i saw the draw I was crestfallen–so many mine fields. But of course I want this win so badly. I feel that Djoko cannot have all the luck on his side all the time; something has got to give, and soon!

  37. Another 90 odd minutes to go
    It is crunch time now for our Fed
    And this time he is gonna show
    Who’ll be up in the head-to-head

    I think that Fed should take this match not as a semi-final of a Grand Slam or even think of winning the Aus Open. It has to be dealt with more on a personal level. A match that will determine who goes ahead in the H2H. If Fed forgets about the fact that this is a Grand Slam semi, and makes the H2H as his goal, he will surely win, as he will not be subconsciously hampered by the recent GS record against Novak.

    1. What a poor start by Roger.. Could not have asked for a worst start! That said if there was any pressure it should be over, so Roger should start to swing.. come on!

    1. Roger late on practically every shot, playing bad. Doesn’t hit over the bh, fh awohl… Combined to Novak playing some very good tennis…

  38. Unbelievable… Roger has no answers to this onslaught by Djokovic… Reminiscent of the 2008 french open final πŸ™

  39. Lol, this jst may b the shortest match of the tournament if Fed doesn’t take at least a set.
    He won’t live this down.

    1. True… I felt things couldn’t have gotten worse than a respectable straight sets loss. Something on the lines of 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. This wasn’t expected and now I am hoping for Roger to, at the very least, hold his own serve in the final set ..

      1. It could be worse off only if they had a small mini screen in the corner of the TV forcing me to watch Boris the entire time.

        I would be in a mental hospital before the courier interview.

  40. Never in the last 10 years been more proud to be a Roger Federer fan than during this third set. No matter what happens tonight from here on out doesn’t matter. Seeing the fight has brought tears to my eyes

    1. Agree, Fighterer is back. Good to see he’s not like most of us (me included) who would have lost meekly in the third, without trying ^^

      1. Agree also. This was jaw-dropping. Novak also. But the strength of winning 3. set nonetheless and with all this brilliance is enough. ROGER, WOW!

  41. Well, after receiving one of the worst pastings of his Grand Slam career during the first two sets, Federer has won his first-ever set against a red-hot Djokovic on blue Plexicushion, after losing 8 consecutive since 2008. Incredible fight!

    The roof will close and the match will continue indoors, which will hopefully favor Federer. Goooooooo Roger!

  42. Foda-se, caralho, perdemos outra vez contra aquele cabrΓ£o de merda! Estou farto daquele filho-da-puta, orc comedor de bosta de cΓ£o, bicho de Cro-Magnon. Porra, que isto jΓ‘ mete nojo!

    Sorry, way too much accumulated steam. I can’t stand this anymore. It’s way too bad.

    1. Language, Rui πŸ™‚ ! I don’t speak Portuguese, but the meaning’s clear enough.

      Considering that partway through the first set I was thinking Roger might only total 6 games, I can’t say I’m hugely disappointed, but …. GAAAAAAAGGGGHHH!

  43. Terrible, terrible start. Glad he avoided complete humiliation and fought for that 3rd set. Absolutely gutted overall. One to erase from the memory. Glad it was SF and Rog could get off the court quickly. πŸ™ Laver looked v disappointed. We all are.

    1. Robbed Fed the momentum big time. Would’ve been nice to see him give Novak a taste of his own medicine coming back from 2 sets down after those US open semis though

  44. Nice fight roger
    Honestly,if I would have been at roger’s place I would have choked the third set away to end the agony but roger fought and that is one of the best moments I felt as a fan.Fed could have broken Novack in the fourth set opening game ,the rain could have come after the first set ,the net cord that set up the break point could never have happened,but could have,would have never happens in tennis and we have gotten used to this kind of beating by Novack .
    Feel a little dissapointed but i am proud of the fight roger put and hope he remains healthy and plays well on the fast courts of Rotterdam and dubai.

  45. Feeling some sort of strange relief. But, again, dang.
    The best thing about this is that next Sunday morning I’ll do something much healthier than staying in front of the TV watching two trolls throwing rocks at each other. Anyone fancy a mountain bike ride?…

  46. F*** you net cord at 30-30 3-4 1-2. What a shitty way to rob someone of a wonderful fightback. And f*** you Novak for cheering that net cord.

    If Kim goes into labour on Saturday evening and makes Murray forfeit the match….

    1. Exactly that is the only thing pissing me off,the fire in Federer’s eyes after that magnificent point to make 30 all was wondeRFul to see ,he was fighting to stay and then the f****** net cord ruined everything.
      When you have cloudy conditions,why the hell keep the roof open ,it should have been closed from the start,it surely disrupted Fed’s rhythm but I guess the gods didn’t want fed to win.
      I will never be tired of saying that Fed surely will prevail one day but sadly the age is not on our side.

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