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Federer Fights Off Tsonga in 5 Sets at Australian Open

Federer Fights Off Tsonga in 5 Sets at Australian Open

Wow, talk about a topsy turvy match from Roger as he pulled out another great win beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 in 3 hours and 34 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

It was a match full of fluctuations and momentum swings right till the very end, with both players hitting both a number of exceptional winners but following them up with a string of terrible unforced errors. It could have easily gone either way but yet again Roger 3.0 had the final say as he picked up his level in the decider to come through and set up a semi final clash with Andy Murray.

Set 1 – Federer picks up from where he left off, or does he?

Federer Returns Serve in Australian Open Quarter Final

In each of his previous 4 matches Roger has won the first game regardless of whether he was serving first and today’s Quarter Final was no different as he broke Tsonga in his opening service game to take an early advantage.

It was a great start and almost criminal from Tsonga to lose his serve so early in a match where the first set would be critical. A love hold followed and I was feeling quietly confident that Roger was going to get the job done yet again without really being overly tested.

However, at 3-2 Roger slipped to 0-30 after two simple unforced errors, he managed to refocus and won 3 straight points before Tsonga came up with a great volley to make deuce and then ripped one of his huge trademark forehands to setup break point which he converted to get back on serve.

It was a prime example of what happens if Roger misses a few first serves and Tsonga is able to tee off on his ground strokes. Once the Frenchman got the break the momentum shifted in his favour and he was the guy who was dictating from the back of the court. By this point Roger was looking a little rattled to be honest and when he leveled for 6-6 to take the opening set into a breaker I wasn’t sure what to expect.

During their previous 11 matches they had played seven tiebreakers with Tsonga winning four of them so it was bound to be close. Roger started well though, went up an early mini break and that proved to be crucial as he took the breaker 7-4. It was by far his most testing set of the tournament to date and one in which he was broken for the first time. A sign of things to come during this match.

Set 2 – Tsonga Fires Back

Tsonga Hits Back

The second set was fairly uneventful early doors, both guys were making errors but holding serve without too much trouble until the seventh game when Federer hit a net cord to slip down a break point. Tsonga teed off again from the back of the court and when Federer’s forehand sailed long he got the decisive break that shifted the momentum again in his favour.

When Roger’s level dips or he starts missing serves / forehands he becomes extremely vulnerable especially against a player of Tsonga’s gung ho nature and power. As Roger’s level dropped off Tsonga’s ground strokes suddenly got water tight and he served out the second set comfortably to level the match up.

Set 3 – Failing to Consolidate

Federer - Broken Back

In true Tsonga style after looking like he was about to enter the zone he dropped serve immediately at the start of the third set with Roger showcasing his excellent defensive skills to counteract the Frenchman’s huge groundstrokes. Yet again though Fed failed to consolidate the break missing four forehands and losing his serve from 30-0 up. Criminal.

This set in terms of quality was probably the worst of the match and both guys were either hitting great winners or making ridiculous errors. I suppose a tie break was the fitting outcome and despite Roger netting an easy volley he once again bounced back coming up with a genius passing shot and then retrieving at full stretch to force Tsonga into an error that saw him take a 2 sets to 1 lead.

Set 4 – Tsonga Tees Off

Tsonga Teeing Off

After taking a 2 set to 1 lead I thought Roger would be able to streak away and that looked likely when he raced to a 0-40 lead early in the fourth set but Tsonga once again hit his way out of trouble, serving huge and cranking up the forehand to leave Roger no chance.

This set almost had a Wimbledon 2011 feel to it as Tsonga really began to tee off and settle into his own rhythm as he broke to lead 4-2. They again traded breaks but Tsonga clinched the set with a big ace to take it into a decider.

Set 5 – Clutcherer

Clutcherer

The fifth set can often be somewhat of a lottery but it was Roger who found his focus and trademark clean hitting when he needed it most in the fourth game to break Tsonga and move within touching distance of the semi final. Unlike the third set Roger consolidated to move into a comfortable 4-1 lead which proved to be unassailable.

4-1 quickly became 5-3 and with Tsonga serving to stay in the math Roger created 2 match points which Tsonga saved yet again with his high risk strategy. He saved a third before holding and making Roger serve it out. Nervous times.

Federer got off to a bad start losing the very first point but once again he composed himself, hit a tremendous backhand, 2 big serves and secured the victory with a trademark overhead. GOAT.

Interview with Courier

It was a tough close, for sure, the whole match was tough and any set could have gone either way, it’s tough because you never know what Joe is going to come up with. I hit three great serves there in the fifth set and every time he got them back, and that’s what he can do and that’s why he remains dangerous throughout a match.

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Defeats Tsonga in 5 Sets

This is one of those matches that sums up Roger 3.0, a guy who can snatch victory from unlikely situations and win when he’s not able to play at his best. In his prime Roger was known for winning matches with out and out genius from start to finish but now he’s showing that his composure under pressure can win him big matches too even against a guy that is capable of playing explosive tennis over 5 sets.

The way Roger handled the tension of the fifth set was genius in itself, he moved up a gear and held onto his advantage right till the end. Tsonga looked like he was capable of running away with it after steam rolling the 4th but calm as you like Roger made some adjustments and tightened up his game in the clutch.

When it mattered Federer was able to keep his hitting clean, serve well and use his excellent defensive skills to hang tough in the rallies Tsonga was dominating. For me this signifies Roger’s one bad match in the tournament, where he is nowhere near his free flowing best but still manages to come through. We saw it at Wimbledon against Benneteau and we have seen it many times over the course of his 17 slam victories.

History dictates that matches like this often bode well for the later stages of a tournament such as the Semis and the Final. I mean you only have to see how Novak bounced back after defeating Stan Wawrinka in a 5 set epic to see what a win like that do to a players confidence.

Of course todays match could have been easier, after all he was a break up in three of the 5 sets but it also could have been a whole lot worse. Fortunately, Roger was able to bring his best out in the all important tie breakers and play the big points without getting too tight. An all important ingredient of winning close matches.

You can talk tactics, pull off some stasistics about error counts or say Tsonga is still a loose cannon but when all is said and done, there is nobody better in the game than Federer at remaining patient, not allowing inconsistencies to play on his mind and then finally piecing his game together bit by bit to find a way to cross the finish line.

