rogerfedererfan

This blog covers all things RF. It is dedicated to my dearest friend and avid FedFan @EfieZac. May she RIP 💙


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April 12, 2016

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+RxgaU5En6qjx7:00am: I actually woke up and jumped out of bed in one quick motion. I have a major presentation at work today in exactly 1 hour 30 minutes from now. Panic is settling in, need to get ready fast! This day is packed with a lot of different events/happenings but I have no time to think about all of them right now, one task at a time Ish, let’s start with washing up and a quick breakfast.

7:33am: Out the door and in the car and already 3 minutes behind schedule according to my frantic glances at my watch. Please traffic gods, be kind this morning.

7:47am: Traffic isn’t bad actually! Maybe this will be a lucky day, I need the luck for the presentation, for the lunch meeting I have after that and then there’s Roger… NO! Stop it Ish! We’re not there yet. We have the whole day to manage before we reach Roger, keep those butterflies out of your system for now.

8:00am: I was so super efficient that I reach my destination 30 minutes before my presentation and the office security has only just started to unlock the doors. Hmmm, maybe I can take a quick look at twitter on my phone, the TL seems extra busy today; excitement building up over HIS first match. A mental calculation tells me it’s still at least 10 hours away. I wonder how he’s feeling. Um Ish, he’s not even up yet. He’s still sleeping while you look like a crazy woman pacing up and down the office lobby staring into your phone. Stop it!

8:30am: I am ready with my presentation. The audience however is not. Let us remember that this is a South Asian country where being on time is considered social faux pas. I drum my fingers on the table in impatience and nervous energy, this presentation is for the donors so a lot depends on this going smoothly. Is Roger… Uff! You idiot! Don’t you remember that he’s still sleeping on his 1000 thread count bedsheets? You did a timezone check only 30 minutes ago! It’s 4:30am there, for goodness sake! I sip water to calm down.Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+VZPPkUnqAdux

8:45am: Here we go with the presentation! Oh, suddenly the mic’s not working? You mean I have to yell across the room to be heard over the ACs? Sure, no problem, my bad for expecting something more.

9:30am: Presentation done! Good questions were answered with good answers while stupid questions were answered as well as they could be, because duh, they were stupid questions. Now I can relax and watch the other projects get roasted, hehehe. Wait, so this means I can sneak peeks at twitter! And no Ish, he’s still not awake so don’t even bothering wondering how he’s feeling. Not yet.

12:00pm: Back in my own room at the office. Barely able to sit down before a colleague comes rushing in with some emergency. I look up in the midst of this conversation to see another colleague hovering in the back waiting to catch my attention. This was going to be one of those days. I reluctantly put the phone aside, minimize the twitter tab on my desktop and open up excel files with a sigh.

1:00pm: Lunch meeting at the restaurant downstairs with my supervisor and her supervisor. I hate lunch meetings. It’s never about the lunch and always about the meeting. To a foodie like me, that’s just insulting. But this wasn’t my call so I head downstairs. Coming down the stairs I realize its 9:00am in Monaco, Roger must be awake by now! Is he nervous? Is he super chill? Would have been nice if Mirka was there but looking through twitter it doesn’t seem like anyone has seen her.

1:25pm: Meeting hasn’t started and I am starving. Why? Because being on time is a social faux pas, remember?

2:45pm: Lunch meeting done. I barely remember what I ate. It was some kind of pasta that was supposed to be eaten hot but had significantly cooled because I had to spend my time talking instead. Boo!

3:00pm: Back in my office room but this time, there is no line of colleagues waiting for me; alone at last! I plop down on my chair, exhausted but content. The lunch meeting had gone well, despite the sorry pasta, the presentation had gone well, especially when compared to the ones that followed, hee hee. This was a good day! So then why am I feeling nauseous suddenly? I am still feeling nervous; residual adrenaline? What IS IT?

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+DX-uQEb5AUex4:00pm: Relaxing music on youtube fill my ears through headphones. I have been mostly undisturbed the past hour yet my anxiety is not going away. I drank water, I had tea, but nothing is helping. Am I falling ill?

4:10pm: YOU ARE SO STUPID ISH! Of course you are nervous! ROGER FEDERER IS ABOUT TO PLAY HIS FIRST MATCH IN OVER 2 MONTHS! AND YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE A PILLOW TO SCREAM INTO! *sigh* It’s actually been so long since I’ve watched tennis that I had forgotten what pre-match nerves were like. Damn Roger, you’ve been gone a while! 😥

5:00pm: All my things are gathered, desktop already shut down, I am ready to head home. My colleagues eye me suspiciously until one of them quips up “Is anything wrong? You never leave before 6:00pm!” I say I am exhausted from the day’s meetings and the presentation so I shall leave at a normal time for once. Count this as lie #1,457 that I have had to tell my office peeps because of Roger.

