It’s past 4am here so this will be a short match report. Roger Federer is through to the SFs in Basel after defeating Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets. The match didn’t live up to the crazy hype, but honestly no match could have. The media circus around this awful ‘Baby Fed’ business was just ridiculous.
The first set started ominously for Roger and he immediately provided Grigor 5 break point opportunities before ultimately holding and I honestly think as early as it was, that set the tone of the set. The next games remained on serve with Grigor holding more easily than the Maestro. Then, serving to go up 4-3, Grigor played an awful game and gave Roger a chance to break. Surprising everyone… well surprising me at least… Roger broke right away. He followed that up with a quick love hold and forced Grigor to serve to stay in the set. Grigor refused to lie down but ultimately provided a break point chance. Roger actually took it and thus took the first set with a double break at 6-3. Here are the stats.The second set was troublesome for Roger again in the beginning. Serving to go up 2-1, Roger played an atrocious game that culminated with a double fault at break point. Grigor went up 2*-1 instead and then held a tight service game to consolidate for a 3-1* score line. Roger kept pushing Grigor but he kept coming through, his serves helping him when he most needed them. Roger had a break point when Grigor was serving to go up 5-3* but Grigor saved it. The very next game, Roger was in trouble while serving to stay in the set. He provided Grigor 3 set points at 0-40 down before Roger found his A game and unfurled his armory of shots to take the next 5 points in a row. The score was now 5*-4 which meant Grigor had to serve for the set. A nervy Grigor gave the Maestro 2 break back opportunities and Roger capitalized on the 2nd to break back; the score was 5 all. After a tight hold, Roger kept pressuring Grigor, who was serving to take the set to a tie-break. But despite being 0-30 down, Grigor found his way back (with some helpful errors from the Swiss) to hold. In the tie-break Roger got an immediate mini double break and was up 5-1* at the changeover. Though Grigor got one more point, Roger calmly served it out, 7-6(7-2). Here are the stats for set 2.It was an up and down match and wasn’t helped by Grigor’s nerves or Roger’s recent patchy form. Both players served poorly; Roger actually had 4 double faults to only 3 aces. He only got 56% of his first serves in but he did win 84% of them which made a big difference. Despite the match being error ridden, there were flashes of brilliant all court tennis too, with amazing lobs, fantastic smashes and deft touches at the net. I think the stat that is an important take-away for Roger from this match was the break points he saved. Rather than highlighting Grigor’s failure to break Roger, I think it’s a testament to the Swiss that he saved 9 out of 10 of those chances. Even thought the Maestro wasn’t his immaculate self, he saved them with intelligence, will, determination and a lot of experience. He remained positive and made sure the match was finished in straight sets. The victory was probably even sweeter considering this was his 50th match win in Basel. Here are the match stats.That mental positivity is what has given me the most hope this tourney and I will put my faith on that and his hunger for the SFs tomorrow. He faces the young Canadian Vasek Pospisil who is in tremendous form. This will be another tough match especially because I don’t think Vasek will be easy to break. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and refrain from any further comments. I’ll let that Wilson racquet weave its own magic on court. Allez!