The maestro was sub-par tonight, especially in the beginning. And yet, it seems 60% of Roger Federer + indoors O2 arena + H2H of 13-0 = Federer winning in straight sets, 6-4, 7(5)-6 over David Ferrer. If Ferrer was ever going to beat Federer, especially indoors, it would’ve been in this match. He has been on an absolute high in the indoor courts winning back to back titles in Valencia and Paris Bercy. He beat del Potro quite convincingly in his first round robin match and was on an 11 match winning streak.
Roger began the game disastrously with David up three break points. Yet the Swiss fought them off one by one to finally hold his first service game. Then he immediately broke the Spaniard and somehow held serve despite his first serves utterly failing, to go up 3-0. After that the momentum swung Ferrer’s way and he broke Roger and held his own serve to level at 3-3. However, Roger at 5-4 stepped it up a gear and broke Ferrer at love to take the first set 6-4.
The service games of both players were quite mediocre in the first set, with Roger committing 3 double faults and Ferrer two. Roger faced a total of 8 break points, saving 7 while Ferrer faced 3 and saved 1. Roger’s 1st serve percentage was only 40% on top of which he only won 10 1st serve points out of 17.
In the second set, both players served better, with 1st serve percentages in the mid 60s and both winning 78% of 1stserve points.
Roger faced and saved 2 break points and David faced (and saved) 1. Clearly it appeared that the maestro had gotten more comfortable in the second set holding serve much more easily than before. Yet David also raised his play and the two of them had some tantalizing rallies with Roger mixing up deft angles with pinpoint accuracy and Ferrer never giving up on the hunt.
Ultimately at 6-6 a tie break was needed and David got the first mini-break at 1-0. Roger immediately grabbed it back at 1-1 and then again got another break to go up 4-2. After he held serve to go up 6-3, David, facing match point, did well to hang in there and go up to 5-6. However, once back on Federer’s serve, he took the set and the match in 1 hour and 48 minutes. Despite, at times, atrocious, level of play by Federer, and considering the hot streak of Ferrer, somehow Roger stepped up a gear at JUST the right points to ensure this straight sets win. The only explanations I can think of for this extraordinary win is that champions find a way out of these situations, and Roger has been doing this at the top level for a very, very long time.
With this win the Swiss ended Ferrer’s winning streak. He also continued his clean sheet against the Spaniard to go up 14-0 in their H2Hs. His straight sets win ensured he was the 1st player through to the SFs. He has now reached 10 SFs of this tournament in the 11 years he has played. He also has a 102-1 lifetime record against opponents 30 and over since March 2002 when he lost to Agassi at Miami. That 1 loss came against his friend Tommy Haas at Halle this year. His stats for 2012 are now 70 wins to 10 losses. He is now tied with John McEnroe at 6th place for total career matches played at 1073, out of which he is 4th on the list for winning the most matches by winning 877 of those matches played.
Roger will next face del Porto in his final round robin match on Saturday, but his SF place is already assured.
Del Potro took on Janko Tipsarevic in the other round robin match and perhaps Janko is still suffering from his cold because he got bageled in the first set by the Tower of Tandil. The second set was more competitive with Tipsarevic finding his groove until he was broken and Delpo went up 4-2. Janko held serve after that but could not break Delpo’s who faced no break points in the 2nd set (he faced and saved 1 in the first set). There was no changing the inevitable as Delpo took the set 6-4 and thus won the match in 1 hour 16 minutes. With this loss Janko is out of the running in the SFs berth so the other spot is up for grabs by either Delpo or Ferrer. For Ferrer, he can only grab the 2nd spot of the group if he beats Tipsarevic and Roger beats Delpo whereas Delpo can still qualify even if he loses to Federer provided Tipsarevic defeats Ferrer. Also point of note, should Ferrer reach the final, he will overtake Rafa as the #4 player in the world.
Today the final round robin matches of Group A get underway. The first match is Novak vs. Berdych which should be interesting but I do think Novak will take it, in 3 sets if necessary. While in the other match Murray faces off against Tsonga who has been highly erratic in the tail end of the season with only flashes of his last year’s brilliance. There is only one way for Tsonga to go through to the SFs and that is if he defeats Murray in 2 sets AND Djokovic defeats Berdych in 2 sets as well and frankly speaking, I don’t see those scenarios panning out. Tsonga might even lose to Murray in straight sets. I think both Novak and Andy will come through with Novak topping the group and Andy setting up an SF clash potentially with Roger.