ATP FinalsRoger Federer

Vintage Federer Knocks Out Djokovic in London

The Swiss produced a high-quality performance to make the last four at the ATP Finals.

Roger Federer is through to his 16th semi-final at the ATP Finals after taking down Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in their do or die encounter in the final round-robin match of Group Bjorn Borg.

The Swiss had put in two average performances earlier in the week, but he produced a near-flawless level under pressure to win through in 1 hour and 13 minutes, finishing second in the group behind the flying Dominic Thiem.

Federer will know his opponent once Group Andre Agassi is completed tomorrow with Tsitsipas or Zverev the two likeliest to top the group.

Quick Match Recap

Federer London Rr Thursday 2019

Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Djokovic started with two solid points and an ace en route to 40-15, but a double fault got Federer into the game. The Swiss then fashioned a breakpoint with some nice mix up on the slice followed up with some smart forehands. However, Djokovic saved it impressively before holding for 1-0.

Roger was quickly level with a rock-solid service game before back to back double faults got Djokovic off to a nervy start in game three.

Federer then created three break points with a rifled backhand, and he converted immediately, soaking up some of Djokovic's heavy groundstrokes before again drilling a backhand that the Serb couldn't handle.

A hold to thirty consolidated the break for 3-1, aided by a much needed big serve out wide at 15-30.

Djokovic then held for 2-3, coming out on top of a cat and mouse point at 40-30 but Federer fired down a love hold to maintain his advantage, landing a second-serve ace on game point for 4-2.

The Swiss was able to fashion thirty-all in game seven thanks to a bullet inside-in forehand, and only a pinpoint Djokovic passing shot off a chip, and charge return prevented him holding a breakpoint chance.

Djokovic went onto hold, but two aces gave Roger another swift service game as he moved into a 5-3 lead. 

A 0-30 window in game nine hinted Federer might break again to seal the set, but he let Djokovic off the hook with a poor drop shot at 15-30 and the Serb held for 4-5.

However, Roger was not perturbed, firing down a love hold with two aces to take the opener 6-4. The Swiss had hit twelve winners to just one unforced error and landed 83% of first serves to record his cleanest set of the week so far.

Into set two and Roger continued his charge creating 15-40 in the opening game, but an over-eager forehand followed by an undercooked forehand approach allowed Djokovic to make deuce before escaping to lead 1-0.

Djokovic was then able to show off his wheels and produce some quality returns to force Federer to deuce in his opening service game, but Roger didn't back down and held for 1-1. 

A hold to thirty put Djokovic up 2-1, and the Serb was showing signs of working his way into the match, fashioning a breakpoint in game four. Federer saved it with two huge forehands that spread the court to set up an easy put-away, and two big serves helped secure 2-2.

An early forehand strike and a good return then put Roger up 0-40 in game five, and although Djokovic saved the first with an excellent forehand, the Swiss converted the second with a well-struck cross-court forehand that Djokovic was late on. 

Federer consolidated the break for 4-2 and then fired down a love hold for 5-3 to put himself within touching distance of the semi-finals. There were to be no hiccups as Djokovic couldn't summon another hold as Federer broke to take it 6-3.

Match Stats

  Novak Djokovic Roger Federer
Aces 2 12
Double Faults 3 2
1st Serve 74% (46/62) 73% (36/49)
1st Serve Points Won 57% (26/46) 81% (29/36)
2nd Serve Points Won 44% (7/16) 69% (9/13)
Break Points Saved 57% (4/7) 100% (1/1)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Serve Return Points Won 19% (7/36) 43% (20/46)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 31% (4/13) 56% (9/16)
Break Points Converted 0% (0/1) 43% (3/7)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 14 23
Unforced Errors 13 5
Net Points Won 71% (5/7) 56% (5/9)
Service Points Won 53% (33/62) 78% (38/49)
Return Points Won 22% (11/49) 47% (29/62)
Total Points Won 40% (44/111) 60% (67/111)


Post Match Interview

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Djokovic London 2019

Great atmosphere, a great opponent here in London at The O2, definitely incredibly special. Just a night I enjoyed it from the beginning. I played incredible, and I knew I had to because that’s what Novak does and I was able to produce. So it was definitely magical. Federer speaking on court after his win over Djokovic

Great win, great atmosphere and easily Federer's best performance of the week so far 🙂 I didn't have too many expectations heading in given Roger's fairly average matches against Thiem and Berrettini, but he was saving his best for when it mattered, and he produced just what the Doctor ordered.

