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Federer Stands Tall To Make 11th Straight Semi Final in Melbourne

Federer Stands Tall To Make 11th Straight Semi Final in Melbourne

Well what a mini rollercoaster that one was, for a minute there I thought Roger’s missed chances were going to cost him big time but fortunately he stood tall, regrouped and defeated Andy Murray in 4 sets, 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in three hours and 20 minutes to make his 11th straight semi final down under.

What looked like it was going to a routine performance after Fed played flawlessly in the first 2 sets suddenly turned into a scrappy affair in the third as Murray hit back; breaking Roger when he served for the match at 5-4 before fending off 2 match points in the tie break to take the match into a fourth. Fans no doubt had panic buttons at the ready after the distinct lack of mental fortitude from Fed but he managed to hold it together, kept moving well and proved too strong in the fourth finally closing it out with a thunderous ace on his 3rd match point of the night.

He now of course goes onto meet his nemesis, Rafael Nadal, in the semi finals which is a whole different ball game but we’ll get onto that later, let’s take a look at this match and why it was a good one for Roger.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Forehand AO 2014 vs Murray

The first set was always going to be hugely important in this so to see Roger step on court and start timing the ball sweetly from the word go was extremely positive. In no time at all he managed to assert his authority over Murray, breaking to lead 3-1 and holding comfortably to close out the set 6-3. It was a really tactically played set, lots of variety and aggression just when he needed it.

The second set saw Roger again looking imperious on serve breaking to lead 3-2 before moving into a 5-4 lead where he’d serve for a 2 sets to love lead. At this point of the match you could just sense Murray was beginning to find his feet ever so slightly and it took a really steely service game from the Swiss to close out the set 6-4.

Murray has come back from 2 sets to love down 7 times in career so a win in 5 was never going to be ruled out but when Roger had a break chance in the opening game of third I thought there was no way he’d find a way back into it. Both players traded holds but finally it all looked set to be a clinical performance from Roger after he made a great pickup en route to breaking at 4-4 where he’d serve for a straight sets victory.

At this point however the wheels came off for the master, he looked like a different player out there to be honest, unable to find a first serve and far too much tension in his arm which made his shots tentative and lacking any sort of power. Murray of course broke back before holding and Fed then had to force the tie break.

Like the 3rd set in general the breaker looked to be heading Fed’s way when he pulled off some incredible defence to lead 5-2 and then created 2 match points at 6-4 with one on his own serve. Of course though he couldn’t close it out as Murray found a way back into it and took it 8-6. Game on.

As far as blows go losing the third set in such a manner was pretty big one however Roger actually regrouped pretty quickly, shaking off a 0-30 in his opening service game to hold before playing a marathon 17 minute game on Murray’s serve. It reminded me a little bit of Wimbledon 2012 except it was more with Murray this time, and we saw 10 deuces before Murray finally held to level at 1 all.

I wasn’t sure if that was going to be costly but my prediction in live chat that Roger would have one more chance to break at 4-3 in the fourth came good as he finally got the breakthrough at the 10th time of asking. This time around he made no mistake in serving it out, doing so from 0-30 down to take it 6-3. Allez!

Match Stats

StatsAndy MurrayRoger Federer
Aces910
Double faults10
1st serves in89/146 (61 %)78/122 (64 %)
1st serve points won60/89 (67 %)61/78 (78 %)
2nd serve points won28/57 (49 %)28/44 (64 %)
Fastest serve208 KMH204 KMH
Average 1st serve speed183 KMH184 KMH
Average 2nd serve speed131 KMH149 KMH
Net points won17/27 (63 %)49/66 (74 %)
Break points won1/2 (50 %)4/17 (24 %)
Receiving points won33/122 (27 %)58/146 (40 %)
Winners4154
Unforced errors4642
Total points won121147

Highlights

Thoughts on the Match

Federer defeats Murray Roar

Well where to begin? Looked like the peRFect match, got a little closer than expected but then Roger managed to compose himself to pull off really what has to be described as a huge win considering recent form and his last few meetings vs. Murray.

It’s hard to get really excited about the match itself as Fed vs. Murray isn’t such a great matchup in terms of viewing but the circumstances of this one are really good news for Roger. He looked pretty good out there and it’s a while since he’s managed to look like that against a member of the top 4.

Yes there were some real shaky moments but overall I think Roger played a great match, he was sharp, moved great, had a desire to keep tracking down balls when the point looked over and just looked like he belonged out there which after the last 2 slams was in some doubt perhaps even in his own mind. In fact I’d maybe say his ability to stay in some of the rallies with court coverage won him the match today, it just gave him that added dimension. Sad in one sense when you look at the bigger picture of how tennis is played now, but brilliant on the other to see him moving freely without fear of aggravating the back.

The level of aggression Roger displayed throughout was also noteworthy along with his all round serving and the fact he took a pro active approach to finishing points off when he had chance. He’s just so much better when he can transition from defence into attack quickly and explode out of the corners when he needs to.

In fact the only times where he did come unstuck like in the tie break were when he played too passively, it allowed Murray to step in and hit offensively which made defending impossible as the shots were just too close to the lines. So it’s fair to say the gameplan he had out there when he put it into action was near peRFect. Just those tense moments where he reverted to comfort zonerer and chipped the ball rather than hit with conviction cost him some potentially big chances. Luckily they didn’t come back to haunt him and winning pretty much fixes everything.

As for Murray in my view he was just beaten by the better player, but the way the press in the UK have positioned this one is as though the guy was severely hampered and never expected to win before they stepped on court. Perhaps he deserves the Victoria Cross and Knighthood for putting in such a brave performance. I don’t think he returned as well as he can but Fed just stepped it up on serve and made sure he dictated winning it fair and square.

Predictions vs. Nadal

Roger Federer vs Nadal Madrid 2009

Keep Calm and Believe in Roger Federer.

I think if it was anyone else waiting for him in the semi final then this tournament would now be an out and out success regardless of what happens next match, but of course his nemesis awaits and he is severely overdue a win against the Spaniard. It is almost do or die time here in terms of this matchup. It’s been like what? 100,000 years since he last beat Nadal in a slam? :P

The big problem is I’m not ultra confident he can do it, heart says yes, head says no kinda moment for me but history does suggest Nadal has a big upper hand here. I do have a small glimmer that Fed can produce something but I really think he will have to reach new heights mentally to get it done.

The fact he kinda struggled to close it out today against Murray is a little bit of a negative in my view, as you just know Nadal won’t be as forgiving should he get a route back into the match. He’s a fighter so any missed chances from Roger means he will be made to pay and missing a match point on your own serve in a tie break is suicidal.

Roger is 10/10 talent, 9/10 physical and 8/10 mental. Nadal is 7/10 talent, 10/10 mental and 10/10 physical so whilst their total scores are the same the mental department is perhaps 80% of the sport which is why Nadal has come out on top so many times and the exact reason Roger has to do something special out there. It will take great execution and infallible forehands and extreme mental strength if he’s to make the final.

I can sense Nadal has given a few fans renewed hope after getting pushed by Dimitrov and having a blister on his hand, but I don’t think you can be fooled by that, this guy is an animal and he will spill blood his own blood or that of the opponent on court to win. In some ways Dimitrov has warmed Nadal up for this encounter, not exactly great news. And if ever there was going to be a time when he’s physically out of it it’d be the 2009 Australian Open when he came into the final after an epic with Verdasco and we all know what happened there so don’t get excited about him not serving so well due to a blister, come Friday it will be game on. Really it’s fully up to Roger to make this happen so he really will need to find that bit extra in the clutch to come through otherwise it could be another painful loss.

But what is the point of being a fan if you can’t back your own player? I know Roger has the game to win, it’s a question whether he has it in the mind. Maybe after 2 big wins he can get it done, maybe he believes he can win and the Edberg effect is more than just fan and press talk. Either way we’re going to find out.

Well what a mini rollercoaster that one was, for a minute there I thought Roger's missed chances were going to cost him big time but fortunately he stood tall, regrouped and defeated Andy Murray in 4 sets, 6-3 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 in three hours and 20 minutes to make his 11th straight semi final down under. What looked like it was going to a routine performance after Fed played flawlessly in the first 2 sets suddenly turned into a scrappy affair in the third as Murray hit back; breaking Roger when he served for the match at 5-4 before…

Review Overview

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

11th straight semi final!

Summary : Great movement, great groundstrokes, little shaky in places but regrouped to get it done in 4.

User Rating: 4.06 ( 22 votes)
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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.

238 comments

  1. Great win by Roger. Wish he won in straight sets, but it just shows that the old confident self is not back yet. But the confidence level much better than most of last year. Don’t expect him to beat Dull yet, but I’m pretty sure by the end of this year, he would have beaten dull a few times.

    Just hate the fact that if Fed cannot kick dull out of this tournament, it is 14th for dull and a chance to go into wimbledon for a grand slam if he can continue winning French. Hoping and praying for a miracle to happen tomorrow night.