5:10pm: In my car. Please hang in there Pierre-Hugues Herbert! Delay Andy till I get home!

6:15pm: I am home! And Pierre listened! Roger’s match is going to start more than an hour late. I have plenty of time to prepare.

7:40pm: THERE HE ISSSSSS! Walking out on court with a smile on his face! The crowd erupts! I squeal loudly! I cannot believe he’s back! And guess what! There is Mirka! And Lynette too! YAY! My TL on twitter is full and chatty and excited, how I missed this too! *happy tear*

8:00pm: Roger seemed a bit nervous in the beginning but he’s settling in. Ahhh… that service motion is still as beautiful as it ever was. He’s so quick between the points too. Lopez is making him run but he seems more than ready for it. No issues with the knee that I can see.

8:15pm (approx): The first set is done! He was helped by Lopez a bit in getting the break but then faced 2 break points while consolidating. Nonetheless he held his nerve and soon, one set was in the bag!

8:30pm (approx): Roger is definitely back. Snapping beautiful cross-court forehands and that backhand looks luscious! In fact, Roger looks delicious himself. That kit is beautiful. A lovely maroon shirt paired with bluish gray/grayish blue shorts. Rich colour tones that looked velvety. Actually, he reminded me of my favorite cupcakes ever, the royalty of all cupcakes, the Red Velvet. See? I have proof!velvetroger8:45pm (approx): Serving for the match at 5*-2 and Roger gets broken. Why Roger why? Well I can imagine why, he got nervous serving it out and Lopez picked that very moment to play better than he had played the whole match. So close, but we are not done yet.

8:55pm (approx): Let’s try this again at 5*-4 shall we? Much better job this time around, leaving no room for doubt or error and its Game, Set, Match Federer! My TL erupts and I clap my hands and yell YES! My cat looks at me with disdain but I don’t care!

9:00pm (approx): Looking back on the whole day, I feel a different sense of accomplishment from the one I felt this morning after my presentation. There is a special brand of exhilaration in a shared experience of winning a match, with fans from all over the world; to be a part of something bigger than oneself. I had missed being a part of this community. Had my presentation gone badly and if my meetings had sucked, the day would have still been saved by Roger and my fellow fans. You make my world a better place Roger, please don’t leave us again like that.

The past two months, my world didn’t stop. The earth didn’t stop rotating, my work didn’t stop piling up, my cat didn’t stop being fiercely over-protective of me, and I didn’t stop my obsession with desserts. But this unique experience of being a Roger Federer fan was missing in my life and my days were less bright without him. Whenever anything negative happened I could usually count on Roger to cheer me up but not these past two months.

His absence made me realize a few truths. 1. My life will continue without him but it won’t be quite as fun 2. I have to try and learn not to depend on him solely for my source of positivity, though he makes it so easy. 3. I don’t like or watch tennis at all without Roger. Maybe this will change once he retires and I find the new generation compelling enough. But in the meantime, while I missed him tremendously, I didn’t miss Rogerless-tennis at all. For me there is no point in watching it without him and so I didn’t. 4. I really do like being a member of this Roger community and even though I didn’t tweet as much during this break I always checked my timeline to see how everyone is doing. So this post is dedicated to my wonderful twitter people and to @EfieZac in particular because her DMs inspired me to write this post. Love you Efie! ❤

Meanwhile, Roger is due on court in less than 3 hours so I’ll sign off by leaving this hot shot clip from that match right here to get you ready for today. Good luck Maestro!Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+3JOhts7Z_rzx

***Photos are Getty Images from Zimbio.com***

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Federer kicks off the clay season with a win

MC-Gallery-Weds7-2We are back on the red dirt. It’s my least favorite season in many ways but Roger Federer has decided to play a full clay season this year so brace yourselves, we’ll be here for a while. Roger’s first match on clay came with his Monte Carlo Rolex Masters R2 face-off against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy. Chardy has always caused Roger problems and despite Roger’s slim lead in their H2H at 2-1, Jeremy’s win came on clay in Rome last year. All their matches had been very tight and I expected a tough fight, especially given that this was the Maestro’s first match on this surface.

