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Federer reaches the SFs in Rome!

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2Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+nHHKirkjohdxRoger Federer has reached the SFs in Rome! Back when Roger announced his full and heavy clay schedule, I had the least hope for this tournament. Rome has been historically frustrating for our champ. Yet, of the 3 clay Masters, clearly he has performed the best here this year. Maybe flying under the radar has worked for him. The talk has been about Novak and Rafa and Andy as a new clay court specialist which left the spotlight off the Swiss for a bit. Given the results, I think we are all just fine with that 😀

Roger’s QF opponent today was an old foe, Tomas Berdych. In fact, this was their 20th match. Tomas has had plenty of big wins over Roger to not be in awe of him and he had been playing great leading up to this match. So obviously, I was nervous. Roger seemed a bit cautious in the beginning but held nonetheless despite not really having his first serves. Things went fine till 2 all. Then before you could blink, Roger got broken. That seemed to bring some life into Roger and he sprang into action pushing Berdych to a breakpoint. A double fault from the Czech and the set was back on serve at 3 all. Roger then held to love to go up 4-3*.

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+ysgoHupsnO1xThis seemed a good moment to get a crucial break and the Maestro did just that to go up  5*-3. While serving for the set, Roger still had problems with his first serves and wouldn’t you know it, Berdych had 3 breakpoints at 0-40. But one by one, Roger saved each one and then had one set point but failed to convert. But have no fear, he got another one and this time there was no mistake. Roger won that set 6-3 with only 46% of his first serves going in. I don’t know how he did it but let’s not question that now. Onto set 2!

Set 2 saw a whole lot of drama. A photographer dropped a camera lens on the court and caused play to be stopped which annoyed Roger to no end. There was another point when Berdych was late in making a call to the umpire which angered Roger even more. Meanwhile, the Czech wasn’t having a fun time either because in addition to the rising tempers, the wind had also suddenly picked up. I know this because Roger’s hair was blowing in the wind. And I know that because I am an observant fan *cough cough*. The billowing winds picked up the clay swirling it everywhere and getting in both players eyes.

But strangely, through all the commotion, Roger’s level of tennis actually kept getting better and better. From getting in only 46% of his first serves in, in set 1, in set 2 he got in 80% of them in, despite the wind. He faced no breakpoints in the set, returned better and played excellent net points. He showed his full arsenal of shots including a fantastic lob over Berdych. At 3 all, Roger finally got his chance and broke Tomas to go up 4*-3. He had a bit of difficulty consolidating but in the end he did and it was up to Berdych to serve to stay in the match at 3*-5. Instead, Tomas gave Roger 2 match points. Roger needed only one. Game, set, match Federer, 6-3, 6-3 in 66 minutes. Here are the match stats.matchqRoger ran much more than Berdych, 111 meters more in fact. Movement is clearly not an issue for this ‘old man’ 😉 He also handled the conditions much better than Tomas which was not the case a year ago. He also kept the rallies short and won more points off them too, 36 to Tomas’ 23. Oh and one more interesting stat, Roger’s backhand has been very good so far, which is surprising given the surface. But Roger did mention that the conditions were fast so maybe that has helped him on this wing. Here is the ATP hot shot, a few more hot shots, the on-court interview, the post-match interview and a link to the full match (almost). And below are excerpts from his presser.

“From the baseline I was playing very well. My serve was not quite there in the beginning. I had to go through too many second serves and he was able to take advantage of that and break early. For me, it was important to pick it up on the serve, which is maybe the easiest thing to do. I felt good again on the return, moving well. As it went on, I think I got into the match better and better. The wind picked up in the second set. That’s why I think Tomas didn’t play so well anymore and I was able to get the job done. So I’m very pleased how the match went.”

Roger+Federer+Internazionali+BNL+Italia+2015+UE-vvcY3MicxUp next is fellow Swiss player Stan Wawrinka. Stan had a very good win over Rafa and is running high on confidence. He also defeated Roger the last time they played on clay in a match I will never revisit. If you have read my earlier posts and/or follow me on twitter then you might know, I hate Roger’s matches with Stan. There is pent-up emotion and angst that spills over that I do not wish to see. I always feel Roger is extra tentative in these matches. Tomorrow will be very tough indeed.

When the draw had come out for Rome I said I would be very happy if he reached the SFs and he did. So for me, this is icing on the cake. From the interviews, Roger sounds like he’s playing with nothing to lose and that has worked out for him thus far, so maybe it will work one more time too. The match will be played at 8:00pm local time. Wishing you the very best Roger. Go out there, stay loose, remember to breathe and give him hell! Allez!