Predictions vs. Murray

Well it’s all gone to seedings as far as the mens draw is concerned with Djokovic meeting Ferrer in the first semi final and now Roger facing off against US Open Champion Andy Murray.

Murray has had an easy draw so far and has progressed without dropping a set but with the quality of opposition he’s faced that’s to be expected.

Murray leads Roger 10-9 in the H2H with their last meeting coming at the World Tour Finals where Roger put in a GOAT like performance to beat him in straight sets.

Roger leads the H2H in slams 3-0 though so I feel he has the advantage going into it, of course Murray can cause problems, as we saw in Shanghai earlier in the year where he took Roger’s second serve apart but I feel like Roger is serving exceptionally well this tournament and will take a lot of confidence from the 5 setter he just played against Tsonga.

Murray has yet to be tested and he’s played the majority of his matches during the day, the night plays quite differently so it will be interesting to see if Roger can take advantage of that early on in the match to get into a lead.

I have a feeling Murray is going to play extremely aggressive to try dictate how he wants the match to be played but I think Roger might be just a bit too wise for that and will be able to use it to his advantage.

It will be tough match make no doubts about it but I think if Roger puts a high % of serves in play and plays smart offensive tennis there can only be one winner. And that’s why I’m going Federer in 4 sets. 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-4.

I know what to expect; whereas it would be different if I hadn’t played him (recently), he has changed his game around a bit. He’s playing more offensive. I’m looking forward to it. Obviously (he’s) a great player … So I’m expecting a tough match, of course.

Allez Roger!

About Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

120 comments

  1. Sid TheCookieThief

    So, I get the honor of making the first comment :)

    Loved the game! My wish of Roger staying at least three hours on court has been granted. Hopefully the additional 40 minutes won’t make too much of a difference. If Roger is fine physically, I have no doubt he will win.

    • Evening! Got that the comment in at lightspeed.

      Was hoping to publish it sooner but for some reason taken me ages to write this tonight, stop start all the time so probably a little unflowing!

      It was a good test, could have been easier, but could have been way worse so in the end just the sort of match that boosts a players confidence.

      Jonathan

      • LOL I’ve been waiting since the match was over. I wrote a program, that refreshes your home page, checks for content change, and if it finds a change, sends me an e-mail and text intimation after which I can post a comment :)

        I’m kidding of course!

        I was just very happy and relieved Roger came through. This should give him all sorts of confidence. Jo was serving awesome, his ground strokes were ridiculous, sort of like Japanese Kamikaze fighter planes. He must just recover now and Murray, who I actually think has been quite shaky despite his wins, will be in trouble.

      • Sounds like you invented an RSS Feed? lol Better get that patented quick :P

        I think Fed will take care of Murray. Will require a sold match but he looks like he’s in form.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Daggummmit, Jonathan! I found someone already beat me to the patent :)

        I think Roger should be fine tonight. The only concern is how he is feeling physically.

  2. He’s gonna have to buckle up and start hitting like he did the matches before, but i believe you are right when you say that he will gain confidence after that win. I won’t be able to match the murray match (exams….) does anyone know where I can watch the full match later?

  3. Finally!! Waiting for your view on the match all day! :D Never mind, I can say that if he wants to win some major he has to have some matches like this one earlier in the draw, not only in semis or in final which is quiet understanding. I was a little scared at the start of the fifth set but after 2-1 lead with a break I knew it was it! :D
    Anyway, I already told my parents that I am not going to school at Friday cos nothing is more important than Roger! :D

    • Yeah it was his bad match, I think they always happen in slams. Don’t think any slams have been won by a guy who played flawlessly over 7 matches. Maybe only Fed in 06/07. So they are to be expected.

      I think he gets confidence from this.

      Haha skipping school for Fed. Obviously I’d never encourage such things but I’d do exactly the same! Allez.

  4. Watched the first two sets live. Now watching set 3 and 4 (recorded) For some reason, set5/the end is not on there… Anyway. It certainly was a good test. A test that, like Fed said later, could have gone either way. And just like you wrote too. Thought Tsonga was playing really well, he has improved I think. Mentally too. We’ll see how that holds and how he progresses during the year. Fed had ups and downs. The downs are mostly nailbiting and raising your bloodpressure from time to time and the ups were as ever lovely, beautiful and even genius at times. There was def the frustration you could see in his face and body language at times, but there were def some little smiles too. Up and down, like I said…

    And now Murray. I found it interesting that Fed actually said in the presser today that he would go over the matches with his coaches. Something that he said (a few days ago) he hardly ever does anymore. Couldn’t exactly figure out why that was. I think, actually, it’ll be another close match, but he can definitely win. Murray hasn’t been that consistent really so far and hasn’t been tested properly yet. Plus the circumstances for Murray are changed (night session) and even though Fed said 2day that that shouldn’t make that much of a difference (which session you play), I think it will make a bit of a difference for Murray.

    We’ll see :) Go Roger!

    • Hey Natasja,

      Yeah a close match but in the end there could only be one winner, upped his level in the fifth.

      Didn’t hear him say that about going over the matches. There’s no secrets on how he has to play Murray so not sure what they will gain from that. Probably just looking at where Murray has improved.

      I’m picking Fed to get the job done. So hopefully he delivers.

      Jonathan

      • He hasn’t said it in the presser, I was wrong there… Just been reading it again. I’ve been looking if it was in other transcripts, no luck yet.. He might have said it in an interview… If I find it tonight… Have really heard it somewhere. Anyway. Yes, probably just looking where Murray has improved etc… Tomorrow will be another day of great tennis, that’s for sure :) Here’s hoping he remembers how he did it last time and then do it again. I think he can too.

  5. Flying to melbourne tonight to watch the semis and finals and im so glad roger won.
    As for murray, he hasnt had to play anyone great yet but federers going to be a different kettle of fish for him, i see fed winning in four sets. Hopefully federer will erase some of the errors that were present today and march onto his 18th slam. Go roger!