    • Ganesh, I don’t think serving out the match (or lack of should I say) in the third came down to confidence, call me crazy but was Roger’s sub conscious already thinking about Rafa? Or it could’ve been nerves even, Roger hasn’t beaten a member of the top 4 at a grand slam in straights since…Australian Open 2010 against Murray himself. I also wish Fed could’ve done it in three, could’ve maybe have sent a message but he got the win, that’s all that matters now.

    • It was just choking. But he did manage to regroup. Perhaps it was a good thing.

  2. Dang… so close!

  3. semifinalist(which hopefully roger wont be)

  4. Great match! Nice to see him like this against a member of the top 4 :D

  5. Sid TheCookieThief

    Dare I say, this winner of this match will be the champion.

    I know this is going to sound unrealistic, but I’m making Roger the slight favorite, and actually picking him to win this one.

    “Execution and infallible forehands”. His PS90 never allowed him to execute well against Nadal. I have hope it will change tomorrow. The only negative? It’s the first time he is using the new racquet against a moonballing lefty, so it’s sore of an unknown.

    Let’s do it, Roger! :-)

    • Great post as always Jonathan!
      Usually I find sometimes a bit too optimistic but this time I am on Sid side. I have seen parts of Dimitrov match and sorry but the guy completely choked it; Certainly a great talent but some many unbelievable mistakes at key points, it was not really dull credit to win. I think the guy is far from his best. You are right to be cautious but there is a shot for roger just like in madrid when dull was a bit down. If Fedberg is on fire on Friday there will be flesh on the menu!

      “Looks like someone opened a bottle of vintage Fed wine—smells like an ’06.”

    • for the first time Sid, since wimb 2008. I don’t have the feeling that Nadal would win their clash!! but you know what, this is what we live for, it give this match the needed hype and excitement. I am really looking forward for this. actually I lost interest in their encounters recently, but this one , watch out and believe Roger has a real chance
      hope am wrong ;)

    • Hope so guys. Nadal always saves his best for late in the tournament so don’t get too sold on his level being not that good.

      But I guess seen as though Dimitrov is a cheap imitation of Fed and could have won then it could happen.

  6. Great recap Jonathan, are the British really victimising Murray in all of this? Oh dear.
    An 11th consecutive semi final here is very special and I think he needed this after his run in the other slams last season, it’s good to have you back in the final four Fed. So much for that Djokovic/Murray era huh? People are saying Murray will be dropping in the rankings to 6/7 depending on who makes the final so interesting times for Andy.

    Sets 1-2 were vintage Fed in flight, I thought this was the second match in a row he had good tactics and execution which included great net play and returning (is Edberg helping in that department more than ever?). Set 3 was a shocking display from him, the errors that cost him his service game were unforgivable and in a way he’s lucky Murray couldn’t battle it out in the 4th because it could’ve been costly. This match felt like the reverse of the 2013 one, only this time it was who Andy won the tiebreak with a bit of anger fuelled (due to that controversial lob Fed made, can’t tell if it did double bounce) but didn’t have what it took to keep the match going. But a win is a win, he won a tight match, something he couldn’t do for most of 2013 but as you said the next match will ask a whole new level of Fed, one I don’t know he can produce against such an opponent.

    Can Roger beat Nadal? I think the better question is if Roger can beat Roger. I am definitely not getting fooled by Rafa’s whole blister saga, I think Fed has better opportunities to get into his service games but that’s about it, this is a different matchup and Rafa will be oddly confident about his chances here as he should. For Roger to win it’s all about the mental aspect because we know he has the shots to play Nadal at his own game. He has to invoke the Djokovic plan and go for his backhand, come to the net and go behind Rafa-don’t get bullied out there by the topsin, I thought Dimitrov did a superb job with that in their match. Roger can’t pull the same stunt he did in the third set and he can’t chip here either, he needs to hit over the backhand, I noticed when Murray was bossing Fed around the court in the late third, Roger reverted back to chipping. Look, it is what it is, Roger is a huge under dog here, I just hope this match doesn’t turn out to be like the one they had in 2012 where Fed won the first set and was standing toe to toe and faded. I want to say it’s been a successful tournament reaching the semis and taking two members of the top 10 along the way but it seems like a win over Nadal would be mission complete. Cmon Roger! (And Stan!)

    • Federer can’t execute Djokovic’s plan, he doesn’t have the cross backhand of the Serbian which is the best weapon agains the No1. But anyway I think Roger has a huge chance of beating Nadal who can’t serve with his blister and for one thing that i believe is different from other matches, Roger doesn’t feel he has to win, he knows he is not the favourite and it can help him to be mentally stronger.

      • I strongly disagree Pablo and I’ll tell you why. If you watch Novak’s gameplan, he actually executes the same plan Nadal does to Federer. Novak actually uses his forehand to breakdown the Nadal backhand and then can use his own BH DTL. Federer needs to do the same thing, he needs to run around a lot of his backhands and try break down Rafa’s. Rafa was making a tonne of errors on the BH against Dimitrov and wasn’t using his FH DTL for most of the match. When Nadal’s BH doesn’t work, the other elements of his game start to diminish as well (except his mentality of course, that never goes away).

        Also are you serious? Rafa can’t serve with his blister? Sorry man but no way. Maybe Rafa can’t get the same grip but I’m not buying this, he won his last two matches with that blister, that’s not an excuse. Plus I’m sure the blister will have healed a lot more in 48 hours. But Roger has already tried to believe he is an underdog against Nadal and it hasn’t worked in his mental favour. Roger needs to feel he has to win this match, it’s the only way to overcome these demons. If he believes he is the underdog against Nadal, that’s all he’ll ever be. No more of that, time to step up.

      • Thanks Alysha.

        I agree with pretty much all your comment but I agree with Pablo on the Novak thing, Fed can’t pound cross court backhands in a Djoker esque way to try win, the hit point is too high for a 1 hander so he’ll be using weaker muscles (less power) and get fatigued by continually doing it which probably lessens the impact of his other shots. Lighter racquet may help a little, if it is indeed lighter just speculating.

        For my money he has to use the slice to good effect and mix it up consistently. If he can spank some backhands with the new racquet then do it, but has to vary it, float slices into Nadal’s backhand and then follow it up with the knife slice down the line and come in behind it. Most profitable play going from what I have seen in their recent matchups, just a tactic Fed deserts in big matches when things aren’t going swimmingly.

        Blister, negligible, maybe plays a part and spoils Nadal’s patterns but no way Fed can rely on something like that. Has to do the business. Nadal will be out for blood as usual.

      • Alysha, it is a fact that the blister is affecting Rafa’s game, you just have to see how the speed of his serve have decreased and the number of double faults… I agree with Jonathan about the tactics that Roger has to try, but it is not easy to beat Nadal without a n agressive backhand, he is so quick taking the forehand from the backhand side. For me Roger will have to serve like God to have any chance.

      • I saw the Dimitrov match, Rafa’s serve speed is not the same but he was still hitting his spots and getting away on his service games quite a lot. I agree about Roger and the serve, he will have to serve high % to have any chance.

    • And yeah the British press were all.over Murray’s back. All.about Wimbledon for him.

  7. I’m so happy for Roger… this can be a great 2014

    About Nadal… I can see Roger winning, Nadal is not playing his best tennis… the match against Dimitrov and Nishikori are good examples for me. But as you say, Nadal is an animal… he can run, run and run for six, seven or more hours. Anyway… i believe in Roger, in the new racquet and in the blister… so come on Roger!!

  8. Hi J i’ve been waiting for your post so thanks for that.

    Bodo said today on the live chat on tennis.com that he thinks the issue with RN blister is a big one that can effect the match but i agree with what you wrote – Rafa is an animal in the physical department and the mental one. one other thing that Bodo wrote and i think we all agree on – Nadal’s match up vs Fed is one that was made in HELL, and that creates more mental pressure.

    so i think you’re right to be very cautious, yet maybe there’s one more thing to consider – Mr Edberg in Fed’s box. it seems like he has a tactical influence on Fed as well as mental – in the sense that Fed wants to impress him or please him. anyway it seems like SE has some kind of influence on his motivation the same way Lendl has on AM.

    here’s to a good match with the right (handed) winner on Friday. and good luck for Stan tomorrow!!

  9. Hi Jonathan

    I saw the first two sets then had to set my record button, managed not to hear the result so watched when I got in – thought he was going to do it in three – never mind – he got it done in four. Still think he needs to manage the break points better although that said Murray did tend to pick up his play on them. Fed had such a determined glint in his eye during the course of the match which was lovely to see – I think if he can play like the first two sets today – for the whole of the match (big ask I know) then he can beat dull – as you say he is surely due a win over him – and perhaps with Stefan whispering in his ear he can do it. Two Swiss men in the semi’s – what bliss it would be to have two Swiss men in the final – a girl can dream Allez Roger and Stan PS Of course if Roger does beat Dull – uncle Tony will blame his loss on the blister!!

