I actually did a google search on the words “39 minutes” and came up with multiple results: According to an article we spend only 39 minutes per day gobbling up our lunch, dinner and breakfast. There is also a comic book titled “39 minutes”. Or those who are fans of the Swedish band ‘Caesars’ will know that they released an album called “39 Minutes of Bliss (In an Otherwise Meaningless World)”. But google knows I am a mere mortal, hence those suggestions. If I was Roger Federer, google would have told me I also have the option of winning a QF tennis match in 39 minutes.
I am honestly still a little blown away by the match. Roger came on the court looking serious if not borderline annoyed. He had a fierce expression on his face which should’ve given us a clue, now that I think about it. But could we really have anticipated such a lopsided result? I think not. He has faced Zverev once before and had won that in straight sets, though Mischa went down fighting. Today was not going to be a repeat of that.
I was just getting settled into the match, when 6 minutes in, the score was already 3-0* for Roger. 14 minutes later he took the bagel. I thought that was a nice first set for all of us but told myself that Zverev was bound to wake up and try something different in the second. He did try to play better and there was a moment when it looked like he would get on board on his own service game at 40-15. But Roger just came at him and quickly snuffed out the game points and with the help of double faults, he steamrolled Zverev into getting broken. After a mere 19 minutes, the job was done; 6-0, 6-0, a double bagel win for Roger, only the second in his career. He had won his first double bagel against Argentinean Gaston Gaudio in 2005 in the Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup – he played with a fractured foot I believe. But that match took longer, making today’s 39 minute match the fastest in the Swiss’s glittering career of 902 wins thus far. Here are the match stats.Mischa certainly didn’t play very well. But I firmly believe that even if he could have elevated his game, he would’ve been no match for THIS Roger. This was a different Roger today. Unlike his previous match, he had no problems in his movement, he found all the lines and corners and every single match stat was superb. He served well, returned well, played great defense and even greater offense. He provided no break points, converted 4 break points out of 10, hit smashes at will; his forehands were lethal and his backhands were beautiful. Interestingly I wouldn’t call this one of his master classes. A master class means one can learn from watching his pretty tennis. Today Roger didn’t leave you any time to learn anything. And it wasn’t all pretty showy tennis either. A lot of it was precise and efficient tennis and getting the job done as quickly as possible. It certainly seemed like he was on a mission. Maybe he was happy with getting an early match for once and realized if he finished early he could spend the whole day with his family. Regardless, he showed Zverev no mercy at all; the King of Grass was back and he put on a determined, scary and ruthless performance.
Zverev gracefully accepted the loss, “I’d rather lose 6-0, 6-0 to Roger in a quarter-final than to a qualifier in the second round. At least there is something to talk about later.” Federer said “It’s not something which is easy to do. You never go into a match aiming for that score, I was very surprised that it happened today, especially on grass. I think it is disappointing for a serve-and-volley player to go down like this. It shows also how easy it is to hit passing shots or returns today. I hope he doesn’t take it too badly, I just had a pretty easy time picking up his serve and I must have made a ton of returns.” And when asked whether he had ever suffered such a defeat the Swiss replied the only time he lost 6-0, 6-0 was his first match, at age 8 :).
Up next is good friend and recent doubles partner Tommy Haas. Haas has been playing some very good tennis of his own. He’s had a brutal draw having to fight off Gulbis in Round 2 and then and a rejuvenated Monfils in the QFs. This will be a big test for Roger who hasn’t faced top 100 opponents yet. Today’s performance should definitely give him some confidence in facing Tommy. Roger has a 10-3 H2H against Haas but their most recent match was a year ago at the Halle finals where Tommy defeated Roger to take his 13th title. I wish this had been the final but you can’t have it all and despite being a Tommy fan, I am a Roger fan first and foremost so I’ll be cheering for the Maestro. Hope I have a similarly happy result to write about tomorrow! Allez Roger!