This will be a super short report in the interest of time. Roger Federer is through to the Halle final! Hmm, maybe that’s enough of a headline to stop right here 😀 Federer took out Kei Nishikori in hard-fought straight sets, 6-3, 7-6(7-4) in 73 minutes.
In my last report I mentioned that Federer would have to serve very well and capitalize on any break point opportunities he might get to secure the win; he did that and more. The Halle surface is fast and low-bouncing which enabled a lot of service winners and short creative rallies, i.e. what Roger does best. The first set was tight but Roger seemed to be in control the entire time especially after he got the crucial break in the 6th game. While Kei continued to serve well too, he never let the Japanese get a look at his serve and saved the one break point he offered.
In the second set, Roger broke Kei right away. Sensing danger, Kei upped the ante and got the break back immediately with some winners of his own and a few errors from the Swiss. From then on, both players held comfortably as the match progressed at lightening pace and got to 4 all. Roger made a few bad errors in Kei’s service game that allowed Nishikori to hold easily and go up 5-4* with Roger having to serve to stay in the set. 2 great serves from Roger helped him equal the score at 5 all but before you could blink, Kei held to love and it was up to Roger to take the set to a dreaded tie-break. He might have been a bit nervous as he hit a double-fault. Nonetheless, he held and we were into the tie-break.
Roger got a mini-break but immediately gave it back. Right before the change of ends, Kei went up a mini-break at 4-2*. Roger then got the mini-break back to level at 4 all. Then, an error from Nishikori gave Roger a mini-break again, this time on his own serve. An un-returnable serve from Roger brought up match-point and then a Nishikori error sealed the deal. Or so we all thought! After that point, the Maestro did a little fistpump and then jogged back to the baseline, ready to receive Kei’s serve! Ummmm… Roger dear, the match is over! He was so focused that he totally lost count and thought the match was still going on! Then he saw Kei laughing, his box laughing, (yes Severin was actually laughing) and the crowd cheering and realized what had happened 🙂 Here is the hilarious clip that will be watched by his grandchildren on his 90th birthday 😀
Here are the highlights, the presser clip, the presser transcript and the match stats.I thought Roger played at a much higher level than his first match. He served and volleyed quite a lot and most of the time, it paid off. He knew Kei prefers some rhythm to his matches and these short net points threw the Japanese star off his game. Roger glided on the grass this match displaying that natural ability that he has for this surface. Kei held his own for the most part, especially the second set. But Roger was able to play well on the big points and reminded us of Vintage Federer as he grabbed the win by the collar at the right time. This was his 1,178 career match and 956th career match win. He is now in his 118th career final and 9th Halle final.
Up next is Colombian player Alejandro Falla. Despite a H2H of 6-0 in Roger’s favour, Falla is not a player to be underestimated. He is a lefty who plays aggressive tennis and likes fast surfaces. He has given Roger plenty of trouble in the past. He took a set off him in the London Olympics in 2012 and had a 2 set to love lead in Wimbledon in 2010 causing palpitations in the hearts of millions till Roger was able to win it in 5. Falla has nothing to lose in this final and every win he had this week was well-earned. He displayed nerves of steel to win the SFs and is not in awe of Federer in any way. He knows he has a chance. In his presser he said he would prefer to play Roger over Kei. So yes, I will be rocking back and forth with nerves when play gets underway.
Meanwhile, back to yesterday, within 40 minutes of his singles win over Kei, he was back on court again playing the doubles SF with his childhood friend Marco Chiudinelli. And guess what? He’s in the doubles final too! The singles final will be held today at 3pm local time followed by the doubles final after suitable rest. How wonderful it would be if he won both! It’s the stuff dreams are made of so let me have this for the next few hours please! 🙂 Good luck for both finals today Roger!