  10. Loved the aggressive Fed last night and he made 66 net approaches in 4 sets? Something you will never see from any of the other top 10 players :D Once again, the break point conversion rate was a little poor, he cannot afford to waste too many break points against Nadal.
    If the Federer from the first two sets turns up against Nadal for the whole match, he has a good chance to beat the Spaniard. If not, then its 23-10 :(

    Nadal has OCD? http://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/doctor-warns-against-trivialising-rafael-nadals-oncourt-routines-20140121-316w8.html

  11. I’m equally excited for Stan as I am for Fed, what sweet revenge for last year, defeating Djokovic in another 5 setter… wow amazing! Really hope he whips Berdych’s ass tomorrow! As for Roger, well he’s delivered in a Grand Slam yet again, where it matters. He’s got that look in his eye, a look of determination and hunger and he’ll need every bit of them against Rafa, but hey he’s Roger Federer, and more importantly, he’s playing like Roger Federer, come on this would be monumental!! Remember who you are, you are Roger Federer, and the one true king…remember… (inspired from The Lion King lol :) )

  12. Yes, it would be great if he beat Nadal. However, as a Fed fan I am happy that he has come this far. To maintain his SF record (11th time) is just amazing. Given how 2013 panned out for him, Fed fans should be very very happy with his Aus open performance. A win against Nadal would just be an added bonus.

    This is his first slam with a new racket! To do so well already is not easy. Only RF could do this.

    I do think Fed will play with a ‘nothing to lose’ attitude, and he just might win this one. As long as he gives it his all and goes down fighting (if he loses) I will be happy.

  13. And another win it is, I’m happy he made the semi finals! I was a little worried about Roger wavering in the third, but he pulled it together and got the win. Minus that, he played really well once again so that’s good to see.

    As for Dull, I’m not really taken in by his “struggles” either and I don’t think Roger is too based on his response at his post match conference, which was pretty funny. Roger seemed more focused on the match itself which is good because in addition to playing well, it’s going to take a whole new level of concentration and mental strength for him to pull out a win. He will have to be zoned in from start to finish. and can’t afford to give anything away. Can he do it? we’ll see. It’s going to be super tough but hopefully he’ll pull through, Allez! :)

  14. Great post Jonathan, Fedberg executed the game plan to perfection. Great mix up, inside FH worked well and serve down the T massively confused Murray. Never seen Fed so animated at key moments, especially after losing those match points and early 4th set break points. Hugely adrenalised throughout ( showed in the interview) which he needs when he plays Nadal. Mustn’t lose the intensity for a single moment! I remember saying the AO was one of his best chances. Good surface, speed, heat, faster balls. Let’s hope he can take the growing confidence into the semi. Rafa definitely beatable, and I am sure that Edberg will hv done his homework, looking at past matches, patterns of play v Rafa and will give sound advice. The big question is whether Fed can stay with the game plan. Remember 2012 (?) when he won the first set and then lost the plot as Rafa got stronger and stronger….. Make no mistake, Rafa and Toni want the second AO title and are desperate to overtake Roger,but as Jonathan has said, it’s on Rogers racquet to protect his record and make it 18. It’s a long shot but I am predicting an all Swiss final. That said, if Roger loses, this is still a monumental start to the season, and more than we Cld all hv hoped for. Allez Fed!

  15. Great win today by Federer, at this point he is surpassing expectations and anything else he can do is a great bonus. Rafa will be a totally different ball game from what looked to be a not match fit Murray.

    What can he do? Relax and play his game, without thinking about who is on the other side of the net. This is easier said than done, and I have a fear he might get routed in straight sets. His serves and volleys will have to Be rock solid as Rafa will make him hit a load more shots. The mental wavering he had today is understandable, but just can’t happen against Nadal.

    I expect Rafa will be practising his lobs over the next day or so and getting his game plan together. In reality, we can expect loads of the same which has helped him get 22 wins over Roger, high bouncing shots to the backhand and picking up the short returns.

    Good luck Roger, play with style and grit and you’ll have nothing to answer for.

  16. Hey guys, I have some things to say:

    1) Would it not be great if it was Roger who stopped Rafa from beeing the first man in the Open Era to win all slams atleast twice??
    2) Would it not be great if Rafa would be the one who was responsible for Roger winning his 18th slam when Roger would defeat him??
    3) If Rafa defeats Roger, you know he will win AO and RG, making it 15 GS and I did not think about it, he could go for the Rafa slam. But… that will not happen because this year Rafa will not win RG. Roger will.

    4) I am watching the replay of Roger’s match right now. No subsconscience tank guys…. Roger wanted to win and he knew Rafa would be waiting. I think he knows, with some help of Edberg, that he can and will beat Rafa…. I am not having big expectations. Roger came this far, for me that is enough. Everything else will be a bonus. We will have to dream about 18th slam after Roger beats Rafa….

  17. Hey guys, I just thought of something else. Maybe it is only me, but I am glad Roger lost the third set to Andy.
    Sounds weird, but what if Roger would have won in straights?? All would have been too easy. With Rafa he would not win in straights. Lets say he was 2 sets up to Rafa and Rafa would win the third. Maybe Roger would have folded then and not believed anymore that he could win, you know with his low confidence.
    But now that he lost the third set to Andy, he had no choice but to leave it behind him, not dwell anymore about it, focus again, concentrate again and fight for it.

    I mean really, is it not a blessing in the sky that he lost a set to Andy first?? Atleast he has dealt with it and it would not be so “new” when he loses a set to Rafa. I think him knowing that he lost the set, that he did not want a 5th set, is the reason he fought harder in the 4th.

    And guys…. not getting my hopes up too much, but it almost seems like it is written in the skies that Roger will beat Rafa…. I think this is the moment. I also think the bigger racquet and especially Edberg have a lot to do with that. Seriously, if Roger gets to the final or wins it, he really should hire Edberg fulltime !!!

    Ps: his gorgeous curls are back…..

  18. The night matches are in the middle of the night for me. I record them and check the score when I wake up. Actually, this works for me, so much easier on my nerves.
    I did watch most of the Nadal/Dimitrov match. Nadal was using the same patterns he uses against Roger. Extra practice for him. I really don’t enjoy watching Nadal. Did you see he took a bathroom break after he lost the 1st set. So predictable. Can’t stand his game in any way even though I’ve tried. Maybe Roger can pay off the ball kids to keep kicking over his water bottles.
    Roger teaches us to carry on with the things we love, with a positive attitude, even though we are facing negativity from all fronts.

    • Haha pay off the ball kids. Yeah give them pizza like in Basel!

      You waking up for this one Sue or recording?

      • Hi Jonathan. No, I think I better sleep. The night matches start at 12:30am for me. If Roger makes the final, I’ll pull an all-nighter. Then I can sleep in. So, I’ll record it and head to the score 1st thing when I wake up. A match-up of good against evil.

  19. SO EXCITED about this win! Defends last year’s ranking points, keeps the AO SF streak alive. And the language that’s being used to describe his movement and play! Granted, he should have won it in straights; but given that he didn’t, it’s fantastic to see him able to shake it off and move forward. Massive, massive improvement in the mental department. As I think he said in an interview somewhere, it all kind of ties together – when your body isn’t hurting, your head isn’t thinking about pain, & you can concentrate on tactics and point construction. Plus if you’re moving better – oh my. Katyani has a good point too in that, by losing the 3rd set, he’s actually gotten in some practice at recovering from a setback.

    As others have said, progressing beyond this point would be fantastic, but it’s a bonus. Even though he got to this same level last year, we haven’t seen this kind of play since Wimbledon 2012. This is huge progress already.

    Love “comfort zonerer”, Jonathan, clever you!

  20. Sid TheCookieThief

    Guys, please, do not believe in this blister thing. It’s a blatant lie, just like everything Nadal. The only thing suffering from blisters are the tennis balls.

    • What Blisters? Dull has been healed by a special machine: http://www.marca.com/2014/01/23/tenis/open_australia/1390469257.html

      Sounds strange to me :lol:

      • Huh. Interesting. They’re applying creams but also using this “Indiba” machine which, they say, accelerates the scarring process through the application of radio waves. These accelerate cell metabolism, reorganize the oxygenated blood, improve the velocity of blood flow and provide a favorable environment for lymphatic drainage.

        Is it very wicked of me to wonder if it might also mask other, um, interventions? And I actually don’t have the viscerally negative reaction to the guy that many here have (except for the butt-picking. That’s way past its outgrow date already). All you anti-Nadalists are rubbing off on me…

    • Haha good find Scooter. Probably steroid based.

  21. PhantomTheGhostWhoWalks

    Thanks Jonathan for the review.

    Well, my prediction about this match was peRFect. My prediction about the next match against Nadal will be also the same – Fed in 4 sets. But guys, be ready for blister pain, knee pain, toilet breaks, flying kiss to uncle tony etc…etc… as he will need it on Friday…….: )))

  22. Am I the only negative person? Well, I mean, not that negative, i think he can beat him, but he has to play peRFect.. Don’t know if he will be able to do it. I don’t want to get super excited, because then he loses and i’ll cry..

    So… Well, i won’t be able to watch the match because i have classes that day, Gosh! i’m pretty sure i won’t be paying attention to the teacher, but my phone :) Good Luck, Rog!