Jeremy started well enough. He held his first service game to get to 1 all. Then the proceedings quickly turned sour for the Frenchman as he got broken in his next serving game by double faulting on breakpoint. Roger held to love and in 14 minutes of match play, the Maestro was up 4-1* in the first set. Chardy held once more to take the score to 2-4* followed by another Roger hold that left Jeremy to serve to stay in the set. This was not to be ad he got broken again to give Roger the first set, 6-2 in 25 minutes.Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+oa8ImRA8LqXl

The second set started with a hold from Roger and a break of Jeremy’s serve giving Roger a nice lead of 2*-0. But a random lapse in concentration while trying to consolidate the break gave Jeremy a breakpoint. Roger got broken and it was back on serve which gave Jeremy so much needed confidence. Roger sensed that slight shift in momentum too and set about making things right. Jeremy’s next game was the longest one of the match with the Frenchman separately trying to hold on and Roger constantly pushing him. After missing several breakpoint chances, Roger unleashed this beauty of a shot to break back. It was 3*-1 and I think whatever steam was left in Jeremy dissipated right then. Roger consolidated and then broke Jeremy once more to take a commanding lead of 5*-1 in the set. The Swiss got pushed to 30 all but that was all the resistance Jeremy could muster as Roget put away a winner on match point. Game, Set, Match, Federer 6-2, 6-1 in 53 minutes. Here is yet another hot shot and here is a link to his post-match presser. The match stats are below.m

Clearly Jeremy was not at his best, his serve in particular let him down. Plus I got the feeling he was relying on the hit-to-Roger’s-backhand formula a bit too much and Roger’s backhand held up beautifully. Roger was glorious at the net winning 9 out of 12 points. He had 19 winners to 12 unforced errors and had excellent stats with his serve; 76% first serve points won and 70% second serve points won. I thought it was a good match played by Roger. He didn’t expend extra energy. He looked focused and played clean, clinical tennis.

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Monte+Carlo+t6vzP0jjeVulHe will need to dig deep in his next match even further as he faces off against another problematic Frenchman, Gael Monfils; their H2H is 8-3 in Roger’s favour. Gael had a very good win in his R2 match and the last time he played Roger was on clay at the Davis Cup final last year when he defeated Roger in straight sets. Yes, Roger was injured but then their match before that was at the US Open when Roger saved 2 match points. Gael can be a tough competitor with his acrobatic antics and he’s completely unpredictable and prone to faking out opponents. I am hoping Roger’s first match on clay has given him the confidence to not have his concentration disturbed by Monfils. Their match is the second one of the day session. Come on Roger!

***First photo is from the tournament site and the next two are from Zimbio.com. Stats are from the ATP site.***


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Looking back on 2014 thus far

uae_tennis_dubai_championships_xah02Hello everyone. It’s been that time of the year. The Roger Federer off-season – Fall Edition. He probably spent the time relaxing on an undisclosed, pristine, private beach in the Maldives. I did not. Not even on a dirty, public beach. But I have been leading my life sans tennis which has been surprisingly lovely because finally, I have been able to go to sleep at a decent time. The US Swing really took a toll on me with the conflicting time-zones so I was absolutely burnt out and fell quite ill right after the US Open. I did manage to watch Roger’s Davis Cup matches but other than that, I have been mostly tennis free.

However I can never go too long without some tennis and Federer and so I started to think about what to write my next post on. That led me down the memory lane of what we’ve been through already this year. So, I decided to make a random list of my version of the highs and lows of 2014. This list is based on my own preferences, my views and how I felt about each match or tournament and not on any scientific analysis. Still, I thought it would be cool to jot them all down before Roger comes back on tour in Shanghai. So here they are:

