Even before I started this post I knew it would take me longer to write and put it up than it took for Roger Federer to close out his Brisbane QF match. Roger looked like he was on a mission from the start and Aussie James Duckworth never had a chance. Our champ was determined to prevent any sort of a nervy match like the day before plus he knew that he would need to save as much energy as possible for his SF given that he would have the least amount of turnaround time out of all the semi-finalists.
I don’t know what to write about the first set. It was over in 16 minutes. There was imperious Roger despite not serving at his best and then there was James who looked dazed and confused. Roger was relentless and did not let up on the pressure and thus frankly speaking, there wasn’t much time for James to do anything. Roger got the bagel and Duckworth took a long bathroom break, probably hoping that the momentum could be changed with a fresh new set.
No such chance though, he came back on court to see Roger was pacing around the court like a restless lion. James started the set fighting and won a few points too but then gave Roger one breakpoint and Roger the Lion pounced. The Maestro quickly held to go up 2-0* and then finally, after losing 8 straight games, James got on the board. Roger held easily to go up 3-1* and the responsibility was on James again to make a go of it. Sadly for the Aussie, it proved too much. With Roger rushing everything, James got more flummoxed and got broken again. Up 4*-1, Roger held in under a minute and James was left having to serve to stay in the match. By then whatever adrenaline James had managed to conjure up earlier had all but gone. Roger had 3 match points; James saved one; Roger took the next. 6-0, 6-1 in 40 minutes. Here are the match stats.Roger played very well today. He hit 8 unforced errors but also a staggering 24 winners and 12 aces in this short match. He won a total of 51 points to James’ 17, faced no breakpoints, won 10 out of 10 net points and 6 out of 8 breakpoints. His serve wasn’t the best in set 1, getting in 57% of his first serves but he cleaned that up in set 2, getting in 81% of his first serves in. Here is the clip of a game featuring Roger’s serves, a clip of the match point and a small clip of the highlights including the fun on-court interview. I haven’t found a clip of the full presser but here’s a partial one.
Up next for Roger is Grigor Dimitrov, ranked #11 in the world. They’ve played twice in the past 2 years, with Roger winning both times. The two matches were in Basel so Roger had the home-court advantage there, although I hope Roger will get a decent bit of support at Brisbane too! Grigor has played well this week and looks very confident coming into the SFs so this is bound to be a tough match. Here’s hoping that Roger brings his latest form into the match tomorrow!