Roger Federer is into the Indian Wells SFs! And he got there in style! What a performance it was against Berdych. I feel bad for those who missed it. For the first 6 games of the match the players were even. After that, it was a runaway train and Roger was the conductor.
In Berdych’s 3rd service game he hit 3 double faults but still held. I know that was frustrating for Roger’s fans but that also meant Tomas was seriously feeling the pressure from Roger to keep faulting like that. And sure enough, Roger broke him in the next game and then quickly held to go up 5-3*. Tomas then held to make Roger serve for the set. I’m betting he didn’t know that would be the last game he would hold in the match, I certainly didn’t. The Swiss did hit a double fault but then quickly refocused and took the first set in 40 minutes.
The second set started with Roger not letting up at all. He immediately had breakpoints on Tomas’ serve and he took one to start the set being a break up. He was pushed by Tomas while trying to consolidate but he held and it was up to Tomas to save himself. But at 0*-2 down, Tomas was crumbling under the strain Roger was putting on him. Roger hit some amazing shots and got 2 breakpoint chances but this time, he didn’t have to convert them on his own; Tomas gifted him the double break with a double fault.
Up 3*-0, Roger’s crazy level of tennis did not let up. He held with yet another beautiful game and soon it was Tomas’ turn to serve at 0*-4. Roger had a breakpoint but couldn’t convert. But that didn’t matter because he was truly the FedExpress on this day and he was relentless. He got a breakpoint again which he took with a wonderful forehand winner down the line and boom! He was up 5*-0! I began to dream of getting a bagel against Berdych. By the time I snapped out of it, Roger was already up 30-0. And then in the blink of an eye, we got our bagel set. Game, set, match, Federer 6-4, 6-0 in 68 minutes. Here are the match stats.Roger won in every stats category. He hit a ton of first serves and he won 88% of those points. He faced no breakpoints. He hit some jaw dropping returns and won 13 out of 14 net points. He hit 21 winners to only 11 unforced errors. Out of those winners, he hit 2 backhand winners and 9 forehand winners. His forehands were ON FIRE in this match and his backhands down the line were delicious. He won the short rallies, the medium rallies and the long rallies too. Here is a link to his partial on-court interview, a link to his interview post match and a link to his full presser video. Here is a link to the hot shot, a Free D clip and a blistering return he hit on one of Tomas’ serves. I figured I would also link two tribute videos here too, one from BNP Paribas Open and one from Moët & Chandon.
This was a flawless performance from Roger. He already had a good match against Sock but better quality opponents also push him to do better and from the time he came on court he had a look of intensity in his eyes that didn’t ease up till the final shot. Berdych had an off day on his serves for sure but Roger was at a whole other level than him, all throughout. He was untouchable. Here is what Tomas had to say about Roger,
“He played pretty well today. It was one of his very tough performances. When you feel that he’s in control right from the beginning, then of course you have to come up with your best game from the beginning of the match. That’s basically it. I mean, you just want to play well. You just want to play your best. There is a very thin line in between that and overdoing it. It’s not so easy, really, to control it every single time that you go play with a player like this.”
The Maestro hit shot after shot that made all of us oooh and ahhh and groan and moan in pleasure and delight 😀 Not only that but he didn’t spend much time on court which will help him in his SFs match tomorrow. Here is what Roger said in his presser,
“I found it quickly. I felt like I was hitting the ball well but also playing the right way. When those two things happen, it was always going to be tough for him. I think I really played well off the baseline. I had control from the baseline, and then I guess what he would have needed today is really high first serve percentage and a lot of aces when he had to keep the pressure on me that way. Because I was serving well and moving well, so maybe there is not going to be that many chances for him on the return as it is. I think I was really able to utilize the court much more, play more angles, play with variation, spin and slice. I did that very well. So it was a great match to back it up after the good match-up against (Jack) Sock I had against the other day.”
Roger will face off against Milos Raonic in the SFs. Milos came through an 3 intense sets against Rafa so that was a big win for him. Both Roger and I thought Rafa would win that one and frankly I am a bit disappointed that he didn’t. After the display Roger put on against Berdych I thought this would be the perfect time and place to meet Rafa, he had a good chance of defeating him. Roger felt the same way and said so in his interview. Better here than on clay right? But what’s done is done and now he will face off against Milos who will be dangerous, especially in daytime conditions when the balls fly faster. Those aces will be coming hard at Roger and Milos will have a new-found confidence after outlasting Rafa the way he did, saving match points.
It will not be easy but Roger will be feeling confident too so we shall see how it all unfolds. He did cough a few times yesterday but I’m hoping it’s nothing since he was able to move without hesitation and it seemed his mind was fresh and clear. Notably, he has been without a coach this week but he has his whole family and his parents with him as well as his physio and his longtime childhood friend Lammer, who is still there supporting him so he’s not alone by any means. I hope Roger can bring the form he showed against Berdych back on court for the SFs. If he can do that, Milos will have a fight on his hands. The match will be a day match and will be held as soon as the first SF is done. C’mon Roger, let’s do this!