    • Awesome! I went during the first week because with Roger’s consistency, theres no way he can lose! :)

    • Cool! Wish I was there to watch live but Tennis Australia forgot to send me free tickets. Let us all know what it was like…

      • It’s 8:24, here in melbourne, IN THE MORNING. It must be in the evening back in england. WOW at time zones, always makes me confused.
        Excited for today’s match, hopefully roger can win, but what annoyed me most was the ease with which djokovic dispatched ferrer with. For someone known as a fighter, he got pushed around and bullied without djokovic needing to even break a sweat, so he must be feeling confident and he’s conserved energy for the final. Luck of the draw. Both djokovic and murray have had it but federer has been blessed with an incredibly tough draw, but that will make it sweeter when he wins!(Fingers Crossed)
        Husain out, time for a spot of ‘what I call’ breakfast!

  6. And then there were two to beat……Andy and Novak !!

    I said before the AO started that I hoped for Roger to win, but Novak would win anyway.
    Now I am not sure, because Novak showed (even though he plays good and great when he has to) that he is not unbeatable.
    And Roger’s form the first four matches was brilliant. I did not watch todays match, but some pieces and he was good, not great, but good. He won, whatever Jo threw at him, he won.
    Somehow today by winning such an intens and difficult match, I KNOW he will beat Andy.
    Love to have it happen in straight sets (will never happen), but in four sets will be good to.
    Rather not in five sets, because he has to beat Novak too in the final, which can be done.

    And lets not underestimate Andy by saying Roger leads 3-0 in GS, because like I said earlier that was Andy prior Olympic Gold/US Open.

    And definitily lets not bother our time by watching Novak/Ferrer. As if Ferrer would win !!!
    I am more bothered by the fact that Novak will have an extra day of rest.

    Go Roger Go. Andy and Novak to beat and then the 18th GS and the 5th AO will be yours.

    Katyani

    • Hey Katyani,

      I don’ think the extra days rest will make too much difference if Roger makes the final. He still gets a day off which should be enough and I’m sure he’s in good shape after the off season.

      Jonathan

      • Jonathan, what about the Novak/Ferrer match !!! One and a half hours !!! And above that he has two days off.

        It really sounds like a conspiracy against Roger. Maybe the ATP guys know that Roger is not going to stay that long and they want to push him out and make others more popular or give them a greater chance to win. I know it sounds stupid, but Rogers draw and the fact that he has to play friday……. I don’t know. Maybe Roger is getting too much influence at the ATP (as president) and the big bosses don’t want that to happen.
        What…..am I seeings things again? Hope not.

        Katyani

      • Hi Jonathan, one question. You wrote in the article: set 5 Clutcherer.
        I don’t understand that. What does that mean? Is that a positive or negative thing?
        Did Roger do something not good?

        Katyani

      • Hey Katyani,

        Yeah Djoker vs Ferrer was a joke! Who knows on the conspiracy front, difficult to know what goes on behind closed doors!

        Clutcherer means that Roger was good in the clutch, so when the pressure was on him and he needed to come up with his best tennis.

        Jonathan

  7. Roger has been amazing in tiebreakers so far, hasn’t lost one yet! For me, whoever won the third set tiebreak will win the match so it was a crucial stage of the match. Roger amd Tsonga were neck and neck and then Roger pulls out awesome passing shot and a backhand down-the-line winner to get the minibreak and set point. It was the forehand that let him down in the 2nd & 4th set and he started to baseline rally with Tsonga which was the wrong thing to do. Still I think he will have no problem with Murray if he reduces the UF errors. Berdshit was horrible against Djokovic, didnt hurt him at all. I dont think we can rely on him to beat Djokovic in the quarters of a slam anymore.

    • Hey Conal,

      Yeah he was clutch against Tsonga when he needed it. Easy to see why he has the best tie break record of all time.

      Berdych is a push over. Mentally weak against the top guys. Just able to zone in against Federer for some reason! I think Federer will have the final say with that rivalry though I’m sure.

      As for Murray, just gotta play aggressive and if his game clicks then I think he wins in 4.

      Jonathan

  8. Hi, I think you all know by now that I love Roger andI am one of his biggest fans, but I have to ask this…..

    Whats up with his body?? When I saw his first match at the World Tour Final, I was shocked, he was so thin. He was so skinny. I was really worried. He gained a little bit more weight at the exos, but that was a month ago.
    Why is he so buffed up (if that is the right word)??? He looks to be more buffed up than Rafa.

    I know that fans of every player (be it Rafa, Novak or Roger) accuses the other for doping, but what did Roger do in a month? Can you get so much musscle in a month? In your arms and legs? Did he always have one arm more musscled up then the other? I only noticed it at the Raonic match.

    Roger looks so much more heavy now. Especially at todays match. What is up with that? I know he does not do doping, I know that. But he was (according to me) never so “big”.

    I really want to know. I say honestly, I would not care if from now on he does not win a game, let alone a match or tour, but if I would to find out that he did an Armstrong, I really would be disappointed.

    Still loving and respecting Roger for ever. Katyani

    • Roger said he worked very had in the gym in the off season since he wanted to improve his defence game which he has! There is no way Roger would ever do such a thing Katyani!

      He is no Armstrong, Roger is very honest, humble and down to earth guy. He just works hard. I’d say Nadal is the one to watch for doping…

    • Nadal obviously has been doping. Have you seen his muscles? And he admits he hates going to the gym. There have been rumours he’s under a silent doping ban.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        There is not a doubt in my mind that Nadal has been taking PED’s. I remember mentioning somewhere, not even God can convince me that Nadal is clean :)

        We are talking about a guy who will use every form of gamesmanship available at his disposal. You think he won’t abuse the really slack joke of a drug testing routine that the ATP conducts?

        Uncle Toni did mention something on the lines of, “I do not believe that anybody intentionally takes banned substances”. The implication being that Nadal may have unintentionally taken banned substances. Something to think about.

    • Hey Katyani,

      Federer isn’t really buffed up. Just his usual type of build. He will have hit the weights in the off season that’s for sure and it doesn’t take long to put on muscle when you have little body fat anyway. But you’re talking as though he’s gone through some kind of dramatic change in body type. I think you are seeing things.

      To talk about doping and Fed in the same sentence is crazy too, never gonna happen!