  23. Great match from both the swiss players.
    Wawrinka has the game to take it to djokovic and his backhand is huge and it was a monumental victory to take out the best player who was on a 28 match winning streak and looked unstoppable.
    Federer is playing within himself and thats for all to see.for a set and a half he was serving in the early 80% and then gradually the % came down as expected because murray started to find his rhythm.Roger’s bh held up well against murray and if it holds up the same against nadal,then his chances are that much higher to finally to defeat nadal in GS after almost 7 years.He has to take it to nadal like he has been doing this past week and should try to attack those ridiculously high moon balls which nadal hits.his net play should also be spot on and sure he is going to get passed but with edberg as coach,the approach shots are becoming much better and if he executes his plan,he can win.
    He can do it,but will be do it??A true champion plays with the mind,hopefully we will get our wish

  24. Fed will win the first set. If he can keep Nadal from winning the second and can go up 2-0, it will be # 18 on Sunday for sure :)

  25. Dull has been getting 71% of his first serves in for the tournament. Roger needs to get close to that tomorrow. Don’t even believe in that blister bs for a minute. Dull will be firing bullets and Roger knows it.

    Roger is playing much better than last year. His movement and serves are great and his ground strokes are a lot deeper than what they were last year. He will win.. if only he can keep Dull out of his head.

    • Well said! Must not play the oppo! Must play his game, the ball, the court. And yes the serve must be granite! And as he himself said, not passive on breakpoints! Come on! Think Roger can smell that final now! Love the thought of him high fiving with his team! And with Mirka when watching Stan!! How sweet and dorky is he! Allez les Suisses! If they both get thru Jonathan will be posting in French! Oh, and anyone get what Fed shouted out vvv loudly when he got the third match point to go 40-30? An absolutely almighty guttural roar! How he sent that ace down I do not know! Magnifique!

  26. Good recap Jon.

    Impressive match From Fed again, he really showed a great attacking tennis again and with great susses against an amazing passing shot player like Murray. And this is what I like 49/66 in succes at the net against Murray, this means Roger now vomes to the net at the right times. Actually Roger was at the net every 4th point of the match or something like that. THere will always bee passing shots but 49/66 against Murray is really good.

    And that´s something he can take with him into the Nadal match. I think Roger has a good chance here but still with Nadal being the favorite, but Roger has got confidence now and perhaps the right gameplan with Edberg by his side. I´m not thinking this blister thing will be a problem for Nadal, even I have played with blisters so my white overgrip was read from blood, once the heat is on a fighter like Nadal will overcome that. I hope Sec and Edberg watch the Grigor-Nadal match as Nadal in big parts was struggling with his inside out forehand, that should be tested again tomorrow.

    • Interesting point Mark, & one I hadn’t thought of, that his increased success at the net implies he’s making better choices about when to go in. Some of that at least has got to be a result of his talks with Edberg.

      Did you see the photo of Edberg in Fed’s box, at the end of the match, double fistpump and a smile? – he looked really proud. I’m really pleased with how this team is shaking out.

      • Wooow I had a lot typing errors in my comment above, to much morning hurry :)

        Thinker, I think it has something to do with Edberg and Roger slowly getting his confidence back. For a long time we have seen Roger rushing the net at hopeless times just to be gunned down and being left dead in no mans land. So that is defintley different, and is caused by the right shot selction and the right gameplan. So I like you am really liking this team setup!

        No diden´t see the camps reaction unfortunatly, nice to hear they where proud, and they should be for sure, Roger has played amazing these last two matches.

      • Love Feds box, so cool calm and classy compared to the Serbian hit squad and Spanush squealers!

    • Cheers Mark.

      Yeah Fed is moving to the net with purpose rather than just because he thinks he should.

      Ebderg looked well happy. Now he has come up with a plan for Rafa.

  27. PhantomTheGhostWhoWalks

    Just for Roger Federer – 18

    1818181811818181818181818 1818181811818181818181818
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  28. Lets hope the Maestro plays the game and not the man!! Allez Roger!

    • Yeah that’s going to be. Pretty sure there will be a pill in a few years that removes all negative thoughts. Fed needs to be told its nke available and given a placebo.

  29. My view for the Nadal match. I have no expectations of a win, Fed’s already done far better than any one could have hoped for, but as I had stated before the Murray match, I’m going to try and put it down logically here as well.

    2012 vs 2014 (Australian Open Semis)

    2012-
    – Nadal playing better
    – Nadal had no blisters
    – Courts: Slower
    – Balls Bouncing higher
    – If I’m not mistaken the 2012 semi was Federer’s first night session after all day sessions. Conditions might have been different.

    Outcome: Federer loses in 4 tight sets

    2014:
    – Federer fresher, defending better
    – Bigger and more powerful racket
    – Edberg resulting in better tactics (Rafa centric perhaps)
    – Backhand has FAR more zip
    – Serve has far more pop (Expect serve %age to drop as is usually the case when playing Rafa; similar for Rafa when playing Nole)
    – Smart aggression, a GAZILLION times better approach shots than a month earlier.
    – Federer more open about his weaknesses, has no pressure of expectations (is expected to lose), knows there’s no way of recovering in the H2H
    – Courts faster, balls with less bounce favour him more than the conditions in 2012
    – Preparation in night matches.

    Outcome: Conditions far more favourable in 2014 than 2012.
    Early 4 games crucial. Needs to come out firing, get the first set. Then there’s a chance. In my opinion it has to be in straights or the usual doubts will creep into his game and he will capitulate as Nadal fights back.

    There is a chance for Federer in straights if and only if the right Federer shows up with the right tactics. The moment he loses a set, self doubt will consume him and the result will be all too familiar.

    • Good points all of them! Even though I don´t think he has to do it in straight sets but I really think it´s all or nothing on Roger getting that first set. He´s clearly growing in confidence but he needs to get succes eraly on like you say to give him the believe. So if he gets the first set he could win it in 3,4 or 5 I think. But still Nadal is the clear favorite, so we will see which Fed that steps out on court.

    • Good points Guarav I agree with pretty much all except it needing to be straights and the first 4 games being crucial.

      Fed has to win in 3 or 4 I think. As long as he’s in the lead then it is OK so he must win 1st set. But he often gets flying starts in the first 4 games then fall back against Dull so the crucial part of the first set will be either serving it out, break point to create set point or set point in the tie break. If those go by then its gonna be a tough one.

  30. What a record!!! I am relishing his win against Murray, played very well in 2 sets but falter a little on 3rd. I definitely prefer it if he close it out in straight sets but its also a good test for Roger as all his matches are pretty smooth sailing. In order for Roger to beat Nadal, he has to be calm + aggressive, STICK to his game plan, varies his shots and pound on Nadal’s 2nd serves. We all know that Nadal has always been able to beat Federer with his eyes closed, hands blisters, dodgy knees, picking his arse and nose + even mid changeover I need to go pee stunt(IW2012). It really up to Roger to have self-belief and confidence that no beats him like 4 times in row. Heck I have suffered enough in 2013 3 straight sets losses to Nadal. Its time to turn the tide and make this a W.

  31. Fed needs to

    1. Serve huge.
    2. Attack the net if Nadal uses his slice backhand.
    3. Use his break chances (4/17 will not be good enough). It must be 70-80% conversion rate
    4. Do not allow any break chances for Nadal (Murray only created 2, when Federer choked at 5:4, third set)
    5. Win the first set 6:2 or 6:1.
    6. Must not miss his break chances in the second set and serve it out 6:4 or 6:3.
    7. Reach a tiebreak in the third set and serve only winners and make one mini break :)

    That sounds pretty unrealistic. If Fed werein the zone and Nadal was off his best there woulda 10% chance of Federer reaching the final.
    Now or never!

  32. any chance of Wawrinka taking down Nadal this year assuming he gets past Berdych? And likewise, if Roger somehow gets by Nadal, is Wawrinka another massive obstacle?

    • I guess the same question should be posed for Berdych

    • Stan has never won a set off Nadal, so Roger’s got to do the job himself. I believe he believes now. He can and he should. Roger in 4. He will do it for his fans! Allez!!

    • Stans record against Nadal is abysmal but he has been playing very well. If it is Nadal in the final it will all boil down to how mentally strong Stan can be. He has a big enough game but has been known to choke. He has to believe.

  33. Very annoying to see the press making excuses for Andy instead of giving full credit to Roger. Impossible to say if he was hurting or not because he always looks as though he is. The Andy I saw in close-up looked confused, bewildered and at times very angry – that’s all. And anyway there’s a simple rule for me here – either you are fit to play or not. If you are not then declare yourself forfeit. If you are then play and shut up – whether it’s back pains, blisters or anything else. It’s not fair to your opponent to do otherwise.

    I agree with you Katyani that Roger’s slump in the third set could be more beneficial than anything else. He knows he can take a dive and pull himself out of it. I’m cautiously optimistic for tomorrow’s match but am superstitious enough to think all these cautiously optimistic views might jinx him. Up to now we’ve given his opponent the match and he’s won. So I think I’ll say that Rafa will probably scrape his way through this one, and Roger has done brilliantly to get this far!

    In the meantime – come on Stan!

  34. 2-1 Stan! Come on!!

