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Federer Survives Wawrinka, Retains Number 1 Ranking

Federer Survives Wawrinka, Retains Number 1 Ranking

Well talk about a rollercoaster of a match. I thought for a good portion of it that writing this would be my last blog post on Shanghai but yet again Roger 3.0 had other ideas coming back from a set down to defeat Stan Wawrinka 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0 and guarantee the Number 1 ranking for a little while longer.

After seeing Roger look fresh and ready in his match against Lu, today was a completely different story. He started slow, looked disinterested and almost like he was playing with the weight of the world on his shoulders.

With an 11-1 head to head record in Roger’s favour I fully expected him to cruise through but in a match that lasted 2 hours Wawrinka will be extremely disappointed to not have won and really result was on his racket up until the third set.

The first set was completely uncharacteristic of the Federer of late as he struggled to make any sort of impact, after wasting 2 break points at 2-1 his game went AWOL and that allowed Wawrinka to grow in confidence and really dominate the play on both wings.

At 2-3 Wawrinka reeled off 8 points in a row to break and served out the set to take it 6-4. He’d played probably the best I’ve seen him play in a while, his serve was huge and he was just really going for his ground strokes, even when Roger replied with huge forehands Stan just seemed to be ready to go blow for blow and more often than not he drew the error from the Federer racket.

The second set started a little brighter for Roger as this time he got the early break to lead 3-1, it was like his game clicked for a moment and he hit some awesome winners but then went and handed it straight back, playing a casual half volley at deuce then then blazing a forehand wide. Wawrinka must have thought all his Christmas’s had come at once and if he could just keep to a level then he’d take the match.

After failing to consolidate the break I did feel like this was just going to be one of those matches that got away but as we all know the Federer of this year has a different attitude when it comes to these types of encounters. Despite still nowhere near his best barring the odd flash of brilliance he managed to hang tough in the set, saved a break point at 4-4 which would have been a virtual match point and then took the tie break 7-4 to level up the match.

You have to say Fed had no real right to win the set, despite hitting the odd amazing shot he was still well below par and Wawrinka was the one in control. The breaker changed everything though and once Roger got into a lead he found that little bit of rhythm to take it into a decider.

The third was a total melt down from Stan and Roger found another gear to streak away taking it 6-0 with the loss of just 5 points. I guess Stan isn’t the most mentally strong player and considering Fed practically handed the match to him on a plate and he didn’t take it played on his mind.

Federer & Wawrinka

Roger 3.0

Really this match just exemplifies the way Roger has played all year, he’s managed to stay in matches, not get flustered when things aren’t working and finds a way to win. Perhaps today he got a little lucky but he managed to fight when it mattered and once he could relax a little and play freely he took the game away from Wawrinka.

Overall it’s a pretty tough loss for Wawrinka and you can’t see him ever beating Roger after that, if Fed gives you a chance then you kinda have to take it otherwise it’s coming back to haunt you. From Roger’s perspective it was another great win, he came from the jaws of defeat to emerge victorious, secured the number 1 ranking and still has a chance of winning Shanghai. Sweet!

Federer Retains Number 1

I never thought of something like this when I was a little kid, that’s for sure,” said Federer. “I was just hoping one day my dream was going to come true to play on the regular tour, play Wimbledon, maybe become World No. 1 at some stage. So here I am at 300 weeks. It’s pretty incredible. Probably one of my biggest accomplishments. I’m very proud of that record, no doubt about it.

Predictions vs. Cilic

Next up for Roger is Cilic whom he leads in the H2H 3-0 with their last match coming at the 2011 US Open.

Cilic is a bit of an unknown quantity in the men’s game really, has he been around too long to be still classed as a rising talent? Is he still getting better? I don’t know really but what I do know is some days he’s good and other days he’s terrible. Take the US Open for example, he looks in great form up until the Quarters and then chokes away the match after being a point away from taking a 2 set lead against Murray. Crazy.

Roger usually has one bad match in a tournament like this so hopefully today was just that and he’s able to come out firing against Cilic. I think if Roger mixes up his play he’ll likely bamboozle the Croat and he’ll end up making errors and struggling with the pace of the ball.

I heard on Twitter some talk of muscle pain against Lu but I figure that’s only natural after a short break from competitive play so I think Roger is getting it done tomorrow in straights.

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.

12 comments

  1. Nice write up Jonathan. As match goes on office time, I happened to glance scores at end of second set 5-6(30-40) and got upset…..When I had chance to check the scores again boom!! won third set with bagel….Sorry for Stan….Wishing Fed to get Title…

  2. Well Stan should feel terrible after the that the loss. He was the better player for most of the match but Roger 3.0 is just to much of a boss to let that stand in his way of setting up a new record. Well done rog, cilic is up next but don’t worry, we I feel a straight line sets lesson coming up. Hopefully, jesus fed shows up for the rest of the tourney. :-)

  3. Was not able to watch the match (again) and watched the highlights. Seems like Fed missed some very easy volleys in the service games which he had been broken but it doesn’t matter. He managed to come back from one set down and the defensive play that he made at 5-4 40-15 was tremendous.
    When Fed is at his very best, he is just like a work of art. It’s a great pleasure to see his finesse drop shots and sharp volleys. I wish him good luck for the rest of the tournament. C’mon Roger!

    • Ah, was Murray the first match you watched? Worst won to tune into :(

      • Unfortunately, yes. The first match I was able to see, was also the last match. Couldn’t stand watching Fed making so many errors and playing sluggish(as you said) and turned off the TV. I knew he wasn’t able to come back. I nearly watched 200 matches of Fed and he had never won with that expression on his face.
        Djoker made a great comeback today and got closer to Fed. Hope Fed gets back the #1 spot after AO ’13.

  4. Yup, I agree. Roger 3.0 is on.

  5. Great post Jonathan, and what a rollercoaster match indeed! I couldn’t agree more on the “disinterested” part, it looked as if Roger wanted to go back to the hotel room and watch a good action-flick instead of swagging it out on court! And after he handed the break back at 3-1 in the 2nd, my heart would skip a beat every time he went backhand-for-backhand against Stan (which, i think, is very dangerous). Ecstatic that he got the win and high hopes for the rest of the tourney, hope he gets the 7th title for this year in shanghai and then more to come ;) .
    On a different note, i hear the commentators say and even you posting that Roger will be holding the No.1 position for “a while longer”. I saw the rankings and GOAT is way ahead of Djok with a 900 points lead. If he wins at Shanghai, won’t he have a huge lead over the Serb and be safely at the top till London or is losing the top spot before London inevitable??? sorry, don’t know much on how the rankings work :) .

    • 900 points might seem like a lot, but it’s not. Even if Roger wins shanghai, he has about 3000 points to defend in basel, paris and WTF. That will be near impossible to do, so thats why many people are saying he could lose it by the end of the year. But hey, he did it last year, maybe he can do it again! If i were Roger i would skip Basel because it’s only an ATP 500, but it’s his hometown tourney and it means a lot to him. For this reason he’s probably going to skip paris, to be fresh for the WTF, because that’s the most important one.

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