Whoop, top drawer performance from Roger has he defeated Mardy Fish 6-3 7-6(4) to setup a semi final showdown with fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka.
I think it’s fair to say Roger had a couple of nice matches against Bogomolov and Tomic, he barely broke a sweat in those matches and cruised through but Fish was always going to be a tougher test but right from ball 1 Roger was dialed in and ready to do some serious damage with his ground strokes and it was great to watch.
First Set Flyer
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better opening return game, at least not that I can remember. He hit a full stretch forehand return down the line for a clean winner on the opening point on his way to breaking Fish with some seriously good play. If that was a 100m race Fed just left Bolt for dead he came out so fast it was crazy. No easing into it, no chipped returns, he just ripped it and Fish probably didn’t know what hit him.
You always know it’s going to be a good match when Fed zones in from the very first point and last night he really was on his A game, the forehand was in pretty devastating form and that also gave him more confidence to rip the backhand more often than not.
It was the perfect start for Roger really as breaking early allowed him to play freely and go hell for leather on all of his shots. There were a couple of games where Fish had a little opening, a 0-15, maybe even a 0-30 but Roger stayed calm, served big and followed it up with a big forehand.
At 5-3 Fed got the double break to take the set which was another great move as it meant he was serving first at the start of the second. That meant he had a set lead and Fish was always having to level up the match. Pressure! Oh and check out the backhand he hits down the the line on set point in highlights below. Scary good. I love how the commentator says earlier in the set “if that top spin backhand is Federer’s weaker shot, then Fish has problems”.
Second Set; A Closer Affair
In the second set Fish managed to take his level up a notch and started playing and serving quite a bit better but you just never sensed he was going to be able to turn it round. Even when he was 40-0 up on service games you felt like Roger could still just reel off a succession of points to break in the blink of an eye. Whereas when Fish had openings on Roger’s serve you were always confident Roger would just ping down a big serve and take on the drive volley even though he was under a little pressure. GOAT.
I have to say credit to Fish too for upping his game in the second set, it would have been easy to just wilt but he stuck at it and managed to take care of his own service games right through to the tie breaker. To be fair it must have been annoying for him because he was actually playing some really good stuff yet still losing the majority of points. I’m not going start saying he’d have beaten anyone else but Fed last night but I reckon he would have stood a good chance against anyone of the top 10 playing like he did last night. He managed to stay with Roger in the second set and fight back to put the Swiss under a little bit of pressure of his won which kinda proves he was playing well. And Cincy aside I think Fish may make a good run at the US Open should he get an ok draw, but he’s more than capable of causing an upset against a Murray/Berdych type player.
In the breaker Roger upped the tempo, played aggressive and served well and pulled away to take it 7-4 wrapping up the match in a little under 1h 30 minutes. Lightspeed.
It was a great atmosphere. I think it was sellout crowd. That always makes it exciting. Playing an American here in America, it’s always special. It was pretty straightforward. Whoever was going to be more aggressive, serve more consistent, and then play maybe a tiny bit better from the baseline was probably going to win. I’m happy I was that guy tonight.
Whenever Roger plays like this it’s just a joy to behold and if you had a ticket for this, which I think about 11,000 fans did, then you definitely got value for money. Movement, footwork, shot making were all on another planet throughout and he always had the upper hand allowing him to go for more and consequently pull off more stunning shots.
It’s also worth noting the side of Fed’s game that’s easy to forget when he’s creaming forehands down the line and that’s his defense. The way he’s able to defend on a hard court is just crazy, perhaps not as dramatic or as flexible or Djokovic who seemingly slides into the ball doing the splits, but I’d say he’s just, if not more effective at staying in points when he’s on the backfoot and he’s a class above at transitioning from deep in the corners back into the middle of the court to get back on top in the rally.
Prediction vs. Wawrinka
Next up for Roger is his good friend Stan Wawrinka who probably pulled off his best match of the year beating Milos Raonic in 3 sets. Stan has had a crap year really and lost a ton of matches to players he probably shouldn’t lose to.
The H2H is 10-1 in Feds favour and I fully expect him to make it 11-1. Stans only win came in 2009 at Monte Carlo during Roger’s slump so I doubt he can beat him when Roger is playing on full confidence.
In many cases I think Stan has lost before they even step on court, that’s especially true in Grand Slams and maybe less so in Masters so I guess his chances go up slightly over 3 sets but I fully expect Fed to make the final so he’ll keep the number 1 ranking. 6-4 6-4 I reckon.
Oh and a quick note to readers – don’t forget to enter my Wimbledon Final DVD competition – there’s 5 copies to giveaway.