There's never any secrets between the two tactically, but I thought Roger executed his game peRFectly. Top class serving, averaging 123mph which is a big jump to his usual. Fearless on his groundstrokes with 23 winners to just five errors. Plus hyper-aggressive/taking it early, winning 48 points under five shots which was 45% of all the points played. 

In that mood, Federer is tough to live with, and with Djokovic solid but not at his best then there was only one winner on the night.

I tried so hard and came so incredibly close against Novak the last couple years…Wimbledon was obviously epic. Paris Bercy last year, I lost 7-6 in the third that was epic. We've had so many cool matches in the past so it's nice to get one, especially with so much riding on this match. I’m sure Rafa was watching too and from that standpoint, it was a magical night for me here at the O2. Federer speaking with Brad Gilbert post match

Predictions vs Stefanos Tsitsipas

Next up is Stefanos Tsitsipas who topped Group Andre Agassi after Zverev beat Medvedev which knocked out Nadal.

The world number six is coming into the last four with a loss in his final round-robin match, going down in three tight sets to Nadal on Friday afternoon.

That match lasted almost 3 hours so it was fairly physical and it's uncharted territory for the Greek to lose a match and still be in the tournament the next day, with his only previous year-end experience being the Next Gen Finals where he went through the event unbeaten. Maybe that has some psychological impact but who knows.

Anyway, Federer has the blueprint to beat him. Play like Basel 🙂 let's see if he can produce that level.

What did you guys think of the win over Novak? Let me know 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. Nor did I, as I said on the previous page. When I said straight sets, and probably 6-4, 6-3, I was thinking Novak winning, not Roger. When I checked late on in the first set, he was first-serving at 79% – insane! Now let’s see whether he can take that sort of form into the SF.

      It’s funny, really, this WTF has been one of the least predictable I can remember. As soon as you think someone is playing well/badly they go and lose to/beat their next opponent. A bit like Rock, Paper, Scissors … I guess it’s a question of who manages the whole tournament the best, not the individual matches.

  1. The Maestro has returned!! Wimbledon revenge (almost). No question about who came to play tennis today.
    Awesome display! You could see Novak getting angrier with the crowd by the minute, just to make it sweeter. (Sorry folks can’t help myself) I don’t even care if he wins the whole thing, this match was everything, anything else is anti climatic.
    And once again, thank you Jonathan for such a quick review.

    1. Cheers.

      I didn’t really see Djoker getting mad at the crowd? It is of course very pro Fed but it’s not like Djoker doesn’t get any cheers. It has now turned into a scenario where everyone says the crowd hates Djoker so it must be true :lol:, so now journos write about it, then ask him about it every 5 mins you have a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  2. Thanks Jonathan for your speedy and excellent summary. What a performance! I was so nervous and couldn’t watched it but listened to radio commenting. After the Matteo match Tuesday, I felt like the 2018 final experience again, very eerie 🙂 . Maestro has just reminded me that he is still capable of delivering such flawless performance – beautiful to watch 🙂 Bravo !

  3. Awesome performance. Just such a unique player when everything is in full flight. So glad he has gotten a win against Novak before the end of the season too, it should set him up nicely for next season. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a bit of a let down on Saturday just because of how much he would have put into preparing mentally for tonight. Either way it’s an incredibly positive performance and result

    1. Day off helps hopefully. Wasn’t too physical a match. Will be a bit tired as was laser focused but at least he wasn’t having to dig deep on all his service games.

  4. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
    Darth Fed finally appeared. On a JesusFed serving day, every aspect of his game follows. Incredible display at this stage of his career. What a joy to watch. Love the photos on the post, thanks Jonathan.

