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Federer Edges past Bellucci in Basel

Federer Edges past Bellucci in Basel

Hey everyone, feels like I’ve been writing this for the last however many matches but this was yet again another sloppy performance from Roger as he edged past Thomaz Bellucci 6-3 6-7(6) 7-5 in Basel.

It wasn’t until late last night that we knew Bellucci would be Roger’s opponent after he beat Ge Soeda in 3 sets depsite being a set and a break down.

When I woke up to the news I was pretty happy because even though Roger played way below par against Becker, Bellucci is a total mug on indoor courts. I figured that a fast, low-ish bouncing court would favour Roger 100% and we wouldn’t be seeing anything similar to their match in Indian Wells. Federror on the other hand had other ideas.

I didn’t switch on the match until it was 2-0 in the first set, so I’m not really sure how Roger broke serve. He held easily to 3-0 and I thought things were panning out very comfortably. It didn’t take long for me to realise that Roger wasn’t even close to JesusFed mode though, no pop off the groundstrokes, not serving great and having to save a couple of break points as he served out the first set 6-3. It was all too similar to the match against Becker.

Second Set; Bellucci Wins the Tie Break

The best way to describe the second set if you’re a Roger fan is awful. The scoreline makes it look close but you never felt like Roger was in control. He was serving second for starters and Bellucci wasn’t having to work for his service holds. He just had to keep his cool and Rogers shanks took care of the rest.

Luckily Roger wasn’t too troubled on serve either, a couple of 30 all’s but some timely first serves and errors from Bellucci meant the set went into a breaker. I thought Roger would be able to edge the breaker and pressure Bellucci so he folded mentally but the Brazilian got into an early lead was was 6-2 up in no time. Roger saved 4 set points to get back to 6 all helped by a Bellucci choke forehand but a huge backhand shank handed Bellucci the set taking the breaker 8-6.

Federinho

The third set could have gone either way, to his credit I thought Fed started playing a little better in this one, the crowd probably helped him through and he definitely served way better making 77% of his first serves compared to 53% and 56% in the first and second sets respectively.

Bellucci was serving pretty well too, especially the one out wide onto the backhand; that seemed to cause Roger a ton of problems. At 6-5 Roger finally strung some points together, I tweeted if he got to 15-30 he’d break to win and he did just that. From what I remember he hit a pretty sweet inside in forehand and Bellucci netted on the next point to concede the match.

Federer vs. Bellucci Match Stats

Federer vs. Bellucci Stats

Is Roger Struggling?

That answer to that question has to be an unequivocal yes, I’ve noticed a lot of fans making excuses, saying his opponents are playing amazing, that Roger is just easing into the tournament but from what I have seen so far that’s simply not the case.

Roger is majorly struggling with his game, it’s off in all areas. The serve, forehand and especially the backhand look a complete wreck. Countless times today he looked to have zero confidence on the backhand, almost stabbing at the ball with no follow through and that always leads to unforced errors.

Bellucci is a terrible indoors player yet he was well into today’s match and that shouldn’t happen. It’s easy to compare these matches to last year and say oh well he dropped a set to Nieminen but it’s all about context. These matches are playing out very differently, the result is still a win but the manner of it is very different. In matches like today I feel like the match could slip away, against Nieminen last year and countless times this year when he’s fallen behind, I didn’t.

Based on what I’ve seen so far I don’t think Roger is winning Basel this year, again fans are quick to point how weak the draw is, but 2 matches in I feel like if you put in a half decent shift then you have a big chance of beating Fed this week. Thing can change but JesusFed would have to make an appearance sooner rather than later for my opinion to change.

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about him being mentally tired after this year and it’s crystal clear now, the Olympics and then Berdshit screwed him over. I think skipping Paris and then just going through the motions at the World Tour Finals is the best course of action. He can then play the exhos in Brazil and then rest up for Australia.

Back to right now and the most important thing is that his name is still in the hat for Basel, so perhaps he can find something and his game will click, just a shame Roddick isn’t in the draw so he can give him a beat down to boost his confidence so I’m not holding my breath.

Next Up: Paire or Kubot

Despite the poor form I think Roger will get past either of these guys. Dropping a set isn’t out of the question but surely his experience is going to be enough to get across the line. In terms of how the match will pan out, I don’t a lot about either player to be honest. What I do know though is Kubot is a journeyman and Paire is a young Frenchman with a little bit of hype; French tennis players and hype are a recipe for disaster so I doubt either of those guys can pull off an upset.

After this the tournament gets interesting and I think Del Potro or Gasquet are the ones to watch. We shall see!

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.

17 comments

  1. Yeah, really very sloppy performance from Roger. The match was so boring that I fell asleep during the 2nd set. When I woke up, it was nearly the end of the match. It was 5-5 and I didn’t believe Rog could win the match. Fortunately he did, but if he continues like this, he may not be lucky against seeded players.
    By the way, the baby Fed Dimitrov defeated Benneteau in a 3 tie-breaker’d match.
    The other baby Fed Goffin defeated Isner. We’ll see which baby Fed is going to dig deep :)

    • Yeah, like I sad in the post I’m not sure he is taking down Basel this year.

      Dimitrov is over rated. He’s got attractive shots but no tennis brain, I think he will ultimately flop.

      Goffin is the interesting one, maybe he’s a top ten candidate.