My take on Roger’s 2014 thus far:-

  • The Grand Slam I enjoyed the most: Australian Open. It was the first slam, Roger played very well and we got fun Jim Courier interviews. More importantly it gave a sense of hope for the new year and better days to come.Roger+Federer+Roger+Federer+Charity+Match+Q_gbxCrats_l
  • The ATP tournament I enjoyed the most: Dubai. This is absolutely based on my gut reaction and nothing else. Every match he played was tough and in most of them he had to come back from behind but the reason I loved it so much is the contrast it presented against 2013. In 2013 he lost matches he could have won. In Dubai, he won matches he could have lost. As far as I was concerned, this was a big turning point and I was finally able to leave the fear of 2013 behind.
  • The Grand Slam I enjoyed the least: Roland Garros, and not just for the usual reasons. I got the feeling Roger didn’t enjoy this year’s French Open either. He never looked comfortable plus it was the first time he traveled with both sets of twins, there was a lot going on behind the scenes I’m sure.
  • The ATP tournament I enjoyed the least: Monte Carlo, for many reasons. Not only was he reallllly close to winning a title he had never won, he had put us through some hellish matches in the tournament too. I am still not over Monte Carlo and I don’t ever want to revisit it. By the way, Rome doesn’t count in my head; he was there for all of 2 minutes.
  • The most important title: Cincinnati. Dubai was important because it got him on the board, meaning at least we could breathe easy knowing he has a title this year. Halle was not only a great preparation for Wimbledon, it was also the first time in 2 years he was able to defend a title. But in my mind, Cincinnati was the most important title this year. He really needed a Masters title, he hadn’t won one since Cincinnati 2 years ago. Plus he had already been in the finals of 3 Masters Tournaments this year where he had taken the runner-up trophy. He was overdue and thankfully it came right in the nick of time, a week after the bad loss at the Toronto final.Roger+Federer+Rogers+Cup+Toronto+1xqOeGnGttdx
  • The best 5 set match: Toss-up between the Wimbledon Final vs. Djokovic or the Australian Open R4 match vs. Tsonga. By best here I mean the best quality of tennis. The Wimbledon Final is here mainly because of that amazing 4th set. But in the Australian Open match vs. Tsonga, Roger was at his genius best.
  • The best 3 set match: Dubai SF followed Indian Wells Final in 2nd place. It’s no surprise I chose two Federer vs. Djokovic matches. They have really pushed each other this year and the entire Dubai SF match was a highlights reel of spectacular shots. Indian Wells final was good till the gut-wrenching tie-break in the 3rd set *sigh*.
  • The most hard-fought match: US Open QF vs. Monfils. This was an easy choice. Roger saved 2 match points for the first time in a Grand Slam to come back from 2 sets down to win this intense 5 setter. People who say Roger has no fight in him needs to have this match shoved into their faces every time they utter such nonsense.Roger Federer
  • The most confusing What-The-F match: US Open SF vs. Cilic. I know he was spent after the QF but to lose in straight sets that quickly to Cilic… I… well… hmph. By the way, out of Roger’s 10 losses this year, only 2 were in straight sets, this SF match and the Toronto final.
  • The most annoying loss: Monte Carlo final vs. Wawrinka. He was up a set; he could have finished it off in the tie-break of the 2nd set, but no. That was the best chance of winning Monte Carlo. Plus you know he won’t go there again so it’s not like he will get another shot at winning this elusive title. Gah!
  • The win that should have been a loss: Monte Carlo SF vs. Tsonga – Only 2/19 break points converted; enough said.
  • The loss that should have been a win: I was going to put the Monte Carlo Final in this one but that one annoyed me for weeks and deserved it’s own category. So 2nd place moves into 1st and it was the Miami QF vs. Nishikori. Argh, I really do think he should have won this one, especially since he was playing well in Miami before that match. Kei pulling out with injury for the SFs the next day just added salt to the wound *sigh*BxfrXmSCAAAr8EO.jpg large
  • The most heartbreaking moment: Wimbledon Final. It was such a perfect run to his 9th final at Wimbledon; even more so considering the disaster of 2013. The moment seemed just right, till it wasn’t. This was the only loss of the year that didn’t make me angry, annoyed, or irritated in the slightest. It was just incredibly sad, still is. Every time I think of that 4th set I still get very emotional. He wanted this so so so so badly and he almost had it, almost.
  • The most endearing moment: Reaching the Davis Cup Final. Not only was Roger beyond thrilled, but Severin Luthi and Stan Wawrinka lifted him up on the shoulders and ran around the arena in respect. As they put him down Roger quickly wiped a few tears away. Aww ❤
  • The funniest moment: Halle SF vs. Nishikori when the Maestro didn’t realize he had won the match. He was all pumped up after winning match point but then promptly returned to the baseline awaiting the next point when finally, the cheers and laughs from the crowd and a bewildered Kei on the other side of the net gave him a clue as to what had happened 😀
  • The best outfit including the shoes: US Open Night aka Darth Federer followed by Australian Open Night kit.

So there you have it; a quick look back at Roger’s 2014 till now. He still has Shanghai, Basel, Paris Bercy, the World Tour Finals and the Davis Cup Final coming up on his schedule so plenty of tennis to look forward to these two months. Maybe my list of highlights will change when I look back again after the year is complete. Meanwhile, if the rumors are to be believed then Roger is due to land in Shanghai on Saturday 🙂 Less than a day to go before we kick off the last leg of 2014! I have a good feeling about the ending of the year; I think there’s still a bit more magic left! 😀

 

***Photos are Getty Images as far as I know. If I am wrong, please let me know.***


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Federer reaches his 4th final of the year!