  35. FU*K YEAH!!!!!!!

  36. Fantastic! Well done Stan! Now wouldn’t an all-Swiss final be great :-)

  37. Sid TheCookieThief

    Stanimal Instincts 2, I see :-)

  38. Fed in straight sets tonight.

  39. Great match, amazing record from Fed and thanks for the excellent recap, Jonathan. Landed on UK today so at least I can watch the match tomorrow on BBC2, right? Hope he is now inspired by Stan the Man and plays HIS game. Allez!

  40. Just heard that there is a chance of rain and that the match could be played indoors!!! Roger all the way!!!! :)

  41. One thing that really bugs me is that when Roger played almost the whole year with a bad back, there is no mention of poor Roger getting beat by unknowns due to bad back from any of the experts. Now all of a sudden there is a flood of poor Nadal having to play with a big boo-boo in his hand!!! I’ve seen 10 year old kids play with a blister in their hand without complaining.

    • That’s true… Hadn’t thought of that. Then again, we all know nadal is the precious baby of all the so called “experts”

    • Yeah I guess just how Fed goes about his business means the media don’t ever get into injuries. Better that way anyway.

    • That’s because Roger doesn’t make it a point to groan, cuss, complain, make faces and clutch his body parts after ever point lost just to gain some sympathy from those watching one moment, only to run a 10 km marathon slugging it out with his opponent, smashing winners the next. Like certain players who he has faced and will face.

  42. This is from someone on Facebook –
    ATP Ranking scenario after Australian Open finals:

    If Federer wins AO

    1 Nadal 13850
    2 Djokovic 10620
    3 Federer 5635
    4 Del Potro 5370
    5 Ferrer 5280
    6 Wawrinka 4910
    7 Murray 4720
    8 Berdych 4540

    If Wawrinka wins AO beating Federer in finals

    1 Nadal 13850
    2 Djokovic 10620
    3 Wawrinka 5710
    4 Del Potro 5370
    5 Ferrer 5280
    6 Federer 4835
    7 Murray 4720
    8 Berdych 4540

    If Wawrinka wins AO beating Nadal in finals

    1 Nadal 14330
    2 Djokovic 10620
    3 Wawrinka 5710
    4 Del Potro 5370
    5 Ferrer 5280
    6 Murray 4720
    7 Berdych 4540
    8 Federer 4355

    If Nadal wins AO

    1 Nadal 15130
    2 Djokovic 10620
    3 Del Potro 5370
    4 Ferrer 5280
    5 Wawrinka 4910
    6 Murray 4720
    7 Berdych 4540
    8 Federer 4355

  43. I know come match time I will have the incredibly childish and pointless debate of whether to listen or watch it, or pick up the Internet updates. I have a superstition that I scud Roger when I watch him, so tend to flick between various formats depending on scores. And I am a grown man…..

    Probably start off listening and take it from there….

  44. Guys chance of rain 95%

    “Cloudy. Rain areas, easing to isolated showers in the afternoon. Isolated thunderstorms clearing eastwards during the morning. Winds west to southwesterly 15 to 20 km/h tending south to southwesterly 20 to 30 km/h in the late morning.”

    Rainfall 5-10mm

    Indoor perhaps? Fingers crossed!!

  45. Have to go for a blood test (routine) before the match. That should calm me down – not!

    Bon courage to everyone – and especially to Roger. Allez!

  46. Hey guys, I am so nervous, it is not even funny anymore. Hope Roger someday will realise what an effect he has on his fans.
    This is in my opinion really a do or die match for Roger. Novak has been “very helpfull” to keep Roger’s slam account safe. But now there is no Novak. So, if Roger wants to remain the tennisplayer with the most GS, he needs to do it on his own. He needs to protect his legacy on his own.
    All comes down to this match. Because even Roger knows, if Rafa wins tomorrow, he will win AO and RG, making it 15 GS and the Great Uncle Toni and Rafa will do anything to win Wimby so that Rafa not only will be the first man to win every GS twice, but he will also be the first man to win a slam 9 times and he will be the first one in over 40 years to have a Rafa Slam. And the Great Uncle Toni and Rafa are then so sneeky that they will also do anything and I mean anything to make Rafa win USO so he will equal Roger’s record of 17 slams this year….
    So much is riding on this. Roger already did more than we hoped for. He is in the SF. Everything else is a bonus. But I so hope and prey that Roger will defeat Rafa. And I don’t know….. I am not getting my hopes up too much, but there is something about this Roger/Edberg combo. If we say that Roger subsconsciencely “tanked” the USO match to avoid Rafa, this time he did not do that. He knew Rafa was waiting and I really believe Edberg and he think and know that they can beat Rafa. Will not be easy, at all. There will be nothing wrong with his blisters (which to be honest do look bad), but he has had almost two days to heal them. No, Rafa will be coming back full force, but I think Roger has the same agenda. I think he is tired of losing to Rafa and tired of Rafa coming so close.
    And guys…. If Rafa makes it to the final, he will win. BUT if Roger makes it to the final, lets not kid ourselves by thinking that Stan will role over. This is a very different Stan. He is the current Swiss number one, just defeated the current world number two and looks to be playing the best tennis. If Roger makes it to the final, he better not underestimate Stan, who will also have one day extra rest and not a long match. Roger vs Rafa will be long. I think Rafa in 3 or 4 or Roger in 5.
    BUT…. Roger came out blazing SO strong against Jo Willy and Andy, they literally did not know what happened to them. They were seriously surprised that Roger could play this well.
    So my hope is he surprises Rafa the same way and wins in 3 or 4 sets.
    I cannot watch the match, will be at work, very nervously keeping the scores. But I will hope and prey for you Roger. I love you and believe with all my heart that you will win !!! Go Roger, Go Goat !!!

    Oh and guys, you all are saying that Wimby and USO are Roger’s biggest chances. I actually already said I think AO and RG are his biggest chances, because no one even thinks he can win them anymore…. So… come on Roger, prove us all why you ARE the GOAT !!!

  47. Katyani, wow! You have even exceeded some fascinating posts already with your comments above. You are so insightful, it is uncanny! My only contribution is that the match tomorrow truly has destiny written all over it. It is ESSENTIAL that Roger wins or your fears Katyani about Nadal doing what you say above, either this year or next, are very real. It is not Roger’s game or tactics that will win him the match, nor even the mental prowess necessary to overcome the wall that is Nadal. But it is as Jonathan has said ‘belief': That small little word that moves mountains. If Roger has that then destiny tomorrow will take care of itself…

  48. My head tells me I shouldn’t, but I have a good feeling. Fed in 4. Night from DC everyone.

  49. Holy Moly Federer fans are very very optimistic about this match, I remember the exact same thing happening in 2012 when Federer flew through the draw and dismantled Delpo, won the first set against Rafa and then faded. I have hope now but I’m trying to keep expectations to a minimum, just remember that a few months ago we didn’t even think Roger would be in the semi finals.

    • Such a long time since Roger has beaten Nadal at a slam. I really want him to win this one, but I also get this horrible feeling of him losing it :( I just HATE Nadal so much and to see him beat Roger time and time again with his topspin shots is just so annoying!

      • I understand Conal, I really do, it would be really just epic if Fed can pull this off. Having these feelings though is what makes us fans and keeps it exciting in a way, after all this time Roger can still do this to you, remarkable isn’t it? I’ve been getting word from my friend who is still at the AO this week and has said that Nadal at his practice today was no longer wearing a tape on his blister so I’m assuming his hand is ok now and secondly the Rod Laver roof isn’t working and is stuck at half way, this is going to be very controversial, especially if rain comes, hope they can fix it in time for play, must’ve been damaged by extreme heat last week, I remember similar problems in 09.

      • It’s why we watch this game

  50. Morning. Just popping on to say bon courage to all, and especially Roger. Won’t be joining live chat as match is on TV and the two are physically too far apart. Unless I do a lot of running….we’ll see.

    Anyway, big virtual hugs to all nervous Roger fans xx

    • Thanks xx It’s very difficult to go into a match without any expectations, isn’t it? Despite history dictating we really shouldn’t be having any…

  51. Hey guys….. don’t be too hard on Roger in your comments. I haven’t seen the match yet, don’t know what went wrong, don’t know what Roger did wrong, what he could have done better, if the loss was totally his fault or not….but I am sure he tried…

    Damn you Stan… did you have to defeat Novak???
    Now… you better win… Goodluck

    • He did everything wrong!!!

      Haha, kidding. It was the usual Fedal match with the exact same outcome. The worst part is that Federer couldn’t hold to make Nadal serve it out. That for me is the absolute worst feeling. To give up.

      Anyway, I’m not feeling bad. I don’t expect Federer to stand a chance against Nadal. He can beat everyone else except for him. He’ll need some luck in slams to avoid him.

      Hopefully Stan can do something. And yes, I love you Stan, but I love Roger’s legacy more. I would have preferred Novak to have been waiting in the finals just so that I could grab a bag of popcorn and laugh while Nadal got pummeled.

      • No, he did pretty much everything wrong… I hope Edberg is going to beat the s*it out of him, there was absolutely no change of tactic… Man, what a dissapointment… Now we know that if Roger is going to win a slam again, Nadal has to lose before playing him… Simple as that!

        Hope Stan can get it done, he deserves it!

