Speedy Federer Brushes Aside Tiafoe in Basel Opener
Roger Federer’s campaign for an 8th title in Basel is off to a flying start as he cruised past Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 in 61 minutes. It was Roger’s first match at the Swiss Indoors since the final in 2015 but it looked as though he’d never been away as he won all 21 points behind his first serve and didn’t face a single break point en route to victory.
His next match will be on Thursday against Benoit Paire who overcame Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6(4). The Swiss leads the head to head 4-0 with his most recent victory coming at this years Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where Federer won 6-1, 6-3.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and after reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert last night, elected to receive. The Swiss won the opening point and then a lucky net cord on a retun gave him 0-30. That was soon 15-40 and although Tiafoe saved two break points he couldn’t stave off the third as Roger broke for 1-0.
A hold to 30, despite landing zero first serves put the Swiss up 2-0 and Tiafoe was now on the ropes. In game three Roger hit a dream of a stop volley off his shoelaces, peRFect technique to setup 15-30 and he broke again by successfully challenging a stretch volley that landed on the line.
Tiafoe then had to hold off a third break point at 0-4 and although he finally got on the board Roger held to love for 5-1 and broke for the third time in convincing style to take the opener 6-1.
With the American sweating like he’d just played 5 sets in the midday sun he needed a better start to the second set and he was able to keep parity early with some smart body serving. At 2-3, Tiafoe showed some character by saving break point in a lengthy game but after Roger held quickly for 4-3 he piled on the pressure to break for 5-3 and served it out to 15 to move into the second round.
|Roger Federer||Frances Tiafoe|
|1st Serve||53% (21/40)||56% (34/61)|
|1st Serve Points Won||100% (21/21)||62% (21/34)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||58% (11/19)||37% (10/27)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||60% (6/10)|
|Service Games Played||8||8|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||38% (13/34)||0% (0/21)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||63% (17/27)||42% (8/19)|
|Break Points Converted||40% (4/10)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||8||8|
|Net Points Won||73% (8/11)||50% (2/4)|
|Service Points Won||80% (32/40)||51% (31/61)|
|Return Points Won||49% (30/61)||20% (8/40)|
|Return Points Won||61% (62/101)||39% (39/101)|
Thoughts on the Match
So no repeat of the US Open drama here as a fit and free flowing Roger dismantled Tiafoe from the word go. The Swiss got off to the peRFect start with a break in the opening game and considering he’s the best front runner of all time it was one way traffic after that.
That one game cushion let him take big cuts at the ball so it was either winner or error which gave Tiafoe no energy or rthythm to feed off. Tiafoe is the kind of guy who needs to hit a few forehands to get himself nicely into points but Roger was just relentless with his aggression and picked off the American’s weaker backhand wing to win 62 points to 39. A real mauling and my advice is scroll back up and just enjoy the highlights. Check that stomp stop volley in game three. I tweeted after the point, can anyone else in the top 50 play that shot? Serious question!
Other than that in terms of the stats, they all make decent reading, the winners to unforced errors count are miles apart and despite only landing 53% of first serves, he made them all count, winning 21 of 21 points behind it. A clean kill and what better way to spend an otherwise dull Tuesday evening watching Fed play some timeless tennis 🙂
Predictions vs. Paire
Next up is Paire who defeated Steve Johnson in straight sets. That’s a good win for him as he was 2-4 down in the second set but hit back to take it in a tiebreaker. I had a feeling Paire would come through and when his game clicks he can be a handful but he’s a.) French b.) a loose cannon and c.) playing Federer at his hometown tournament so I can’t see too many problems for Roger here given how he played tonight.
It’s unlikely he will play as well as he did against Tiafoe of course but if he serves well and hits his spots I think he’ll come through in straight sets. After all, he won comfortably in Dubai against Paire despite not being in the greatest form losing to Donskoy in the next round.
What did you guys think of tonight’s performance? And your predictions against Paire? Let me know in the comments.
Jonathan, you have made a typo error at the top. The score was 6-1, 6-3, not 6-1,6-1.
Oh Goodness how embarrassing! Suddenly a host of fans showed up, quite invisible until I tried my luck…
Well,I shouldn’t have doubted him.The same wonderful tennis as in the Shanghai final.An absolute masterclass,but
impressed by Tiafoes mature on court demeanour.None of the silly racket smashes and dejected body language
others indulge in.
A very solid start for Fed.
