A hugely impress victory for the Stanimal here as he advanced to the French Open Semi Finals with a 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4) over Roger Federer in blustery conditions on Suzanne Lenglen.
It was Stan's first win over Fed in a Grand Slam and he executed the perfect gameplan of power hitting and control to come through comfortably in straight sets hitting 43 winners to just 28 unforced errors. Very impressive numbers in windy conditions and Roger was unable to break his opponents serve for the first time in a Grand Slam match since the US Open in 2002.
Quick Match Recap
Roger won the toss and elected to serve facing an immediate break point as Stan hit huge from ball one. Although Roger held for 1-0 he dropped serve to love in game 3 and despite having 3 break point chances at 2-3 he couldn't find a way through Stan's relentless baseline hitting.
At 5-3 Stan created a break point of his own for a chance to take the set but Roger held with some solid serving. The Basel native then had his fourth break point of the set to prevent Stan serving it out but again couldn't convert and Stan held to take the set 6-4. Hugely impressive play from the 2014 Aussie Open champion who came up with big shots in all the important moments and was ripping groundstrokes from way behind the baseline; which according to hawkeye data 12mph on average quicker than Roger's.
Into set 2 and Stan again piled on the pressure with big hitting, holding 2 break points in game one but Roger found a way to hold for 1-0. Both players then traded holds until 3-3 where Stan found a key break of serve at just the right time, Roger slightly guilty with a poor volley miss. Stan then held and broke serve again to take a dominant 2 sets to love lead.
The third set was crunch time for Roger and he was able to make a good fist of things; holding serve more comfortably as Stan's power eased just a touch and allowed Fed to dictate play for the first time in the match. The problem for Roger however was the lack of rhythm on return and Stan was never under pressure on his own serve; a glimmer of hope presented itself at 5-5 when Roger had 0-15 but Stan held for 6-5. The set then went into a tense tie break with neither playing taking the initiative until Stan got the mini break at 3-3 after a contentious line call. That sparked the beginning of the end for Roger as Stan reeled off the next 2 points on serve to hold 3 match points; Roger saved the first with a clutch forehand but a deep return setup another big Stan groundstroke and he finished things off with a routine volley put away into the open court.
|Stats||Stan Wawrinka||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||50/92 (54 %)||71/112 (63 %)|
|1st serve points won||44/50 (88 %)||48/71 (68 %)|
|2nd serve points won||26/42 (62 %)||23/41 (56 %)|
|Net points won||13/19 (68 %)||13/23 (57 %)|
|Break points won||3/8 (38 %)||0/4 (0 %)|
|Receiving points won||41/112 (37 %)||22/92 (24 %)|
|Total points won||111||93|
Thoughts on the Match
Tough defeat here for Roger who just had no answers to what Stan was doing to him on the court. As I've said many times before Stan is one of the few players on tour able to deliver consistent firepower from both wings in best of 5 set matches and that's exactly what he did here – booming winners from the get go and his overall quality of shot was just too much for Roger to handle. He was also clutch in big moments – that backhand at 2-2 in the breaker was pretty special and the 4 break points he saved were all done so with solid play.
Roger didn't play badly either I don't think, clearly he can play better but he tried different things out there and in the third set there were some signs he might extend it to a fourth (15-15 shank, and 30-30 miss at 5-5) but he just couldn't string enough points together at the key moments. Roger's two holds at 4-5 and 5-6 were ultra clutch to give him some momentum going into the breaker but after the late line call where Stan was awarded the point it got away from him very quickly. Having watched the replay I think the point should have been replayed especially after the Serena / Vika one with the same umpire got wrongly replayed. Inconsistent umpiring from Nouni which is a shame. Whether it changed the outcome of the match is impossible to say but it's never nice to get controversy in such a big moment.
As for where the match was won and lost I said in my prediction 2nd serve return points won was going to be a key stat in this match. Roger did a fantastic job of returning Stan's second serve in Rome by taking it way inside the baseline but in Paris it was a different story as Stan won 26/42 (62 %) behind his second serve. I'm not sure exactly why Roger wasn't able to return aggressively but I think it was probably a combination of the windy conditions making it difficult and Stan preventing Roger getting any rhythm on the whole. Not being able to break his opponents serve meant Fed couldn't get comfortable or create that bit of momentum. It was a similar story on Chatrier where the wind effected Nishikori's game and the brute force of Tsonga got the job done; a day for the big hitters you could say.
As for Stan he's now beaten the Djokovic, Nadal, Murray and Federer at Grand Slam level which is impressive and I hope he can progress to the final when he takes on Tsonga on Friday.