      Jonathan

  9. Katyani, I’m not sure I noticed that Roger is buffed up. Maybe you’re seeing things again ;)

    But, at their level it’s possible. It’s not like someone just started doing weight training and gained muscle mass in a month or two. These guys are pure athletes. They have already been trained to super human levels. Roger deliberately (probably) focuses more on the back, hips, legs, which are the engine of a tennis player, but not much of upper body (comparatively I meant). So, I would not be surprised even a little bit if he looks a little buffed up. Again, they are already trained so much that they can choose to gain muscle in certain areas and be able to achieve results quickly.

    There is no way in the world he is on any kind of performance enhancing substance.

    • Oke Sid and Jonathan, I don’t want to be known on this site as the girl who sees things that are not there !!!

      Trust me, I NEVER want to say the words Roger and doping in one sentence, because the end of last year, really I was worried. He is so skinny. He has no arms, those are just sticks !!! But when you see him now, there is a change.
      Just watch some videos on Youtube. I really really know he does not do doping, but I got scared after the Armstrong incident For years said he did not do doping and suddenly he admits. His titles were taken away from him. And I don’t want that to happen to Roger. I want him in the historybooks (he who stands alone with his records). I don’t want him to lose those records. And to be honest I don’t want anyone to come close to his records. He works and worked so hard for them. Seeing his physics I never believed he did dope, but there are so many articles out there that say that he is doing that and using his position to get away with it. But then they also say that about Rafa and Novak.

      I am not a Rafa fan, but honestly I don’t think he uses doping. He may be buffed up, but he is also very thin.

      Anyways, don’t think of me as she who sees things !!! Remember, I LOVE Roger and want him to succeed and win everything he can.

      Tomorrow is D-day part one. I have to work, but my mind will be at the match. I am so hoping, wishing and praying that Roger will win. He really really DESERVES it.
      I have taken monday off to watch the final. That is how much I want Roger to win.

      Go Roger Go to your 18th GS and 5th AO (and believe it or not, there are again articles that say that Andy will win). Roger has come from so far. With such a difficult draw. He has to win !!!

      Katyani

      • You know, I read an interesting comment on Eurosport from a Roger fan.
        He said one half of the draw (Rogers half) was a Grand Slam draw and the other half of the draw (Novaks half) was a ATP 500 draw. Sounds just about right.

        Katyani

      • Hi Katyani,
        I agree with you when you say Fed looked gaunt in November and I’m glad he has put some weight back on over the off-season. I think he must have had a bout of illness in autumn last year. At the time, norovirus was rife. Also having kids, any family becomes a daisy chain of common colds and flu. This is only my explanation and I’m speculating.
        J.

  10. I am glad that Roger manage to secure a W even though his form is off today. It a bit unfortunate he was not able to summon his reliable serve to hold his serves. He is still manage to pull through by not trying to hit through Tsonga. The old Roger will probably try to out hit Tsonga in that department. He patiently wait for the right time to pounce and not trying to waste too much energy trying to save every point. His resolve during the TB is amazing – calm and collect, almost like he has ice running through his veins. I guess all these years of experience and chalking more than 250 GS match wins does count. He did not deploy enough drop shot against Tsonga (counted 2), should have tried to throw him off balance little since Tsonga was moving well laterally. He was not able to create sufficient angle to drive Tsonga off court but at least his BH was consistent against Tsonga’s endless pounding. Least to say Tsonga is in the zone but Roger stepped it up when it matters – phew. Roger has done before last year at SW19 where he beat Murray and Djoker back to back. Go Roger!!!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      “He did not deploy enough drop shot against Tsonga (counted 2), should have tried to throw him off balance little since Tsonga was moving well laterally.”
      -True. But, he brought Tsonga in to the net a ton of times and hurt him from there.

      “He was not able to create sufficient angle to drive Tsonga”
      -It’s not easy to go for the line of your choice if the ball comes to you so heavily (particularly if you have a one handed backhand). On the forehand angles, Tsonga would’ve hurt Roger real bad.

      • I remember a few points during the match where Roger used the short backhand slice returning Tsonga’s serve. Thats something he should do a lot often, it puts the opponent out of position, most likely a weak return coming forward in the net and then Roger can hit the passing shot where ever he wants.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Precisely, Conal :) He did slow down the pace, and used some junk ball tactics at key moments. He should’ve lost. Tsonga should’ve won. But Roger found a way out, he did it!

    • Hey Dippy,

      Yeah he used the Roger 3.0 mindset to get through this one. Played not a great match but still came through. It’s great to see him win matches like this. And it will give him confidence.

      It’s hard to assess tactics, I’d have liked to see him mix it up maybe a little more and serve + volley but that’s easier said than done. When he took pace of the ball though that definitely worked and he did draw Tsonga in with some real short returns to setup the pass.

      Drop shots are definitely effective but they are hard to play when Tsonga is hitting huge and deep into the court. You gotta be able to play them when you are well inside the baseline and have time to setup otherwise you have no real margin for error it becomes such a risky, low percentage play…

  11. Another epic night match at the AO once again!

    Well I was very very impressed with Tsonga last night, he really maintained focus out there and played such an aggressive return game, especially on Roger’s second serve which he wasn’t winning a lot of points of again. But yet again his experience and GOATNESS was visible in the fifth, that point where Tsonga went around the net and held his racket to Roger was a great moment. Really could’ve gone either way, Tsonga was dominating the rallies and hurting Fed with his forehand and I don’t think Roger served as well yesterday, his forehand was making a heap of errors but his backhand dtl was pretty solid, channeled his inner wawrinka.

    Well well well, it’s all gone to plan and murray is up next. I watched the whole of Murray vs Chardy and guys I wouldn’t’ be so sure Federer is going to win this one. Murray got tested early by Chardy, and he played the best he could of. Murray is moving extremely well and his forehand has become as good as a weapon as his backhand. Judging by Federer’s performance and his time spent on court I don’t think he will be able to beat Murray, and tbh I don’t see the grand slam wins against him as an advantage because Roger knows that Murray is a slam winner now so I don’t believe that will influence either. First set will be key, if Fed can serve as well as he did before Tsonga and put pressure on Murray, he might have a chance but I’m a bit worried about his recovery after this match, he was playing very defensive so it will be a factor for sure.

