Title number #80 still eludes the GOAT as he was comfortably beaten by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5 7-6(3) in the Roger's Cup Final yesterday afternoon. No complaints from me as he put in a shocker of a performance from start to finish and it was only clutch serving + god like volleys that made the scoreline relatively close.
The loss sees Roger with a 2-5 deficit in finals this year which isn't a very good record and something he probably needs to address if he wants to win the 5 titles he earmarked at the start of the year.
Back to the final and scheduling most likely worked against him here as he's been playing night matches all week which have started around 8.30pm, the final was some 6 hours earlier in the day at 3pm so meant conditions were completely different. But there's not much Fed could have done about that, once you step on the court then you are there to do a job. For one reason or another he was unable to execute anything like the standard he expects of himself out there which was a little disappointing.
From Tsonga's perspective he deserved the win as he's beaten 4 top 10 players in a row this week and even though his level in the final wasn't overly impressive either he was able to manage his game much better from the back of the court making less errors on the backhand side and serving well when he had to. Aided of course by Roger's failure to create a single break point in the entire match which made things extremely comfortable for him. It's going to be interesting to see how he backs up this win now in Cincy and at the USO as Tsonga is a confidence player so he could go on a tear up.
Quick Match Recap
With Roger seeing the sun beating down on court for the first time in Canada this week he won the toss and chose sides. Tsonga elected to serve and despite not making a single first serve held to lead 1-0.
Roger held for 1-1 and again the Tsonga first serve was non existent but he was still holding comfortably. On the return Fed was either spraying the ball long or dumping it into the net off some very attackable 2nd serves.
At 3-3 Fed made his first real inroads taking Tsonga to deuce but the Frenchman held to lead 4-3. Tsonga was again pushed to deuce at 5-5 but some big hitting saw him take a 6-5 lead before he broke the Federer serve to steal the set 7-5.
A poor game from Fed right at the business end and he should have at the minimum forced the tie break, the backhand was the shot at fault, making 9 unforced errors off that wing in the first set.
The second set was another scrappy affair and Roger was basically pushed to the limit in everyone of his service games. Tsonga had break points at 3-2 and 4-3, a match point at 5-4 but couldn't convert any of them.
Tsonga didn't do much wrong however, it was some genius serving from Federer and some of the best net coverage I have ever seen from him, he made a ton of exquisite pickups and full stretch volleys to keep himself in it.
With Fed clinging on he eventually forced a tie break which he lost on the very first point. Tsonga came in behind a weak approach shot but Fed blazed a simple forehand pass wide. If your opponent donates you the first point in a breaker, you sure as hell gotta take it otherwise it's all over. Same thing happened vs. Berdych at the USO in 2012, Fed dumped an easy volley into the net first point and never recovered.
After that miss Tsonga streaked away, serving a couple of bombs when he needed them to take it 7-3 and become only the 7th active player to win more than one Masters 1000 trophy. Well deserved from him and he's certainly surprised a few people who thought he was going to keep sliding down the rankings.
|Jo-Wilfried Tsonga||Roger Federer|
|1st Serve Percentage||50%||64%|
|1st Serve Points Won||94% (33/35)||70% (45/64)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||63% (22/35)||50% (18/36)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||86% (6/7)|
|1st Return Points Won||30% (19/64)||6% (2/35)|
|2nd Return Points Won||39% (14/36)||31% (11/35)|
|Break Points Converted||14% (1/7)||0% (0/0)|
|Max Points In Row||4||5|
|Service Points Won||79% (55/70)||63% (63/100)|
|Return Points Won||37% (37/100)||21% (15/70)|
|Total Points Won||54% (92/170)||46% (78/170)|
|Max Games In Row||3||1|
|Net Points Won||8/10||27/33|
|Service Games Won||100% (12/12)||92% (11/12)|
|Return Games Won||8% (1/12)||0% (0/12)|
|Total Games Won||54% (13/24)||46% (11/24)|
Thoughts on the Match
I don't know. I think it was the overall day conditions that were tough for me. It was faster than in the night, all my previous matches, so I think the turnaround was tough.
I definitely think Jo served well, and when he does serve well it's always going to be hard. But not to win more points on his first serve‑‑ I don't know the second serve stat, but I need to have a better impact on that normally.
Today was just difficult in terms of rhythm from the baseline, so it was like a new tournament for me today.
No excuses. I think he played really solid and well when he had to, and like you mentioned, I think he served well overall, which was key for him.
A weird final and one I put down to just being a bad day at the office. We've seen Fed check out mentally of matches before but here he was actually very solid in the big moments yesterday, just the basics were missing. Too many simple errors on both wings meant he never had anything to build from, winning points was extremely difficult so it was always a one step forward two steps backward kinda match for him. A couple of good moments were instantly erased by a handful of errors and it's very difficult to win a match when that happens.
Fatigue and scheduling clearly comes into as I saw several shots where he tried to run around the backhand but wasn't quick enough on his feet and dumped the ball into the net. Plus the fact it was his first day match of the entire event doesn't help as it plays much faster and the conditions are very different. Roger said himself after a nigh match he's not been going to bed till 3am, which meant only 12 hours until the final at 3pm which is a very quick turn around. Not excuses, just facts.
Another final loss is definitely a big negative but there are a couple of positives which are his all around clutchness and volleys. His volleys have always looked effortless but based on what I have seen this week Edberg has vastly improved his net coverage and positioning. Fed used to have a habit of just coming in, not split stepping and just being in no mans land but now he's coming in with real purpose. All his net plays were behind good approach shots and when he made the first volley he closed the net, getting right on top of the 2nd volley which increases his chances of making the next even if he doesn't get the cleanest strike on it. This worked a treat several times as he pulled off some great full stretch digs. Kudos to Edberg on that one.
The next is his serving and general play under pressure, he was playing like a clown off the ground but found that bit extra when down break point and match point in the third. Really aggressive play when he needed it and it paid off. Forcing a tie break was pretty admirable really and at least he gave himself a chance to at least steal the set playing poorly rather than just folding.
I was not playing good enough. You can be as nervous as you want to be. If you can't hit forehands or whatever, it's just, like‑‑ it wasn't my day, man. It was just a shitty day.
Onto Cincinnati. First match Wednesday!