An impressive win for Alexander Zverev in Halle as he defeated eight-time champion Roger Federer to book his spot in his maiden ATP 500 final.
The young German came through 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 in two hours and six minutes and he's the first teenager to defeat Federer in nearly 10 years, after Murray defeated him at the Cincinnati Masters in 2006. Another tough loss on the grass for Fed after last weeks loss to Thiem and there's plenty questions about the Swiss man's form ahead of Wimbledon in just over a weeks time.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve firing down 2 aces to hold for 1-0. Zverev quickly levelled and both players were dominant on serve trading comfortable holds. In game 8 Roger had 0-15 for the first time but Zverev held and shortly after the set resulted in a tie break.
Into the breaker and Zverev went up a a mini break after a joke dropshot from Fed. Roger did manage to get it to 3-3 at the change of ends but Zverev pulled away to take it 7-4.
Roger needed to find a way to win more return points in set 2 after winning only 4 in the first but it was Zverev who again looked the sharper of the two. Two double faults in game 3 got Roger his first deuce but the German held. The next piece of notable action came in game 7 where Zverev fashioned 2 break points which Roger saved with some solid serving. The Swiss then had 2 break points of his own which he couldn't convert as Zverev held for 5-4. At 5-5 Zverev fired down an untimely double fault to slip to 15-40 and although he saved the first break point Roger took the second with a drop shot and went onto serve out the set 7-5.
Winning the second put momentum firmly on Roger's side and after a toilet break he looked to maintain it, missing a chance to break in Zverev's opening service game. Another break point came the way of the Swiss in game 3 but Zverev held to lead 2-1. At this point I thought Fed would find a way to come through as he adjusted his return position to deeper in the court and was making more balls however at 2-3 Roger found himself in big trouble down 15-40 and then missed a routine groundstroke trying to hit an elaborate inside out backhand which landed wide. A Zverev hold to 15 then put him within 1 game of the match and despite Roger holding to apply some pressure the teenager held to love to win through.
|R. Federer||A. Zverev|
|1st Serve %||60%||65%|
|1st Serve Points Won||46/58 (79%)||54/68 (79%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||21/39 (54%)||23/36 (64%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/3 (67%)||6/7 (86%)|
|Service Games Played||16||17|
|1st Return Points Won||14/68 (21%)||12/58 (21%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||13/36 (36%)||18/39 (46%)|
|Break Points Won||1/7 (14%)||1/3 (33%)|
|Return Games Played||17||16|
|Net Points Won||11/17||6/14|
|Total Service Points Won||67/97 (69%)||77/104 (74%)|
|Total Return Points Won||27/104 (26%)||30/97 (31%)|
|Total Points Won||94/201 (47%)||107/201 (53%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Well back down to earth after yesterday's performance as Roger was outplayed for most of this one. From the word go Zverev was able to dictate from the back of the court and all Roger was able to do was play reactive tennis only managing to win 4 points on the return in the opener. Set 2 saw some improvements as he was able to take advantage from a Zverev lull but after failing to take his chances at the start of the decider Zverev got his second wind and pretty much coasted over the line after breaking for 3-2. Yesterday was up against a guy with no weapons and he took him apart, today he faced a guy with a big serve and ground game and played second fiddle.
So first the positives – 4 matches played with today's been quite a long one lasting over 2 hours so he at least has some matches in his legs now. The first serve has been pretty reliable too this week which is a good sign and we've seen patches of what he can do on the surface. It was good to see him make an adjustment on the return too in set 2 by standing just a touch further back which paid off as he broke serve for the only time in the match. But that's about it really from what I've seen, it will be interesting to read what Fed makes of it in press.
The bad bits – too slow. Any points where Fed doesn't have to do much moving he's decent but whenever 3, 4 or 5 steps are involved he's late on the ball and either makes the error or hits with no power resulting in an easy short ball. We saw it again today where he's having to lunge to get to certain shots and just looks laboured in his movement. So there are quite a few question marks about his fitness and whether he can get close to 100% so that the game becomes about forehands and backhands, not trying to manage the body mid match.
What did you guys make of the loss? Let me know in the comments.