 

***Photos are Getty Images from the Zimbio.com. Stats from the ATP site.***

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12 thoughts on “Federer reaches the SFs in Rome!

  1. Agree re the tension in Stan/Rog matches. It’s as tho Rog has too much respect for Stan and he doesn’t play his best. Hoping tomorrow he can forget that and just enjoy the match. Stan might be a bit mentally tired as took a huge amount of intensity to beat Rafa. Despite the score, it was tight! Fingers crossed Fed can come out serving and returning well. Everything else will come from that! Chum jetzt!

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    • Thanks for your comments! That is exactly it, I don’t think Roger plays his best against Stan and seems lost on court. Stan on the other hand has no such confusion and attacks him with everything he’s got. It becomes tough to watch. But this year has been a unique one in terms of unpredictability so who knows what will happen. Let’s just hope Roger can remain focused and forget who is across the net. Allez!

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  2. Roger did awesome today! The wind was in his sails specially from the second set onwards 😛 It was so awesome to see Roger’s backhand working so well today. It gives him an incredible edge over his opponents if backhands continues to work like this.

    I watched the Stan-Rafa match dreading thoughts of a Fedal match but as Stan went on to break Rafa’s serve in the 1st set I knew what was coming for Roger tomorrow 😦 Even I don’t like Roger-Stan matches as the last few ones have been physically and emotionally exhilarating for Roger 😦 I mean I was ROFC (rolling on the floor crying) during that WTF semis last year.

    Like you even I am extremely happy that Roger reached semis without dropping a set! He looks confident on his serves (ignoring todays 1st set). Loving Roger’s attitude on court as well and it shows in is game. I know Roger can keep this up even if its against Stan the Man. “Roger will see you off tom Stan” 😛 😉 Show no mercy Roger! ALLEZ 😀

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    • Thank you so much for commenting! And I agree with you completely. Roger has done very well in Rome thus far. His BH has been beautiful to watch and he’s served well for the most part. Tonight will be a night match again and Stan will be more familiar with it than Roger. Stan played incredibly well last night from what I heard. Plus Stan always brings his best against Roger but with Roger, that’s rarely ever the case. I really hope for once Roger can forget who is across the net and play his natural game the way he has been the past few matches. Come on Roger! You can do this!!!

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  3. I agree on the weird tension between the 2 Swiss. I wonder if Roger feels guilty for overshadowing Stan so much over the years and, as you say, is a bit tentative sometimes. Certainly, I always feel like Stan is going for Roger’s jugular whenever they play. I think Roger has gotten injured a couple of times in Stan matches which seems a little strange.

    And apologies for being a bit blunt here, but I have to admit that the whole Mirkagate thing still leaves a slightly sour taste in my mouth re: Stan’s on court behaviour. I felt like he was being ridiculously oversensitive. Even if he got a bit of a heckle, he’s a grown man and a public figure. Suck it up and keep your head in the game like a big boy.

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    • Thank you for your comments! and I absolutely agree with everything you said. As for the WTFs, I am particularly sensitive about it because I was at that match LIVE. and I spoke with others there who had direct view of Roger’s box on the other side and Mirka most definitely did not call out to him. He created such a ruckus! and that caused people to boo and he got even more petulant. But I don’t know why he was feeling so insecure because he got plenty of support himself. Obviously when you play Roger, the majority of the crowd will be with him. He’s spent 17 years on tour earning that respect and love. Other players including the very top ones, accept that and play accordingly. Yet he plays Roger with the biggest chip on his shoulder. I too think Roger either feels guilty or like an older sibling who wants to win but also thinks his younger sibling deserves a chance. It’s just one big emotional mess. ughhhh. I do not like it at all! I hope Roger wins today but Stan will come at him with everything he has and more. *sigh* Fingers crossed!

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  4. I really appreciate the write up since I could only check scores from time to time. Roger never ceases to surprise!

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    • Thanks for reading and commenting! Roger was very good today, especially in how he was able to channel that anger and annoyance into great tennis! It doesn’t always work out that way so I was nervous till then end. Today will be a new kind of torture but hey, at least we got here! The SFs in Rome! Not bad considering the results in MC and Madrid. So who knows what can happen tonight! 🙂

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  5. Hi!

    I’m a big Roger Federer fan and also a video maker. So I do a lot of video tributes for Roger! Anyway, I just finished a compilation of Federer’s Top 100 Best Shots during his career, and I wonder if you could help me out by sharing this video on your page? It would be very helpful and I would really appreciate it!

    Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwU4qG_Z8Ns

    Take care!

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