Total dream match from Federer. I expected a win but I actually thought he may have some trouble considering how he’s served in the first 2 matches. But it was the total opposite, it was a Friday night show of brilliance from Roger who played in a totally effortless manner and looked like he’d sharpened up no end after his match against Nieminen 2 days ago.
I thought the first set would end in a breaker, but Roger won it 6-3. The first highlight of the set was Roddick challenging the very first point of the match (and winning it) I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. Roger won the first game with ease and his serve looked good from the off. Roddick started the match in good form too really – he got Federer to deuce in the third game but an awesome drive volley that was executed with total aplomb from Roger put him into a 2-1 lead.
Game 4 was where Roger really started to find his range, in what was probably the best rally of the match both players exchanged sliced backhands for about 10 shots, Federer then hit a classic drive backhand up the line leaving Roddick no chance. Roger really was hitting the ball well at this point, this is helped due to the fact Roddick has no real weapons other than his serve, Roger can play with total confidence and take huge strides into the court and hit the ball tremendously early. Roddick has no other option but to camp out behind the baseline and try hustle points.
To his credit Roddick actually covered the court pretty well, he was tracking down a lot of balls and getting them back in play, but unless you’re Nadal that’s never going to be enough against Roger. With Roddick serving at 3-4 down and 0-15 down he netted an approach shot and was consequently broken by Federer. Fed served out the set to take it 6-3, hitting a crazy passing shot in the process that required last minute racket head adjustment after Roddicks slice stayed extremely low.
Set 2 – Roger on cruise control
Fed started the second set with an instant break of serve, at this point you just knew the match was over. Roger hadn’t faced a single break point yet and didn’t look like doing so either. I guess you just have to say Roddick is the dream match up for Roger, the 21-2 H2H pretty much tells that story.
From that point on it was just a matter of watching Roger float around the court and show off his full repertoire of shots. Roddick was looking ever the more disconsolate figure as the set went on, it must hurt knowing you’re pretty much powerless to Federer’s game. Roddick managed to stay in touch until the 6th game where he conceded the double break and Roger served it out with ease.
Federer vs. Roddick Highlights
1st serve %
Winning % on 1st Serve
Winning % on 2nd Serve
Break Points Converted
21 of 25 = 84%
16 of 22 = 73%
3 of 4 = 75%
Why is Roddick the perfect opponent for Federer?
The Roddick game has always been very reliant on his serve, earlier in his career his forehand was somewhat of a weapon but now that’s not the case. I don’t know if it’s deteriorated, he’s stopped hitting it big, or other players have simply caught up and hit way bigger. Either way, Roddick’s ground strokes have no real zip and he can’t manoeuvre players around the court, as was evident against Murray at Queens earlier this year. This is the ideal for Roger, if he can head into a match knowing he’s going to have plenty time to hit shots, he can step into the court, take huge cuts at the ball and never give up any sort of position.
Rogers best matches all come when he’s on the front foot, dictating play and playing the match on his terms – this always happens against Roddick.
Predictions against Wawrinka
So Roger is facing fellow countryman, and another player he’s dominated over the years, Stan Wawrinka. I think this match will be quite close, I say 7-5 6-4 to Federer. Despite the fact both players are Swiss, the crowd are going to be firmly on the side of Roger and every time Wawrinka plays Fed he seems to get on court thinking he’s already lost. I don’t see his mentality changing tomorrow. Roger knows Wawrinka’s game inside out, so can easily play on his weaknesses. I’m sure Wawrinka knows Roger’s weaknesses too, but he’s not got the game to exploit them, he hit’s the ball flat and hard, which Roger likes. So unless Stan comes out with a double handed backhand and starts moonballing tomorrow I’m not giving him much chance.
Also – can anyone shed any light on why the net makes so much noise in Basel? Whenever a player nets a serve it sounds like a car crash. Are the ATP trialling something new?
Basel Poll: Is This the Best Return Game Ever Played?