    I’m hoping not but looks to be a Murray/Djokovic final again, ugh, boring boring boring. Only hope I have is that last few slam champs always get pushed in the first few rounds like Fed Wimby, Novak Aus Open before going on and winning the tourney. Murray has a lot more to loose than Federer so hopefully he will be prepared but if not, very happy he got to 10 SF in a row here, what an amazing achievement!

    I take Murray in 4, hopefully Roger can appear as Goderer on the day as he did at WTF. Good luck Champ.

    • Also about the night advantage, British Media complaining how Fed got favoured. Well I think they shut up now, Murray didn’t deserve to get night session with his draw and Roger said so himself he would have preferred the day sessions so he could have a normal routine. I don’t think it will be an advantage at all, conditions are going to favour Murray either way, he knows that! Andy is a much more defensive and aggressive player and thats why Tsonga was so successful yesterday. Only thing that will be interesting is the breeze that comes during the twilight…If Murray is used to it or not.

      • “Much more defensive and aggressive player”? Isn’t that an oxymoron?

      • What I mean is that Andy plays defence, getting every ball back and then turns it into offence. That’s what a complete player is. Andy uses his movement like Novak for defence but then uses the backhand and forehand CC and dtl for offence, this is why Roger has so much trouble with him and Djoker.

      • No, Murray has hardly any aggression at all, he just waits foe his opponents to make errors, its so boring to watch him. You should notice nearly every match he plays, he has the least winners. The only reason why Fed has a losing H2H record with Murray is because he got impatient in long rallies and gifted Murray points with UF errors.

    • Hey Alysha,

      I think the 3-0 record in slams works in Roger’s favour to be honest. It gives him a boost and Murray has also never tasted victory against him in slam. Of course that will give him motivation to win but it will also make him doubt a little I’m sure.

      Murray has improved a lot I think, always a contender these days but he’s still not that aggressive in his play. Just hits the forehand a bit bigger now he’s working with Lendl.

      The match for me is still on Roger’s racket as he will be the guy who looks to dictate. If he serves well and plays aggressive I think he’s getting the job done. Agreed with Conal too, Federer doesn’t struggle against Murray or Djoker though, they are good match ups for him really, just difficult to beat guys on slow courts who have water tight defenses.

      Jonathan

      • Interesting point Conal but I have watched basically all of Murray’s matches, and he hasn’t played defence at all pretty much. Federer said he knows Murray after Olympics has been playing more aggressive. Federer will be much happier with this sort of play because Roger will overpower him.

  12. Sid TheCookieThief

    I might sound like a conspiracy theorist but does anyone thing the AO tournament has given Roger a raw deal? First, he gets a really tough draw.

    As the No.2 seed, he gets to play on Friday, with only a single day of rest when he should’ve been playing on Thu as has been the case in the past few years.

    Then, they put Jake Garner in the chair for two of his matches. Roger doesn’t like Jake (remember the little argument at USO 2009?). Jake Garner was wrong in telling Roger to “be quiet”. Umpires are not supposed to engage with players in that way.

    Add to that the fact that Roger will be playing on one match in the afternoon.

    Something doesn’t smell right.

    • Maybe the tough draw, Jake Garner, and the regular night matches just co-incidence, but I agree with you, I was pretty shocked they made Roger play on Friday. :]

    • Maybe, they probably wanted a Murray vs Djoker final to begin with.

      I don’t think the extra day makes too much difference. If he gets through we will find out but I think he will be ok.

      Always get the feeling Fed disliked Garner too! I’m not a fan of him either. Pascal Maria my fave umpire by a mile.

      Jonathan

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Pascal is very nice. That other guy, Layhani, or Lahyani something too. The Kadar guy is an idiot.

        But it looks like Jake Garner has mellowed down. He doesn’t have that, “I’m the boss so you better bow to me suckers!” attitude anymore. Which is good.

        Who is that Aussie umpire I’ve seen a few times in this tournament? Looks like a very mild mannered and courteous chair umpire.

  13. I think Fed will be fine for Murray. If it looked like Roger wasn’t his usual self from the baseline against Jo it’s because Jo was hammering the ball and he was pushing Fed on the defensive for the majority of the match. He also returned extremely well, which will likely help Fed in dealing with Andy’s return. And Fed knows he can beat Andy on this type of surface in a best of 5 set match. I know there are some comparisons being made to the Olympic semi with Delpo then being flat against Murray but that was much different. That was almost an hour longer and it was a mental drain. Fed put everything he had into that match to get a medal and he was totally spent. Against Tsonga, he played his best tennis at the end, so that’s a great sign.

    I think he beats Andy in 4. It will be a very tough match but Roger knows he can beat Andy and if he pays well I don’t think there’s much Andy can do. We have seen him struggle mentally against Roger and the courts are quicker this year, which will help Fed. Also, early on, the fact that Murray has only played during the day should help Fed get off to a fast start.

    • Yeah the match against Tsonga was his bad match of the tournament. There is always one in a slam.

      I think he will be ok physically. He’s in good shape and worked hard on his fitness again during the off season.

  14. Roger was wearing a black singlet under his shirt. I would think that this would make him hotter. There must be a reason. Does anyone know?

    • Hmm maybe, but I guess if it’s at night and is under another top then won’t make too much difference what colour it is?

      I hear it’s pretty cool on an evening in Melbourne especially when the sun is fully set so he will want to keep his muscles warm. Precautionary I believe.

      Jonathan

  15. Sid TheCookieThief

    Na Li, you’re my hero! Thanks for taking out that annoying Shriekapova! Now, if only Sloane could finish off Gruntarenka, I can finally watch a women’s tennis match :)

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Oh poop :-|

    • I hope Li Na wins! She has dropped a set yet, crushing Radwanska and Sharapova!

    • Yeah those WTA semi final matches were brutal. Really earned there money this time around. Sharapova loses 9 games en route to the semis then only manages to win 4 herself.

      Joke of tennis.

      • Sharapova was humiliated after dominating. I can see why Azarenka has come under heavy fire because it’s obvious she too the MTO because she choked. But how come no one said anything when Djokovic last year at Us Open took it before Murray served, probably because Murray ended up winning. Don’t understand tennis world sometimes. Patrick McEnroe probably went on for half an hour on live tv on how it was a travesty.