Good point about Tiafoe, my post is just all Fed plaudits haha. But seems like he has his head screwed on in terms of trying to improve and keep his feet on the ground from what we see on the court. No tanking or stupid behaviour. Needs to sort backhand out a bit and he’ll probably come on leaps and bounds in next 2 years.
I also like the fact he has his own sort of technique. Without Fed tennis is very robotic unfortunately in terms of what comes through. Look at Zverev, great player but he’s not good to watch at all.
Tiafoe’s forehand swing is indeed a very personal mark. I think it has a weird path but if it works for him, the better. It looks best suited for flat hit but not so much for spin. But what do I know, barely a beginner, ha, ha! As for Fed… well, I won’t add a thing. Really, when that god mode is on, what is there left to say?…
His backhand is the flat shot, forehand is spinny. A bit like Jack Sock’s in a way.
Wow Jonathan you are quick! Good match from THE man. Love watching him play when there is not much doubt about the outcome. It must be nerve wracking playing at home knowing everyone expects you to win.
I guess he’s used to it, 10 finals or whatever now. Took him a while to finally win but since then it has been a good hunting ground.
Yes,there is a robotic quality about so many players today.As far as the so called New Gen players I must say I prefer
Theim,mainly because he seems such a nice young man,can you think of any other player who thanks the ball boys
for handing him the towel!
Yeah Thiem seems a decent guy. Again not a huge fan of his game overall but his backhand dtl is pretty good.
Good match. Yes, I am impressed with Tiafoe, no nonsense and trying his best (which is often good) with every shot. He’s only 19. Was slightly worried at the start when the Fed service didn’t work, but that soon got sorted out.
I bought TennisTV this morning and it works perfectly (so far) on my PC. Cost just under £90 for the year, worth every penny to watch Fed’s matches. Thanks for the recommendations on a previous post about watching tennis on-line, although I couldn’t find it again.
Super fast posting today again, thanks.
Ah yes its buried a bit now, not got a category for those sorts of posts. TennisTV is good. waiting to see what Amazon’s offer is like when it launches…
I watched the match on TennisTV as well and Roger was on Jesus Fed mode… amazing!!!
Super fast match, super fast post! Peak condition makes such a difference. USO seems an age away. Please can he keep this all the way to the trophy in London!
Saw yr tweet Re that stop volley and my response is no one!
I like Frances but agree with Petch! BH needs work as does serve placement. Fed read it pretty easily.
Talking of WTFs, no one seems to want to take that 8th spot, ??? Maybe Delpo will make a late run!
Benoit clearly playing better at the mo but still take Fed in straights. Allez!
Well, not PCB, please!
Yeah I don’t think anyone else has the technique or poise to play that shot like he did. Most will try half volley it. But Fed just angled the racquet so good.
As for your question about the volley, Stan has some great hands on drop volleys, he’s the one in my mind who comes “close”. Other than that…
But Stan? He has hands like bricks when it comes to volleys most of the time. I know he’s come up with some decent ones on the highlight reels but he’s never in control of the shot from what I see. Better at the half volleys than taking it clean out the air. That one Fed played, I think Stan lets that bounce and tries to massage it over the net.
Dunno, agree that touch is not his strong point, but on dipping passing shots I feel like he knows what he’s doing…
Agree about the half volley though!
I thought Tiafoe might get a shock – having said at the USO that he pushed Roger all the way – when he encountered him fully fit …
Yeah it was never in doubt this one.
Good match for Roger. Overall played very well. C’mon!
Thanks you Jonathan for the match review. Could not watch the game so it was great to have the Highlights. And I totally agree with you Roger’s tennis is such a delight to watch. His movements are so precise and yet so smooth. It’s artistry.
Cheers, shame they get deleted so fast though.
I guess I could hope for the first serve % to improve, but not much else. It usually does too as a tourney progresses. Looking good so far. Agree about liking Tiafoe; pity he didn’t start getting great results just a little earlier as he won’t qualify for Milan. And how silly is it to have an all-Italian playoff for that 8th wildcard spot? Whoever that person is will be totally outclassed. I thought they were leaving it a wildcard so they could treat it kind of like a captain’s pick in case someone was doing really well late in the season…. but no. Maybe that’s something they’ll improve in future years. I do like the idea of it actually, in general.
I had no idea about that play off rule. Suppose it’s done to guarantee some home crowd interest and get some more tickets sold. Who are the potentials!? Quinzi?