  5. I never was so ready to be disappointed, and I read earlier that many others were in that mood too, but fortunately – with Roger seemingly having the smaller chance, you still never know! And he was as happy as we too for this time’s clear victory. NICE! And thanks Jon, for fast making the glad telling about it all.

  6. What a special performance on such a stage. I thought the atmosphere was just great. I am sure this was a very special victory for Fed and fans all over the world. Thanks Jonathan for such a quick report. Go Fed!

  7. Today was practice day under rain showers, wind and stuff, so I only watched the last 4 or 5 games. From the little I saw he just seemed unplayable. There’s little doubt that at his 100% no one can beat Roger except maybe… Wawrinka at his 100%.

  8. Really I was not expecting such match. At first when the match began I said to myself: be quiet, the Joker is an eating liver…but Roger was sublime, excepcional, majestic, vintage.

  9. Magnificent from Fed.Blew Djoker off the court.Simply amazing tennis.
    The serve was marvellous and everything followed from that as it does when he is in imperious mode.
    Even if he doesn’t win the semi,I think that was the one he really wanted to win.
    A sweet revenge indeed.

  10. Great to watch Roger today, happy that the master is back! Here’s hoping for the next win! With you all the way!

  11. Hard to believe that was just to get him INTO the semis. Whew! How amazing that he can still do this, & we get to watch it.

  12. Been a long time since I posted here (again), but been following the tour quite closely. Thought Roger was brilliant today, and before anyone says Novak was injured I’ll concede he looked slightly off from about halfway through the second set, but before that he just got outplayed. Anyway I hope anyone who said ‘Roger will never beat Novak again’, ‘he is mentally destroyed’ and so on and so forth has changed their mind. Of course best of 5 at a slam is a different proposition, but I’m glad Roger got a win because he can go on court next time at a slam (if there is a next time, you never know what can happen in tennis) and think ‘I beat this guy last time’, rather than having a series of disappointing losses to look back on.

    Anyway I noticed the chess analogies in some of Jonathan’s posts, and this won’t mean anything to any of you who don’t play (I play a bit, would never claim to be anything other than average), but Novak’s strategy is like playing the Berlin Defense (trying to suffocate the opponent with a lack of options typically leading to a long game), whereas Roger’s style is more like the Halloween Gambit (very aggressive, involves sacrificing a knight and then looking for a quick attack to end the game before your opponent can consolidate their position).

    Fact is Roger is 38, and I noticed in some of the rallies that he is notably slower (to be fair, so is Novak but obviously not to the same extent as he is a few years younger), and so he’s not going to win the long game against Novak, Thiem, Rafa and other such players. Average rally length on serve was shown midway through the second set and Roger was remarkably at an average of just TWO shots! That’s unbelievably aggressive play, but it seemed to work very well. More of the same in the semis!

    1. “Anyway I hope anyone who said ‘Roger will never beat Novak again’, ‘he is mentally destroyed’ and so on and so forth has changed their mind.”
      You really think so? In their minds, the Djoker didn’t even show up.

      ” but Novak’s strategy is like playing the Berlin Defense….”
      Novak is like Kramnik to Roger’s Kasparov

  13. Wow, so quick Jon!
    What a night to be there live!! Fabulous performance, just brilliant in every area of his game. You said it all, it was extraordinary! Servebot supremo, 😃 but also the returns and so few UFEs. Skipped around that court like a kid! So happy
    Just bought my SF ticket!

  14. Oh my gosshhhh… whaddaa match from our Maestro… at age 38, getting to every damn ball.. Killer performance today.. Can’t wait to see Fed reach full flight by AO 2020.

  15. Nadal will probably lose tomorrow to avoid a match with Federer.

    Great win for Roger – it can’t erase the painful loss at Wimbledon but at least it helps Roger to get over it.

  16. He was much of 2019 in incredible form and in many tours so close to win that I think he deserved it more than actual doing. So then, obviously not at his sharpest in the start here, oh well most thought it was it for the year. The form returned though, this time with clear and deserved win vs Djoko. May it stay with him and bring forth more of the same deserved fortune

  17. Didn’t watch it live as it was 4am at where I live but was so happy hearing about the win on the radio while driving to work. And watching the video clip here where Roger leapt when the last point was won brought tears to my eyes. Very very important that he gets one back especially after what happened in Wimbledon this year.