  16. The match I saw yesterday was quite a mixture of Shiterer, Lazyrer and an extremely average Federer. What worried me, even so much more than the unforced errors and all, was the ridiculous passive play of Roger’s against Tsonga. It was annoying to see how Roger would merely resort to a weak slice against a second serve. He wasn’t really dictating the play and I think he must avoid that sort of game particularly against Djokobitch. Roger’s shots also didn’t have that sort of zing that they had against Tomic or Milos.

    However, I’d say this match may be a boon for Roger since it’s a sort of warning to stop being slack and be more precise, aggressive and dictating. Credit to Tsonga, too, who didn’t break down and made Roger win.

    I think Roger can/will win against Murray. Murray doesn’t have such a pounding, explosive game as Tsonga and Federer can step it up a bit more. However, Murray is dangerous in his own right – he is faster and a better all court player, and I don’t expect he’ll make silly volley errors like Tsonga did.

    As usual, Mr. Djoko-egg turns up as fit a fiddle after a marathon match against Stan, and that too just days after he was so, ahem, “enraged” about Lance Armstrong’s classlessness. It amuses me that people turn a blind eye even when the clearest evidence is presented before them.

    • Fed was getting pushed back by Jo’s power. The same thing won’t happen against Murray since he’ll be counter-punching and trying to frustrate Roger by defending. I agree that Fed wasn’t as aggressive as he should have been against Jo, but he played his best in the last set and that’s good. Murray doesn’t have that explosive attacking ability which can really hurt Fed. I expect him to be much sharper and be more aggressive against Andy.

      • Kyle, I have to disagree with you regarding Murray’s threat potential. Since theWimbledon final he has shown that he is capable of playing aggressively when provided opportunities to do so, as well as the ability to cause problems to Federer’s serve when it isn’t in an optimal state (Shanghai especially). If Federer’s playing well, especially with his serve and forehand, he is likely to win but if they aren’t then it will give Murray the confidence to begin overpowering Federer. The level of play that he had against Tsonga is not going to cut it against Murray. It’s a good thing that he ended the match well and I also expect him to raise his level against Murray, but even if he does he will have to maintain that level for a sustained period of time or else Murray will regain the confidence to potentially defeat Federer. Murray thrives from momentum–if he feels that he is capable of winning, he will play better. It is important that Federer does not provide him that belief at any stage of the match.

      • To clarify, I believe Federer will be able to play significantly better against Murray and that he is the favourite. However, he has to keep that level up, or else face difficulties from Murray pouncing on his serve and dictating play. Should he play at a consistently high level, however, Murray will be left scampering behind the baseline and with a resulting loss of confidence (ala WTF) and thus a high chance of victory.

      • I think Murray is a threat but the match is still on Roger’s racket.

        Murray is clearly dangerous now he has a slam under his belt but I don’t believe he’s gone up to a completely new level, just improved his game a touch but still not at Djoker’s level or Fed’s when his game is on.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Manu, looks like you and I were watching completely different games. I was watching the AO 2013 QF (Roger vs Tsonga). What were you watching? Do you have any idea what Tsonga was doing out there? The last time they played, Jo didn’t have a coach. This time he had Roger Rasheed, who must have given his charge and good education in strategy.

      The other thing you don’t account for is the fact that this is not a young Roger. There was a time he felt physically and mentally a hundred percent for seven matches. Not any more. He could have a day or two where he isn’t feeling that great. This was a match he had no business winning. Yet he did.

      If you noticed, Roger changed his strategy brilliantly on key points and phases and completely threw Tsonga off. And it worked.

      Hence, I conclude that he was neither “Shiterer”, not “Lazyerer”. If you were just looking for some some cool derivations of Roger names to throw around, then you’ve failed miserably my main ;)

      I do agree about Novak Eggovich. But the thing is, as long as what he is doing is legal, there’s no stopping him from doing it.

      By the way Murray isn’t exactly an all court player, not even remotely close to what Roger is.

      • I’ll take the coward’s way out and say I was watching the Berdshit-Djoko match haha.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Good choice, Manu, because I was just about getting ready to torch you :)

        But really, playing this Tsonga guy is like playing Russian Roulette. You just don’t know what you’re going to get. Roger should’ve been eliminated. So should Djokovic. You think maybe it’s destiny that Roger will win this AO by beating the No.1? :)

      • Hi Sid, I am new at this, but I don’t understand this joke or remark.
        Did I miss something? What is it with Novak and an egg???

        Please explain.

        Katyani

      • Katyani, Novak uses a pressurised, egg shaped sleeping chamber/pot but does something on the lines of increasing the red blood cell capacity of retaining more oxygen. In simple terms, gives him a lot more energy over a few hours because the more oxygen your blood cells retain, the less likely you are to get tired.

        I think he sleeps in it for a few hours or so. It’s not illegal, yet, but I think it’s not fair.

        Hence, the egg joke. I call him Novak Eggovich :)

        Check out Jonathan’s post on the Stan-Djokovic match. You will see a picture of the pod. Here is the link to the image:

        http://cdn.perfect-tennis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/The-Magic-Egg.jpg

    • I think Roger takes confidence from beating Tsonga. A lesser player would have lost that match but he stayed patient and got the job done. Could he have been more aggressive? Probably but for some reason or another it wasn’t happening for him.

      But, he still won. That’s the sign of a great player.

      • Like I said, Jo always loses to Roger, except when he plays him at QF/SF Grand Slam.
        Then he suddenly remembers that he is a very very good player !!!

        If it was anyone else then Roger, I would root for Jo, but when he plays Roger I always want Roger to win. And he did. Two more to beat. Andy and Novak. I have this feeling…..
        it is possible.

        Katyani

  17. If Murray is an all-court player, then Nadal must be to. Tsonga is much more of an all-court player than Andy is. Comes to net much more.

  18. Andy is capable of playing aggressively, but in the match up with Roger, it is all about Roger’s level. Andy has yet to beat him when Roger is playing at or near his best. The courts in Shanghai are slower than this court, which I think is more comparable now to the USO and WTF courts in it’s speed. It is rare to see Roger have two bad or average serving days in a row, and you know he and Annacone will work out a strategy. that will get Fed to the final.

