Hey all 🙂 so no missing Rome title for Federer as he ran into a red hot Djokovic who continued his impeccable form to defeat the Swiss 6-4 6-3 and win his fifth title of 2015.
Many of us rightfully thought Djokovic was the favourite for this one and he played an ultra-efficient match making very few errors, serving at a high level and dialling in his return to get one break each set to come through.
Roger can't have too many complaints at the result as he never really got a foothold in the match but despite not playing at his best during he leaves Rome in good shape having picked up 600 rankings points and was able to perform at a high level throughout the week in preparation for the French Open which kicks off next Sunday.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides before Djokovic elected to serve first. The Serb kicked things off with a hold to 15 before Roger levelled for 1-1.
At 1-2 Roger ran into the first bit of difficulty facing two deuces but he held for 2-2. Novak was looking imperious on serve early and he fired down solid back to back holds which Roger matched to level at 4 games all.
In game 9 Roger created 0-30 to which Novak responded with 2 aces for 30-30. The World Number 1 then held a game point but Roger made deuce and then had his first break point chance of the set which was Djokovic saved with some solid hitting before going on to hold.
Roger then found himself under pressure on his own serve, and despite coming from 15-30 down to hold a game point Djokovic reeled off 2 ridiculous returns of serve before breaking to snatch the set 6-4.
Into the second and Roger immediately got into trouble, uncharacteristically misjudging a ball at the net en route to slipping 15-40 down. He did however come up with the shot of the match to make deuce (backhand winner down the line from the tramlines) but Djokovic wouldn't back down and he broke at the third time of asking to lead 2-0.
Djokovic quickly consolidated the break for 3-0 and he was poised to run away with it when he held another break point in game 4 but Roger held for 1-3. After that neither player came close to breaking again and Djokovic continued to hold serve easily before serving it out 6 games to 3 to win his fourth Rome title.
|N. Djokovic||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||72%||63%|
|1st Serve Points Won||32/38 (84%)||30/39 (77%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||10/15 (67%)||8/23 (35%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/1 (100%)||3/5 (60%)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Return Points Won||9/39 (23%)||6/38 (16%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||15/23 (65%)||5/15 (33%)|
|Break Points Won||2/5 (40%)||0/1 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Net Points Won||4/6||13/20|
|Total Service Points Won||42/53 (79%)||38/62 (61%)|
|Total Return Points Won||24/62 (39%)||11/53 (21%)|
|Total Points Won||66/115 (57%)||49/115 (43%)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
I know I can play better. Novak was rock solid today, he played great throughout. He made very few unforced errors. I'm happy, feeling good and healthy.
Not the close run encounter we usually get between these two as Djokovic proved far too good in this one from start to finish. In fact it was the first time in 39 meetings between the two that Roger failed to break the Djokovic serve. Really the Serb was imperious; serving at 70% for the match and only facing a single break point.
I said in my prediction piece that I quite liked Fed's chances if he defended the 2nd serve well and Djokovic wasn't 100% on his game. As it turned out Djokovic was fully on his game, Roger had another below par returning day and had to work very hard in his own service games to stay in touch. The constant pressure from Djokovic's returns is just something else and Fed was constantly having to hit half volleys just to try stay in the points. There's no way he can come out on top when he's unable to play on the front foot and he only won 35% of points behind his 2nd serve.
The main turning point where it went from close to never in doubt was the game at 4-4. Roger had his first and as it turned out only chance to break the Djokovic serve but he couldn't find the answer. He played a fairly patient rally but that allowed Djokovic to pepper his backhand and step into the court to draw the error. Once Djokovic held serve he then broke and pulled away in the second set, making virtually zero errors himself and causing Roger a lot of difficulty.
Could Fed have done much different? I'm sure he'll have a few disappointments and things he would change but sometimes you can only play as well as your opponent lets you and Djokovic wasn't in the mood to let Roger get a look in today. The only disappointment I have is Fed's inability to return the Djokovic serve (same story in Indian Wells) and his forehand leaking a fair few errors. The backhand has been awesome all week but as stated on my Berdych match recap, to compete against the top top guys the forehand needs to be more reliable and do more damage. It's looked pretty ordinary this week and I think that stopped him making it more competitive.
Overall though Rome has to be taken as a positive as does the pre French Open clay swing on the whole. We've had early losses in Monte Carlo and Madrid but he's come back to win Istanbul and make the final in Rome defeating 4 top 25 players en route before coming unstuck against the best player in the world right now. That's not bad at all for a guy who hasn't really been a factor on clay for the last few years.
Next stop is of course Roland Garros which should be interesting. No huge expectations for Fed there but I think he will make the second week and then of course it's time for the real tennis to begin on the grass 🙂 Allez!