  18. I couldn’t watch the match live but when I had a peek at the score, I was so happy! I’m going to thank Edberg for being in his box and inspiring Roger to put on a display like that. Every 4th serve was an ace! No one ever did and ever will play like that, when Fed is on fire.
    The best part was the leap in the air at the end and especially seeing how so so happy he was.

  19. Most important thing, he left behind finally the Wimbledon episode, until now he still was thinking about it in every match or tournament. Let’s hope for a great 2020.

  20. Fantastic Roger. Novak never as popular with crowd. Roger deservedly won. Great to watch such a gentleman and sportsman. Fantastic support from is team, Edberg and Mirka.

  21. Magic performance, got me joyfully crying. That final will still be present in my mind for long, but seeing such a display is a great relief that he doesn’t have any mental complex towards Nole. He seems to age much better than his rivals, by the way… In the direct clashes he’s been outplaying Nole and Rafa constantly since 2017 (excluding Cincy 2018 with Nole and RG 2019 with Rafa), even though the results with the Serbian haven’t been positive until Yesterday.

  22. Fantastic performance by Roger, great serving and attacking game. Nole didn’t look particularly well tough, maybe the pressure of the No 1? Physical issues? I don’t know.

    With this result Rafa secures his 5th No 1 Year End spot breaking a couple of records: Longest span between No1 Year End’s (11 years) and he became the oldest player to finish the year as No 1. This truly remarkable for a guy plagued with injuries and who many people thought would have a short career.

    1. He did seem to tweak his elbow in game five of set two. But not sure what impact it had.

      I think it will be a combo of things, Fed rushing him, tough match vs Thiem, must win match and when he tweaked the elbow I thought he lost a bit of motivation to be out there for another 2 hours.

  23. One little comment about Nole’s performance: in my idea he played a good match. Not exceptional, but good. He ended with more winners than UE, he hit some good passing shots (especially on break points), he had a 70 % first serve efficacy. I think that the double DF in the first set and the horrendous strategy after the break in the second set made him look worse than he actually was. But I didn’t see him playing so badly. He was just, plain and simple, outplayed.
    And anyone else would have been with such a gigantic perfomance from Roger. Especially on serve.

  24. It was a great win. So glad to see him produce that all the way through against Djokovic. I don’t know what to expect for the rest of the tournament, but a win here over Djokovic has imo made it worthwhile because I believe this gives something to build on. I’m not one for injury excuses – Djokovic fans can make those. This was a great performance and one Fed really needed. Awesome stuff.

    1. Ye I didn’t mention the elbow in the post as it happened in the fifth game of set two, not sure it had much impact on the result or how bad it was. Djoker still played well after it but I do think he was worried about making it worse so played a bit more higher risk on his groundstrokes.

    1. Nice French BF.
      For the non-French speakers:
      “The evening of Wimbledon, you tell ypurself that no, he’ll never get another one. The US Open strengthens that feeling. Then comes this match, played with surreal speed and precision. And you start thinking about Australia, about Wimbledon 2020; that’s Federer. Eternal. He renews himself and our dreams along with him.”

  25. What a match, goat serving. Entering the match did not have much hope for Roger to pulling off a W. I am so happy he prove me wrong. He made Djoker uncomfortable with a lot of good returns. I hope JesusFed stays till Sunday.

  26. And now, still hope for those hoping a Fedal SF. And how is it now – who has to win next to keep that alive?
    – I don’t know which to hope for. Maybe Tsitsi will be better? Or not?

    1. Ah well, Daniil has to defeat Sascha. Then it’s Rafa as group winner and Tsitsi as runner up. If S defeats D then T is gw and S ru? We’ll see. I think I hope for Ra as gw, for Roger to meet him, better chance for Ro, yes/no?