    Here’s hoping Ferrer pushes Djokovic somewhat.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Getting ready to watch the first 30 minutes of the match. Ferrer is so cooked after that five setter, I think Eggovic is going to steamroll him.

      • Ferrer is playing awful. Even if he was on good form, he doesnt have the weapons to hurt the top 4 players. One dimensonal style of play. Too predictable. Its why he hasnt beaten Federer once yet.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Yeah, that was miserable. The total games he won weren’t even enough to win a set. The damage was done by Almagro.

      • I dunno if the damage was done by almagro… Ferrer just seems to freeze in the semi’s…

      • Yeah agreed with Conal. Ferrer has zero weapons to hurt the big guys. Total work horse but he can’t win slams.

    • I’d say the courts in Shanghai are probably faster than the Australian Open man.

      And Plexicushion is way slower than US Open and WTF.

      But anyway, the AO courts are playing quick enough to reward agressive play, even if it is still difficult against top defenders.

  19. ‘The way Roger handled the tension of the fifth set was genius in itself. ……’ – the paragraph is a perfect outline, Jonathan.

    The match was a torture, a roll coaster with so many ups and downs and Jo played his best, yet the end it was a great win by Roger. Semi or better for 10 years there…that’s an absurd record.

    As for the match against Andy, I would go for Fed in 4 as well. Allez!

  20. Now I really wish Ferrer was drawn in Fed’s half. And I’m sure as long as he’s #4 he’ll never be drawn in his half, either, haha.

  21. I’m pretty pessimistic about Federer’s chances. The draw has just been too tough. Djokovic had almost a walkover over Ferrer (this makes me increadible angry, first Berdshit, Djokovic’s pet dog, then Ferrer in bad form), who played pretty badly with no power in his shots. A perfect warm-up for Djokovic. Murray had no draw so far so he will be physically stronger than Federer if it comes to a 5-setter. If Federer and Murray battle it out over 5 sets which I expect than Djokovic will take the trophy for sure…..I hate this arranged draws….

    • Everyone knows it not over till Marion Bartoli sings man. Federer still knows how to manage his body and his game so I’m sure if he makes the final after playing a 5 setter with Murray he will be ready to do what it takes.

    • I agree with Michael – its unfair Federer had the toughest draw and gets only one day rest if he made the final. Really if they knew Djokovic was going to steamroll Ferrer in 1.5hrs, they should have moved the semi to Friday.

      • Agree, Ferrer shouldn’t have turned up. If Almagro hadn’t had choked, maybe we would’ve gotten a better semi final because he pushed Novak to three sets in Abu Dhabi last yr. Cannot believe they switched the semi-draws, should figure it would happen to Roger but. Now the Ferrer and Wawrinka match has probably boosted Djokovic’s confidence way way way way high. I didn’t think he was in good form until last night, hope that was only one of those days where a player is untouchable (partly due to Ferrer, who was only a cameo in the Djokovic show).

        A lot of people are looking to Murray/Federer semi now to make up for lack of other semi.

    • And you were right! Muzzy definitely fitter! However I think he has the gae to beat Novak!

  22. Unfortunately, I could not watch this amazing match. By short clips can be concluded that Tsonga played very well, but Roger has successfully overcome a difficult opponent yet in even worse draw (really not right, Roger will get two fresh and strongest opponents below)! :-( I hope for the best, go Roger, Murray should just a mental break for victory, and save the best for Đoković, we saw he did not invulnerable!
    And Roger is so funny in this interviews after match, crazy! :-)

    • Hey Ana,

      You should watch some extended highlights on YouTube, there’s some good points, especially in the tie breakers!

      Hope Fed get it done in 4 against Murray but we shall see! Allez.

      Jonathan

  23. Hey everybody, rough match with Tsonga with some real nervous moments. In my opinion here is what he has to do to win against Murray, and Djokovich. Obviously he has to serve well, return aggressively, and not make so many unforced errors. We all know that. But here is some other observations. He has to rely on his backhand more and not get out of court so much trying to run around his backhand to hit forehands. It leaves him to vulnerable if he doesn’t hit a really strong shot. He also has to serve more creatively, and jam Murray, and Djokovich on key points. They both return too well reaching for balls. He needs to get more net clearance like he did in the first 3 matches, and really go for his top-spin backhand on returns, and down the lines. If he can control the mid court by hitting sharp angles, especially on his backhand, like he has when he’s beaten Nadal, he will give them more trouble. Ferrer is unfortunately giving djokovich good practise and helping him groove his strokes. Ferrer doesn’t have enough power to hurt him. But, I think we have a good chance for number 18! Go Roger!

    • Hey Tim,

      Yeah no secrets on playing Murray, Roger gotta be the one dictating plays.

      I don’t mind him running around his backhand as it means he only has to play half the court whereas Murray has to respect the whole court. But like you say he has to make sure his forehands are hit with power an depth, can’t afford to hit half court push shots because then the BHDTL becomes easier to hit for Murray.

      I’m hoping he goes on the attack against the Murray second serve, it’s attackable for sure and if he can make some moves into the net for a volley put away there is some cheap points to be had there.

      Ferrer never had a chance, no weapons. Always gonna be the guy everyone wants to play in the semi final.

      Jonathan

      • I think both will be attacking each other’s second serves. That’s why Federer won the final last year, Murray has the worst second serve out of the big four that’s for sure.
        But during Tsonga match, Jo Willy was going after Fed 2nd serve and it actually paid off. Roger wasn’t winning much on his second serve because Tsonga was playing aggressive and Fed had to be on defence. Probably can expect the same from Murray without the power of Tsonga, yeah if Fed dictates the points in with a good chance.

