Roger Federer is through to his 11th Swiss Indoors SFs! I really believe he took a lot of information from his previous match vs. Istomin to get a feel for the conditions and find his form. It certainly helped him in his QF vs. Dimitrov which he won thankfully quicker than I expected.
The first set was scintillating tennis from both. Grigor started off the match and was immediately a break point down but saved it to get on the board. Roger meanwhile had a much easier time holding than Grigor and this pattern continued for the next 10 games. A few love holds by Roger, some tougher holds by Grigor but not so tough that he had to save many breakpoints either. Serving to go up 6-5, Grigor got pushed to deuce by Roger and then slipped and fell on his elbow. Roger came to the net to check as Grigor was still down for a few minutes. Nonetheless, the Bugarian got up and shook himself off and ultimately held. It was up to Roger to take the set to a tie-break.
I don’t know whether his concentration was thrown off when Grigor fell but suddenly, after serving so well throughout the set Grigor had 2 breakpoints which in this case were also set points. Roger saved both to get to deuce only for Grigor to get one more. Another save and then yet another chance for Grigor. Roger saved that one too and finally took the game and it was 6 all. In the tie-break Roger immediately got a mini-break and then held his own serves to go up 3-0*. Grigor gifted Roger with one more mini-break to go down 0-4* but very quickly took it back to balance the score a bit more at 2-4*at the change of ends. Roger didn’t make a mistake with his serve after that and held to push the score to 5-2*. Grigor held his own two serves and forced Roger to serve for the tie-break at 5*-4. By then the Maestro was in the groove and showed no nerves to take the set 7-6(7-4) in 54 minutes.
The momentum going into set 2 was clearly on the side of our champ. He served to start the second set but immediately went down 0-30 before he regrouped and held to get on the board. From then on, there was no looking back. He kept the pressure on Grigor extracting breakpoints in the Bulgarian’s very first service game and finally broke him for the first time in the match to take a 2*-0 lead. The writing was probably on the wall by then. He quickly consolidated and was up 3-0* as a deflated Grigor waiting to still get on the board. Grigor finally did by holding his next two games but couldn’t make any more in-roads into the Maestro’s service holds. As Roger went up to 5-2* with two consecutive aces, Grigor had to serve to stay in the match. Roger was relentless in creating pressure and soon had match point which he ultimately won with a correct challenge of all things 😀 Roger won the match 7-6, 6-2 in 1 hour and 29 minutes.
Roger did almost everything a touch better than Grigor. He served well and hit 10 aces though it would be better if he could get the first serve percentage up to 60%. He was super aggressive, coming to the net 31 times and winning 20 of them especially compared to Grigor’s 5 out of 10 net points. Roger still had a high number of unforced errors of 21 but thankfully had a bit more winners, 29 to be exact. Here are the highlights, a clip of the funny match point, the on-court interview and the match stats.Up next is the giant Croatian Ivo Karlovic who at 35 years of age has found new form this year. The H2H is 11-1 in Roger’s favour. Roger is usually adept at handling big servers but a different Croatian this year hammered down serves at our champ and I haven’t emotionally recovered from that mauling. So I shall keep my mouth shut. What is good is that Roger played his best match yesterday so hopefully he will carry that form into today.
That’s it from me. The match will start after the first SF is over and the first SF will start at 2:30pm local time. So I am guessing Federer’s match will start around 4:00pm local time. Tune in then to watch the Maestro contest his 12th SF out of the 15 tournaments he’s played this year 🙂 Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with two of his on-court interviews in Swiss German, one after the Dimitrov match and one after the Muller match. I understood nothing but it’s fun to see him happy and giggly 😛 Allez Roger!