  27. Great match from confidence perspective. Don’t call it revenge. Nothing can annihilate the pain of losing Wimbledon final by a whisker. This is just a soothing balm on the wound.

      1. Impossible for me. Defeating Rafa and Novak back to back to win Wimby would have elevated him to a level of godhood that only Donald Trump, in his infinite wisdom, has been able to reach so far.

  28. I must admit, I was quite glad Rafa didn’t make it through: given his last couple of matches, I had visions of him, even if not winning, keeping Roger out there for hours and Roger then being too worn out for the final. Whether Tsitsi will be any better is anyone’s bet, though …

  29. So I jumped the gun and got tickets for both sessions today thinking they wouldn’t set the schedule until the end of yesterday’s play. I have an adult and child ticket for the evening session in the higher section if anybody keen to see Thiem v Zverev. They are officially transferable on axs app – happy with face value ono.

    1. Google translate can give us French-ignorants an idea! Very nice by Cerutti – expressing what I – and we? feel. Should he fail today, the joy of thursday isn’t much diminished – He is still maestro, able to beat all of them (even if he din’t). As he actually was in Wimbledon, and earlier and later this year.

  30. R. Daneel has finally figureo out the fact that defeating other humans and causing them mental harm is not in accordance with the first law.

  31. Roger came focused and literally served out the match. You could see the frustration from Djokovic, who couldn’t get anything on the return.
    Also the crowd annoyed him and maybe his elbow…

    Amazing performance by the Fedmeister.
    It’s either Roger or a youngster, so I’m good with whatever result.
    I think Stef is the best match up in the semis, but if he goes through he’ll have to bring something special in the finals. Both Domi and Sacsha have a blue print to beat Roger.
    Last two years the finals were between the winners of the group Roger wasn’t in. I hope it changes this time.

    1. Yesyes, and special he brought, the serve was perfect, but also many returns. Blueprint? With Roger you never know. He’s too unpredictable to wear a blueprint.

  32. By the way, Djoko only grunted a couple of times, and his face didn’t show so much anger and anguish as I have watched in earlier times. But I havn’t watched him for a long time. So his style has changed more to the Fed-like, yes? Roger is his idol?!

  33. Fed playing sloppily. How many break points did he squander in the first against Tsitsipuss, six? Unacceptable in a semi against a beatable opponent (playing well, yes). The way this is going, crushing Novak will be the only takeaway from this event.

  34. Errors raining from Fed’s racquet. Can’t find his spots, can’t find first serves, can’t take charge of points. Even easy one-two combos sail ten feet. Seems like he has no clear plan other than waiting for Tsitsipuss to fail. Overpreszing, sloppy, uninspired so far, and a far cry from the thorough beatings Tsitsipas took at Dubai and Basel, and even the AO Fed loss he played better. Maybe the youth movement has taken over this event.

  35. Roger sucks today. Three straight breaks to open the second set? How do you break back so nicely, hold several gamepoints on serve, and then dump a host of errors to get broken? What a farce. Fed can’t hit his serves and he is framing or sailing every fourth ball. Stef is doing to him what Fed did to Novak.

  36. 1 for 12 on bps. Chance to get to 5-5 (unlikely he’d come back to win but still) with two bps in last game, all squandered. Terrible on all fronts. Shame, Roger.

  37. 1/12 on break points. Very disappointing and a winnable match. Have to say, the age showed today. Tsitsipas has incredible athleticism and ability to stay in points that FEderer would expect to win. He even had 15-40 in the final game to break back and yet tamely lost all the break points. You could see how frustrated he was. I’m sad as this was the 3rd year in a row losing in the semis – Goffin, Zverev, and today. Of all those matches probably this one was the most winnable actually.

    Tsitsipas played like a young Federer almost, great defence, great offence, clutch serving.
    I hope Theim wins it.

  38. Was this one of those “don’t even bother watching, just wipe it off the hard drive” matches? I really have got a lot of other more important things to do at the moment 🙁

  39. Poor match for Roger. Tsitsipas not that good, gave him quite some opportunities here and there.
    Well, off to 2020. Last year for Roger? I don’t think so but 2020 will be an interesting year for him.

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