  24. A great win for Roger. It could be a very close match tomorrow if doesn’t show his very best. 50/50.
    If he summons his absolute best he should win in 3 or 4 sets.
    Best of luck!
    Cheers :D

  25. Wow i missed readin for one day and i am trying to catch up reading the 66 comments posted.
    That Tsonga he has a phenomanal forhand, the way he blasts the ball is unbelievable. But then he wil do a shot that a 2 year old could make!! What a contrast of shot makin. But i am soo glad Federer won. I really want him to beat Murray(or Mugrey) and then beat Djokovic. I hav a feeling that fed can go all the way!! What a stat of 10 successive semi final or better. Fed stats r out of this world. GOAT. :)

  26. Great match. Didn’t think Fed played so bad, Tsonga just had one of his on days, huge returns, BH ( usually off)?very solid and explosive FH! Fed won because of following reasons. Played 2 brilliant breakers, played great defence on key points with razor sharp reflexes, and despite more errors, kept his intensity up all the time so that when Tsonga made those 2 BH errors at 1-2 in the 5th, he was ready to jump all over him! The margins are that fine!

    Key pointers v Murray? High first serve %. Attack ( not chip) Murrays second serve. Play aggressive throughout, keep rallies short. Don’t get into those attritional baseline battles! And, most important of all! Take those breakpoint opportunities!!! ( his conversion rate, compared to Murry, has been poor).

    Most of the uninformed Press are picking Murray. The more sensible ones are calling this a 50/50 match. Tend to agree,pretty hard to call! However, Fed can smell that final now. There is no Nadal in sight, and he knows can beat both Murray and Novak in Majors over 5 sets. Never underestimate his hunger, so I take Fed in 4 tight sets. Think I might be behind a cushion for most of it! Allez Roger!

    • Good points, I heard Murray has been player with highest break point conversion but has also been the player that has gotten broken the most! And by lesser players when you compare them to Federer! If Federer is aggressive on second serve and his serve and fh are on, Murray is in trouble. I didn’t have faith after seeing Tsonga match because really after the fourth set, Jo Willy had momentum but Federer maintained the focus with finish line in sight. I think he will be very motivated to beat Murray tonight and prove to himself he can still play his best tennis on the big stage, and own Andy once more in a grand slam.

      Media doubted Fed would even get this far and British Media, well they probably think Federer has a 5% chance but hopefully he will prove them wrong once again.

    • Hey Susie,

      Yeah Tsonga is an all or nothing type guy so I think Roger did really well to come through.

      Hope he pulls it off against Murray. 1-1 first set as I type this. But Murray has BP.

      Murray is the bookies favourite too, but it’s close in the betting. I give Fed 60/40 edge.

      Jonathan

      • Waiting yr write up!!!! Muzza did deserve it but good to see 5 setter!2 key moments for me 1) Just wish Fed hadn’t gone out of the match in the 3rd set when he was broken at 2-3! He sat back behind th baseline and hit 2 poor errors! And got himself in a stew with the umpire, got distracted and lost his cool! Pity! And 2) shld hv kept hold of the break in 4th set, and Wld hv had more energy in the 5th. Pity but as I hv said, he gave us a great tournament, the best matches, the best shots. (None of Murrays have been memorable, except this one)

      • Hey Susie,

        Post done :)

        Yeah there were a few key moments but overall he never had that cutting edge today. Always the one trying to play catch up and never the one forcing the issue.

        Onto Rotterdam!

        Jonathan

  27. PS. Go Li Na!( sez me and a billion Chinese). Vika shld hv been defaulted! Poor, poor poor! No 1 player being protected!!!

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Susie, Zhu Ni Hao Yun! Wo Xi Wang Ta Neng Duo Guang! :)

      Ok, I read your comment at a Chinese restaurant so got it translated. Can you tell me if it means what I think it is supposed to mean? :)

  28. I am ending with a very good note …………
    Do you guys know that the two Dutch man Haase/Sijsling are in the Doubles Final???

    Go Roger Go. Go Robin and Igor Go. Win your matches. Show who is the boss.

    From Katyani of Holland. Proud of the two Dutch guys !!!

  29. Sid TheCookieThief

    I am fan of the brothers. They are the Roger Federer of doubles tennis. But, this time I’ll cheer for the Dutch pair.

    I still think the Bryan’s will win their 13th.

  30. Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

    But Murray deserved it though. There was no way Fed would have won.

  31. I am soo gutted that Murray won. With federer to have alot if points to defend upto wimbledon. It looks like the tournament have got what they wanted. Another topsy turvy match. Federer seemed on the defensive all the time but when he was the aggressor he always won the point. The whole tournament looks a fix as they keep promotin the Murray and Djokovic era.
    You should of heard John Lloyd ” Murray is a far better player than Federer” What biased bulls##t. Even Ansrew Castle was talking nonsense!! He beats Federer once in GS and they think he is GOAT.They easily forget that Murray has lost 3 times in Major finals to Fed.
    Federer has to regroup and make sure that the next tournys he enters that he wins. Otherwise he lose alot of ranking points. Eitherway i didnt want any of the 2 finalist to win. I know i will nit waking up early on sunday to watxh their match!!

  32. John Lloyd et al shld be pensioned off. Jingoistic crap! Eurosport coverage and commentary much better. No one can say Muzza didn’t deserve this win. He was the better player on the day, his first serve was awesome, but good to see Fed hang tough, get angry and take it to 5 sets. However, youth and fitness told at that point! But Fed has given us an awesome AO, some of th best matches, matchplay and interviews with Jim Courier! Thanks!
    Think Muzza can win if he deals with that second serve otherwise Novak will be all over him, without the UFE’s Fed gave him! And he has to stay aggressive, any passive play will be punished! As Frew McMillan said today, that second serve is a problem!

    • Hi Susie… U r right about John Lloyd. I should of watched it on Eurosport. The BBC commentators nither of them r Grand slam singles champions. Therefore they no nothing about winning and Tennis for that matter. Murray overall played better so the win was deserved. Federers class showed again when he said Murray was the the better player. Both Murray and Djokovic should take a leaf out of Federers book they coukd learn alot about class and sportmanship right to the end.

    • Haha yeah Lloyd is past his sell by date. Andrew Castle wrote an article in the Metro saying Fed is favourite, as soon as he’s on BBC, he picks Murray. lol.

      I’m picking Djoker for the final.

      • Hey Jonathan…. I like that what u hav said about Harold Lloyd (u probably wont know who am talkin about, but ur readers will.) As for Castle what a hypacrite. I didnt realise he wrote an article and said Fed would win but then change his mind on the bbc.lol It becoming the norm for bbc!!

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