2978xRoger Federer is in the Monte Carlo final! Who would have thought that a last minute Wild Card entry would lead to this! I am ashamed to say I didn’t see it coming. I was happy he was getting good practice on clay and shoring up ranking points. I expected a QF, so when he got to the SF after that crazy match with Tsonga, I was already happy. Then he took out Novak in a 2-setter that had a fantastic set followed by a not-so-fun one and now boom! He is in the final and will face Stan Wawrinka. There will be an all-Swiss final for the first time since the Marseille final in 2000 when Rosset won against a young Federer.

Roger-Federer-140419-Inaction-G300In the interest of time I won’t do my usual match report of the SF. Suffice it to say that first set was spectacular. Great tennis from both players doing what they do best. Roger was super aggressive, creating delicious angles and shots and Novak guarded the baseline like only he knows how. There was a crunch time for Roger when he was 15-40 down at 4*-5 and Novak had set points. He came back strongly to win 4 straight points that included this Hot Shot, before leveling the score to 5 all. Roger continued his scintillating shot making to break Novak right afterwards and had a chance to serve for the set which he did took with an ace, 7-5.

As we all know, Novak’s hand was severely taped up but he played a great first set. I think losing the first set really set him back mentally because he knew now he would have to play 2 sets to win. Furthermore, the injections were probably wearing off by then. He probably hoped that if he could have won the first set, he might be able to make a fight for it. But Roger was having a spectacular day and won the set, 6-2. None of the shenanigans from the QF were present. He served well, he volleyed well, he moved well and hit great shots of both wings and kept mixing it up. I honestly think even if Novak was fully fit, Roger would have won. Here is a clip from Roger’s post-match interview.

I hope Novak gets better soon because injuries are awful. But a win is a win. Some haters might claim Novak lost because he was injured and will give no credit to Federer. To them I ask that they spare a thought for any opponent on the other side who has to keep remaining focused and constantly be alert to the erratic levels of play from his injured opponent. Djokovic congratulates Federer after their semi-final match at the Monte Carlo Masters in MonacoHe must be ready to accept anything from the injured player: a retirement, an MTO, or even a sudden adrenaline rush of playing excellent tennis. It has to be tough seeing the drama across the net and yet remaining true to your game plan.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, Roger is in yet another final! His H2H with Wawrinka is 13-1 with Stan’s 1 win coming at Monte Carlo in 2009. Stan excels in clay and has been in pristine form this tournament, playing the best he’s played since winning the Australian Open. He has not played a single bad match at Monte Carlo and comes in fresher than Roger having spent far less time on court. There is a lot riding on this win and Roger will probably have his toughest match yet. Nothing less than the Maestro’s A-game will be sufficient. I am also a bit worried about him playing “his friend Stan” in the final. Hopefully he can set that camaraderie aside once they take the court.

The match is supposed to start in less than 7 hours so I’ll sign off now. But I want to leave you with some stats and records Roger has set by reaching the Monte Carlo final:

  • This is Roger’s 117th career final.
  • This is also his 36th Masters 1000 final.
  • He has now reached the finals of 4 of the 6 tournaments he has played this year (excluding Davis Cup).
  • He has won 28 of the 32 matches he has played this year (including Davis Cup matches) which is the most in the ATP so far this year.
  • He has now reached at least 1 final of a clay tournament for the 13th consecutive year.
  • With the SF win he has widened the tiny gap in the H2H with him and Novak to 18:16.
  • He is now 6-2 in his win-loss ratio with the top 10 this year.
  • His 3 wins over the Big Four this year are his most ever at this stage in a season.
  • He is guaranteed to remain ranked #4 even if he loses the final. Winning it however will change things but I won’t cover that now. If it happens, you’ll see it in the next post.

Pretty remarkable isn’t it? Especially considering that this is his first clay tournament of the year! So proud of him! 😀 well that’s it from me. Here’s hoping for another great win by our hero! C’mon Roger! You can do this! Allez!

 

***Photos from http://www.supersport.com/http://uk.reuters.com and http://www.dagbladet.no/ ***


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Exhausted but happy! Federer is in the SFs!

2Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+6+U3mE0hgX-73xI am still so exhausted from the match that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s start with the obvious. Roger Federer won his Monte Carlo QF match over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a tense 3 setter and has now reached the SFs! But he took us for a roller coaster ride in the process *phew*

So the beginning was stable. Both players held their first two service games and it was 2 all. The drama that was about to unfurl started in Jo’s 3rd service game. Jo offered Roger 2 break point opportunities but then saved them to hold. We should’ve known then what was about to happen. In Roger’s very next game he offered Jo a peek and Jo snatched it, going up a break with his very first break point. He was up 4*-2. While serving to go up to 5-2* Roger had yet another chance to break Jo but to no avail. Having to serve to stay in the set, the errors flowed from the Swiss as Jo broke him yet again to swiftly take the second set 6-2 in 34 minutes. Here are the stats.s1On to set 2 which took 1 hour and 19 minutes. And let me tell you, for 1 hour and 18 of those minutes it was utterly frustrating. Looking back I am amazed I didn’t throw things at my laptop or that my room isn’t strewn with clumps of pillows. Believe it or not, Roger played quite good tennis for the most part. He really upped his game from Set 1 and hit scintillating shots. He kept pushing Jo while holding serve relatively comfortably. Roger faced only 1 break point in this set and he saved that too. If you compare the stats between Jo and Roger, there isn’t much to choose from them; except for 1 crazy stat of course. 10, yes 10, break points came and went and the Swiss converted none of them. He played well to get those opportunities, but in the big moments, he kept faltering and badly too. Even the usual poker faced Roger was upset. In fact he was so frustrated, at 3 all when he missed a return, he smacked the ball out of the stadium and actually got a code violation! It’s been years since he’s gotten one of those!

Still, Jo hung on and the set looked like it would head to a tie-break. However, serving at 5*-6, Roger was suddenly down 0-30, meaning Jo was 2 points away from winning the match. Thankfully Roger won the next 4 points in a row and we were in a dreaded tie-break. The first 3 points were on serve before Jo gave Roger 2 mini-breaks to go down 4*-1. Jo got one back but Federer was still up one mini-break at 5-2*. Jo gave Roger yet another mini-break such that the Maestro was at 6*-3. And wouldn’t you know it, 2 errors from Roger and both mini-breaks were gone. Back on serve, Jo leveled at 6 all but then lost his next serve point again to go down 6-7* in the tie-break giving Roger his 3rd set point. Finally, Roger took it with a wonderful forehand winner and boom! 1 set all and we were going to a decider! Here are the stats for Set 2.s2Set 3 started and the body language of the players already seemed a bit different. Federer looked rejuvenated while Jo was no longer smiling. The set started with the Swiss serving and he emphatically held to love to get on the board and put the pressure on Jo. An error from the Frenchman gave Roger his first break point of the set but he blew it and the score was at deuce. Yet another break point for the champ only to be saved by Jo. Then came an immediate 3rd break point and finally after 15 failed attempts, Roger broke Jo on his 16th break point. Huzzah!

Up 2*-0 the Maestro wasted no time in consolidating the break with another love game to go up 3-0*. Jo was up 40-0 in his next service game but Roger pushed it to deuce. Roger then had another break point opportunity and missed it. But then he got another one and his forehand enabled him to get the double break. Up 4*-0 Roger then held to go up 5*-0 and Jo had to serve to avoid a bagel. Roger had another break point but Jo saved it and got on the board finally at 1-5*. That meant that Roger had to serve it out. He got a bit tight and was pushed to deuce but in the end he clinched it with two great serves. Game, set, match, Federer 2-6, 7-6(8-6), 6-1 in 2 hours and 25 minutes. Here are the match stats.s3Clearly the biggest talking point of the match was the utterly crazy 2 out of 19 break points converted. I would love to know how many other players have had that stat and won the match. There isn’t much I want to say about that. Was it frustrating? Hell yes. But I will choose to look at it as Roger pushing Jo constantly. He was creating those opportunities and he put all the pressure on Jo while keeping his own service games intact (at least in the second set). Other than that, I thought he served well, won 21 out of 28 points at the net and though he had more unforced errors than winners, they were mostly from Set 1.

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+6+Vo_e6uu3a4DlBut those stats don’t mean much as far as this match is concerned. He didn’t win this match with them. He won it with qualities he possesses but is often not given enough credit for; his passion, his patience and his perseverance. I was having a fit with every break point missed and by the time it was the 2nd set tie-break and those first few set points had come and gone, I was going blue from holding my breath. But there he was, 0-13 on break points, 2 set points wasted and he still found a way to hang tough and take it to a decider. This was a great showing by the “Gritty Federer of 2014”- starting off slow and then problem solving his way out. By the end he looked far fresher than Jo who looked physically and emotionally spent. No bad for a 32 year old eh? 😀 Here is a clip from the post-match interview where he talks about those missed break points. And here’s a fantastic Hot Shot from the Maestro too!