  2. I think you’re overreacting. Yes it was an error strewn match but the positives are he’s in the next round and matches like this are very confidence building. In the final set he just took his game a notch higher. For me the serving was ok. Just needs to limit unforced errors and work on returns and back hands and we’ll be fine.
    Allez Roger! :-)

    • I dunno man, his game looks way off to me. Not sure they build confidence these types of matches either, looked pretty pissed off throughout this one, hitting his shoes after errors. Almost like he doesn’t wanna be out there or he’s confused.

      Served ok final set, backhand is a joke though, dumped so many into the middle of the net and shanked a ton too. Still in the draw so we’ll see what happens I guess.

      • yeah well, i think he should beat paire or kubot, and begin to get some rhythm going into the semis. dunno about the backhand, it’s been a much improved shot this year in my opinion but it just seems to be falling apart. I feel if he can keep his first serve in, and limit unforced errors, he should at least make it to the finals.
        I think if he’s knocked out in the semis he should play paris, try and defend points there.
        go roger!

      • Looks like you were right on getting some rhythm going, played well against Paire and Mathieu

  3. Hi Jonathan (geez it does feel weird calling someone with the same name). Anyway at the start I can tell you it was JesusFed, he cruised through to 3-0 with quite a lot of winners and I was quite happy about that. Then Roger lost focus maybe because he was winning too easily, nevertheless he saved 2 BPs and held to take the 1st set 6-3.

    I feel like Roger had problems returning the Bellucci serve more than anything, couldn’t get half the balls back in play in the 2nd set. I knew Roger was gonna lose the tiebreak, but had a glimpse of hope as the 6-point-in-a-row-tiebreak-magic was about to appear, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

    Perhaps the positive that you can take out of this match is that Roger knows that he needs to up his performance. He started firing out on his service games at the start of the 3rd and holds the majority of the games comfortably. And again the mental department was working a bit cos’ in 2010-2011 he would have lost these matches. Roger 3.0 saved it again.

    The REAL problem is the BH, way too many shanks and loads in the net. You could have thought it was clay with the amount of shanks he had. Plus you can feel that Roger was a bit impatient and wanted to close the match quickly, leading to a bit more UEs when pulling the trigger. I was insist that when you’re in trouble it’s always better to work your way out rather than hitting your way out. Bellucci was playing rather well today after the 1st set so credits to him, he also did attack the Federer BH quite often and it payed off for him.

    Good things from the match? The net play. Didn’t let him down and finished points quickly. Roger should focus on that if his baseline game isn’t at it’s finest.

    Now without the Seppi curse and without Stan, I don’t see any potential threats up to the final (Davy/Benneteau might be a challenge but I think Roger will prevail). Delpo was in good form today against Falla (who we know what he’s capable of *cough*), so Roger needs to be careful. We have to wait and see what his form will be like on Friday.

  4. He was struggling to figure out Bellucci’s serve, without a doubt. You could visibly see in his face that his mind was working hard. But Bellucci is a hard match-up for him with his lefty spin and he was utilizing the kicker to Fed’s forehand on the deuce court very intelligently. He was playing well, and you can debate whether or not Fed’s play helped that, but he did make the final of the Kremlin Cup last week where he lost to Seppi.
    Overall, Fed is feeling the effects of a long season, but he’s not giving up either. He really wants this title and he’ll fight through these issues and do what it takes to win. That he served well in the third set is a good sign.
    The backhand was certainly off and every time he hit I flinched, almost expecting it to be missed. But the forehand is performing up to par and that is what is needed, along with solid serving. When RF serves well, everything else can fall into place.
    Having Benoit or Paire next up is a positive, and Davydenko eliminating Stan makes the semi a little easier.

  5. It is so true, Jonathan. I too, feel like I am blogging about the same thing over and over. He’s mentally tired, his form is ugly, etc. The big difference between this year and last year is that Roger was at a different stage at this point in the season. Last year, Roger only had one title up to this point, and he had just lost to Djokovic in NY. This was the first year that he hasn’t won a slam since 2002, and he needed to do something to get himself back into the mix. He took six weeks off, skipping Shanghai, and was in brilliant form because he was well rested.

    But this year, he has played many more matches, won many more tournaments, and Wimby, and a Silver medal. Despite all of the wins, and travelling, and tough losses here and there, Roger is just overall exhausted and overwhelmed.

    In some ways though, you just have to admit that it’s pretty impressive for Roger to keep digging out these wins in matches he has no right to win. That’s just the GOAT right there – but it’s not going to be enough in a place like the WTF. I think the best decision for him would be to skip Paris and prepare himself as best that he can for the WTF. He should at least have his dignity now that the great run of 2012 is running out of gas. We know that the number 1 ranking is most likely gone, so he might as well just take Paris off to rest.

    And even though Roger is in poor form, I still think he has a chance to win Basel. The draw is weak, yes, but he can only lose it if he let’s himself, because that’s what these matches have come down to. His own errors.

  6. Could just be wishful thinking on my part, but I have to think that he’ll win Basel- pure motivation could get him through this tournament. We all know how much this tournament means to him. Based on what I’ve seen and heard this week, I’d be shocked if he went to Paris next week. The wisest thing for him to do is take next week off, do his best in London and just rest up during the off season. It’s been another incredible season for him and at this stage I just want to see him playing well again in January. The guy needs a vacation.

  7. I donno… It was very upsetting! It doesn’t look good for Fed at the moment…

    But have you lost faith! This is Roger Federer, the one who won Wimbledon and got back the World #1! The GOAT! You didn’t doubt Federer while being down 2 sets to love against DoPo or Benneteau, did you? I think you’re exaggerating but your point is correct! Maybe tired? Only Fed can prove you wrong, huh? :)

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