Site doesn’t even say, & I have no clue. Just that the ‘Italian qualifying event’ ends 5Nov – main event starts on the 7th. I think you must be right about local interest.
I notice Susie is way ahead of us 😉
Taifoe was a great shot maker.. Give him more experience playing with big guys and he will be one of the top ten soon.
Well for our Fed a very smooth win, great rallies.. happy Halloween guys..
Can’t believe how big Halloween is these days, what a joke of a day/night 😆
🙂 🙂 hahaha… I appreciate halloween coz its one of the rarest time for a vacation. 🙂 lay down all day and watch horror movies.. hahahaha
A cheeky post, I would say. Loved the forehand today. Seems like playing on the court in Basel would feel like being under the microscope. No where to hide. And, it appears the arena is quite warm!
Shall we start calling Fed “shoelace Rog”?
Yeah had such good timing on it.
I think Tiafoe was sweating due to the pressure he was under, zero breathing room. I don’t remember it being overly warm when I was there, don’t think it was overly noticeable anyway.
Fed was on JesusFed mode 100% 1st serve point won…awesome stats. Schooled poor Tiafoe though he is growing on me. Francis has good attitude and not too flashy with his fist pump unlike Sasha. He should get better in 1-2 years time.
‘JesusFed’ – Hahaha the same mind…
Yeah he’s not OTT or a complete showman like La Monf. I think he’s coached by Russell and someone else who are just American tennis talent maximisers so not bad company.
I think his other coach is Robby Ginepri. He spent most of his career on the Challenger tour. Used to play in Vancouver. Had some early success at USO.
Lightning fast performance from both of Fed and you, Jonathan! …despite you’re chatting with us watching live. Impressive. It makes me feel bad not to have replied lightning fast myself.
Apart from his opening game with no first serve, it was a JesusFed in his home town. Was a joy to see his repertoire in the short space of time. What a show 😀
Easy to write when he’s won in such great style. Puts you in a better mood 😀
The yellow ball is smaller
Than an orange pumpkin
But when tossed by Federer
A few days before Halloween
It seems that it’s carved
Like a Jack O’lantern
With a light from inside
Forever it may burn.
Tiafoe was just frightened
On the side of caution he’d err
The next one is Benoît Paire
“Tricks or treats”, in the end ?
Jesus Fed showed up yesterday!!!
What a match.
36 year old Fed was twice as fast as a 19 year old Tiafoe
Almost twice his age and twice as fast and sweating 1/10th.
As I said earlier, Basel is for the taking
Think about it. Doesn’t that worry you just a little?
Well, Tiafoe might not be that fit yet, if other players his age are anything to go by?
Did you guys see a teary eyed Fed watching MC play his last match? It probably hit home for Roger, that will be me before I know it.
I saw him using a tear stick during a changeover. Was for the cameras.
kept trying to think of something witty to add.
Yeah Richard, it does worry me about tennis as a whole as the current crop of youngsters are far from being physically fit and athletic as well. The less said about their game, which is not very great to behold.
Thank God for Fed, tennis is still alive in the way we want it to be.
? If anything Tiafoe lacks in the tennis skills department (including anticipation), especially when compared to someone like Roger. He makes up for it with amazing athleticism. He is exceptionally strong and fit for a 19 year old.
I would say most of them are very fit and athletic. Thiem, Tiafoe, Shapovalov, Zverev etc. are all in great condition. Zverev has improved loads too, he looked leggy when he first came on the scene in long matches but has clearly done a lot of work.
Like Fed says, they all play a very well drilled style of tennis. But it’s quite one dimensional. Not many of them are taught to come forward, mix it up or whatever. Just all very deep flat hitting from the baseline. I guess that’s ok when they’re all essentially playing clones of themselves though. Which this next generation looks likely to be.
As you say, the modern game seems to lack the variety we see in Fed’s game. It is chiefly characterised by big flat-hitting and powerful serving. Their net game isn’t their strongest suit. But their athleticism is undoubtedly high. It does make me wonder how Federer, at 36, is able to keep pace with much younger players. I don’t think we have seen that before in the game.
Tiafoe is really a sturdy looking young man and looks determined, I can only imagine that he will get stronger
and that with experience his tennis will get better….although at times it’s not too bad at the moment. I’m
looking forward to a different kind of match tonight so C’mon Roger make sure your drop shot is better
than his !!! x
Yeah different match up. Paire will be flashy as usual. I’m sure Fed will keep him on a leash.