Up next is yet another familiar face, Novak Djokovic. It will be their 34th meeting and the current H2H at 17-16 in Roger’s favour. With today’s upset of Rafa losing to Ferrer, Djokovic is the man tipped to win the whole tournament. Roger and Novak have already played each other twice this year with Roger winning in Dubai and Novak winning in Indian Wells. Federer is the underdog here and maybe that will help him play freely. In the meantime, he’s already done plenty to be happy about.

  • He reached his 8th SF in the past 9 tournaments.
  • He won his 950th career match out of 1,169 matches. Only Lendl and Connors are ahead of him.
  • He has now reached his 50th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 SF.
  • By reaching the SFs he has assured himself of his #4 ranking even if Ferrer wins the title.
  • He seems healthy and is moving very well despite all the tennis he’s played this year. He has played 31 singles matches and won 27 of them so far, more wins than any other player in the ATP.

Tomorrow will be a tough day. But regardless of the result, it will not change how proud I am of him for coming this far. It will not change how I am in awe of his mental strength. And it will never change how I will support him through every forehand, every serve, every dropshot and yes, every break point he misses. So come on Maestro! We are with you! Allez!

 

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and stats from @TennisTV ***


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Federer reaches his 9th consecutive QF!

Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+5+yxmhqI7WDmAlRoger Federer has reached his 9th consecutive QF since Basel 2013! He defeated Lukas Rosol in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 in 57 minutes to reach the QFs in Monte Carlo. I know the score and the duration suggests it was an easy win for the Maestro but it was a bit more complicated than that; at least in the beginning.

Set 1 began on an ominous note. Roger served to start and immediately had to save 2 break points just to hold. A quick hold for Rosol and the pressure was back on Roger who yet again offered 2 break points to the Czech. He saved one but then double faulted to gift Lukas the break. Rosol quickly consolidated the break and took the score to 3-1*. Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+5+uHg6YW2yMm2xFinally in his next service game, Roger seemed to have found his first serves and held to 15 to keep the deficit to 1 break. That didn’t faze Rosol however, who continued his great start with another hold to 15. But by now Roger had begun to find his groove back. He held to love taking the score to 4*-3 and signaling a possible momentum shift. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s precisely what happened. Roger took it up a gear in Rosol’s next game, with wonderful forehands and a backhand volley winner. Meanwhile, Rosol committed a few errors of his own and got broken to level the score at 4 all. At this point Federer looked to be in control and held his own game, leaving Rosol to serve to stay in the set at 4*-5. Rosol looked rattled and Roger looked invincible which meant there was only one possible conclusion: Rosol got broken at love and Roger took the set, 6-4 in 33 minutes.

Roger started Set 2 with a bit of a wobble in his first game. He was pushed to deuce before he produced 2 fantastic serves to bail himself out. Then it was Rosol’s turn to get tested. He got pushed to deuce as well before he held. However, by then Federer had found the FedExpress mode he had discovered towards the end of Set 1 and there was no turning back. The Swiss held to love and then immediately broke Rosol to love to go up 3*-1. He quickly consolidated with some fantastic play to put even more pressure on Rosol who was down 1*-4. Lukas then has a pretty terrible service game and offered the Maestro a break point. So far Roger had converted all of his break points and this one was going to be no different. He broke Rosol after a long rally and pushed the score to 5*-1 with a chance to serve for the match. He held to 30 and calmly served it out. Here are the match stats.mRoger struggled at the beginning of the match in the first two games. His serves in particular didn’t work and he was shanky off both wings. After getting broken however, it seemed to be the wake-up call he needed. He righted the ship and didn’t lose focus till the end. Rosol also looked like a beaten man by the end while Roger just kept getting better and better which is why the second set is so much more lopsided than the first. What does the shaky start mean? Not much really, I don’t want to read too much into it. Whatever issues he had, he addressed them quickly enough and then never let up. Not every match can be clean and clinical. What matters is whether one can fix it; he did and I for one am happy and proud of him. Despite the slow start he still got 60% of his first serves in and won 91% of those points. He hit more winners than unforced errors and won 15 of 16 net points. Most amazing, he converted all 4 of his break points! Here is the presser clip.