      • I disagree Simon. Roger was doing pretty much everything right in that first set, once he lost that, it was a poor mental effort to get back into it and level it up. Roger was hitting over the backhand a little too much I think in this match and it didn’t allow him to get into Rafa’s service games, he should’ve ran around it and hit forehands more often on the second serve but it’s over now. It will be interesting to see what Edberg says, I honestly doubt Stefan can help much with this matchup because it’s 95% mental, net skills against Rafa were near useless tonight seeing as how much he got passed. Rafa will hit another level on Sunday, can Wawrinka stop him? I highly doubt it but if anyone deserves this win, it’s him.

    • Hey Katyani, I also don’t think there’s much, if anything Roger could have done better. There was just no chance against Dopal today. I knew yesterday already that he will show up with the best form in this tournament today when I read that his doctor were coming to Melbourne. Because of a blister? Kidding, right?

      And so it was. He was unbelievably fast and strong, it was unbelievably hard to blast winners past him. He made very few errors. There’s no way to stop him, a failed drug test excepted. (But even then I guess, we would never hear from it…)

      Good luck to Stan, nonetheless. Hope, I’m wrong and he stands a chance.

      • maybe the blister was a means to get therapeutic exception for some dodgy drug.. we will never know.. Maybe we are acting like sore losers.. How can he improve so much in 2 days.. it’s mind blowing! It almost seems unfair. Maybe it is. I am f**g going insane with disappointment & agony!!

      • Well, in the article they did write that the doctor would bring some kind of blood spinning machine with him to treat the blister. They also wrote it would “oxygenate” his blood. Sounds very dodgy to me. From that moment on, I knew he’d win and probably in straights. Should have betted on it. :) Pity, I don’t have that particular vice.

        Then this astonishing jump in performance. Fed was obviously very, very disappointed, didn’t even look at Nadal, when meeting at the net. He probably saw Nadal’s performance in the matches against Dimitrov and Nishikori and was expecting something like that.

        Still, knowing what would come, surely didn’t make the match more enjoyable to me. Watching the match was rather like watching a train crash in slow motion.

        And now – writing here against the disappointment. :)

    • It feels horrible.. Big Racquet or not, stefan or not, Roger is so ineffective against Nadal.. it is painful.
      & as usual, Nadal had played up injury scare to shed the favourite tag.. Usual tactics. He was serving 70% & winning 70% (when I saw stats after 1st set), after saying the blister makes it difficult to serve!

      • I think the most shocking stat was that Rafa was winning more than 70% of his second serves, Roger had little to no effect on Nadal’s service games today. And the reason? because he wasn’t getting cheap points on his own. This match solidified the H2H, I find it hard to believe Fed wins another slam meeting with Rafa after this, maybe at Wimbledon but we’ll see.

      • Yeah 70% of 2nd serve points won serving at <150km/h lol.

    • Stan has not won a set off Nadal.. not even 1. Can he turn it around? Hypothetically, yes. But practically its all over. Its 14 slams to 17. I can’t believe Nadal would equal sampras on Sunday.. & probably in a couple of years’ time he will be sitting at 18

    • Don’t blame Stan Katyani. If Roger wanted to protect his record he should’ve tried a little harder tonight then. Harsh as that may be, it’s the reality, I’d say there’s more than a 50% chance now that Rafa ties or surpasses Roger.

      • I know Alysha, I don’t mean it, I am just…. disappointed. Stan deserves to be in the final and ofcourse he deserves to win it. Even if Novak was on the other side in the final, no guarantee that he would have beaten Rafa anyway (Novak did lose to Andy at Wimby and ofcourse to Rafa at USO)…. It’s just that, it is so hard so see. Roger can defeat anyone on this planet, except Rafa. And the funny thing is that Novak and Roger are seriously the only ones who can defeat him.
        Alysha, I don’t know if I have said this before, but the very first time I saw Rafa, I did not like him and thought that something was not good about him. And this is even BEFORE I knew about the rivalry with Roger. The first match of Rafa I saw was not even to Roger I think. Even before that I just thought that something is off with Rafa. And since then and now…I know what it is, but we cannot prove it and that bothers me. How far has this thing with Rafa has to go before he gets figured out??
        He already ruined Roger and his legacy. Does Novak’s or Andy’s or anyone elses legacy have to be destroyed too before he finally gets caught?? And it is not only about the D-word, but his gamesmanship on court. I absolutely hate that. No one calls him or his team on it… I don’t know what to say anymore. I am tired and disappointed.
        BUT NOT IN ROGER !!! I will not give up on him or on him winning slams… He will win slams. Looks impossible right now, but that also was the case in 2012.

      • It’s ok to feel disappointment, only natural, not the first time, won’t be the last. I hope Federer fans don’t root for Stan to stop Nadal on Sunday but because he deserves his own shot at some success, that will be me at least. Also true that Novak wasn’t guaranteed a win against Rafa but I would think he’d have a better chance than Wawrinka. I don’t like to discuss the suspicions regarding Nadal, nothing has been proven to make me think that way and hopefully nothing ever does get figured out, I hope Nadal was just too good of a player, anything else and it would crush the sport. I definitely don’t think Federer’s legacy has been tainted in any way (or Andy/Novak’s) because of Rafa, in a way he’s all apart of different players and their careers no matter what. I am mostly disappointed in the way Nadal behaved in the beginning of the match and his use of time, I wish Roger channeled his anger from that into getting back into the match but it was not meant to be. I like to believe everything happens for a reason and this was just another example, this wasn’t meant to be for Roger but I’m sure if he keeps at it and if he has such fans like yourself he can win that elusive slam, never stop believing Katyani, I’m sure Rog has a lot more up his sleeve.

      • Congratulations Alysha, you are a normal Fedfan not a blind bad looser hooligan fan like others

  52. How many times a person hit a perfect forehand backhand volley again and again and that f**** keeps on retrieving it.
    Kudos for roger for always trying to find a way into the match but could not do it.
    And also being stubborn for trying to beat nadal at his own game..
    But its been a pretty good tournament for roger.

  53. Overwhelming superiority of Nadal, Roger couldn’t do anything, he doesn’t have the game to beat the No1. It could have been the same score than in RG2008 if Federer hadn’t served like he did.

    • You can always do something Pablo. Roger couldn’t recover mentally after losing the first set and getting ahead in the second. Roger has the game to beat anyone but the mind? that’s a different story. Congrats to Rafa, well deserved. Although he once again proved today why he is disliked by many of us- the medical time out and the break after the first set was a display of gamesmanship, not cool from the world number one.

      • He doesn’t have the game, his backhand is very poor. The reason why all of you hate Rafa is very simple, he is better than Roger.

      • Pablo, you sure are a great mind reader!

        I guess, the thought that the brutality and physicality of Nadal’s game is appalling to some, is something beyond your understanding.

      • Hi all

        Agree with yr comments Alysha!! Despite being mad passionate Fed fan I can acknowledge Rafas unbelievable retrieving skills tonight and competitive edge! Rafas play does neutralise and he does force you to take huge risks! Fed did try to take an early ball but new racquet, untested v Rafa, tough call! Also rafas passing shots compared to Andy are much much better so roger always had to play a second or third volley. And the problem? You can’t practise against it! And Edberg will never hv encountered anyone like that in his career! Hard for him to advise on! Coming into net tonight was always going to be a problem!
        So all in all, a gd tourney coming off the gradual end yr improvement! How short are all our memories! He may hv dropped to no 8 but I still see him top 4 by Wimbledon! Allez

    • Congratulations Pablo. Your man did it…

  54. Fed was never going to recover from losing that tiebreak. Nadal is just too good guys, some of the passing shots he came up with tonight were out of this world, I understand why this man gives Roger so many problems. Fed fans gonna be disheartened by the loss but this was still one of the best tournaments Roger has played consistently in for the last decade, that deserves some credit. Good start to the year Roger, hope the Stanimal can give Rafa a run for his money, congrats to the new Swiss #1.

    • There is one good news Alysha. Mats Wilander made a great comment. This year he beat two very good top 10 players in 48 hours, last year it took a whole year for Roger to do that…. So…. Roger played a great AO… Unfortunaly he could not get more far.

    • Yeah 1st set breaker decided it.

      And yeah it’s been a good tournament. Hopefully he can get some titles this year.

  55. He beat a 17 GS champion to a pulp with a goddamn blister on his hand…

    It’s going to take a miracle for Stan to even take Nadal to 5 sets.

    Roger had all of the momentum and crowd on his side going into the match, with tennis legends watching.

    And Rafa made him look like an amateur… wow.

  56. Nadal was just to good, nothing to say there. I wanted this test for Fed so he could see where his game was and his mental strength, and today it was like none of the two was at the best at the same time. And that´s just the same old FeDal story once again. But still a lot of positivies from this tournament for Fed to take with him into the new season.
    I´m out for a while, I will concentrate on my own tennis, where I can make a difference my self, and nor just yell at a TV… I´ll be back :)

  57. I cannot understand what I just saw. Had that have been Fed2013 I would have expected it but I was actually confident Fed was going to have him today. I think we have to get used to the fact that Fed now either has a few good days, but then usually followed by a bad day at the office by the time he gets around the 4th or 5th match of the tournament (as opposed to the peak Fed who only ever had good days, and only lost when an opponent played match of their lives). Fed seems to stroll past average opponents better than anyone, looking like he is finally ready to produce in the big one, but then it all comes crashing down. It must be a mental thing, because you can tell by some of amazing tennis performances he produces, that if he was to repeat it, it should definitely take him through. Might be a silly thing to say, but I wonder if the Fed who beat Tsonga on Monday played today’s match, against Nadal who could somehow be disguised as another player (so Fed is believing he is playing somebody else and therefore not overawed by facing nadal), I wonder would he then play at his confident best and the result be different?

    Fed if facing Dimi would not have nearly gone 2-1 behind in sets, I’m confident of that. Fed would have blown him away in straight sets (judging by the form he produced v Tsonga and v Murray). So it makes no sense why it is always the same result v Nadal.

    Worse than average Darcis and Rosol can beat Nadal, but Fed never can seem to?

  58. A lot of positives from this tournament for Roger, and I just hope he concentrates on them and puts this match out of his mind, although that’s probably not possible. He’s done far, far better than any of us were expecting. Such a shame he couldn’t bring anything new to today’s match and we saw the same old, same old Fedal. Where was the Roger of the last few matches? Unlike some I don’t think he should give up on the idea of beating Nadal. Needs to find a way around his mental block with Nadal because that is the only thing in the way really. At his best, he is a better player than Nadal, that’s for sure.

    And I think I’ll scream if I hear or read any more about brave Nadal playing with that ferocious blister. What was in that stuff they put on it anyway?

    • 23-10, 9-2 in GS. Yes, far better

      • From The Guardian live match update:

        “For me the ‘greatest ever’ debate in tennis rests on a combination of record and how you rate the player playing at their peak,” says Vincent Villock. “I think it’s pretty clear that Nadal has been the superior player for several years now, but also that Federer has been below his peak for a similar period of time. Would be interested to know what your take is on who the superior player would be assuming both were at their peaks? Was 2008 Wimbledon final that moment (I guess you could argue Nadal was still improving, though not yet that Federer was in decline). If so Nadal?” Federer’s peak was probably 2003-07. I’d say we’ve never seen them play each other when they’ve both been at their absolute maximum. For me, Federer is the more memorable and better player to watch.”

        And Pablo, shouldn’t you be over in the Nadal forums celebrating?

      • 99% of Dull fans seem to mix up Tennis and running around the baseline moonballing into the opposing court. Dull didn’t win this Roger lost it (as usual…)

        I’d be fine with moonballing if it stayed in the clay season where it belonged, not throughout the entire fucking year… I think I even might have liked Nadal if he stayed the grinder on clay and needed to change his game on HC and gras…

      • There is nothing to celebrate so far, I was pretty sure Nadal was gonna beat Roger.
        And I would change the last sentence to “For me, Federer is the more memorable and better player to watch except when he faces Nadal.”

      • For once I agree with you Pablo… when he plays Dull he looks like an amateur who has nothing to do in slam semi…

  59. I kinda agree with Simon. Our hero will have a chance at a slam, if he dose not meet Nadal.
    It is mental, but also Nadal was the one that did not let Roger execut his gameplan.
    He was not alowed to be agressive.

    Nadal is a dog (as my mother put it :D ) and he will chase down every ball.
    Dopping or not, he will not be cought and this is Nadal’s level. The level to beat.

    It’s verry unlikely for Wawrinka to win… allthough I hope he will, but the pressure is just too big for him to handel I think.

    Do you guys realize that come monday Wawrinka will be, for the first time named “the swiss number 1″…
    And Fed will fall to number 8 and will become “the swiss number 2″. :(

    Maybe when Nadal is old and retired some one form his staff or even him, torrmented by guilt, will admit to dopping.

    Anyway, I’m really happy with Roger’s performance so far.
    Next stop: Dubai.

    Remember, the deal was: everything after QF is a bounus. I know it hurts, but Roger will find a way, his way to 18.

    BEL18VE

  60. PhantomTheGhostWhoWalks

    Hi Jonathan and all,

    Sorry I was wrong about my predication.

    Anyway it’s a rule of the jungle that a lion can’t just rule the jungle and has to be replaced by some young powerful lion. That is what happened to Roger and that will happen to Nadal as well. We have to take the good from this tournament and also have to take bad with the good. Nadal will eat Stan alive and we will see No 14 rather than 18.
    However I can take one big positive note from this defeat and that is whenever Nadal beat Federer in Aus Open, Federer ended up winning GS in those particular years (2009 & 2012). So guys be positives and see the bright future of our GOAT. He will do it. He has to do it.

    I badly want him to win French Open, Wimbi and US open before he says goodbye.

  61. I hope this will be 2009 all over again! A huge expectation and disappointment at the AO, Mirka pregnant then RG and Wimby champ! Déjà Vu??? That’s the only hope I can see right now that it’s all part of a better plan that somebody up there prepared for Roger for the year! And I am sure one day, one day whatever this Nadal is doing will caught up with him–No bad deeds are left unpunished!

    • If Nadal dopes (since we have no proof we have to assume he doesn’t, but that’s not the discussion), he will never get caught. The guy’s worth too much money, and the ATP and ITF will never let it get out that he dopes. The only way we are going to know is if he does like Agassi and publishes a book talking about it. But concerning that, can Nadal even write?! that would surprise me :D

      • [But concerning that, can Nadal even write?! that would surprise me ]
        But, but, but, he has an autobiography. He must have written that no? NOT

      • Hey Scooter, what happened to your gravatar???

      • He has an autobiography?!?! WUT?? o_O

      • Of course he does. I’ve read it and found nothing interesting. He just wrote it in Spanish, and then someone translated it for him in English for his fans. Nothing special. Imagine if he tried to write in English as the original language.

    • He won’t have written it himself. Ghost written I think.

  62. I put off checking the score, and confess to some disappointment that he wasn’t even able to take a set off Rafa. But as others have pointed out, we were almost all agreed beforehand that QF would be a good result, and SF would be a fabulous result. Well, he did that. And he did it playing some amazing tennis. He still can’t seem to produce that amazing tennis against Nadal, unfortunately. But are we wrong to even hope for it so soon? Two weeks ago he was losing to Hewitt in the finals at Brisbane. Would he have won that final if he had played at the level he played against Nadal? Not sure. The 50 UE number is a concern. But the best of his play against Nadal was better than the best of his play against Hewitt. The man who played Murray would have beaten Hewitt two weeks ago; and the man who played Murray would have done better against Nadal. Heck, the man who played Nadal might not have beaten Murray in the first place. Credit to Nadal too, he totally raised his game and didn’t give opportunities for some of that brilliant play; but Roger himself wasn’t at his best. Hopefully he will still be able to improve. The racquet, the coach, all are still quite new, and though there has been a lot of improvement, I think don’t think it’s out of line for us to hope there can be still more upside.

    I appreciate John’s observation before the match about how hard it is, as fans, to go in without expectations;

    and Amit’s reminder to, in the midst of our disappointment, not be sore losers;

    and Tilas’ and others’ reminders that the appreciation we had for the progress our man has made, and for the sometimes sublime tennis we have seen this week, shouldn’t mysteriously melt away because he wasn’t as good against someone who is also phenomenal, and who has always given him problems.

  63. Atlast federer hits out at nadal saying that he takes too much time between points and grunts to distract him

  64. Hey guys…. lets look at this from a positive side….. (eventhough I am still disappointed for Roger):

    I don’t know about you guys, but I was REALLY getting tired of seeing Roger be the first of the top 4 or of all the top to go out. He was almost always the first one to be out of a slam.

    NOW….. Look at how many people went before him: Serena, Vika, Maria, Aga, Novak !!!, Andy !!!, Ferrer, Delpo, Berdych, Tsonga, Gasquet, Dimi…. and whoever….

    This is a good thing !!! Roger is improving. It is still only January. He has like a month now or so….

    Good Roger times are coming…. again !!!

  65. Some key takeaways for Federer Fans:

    1. It is very likely that all said and done when Nadal and Fed both retire, Nadal will have more slams than Fed. Not a guarantee, but very likely. We need to prepare ourselves for this.
    2. When Nadal is in form these days, he is simply unbeatable. I don’t know the veracity of the doping allegations, but without evidence we have to assume they are false. Therefore, we as tennis fans have to acknowledge that this guy is incredible. A tennis machine. I don’t think even Djokovic or Murray in full flow could have given any trouble to Nadal the way he played the Semi Final.
    3. Federer could very well win #18 this year (At Wimbledon or US open), if he continues to build on the positives from the Aus Open……. and if he doesn’t meet Nadal that is.
    4. The only way Nadal doesn’t beat Fed’s slam record is if a combination of the following happens: Fed manages to win a slam or two more, Djokovic / Murray / new young guys start winning all the slams. and Nadal’s tennis cyborg machine body starts to break down.

    • There is so much doubt hanging around over the legitimacy of Nadal’s treatments, whether justified or not, and not only with Federer fans, that when the history books are written they might well say Nadal won more slams, hmm, yes, but…. We’ll see – and maybe he won’t win more slams anyway.