His QF opponent will be a familiar foe. He will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the 15th time. Their H2H is 10-4 in favour of the Swiss but Federer would be right to be wary. The last time they played on clay was at Roland Garros last year when the Frenchman won in straight sets. Jo had a tough battle today over Fabio Fognini and won the match after being a set down. He will be brimming with confidence. So I am prepared for a tough battle with the match going the distance. It would be good if Roger has a better start to the match than he did in this Rosol match. But even if he doesn’t, I hope he takes his time, keeps his focus and doesn’t rush it. So far this year he’s been great at remaining positive when situations have been tricky so I’m sure he will do the same if Jo tests him. Fingers crossed, our Maestro will come through in the end!

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and stats from @TennisTV ***


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Federer wins his first match in gorgeous Monte Carlo!

2Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+4+SAM_JbgPDQZxAnd we’re baaaaack! 3 weeks early too! Because instead of taking a month off the tour Roger Federer took a wildcard for Monte Carlo! After skipping the tournament for the past few years, his last minute entry caused a flurry in the tennis world.

I for one am very happy about this for many reasons. First, the fact that he entered another tournament after an already busy first quarter means he is feeling fit and healthy (yay!). Second, he might miss tournaments later on in the year when the baby comes so might as well shore up some bonus points now. Third, no harm in getting the clay season started a bit early along with the rest of the tour rather than waiting till Madrid. Last but not the least; it will give him a chance to try out the new racquet on clay before finalizing it for good. I really wanted to see how this racquet performs on clay. Roger+Federer+ATP+Masters+Series+Day+4+Tnyc0IhP5r1xWhen he got the new racquet with the bigger head size I thought it would benefit his clay court game the most, giving him more power and reach over the slow and high-bounce surfaces. Soooo, I am excited and somewhat less stressed coming into Monte Carlo. It hasn’t been a happy tournament for him in the past so I don’t have any particular set of expectations. I just want him to go as far as he can, enjoy getting back to clay and pick up points along the way.

 As it so happened, his opponent in R2 (R1 was a bye) was Radek Stepanek. Radek is a dangerous player. We saw how he pushed Roger only a few tournaments ago in Dubai. But the Radek that showed up today was not the same one. Plus unfortunately for Radek, the Roger he faced in Dubai wasn’t the same one across the net in Monte Carlo either. So what happens when an in-form Roger Federer meets a tired opponent? A 51 minute demolition.

Set 1 started with Roger serving and he got on the board immediately. Stepanek struggled in his very first game giving Federer a break point with a double fault. Looking back, that was the sign of things to come. Roger broke Radek and quickly held to 15 to go up a break, 3-0*. In Radek’s next service game he committed 3 double faults to give the Maestro a double break lead. Another quick hold by the Swiss and it was up to Radek to serve to stay in the set. He got on the board with a love hold where Roger made some unexpected errors (although my personal belief is that he doesn’t like bagels, especially against lower ranked opponents). Regardless, it was up to Roger to serve for the set and he had no problems wrapping it up 6-1 in only 22 minutes. Here are the stats for the set.s1I thought Set 2 might be a bit more competitive and it was… a bit. Roger broke Radek right away to get a 1*-0 lead and quickly held to consolidate. Maybe Radek decided he had nothing to lose because suddenly he elevated his level and held to love to get on the board. Roger responded with a love hold of his own. But by then Stepanek seemed to be getting in his groove and in the next game he held again keeping the break to just one. Perhaps the match was aching for some drama because as if on cue, Roger’s game just vanished and soon the Czech had 2 break points of his own. Roger saved both with two wonderful forehands before he finally held and kept the lead to 1 break at 4-2*. Missing those break points affected Radek because he got broken again to give the Swiss a double break. Roger then calmly served it out. Here are the match stats.s2In a match as lopsided as this, you already know the Maestro didn’t do much wrong. His forehand was particularly lethal as were his serves. Except for that one errant game in the second set, Roger serve couldn’t be touched. He converted all 4 of his break points and even came to the net quite successfully. Yes, some of this is due to Stepanek’s poor form, he is a better player than he showed in this match. But Roger played exceptionally well and kept his focus despite taking the first set with ease. He never let his concentration waver and quickly saved the 2 break points he faced. Given how chilly it seemed, I’m glad he was only out there for 51 minutes. Here is a link to his post-match interview.

Up next is Lukas Rosol. He played him for the first time in Dubai this year and that was the easiest match of the tournament for him. But Rosol is very erratic and when he catches fire who knows what can happen. But we won’t have to wait too long to find out. Their match is the 3rd one of the day, probably starting around 2:30pm local time, though a lot depends on the matches before it. So barely 8 hours to go! Allez Maestro!

 

***Photos from http://www.zimbio.com/ and stats from @TennisTV ***