    • Good comment Sridhar, I agree.

  66. Johnatan and others.Nice play by Fed with new racket,but not inaff and not comaparable
    with Fed and his winning pro staff 90. Changing a racket was compromise and attemp.Game
    is also compromise without a sign that this game with this racket is on the road for next GS.Compliments for his playing in AO anyway.With new GS or without his style and his personality
    is great ever.

  67. Sid TheCookieThief

    Comments from the Spanish doctors, “We applied creams that help regenerate skin, but also Indiba, which serves to accelerate the healing process” explains Cotorro. “The device uses radiofrequency to accelerate the metabolism of cells, reorganizing oxygenated blood, and speeding up blood flow by promoting lymphatic drainage of the peripheral area.”

    What else do you think happened during that process? All those things were just done around the blistered area? Spanish cheats! Isn’t it about time the ATP woke the fuck up and started seriously testing tennis players?

    • Yes Sid, I posted this link earlier. The article said that the machine healed his blister or at least made it better (If anyone believes that). Yet Dull was still took a MTO for his “blister pain”. So what, was the machine broken or some shit like that? I thought he was healed.

      The fact that his doctor came is well is suspicious. Who knows what else he could have brought with him. Re: Odesnik

    • I recently read that although the blood spinning thing has been made legal it’s being studied again by an institute in California because it apparently stimulates growth hormones!

  68. Well, now that sucked.

    Still, I’m happy he made the Semi Finals.

    • Sid TheCookieThief

      Yes, I’m proud too that he made the semis, but disconcerted that he had to, yet again, get into an unfair fight against a cheating Spaniard – and his doctors who are now allowed to visit him for blood treatment etc.

  69. I’m wondering if you really believe what you are saying

  70. Initially, didn’t like Rafael’s style of play but I have come around to appreciate it. One important marker on my more even-keeled view of the Fedal relationship was reading “Rafa”, Nadals autobiography. It’s a fine a tennis book as can be (which may very well be because of its main author, John Carlin).

    Still, today’s match hurts and it hurts much more than I can rationally justifiy. I don’t know whether I will manage to make it through one of those highlight reels!

    • I don’t appreciate it, it’s not memorable but it’s effective. I only have 1 memorable non Federer match with him in, vs. Verdasco at AO 2009, that’s only due to Verdasco.

  71. Federer turns into a different player when he plays Nadal. I hate reading those stupid articles saying Fedal match results depend on Nadal, not Federer. Bullshit, and the same Nadal beats Federer every time. It’s Fed himself who dictates the match, whether or he can find a solution to beat Nadal, whether or he has self belief he can win. He didn’t have any confidence tonight and it was quite painful to watch. Approach shots were generally poor, lacking any depth or pace to trouble Nadal and the only really impressive shot from Nadal was the pass he made to make his 2nd MP. It was just like any other Fedal match, except Fed didn’t come into this match under any pressure. He had nothing to lose really, while Nadal had everything to lose. Shame the mentally fragile Fed turned up once again.

  72. I see Roger as a fine wine. Something to savor and enjoy. It is associated with class, excellent taste, body, etc.
    I see Nadal as moonshine. It has none of the elements of wine made with care and attention. All it does is get the job done.

  73. I didn’t get to watch the match, but I read somewhere that Roger was attacking Nadal’s backhand in the first set but went away from that in set 2 and 3. Some said it’s because Roger didn’t stick to his plan, others felt Nadal’s backhand was just too good that’s why Roger stopped going to the backhand. Which one is it?

    • I never watch matches with Nadal live. I check the score after the match is over and if Roger won I watch it and keep it or delete without watching. It what you say is true, then maybe Roger should have stuck to the plan. He was close in the first set. He wasn’t broken for an hour and half, I read.

      It’s kind of sad like watching something real good die. The way tennis is played these days, there is no way Fed can beat Dull. All the slams play the same way. Even if you serve well and hit a good volley, it might not be a winner, like it used to be in the days of Becker, Edberg, Sampras. If you can run around for hours and retrieve the ball without many unforced, you can get to the top.
      No way Roger can outrun Dull at this age. Not to mention the unfair way their games match up.

      • Actually, I was hoping someone who watched the match and paid attention to details could tell me if what I read is true or not.

      • I saw the whole match. Roger went cross court with his forehand (to Nadal’s backhand) nearly the whole time, even though he had many chances to crush the ball down the line. Shows his stubbornness. I was getting a little pissed, because Roger because too predictable for Nadal and he was hitting weak approach shots and just letting Nadal pass him easily.

      • http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10343364 Here you have an analysys of the match that knows a little a bit about tennis.

  74. I can really empathize with people here. I HAD to stop watching the match after the first set because the pain and the frustration was too much to bear, and for two reasons: the absolute frustration at Roger not to do something different – take twice as long to serve against Nadal, call for an injury time-out, hell do anything. I know this is not Roger but he could have at least tried it, and it would have been interesting to see how Nadal reacted. Mind games against Nadal I feel are a prerequisite for players now due to HIS disgusting gamesmanship.
    Like Andy B, Sid and many others on this site and elsewhere, I am convinced that Nadal is not clean. I have watched sport for forty years and have seen things that no longer shock or stun me. And of course, the ATP and ITF will NEVER admit this, if true. Nor will Nadal ever admit it either. Perhaps there is someone out there with a moral compass and integrity who will do the decent thing and be a whistleblower. But I won’t hold my breath. And as Katyani said in a previous post ( she is so insightful ! ), she never liked Nadal from when he first appeared on the scene, and I too felt the same. And this was even before any ‘ rivalry’ with Roger took place.
    Nadal stinks in more ways than one.

    • I think all of us were frustrated as well, if you weren’t on the Live Chat ;)
      It was painful to watch, and the times Federer was forced to grind with Nadal made the rallies so boring. I was getting sick of the same shots being hit all over again. Once of the worst Fedal matches I’ve ever seen, because it was just so damn boring and painful. I remember Cincy last year – that match wasn’t that bad at all even Roger lost, I actually though it was one of his best losses and he fought very well that night. It was the opposite here, and Fed couldn’t even make Nadal serve out the match.

    • Did Katyani say that? lol. Pretty sure in one of her first comments here she was a Nadal fan :P

      I agree, boring match. Not Fed’s worst level, just didn’t have the answers of create any chances.

      Dope – no proof so just going over old ground. Whether he does or he doesn’t it always comes out when Fed loses too, looks like sour grapes.

  75. This might sound somewhat blasphemous, but anyone knows a good upcoming junior who plays like Roger that we can look forward to? Honestly, I had quite a few favorites back in the days, including Sampras, Kuerten, Chang, and Fed’s current coach. But for whatever reason, other than Roger, I don’t seem to connect with any other player on tour right now. Perhaps Dimitrov is the next best option?

  76. I recorded the match but haven’t watched it. Is it too depressing? Is it worth watching?
    The Fedal match-up will be debated for ages. Maybe I’ll go back and watch the 2012 IW match. In that match, Roger didn’t get rattled. Maybe the wind drowned out the grunts.
    It will be interesting to see who the crowd will be cheering for in the final. I’m hoping Stan.

    • Haha, I recorded the match as well, but once Federer lost the 2nd set, I stopped recording and deleted the entire file! Not worth watching 50 errors off Fed’s racquet and it was one of the worst Fedal matches in terms of quality. Don’t watch it and don’t watch the highlights on YouTube! ;)

    • I’d watch it, worth seeing what happened if you are interested in seeing how both guys played.

  77. Come on guys! Whether he dopes or not, Nadull raised his level hugely compared to previous 2 matches. Feds dropped a little but he wasn’t terrible! Nadull was just better. The BH cross court was on song which was disappointing for Fed as he tried to attack it. Also compared to Murray Nadulls retrieving off Feds first volley was ridiculous and he wld then thread a spun passing shot past him or Fed wld miss hit it due to the spin revolutions. He was being made to hit too many balls and when he took risks ( forced to) to cut rally short, knowing how quick Nadull is, he rushed his shot and so produced the error. Fed will never move back so always takes tough high balls and he hasn’t had to do that with this racquet so much yet. Murray and Tsonga often broke down mid rally. Nadull did not! Also, as hv said before, impossible to replicate Nadull in practise and Edberg has no experience of facing that type of play. Nadull always raises his game v Roger. If Fed had played him 2/3 days before when blister really bad then maybe tighter but Fed was completely neutralised by the moonballing and spin. Served ok but not quite enough free points there. If had won that TB then cld hv been different, but the margins were tiny and TB’s always a lottery! So in conclusion, a gd AO! A gd start to the Fedberg era! Still see him back in top 4 by Wimbledon! Next stop Dubai!
    Ps biggest surprises of AO?
    Berdych , thought he might drop off this yr!
    Delpo . Up to no. 3/4 depending on tomorrow, despite another poor AO showing.

  78. So Jonathan, think he deserves some slack given where he has come from over past 9 months!

  79. Li Na’s winner speech funniest thing ever on the podium! Just hilarious about her agent and husband! Love her ! So down to earth. Best BH in women’s game!

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