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Haas defeats Federer to win in Halle

Haas defeats Federer to win in Halle

Well quite a turn up for the books as Tommy Haas extended his record of having not lost a final for 10 years as he took out Roger 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes.

The result was a huge surprise and I thought Roger would be taking down his 75th title with ease but it just wasn’t to be. Roger started well breaking early with ultimate efficiency but got pegged back and lost the first set on a tie break. Haas was playing very well, striking the ball cleanly and most points ended with Federer making an error.

The second set wasn’t the best tennis but you never got the feeling Roger was on top, he didn’t dominate points and even though he served first in the set, you felt like he was always playing catch up. He slipped to 0-30 on numerous service games whilst Haas was holding easily. Eventually the errors caught up with him and he lost serve at 4-4 allowing Haas to serve out the match and take down his second Halle title.

The match was really won because Haas played the more consistent tennis, he was able to hit with great depth on both wings and Roger just seemed a little rushed behind the baseline. He wasn’t moving as well as he can and struggled to control any of the rallies.

How meaningful was this match?

I have to say that this match doesn’t tell us a whole lot about Wimbledon or give us cause to start writing Roger off, a loss is of course never a good thing, but some Federer fans need to wake up and realise that losing in the final of an ATP Masters 250 tournament isn’t a big deal. Do I need to remind you that Nadal lost to Feliciano Lopez in the Quarter Finals of Queens in 2010 only to win Wimbledon 2 weeks later? If you start basing Grand Slam predictions on the results at 250 tournaments then you need a head check. I suppose Maran Cilic is a lock for the Wimbledon final after he won Queens Club by default?

I can categorically tell you that were only ever going to be two terrible scenarios in Halle:

  1. Roger lost the final to Nadal – it would have been another huge psychological blow heading into Wimbledon.
  2. Roger lost to Raonic in the 3rd Round – it would have made him lose confidence against a young gun with a big serve and meant he only played 2 matches on grass.

But guess what?? Neither of those things happened. Roger lost to Tommy Haas, his good friend, who he leads 10-3 in the H2H, who nearly beat him the year he won the French, who has only lost serve once all week and is still one of the most naturally talented players on tour. Wow, such a terrible defeat! NOT. You only have to look at Roger’s reaction and his body language in the trophy presentation to realise that he didn’t really give a shit. If he won great, but if he didn’t he wasn’t going to beat himself up about it or start questioning his ability on grass.

If he was stood there crying and telling the press “I don’t care anymore, I’m moving over to the slow grass at Wimbledon, new chapter” then by all means treat this as a painful loss – but he was smiling like he’d just won the tournament.

I knew that it would be a tough match. To begin with, I wasted a few chances, but it was still a great week for me. Tommy was the better player after that and he deserves this win, truly.

Once again, so many fans jump to conclusions and immediately assume Roger will flop at Wimbledon, simply forgetting that he’s been on top form since the US Open winning 4 titles and creating even more records along the way.

Not only that we get fans that whenever Roger loses instantly attribute it to him being injured. Ridiculous. Ever think he played a below average match that wasn’t good enough to get the job done rather than he was playing with a dislocated hip? To invent injuries is total conjecture and seriously annoying to read because stupid rumours like this spread like wild fire despite them having no substance.

This loss today makes little to no difference in my expectations for Roger at Wimbledon, like I said on twitter, if Roger had won Halle he’d be third favourite for it behind Nadal and Djokovic, and if he lost Halle, he’d still be third favourite behind Nadal and Djokovic. Other than 250 ranking points and another title there wasn’t a whole lot to gain. He played the maximum number of matches possible and came through a really tough match with Raonic so on the whole I think it’s a good tournament.

Apologies if this post is a little ranty, but we have to keep perspective here and only deal in facts, those being:

  • Roger got 4 matches in on grass – great!
  • He came through a tough 3 set match against a guy who served 25 aces
  • He’s won 4 titles this year already
  • He has a chance of slam Number 17 at Wimbledon
  • He’s serving well
  • He’s injury free
  • He’s had a cold all week

All I can say is bring on Wimbledon! Am I deluding myself into thinking Fed will win the title without dropping a set? Nope, but I maintain he has a good chance of coming away victorious. He’ll need to play well with no lapses in level but anything is possible. And trust me, if Roger meets Haas at Wimbledon, it will be a straight sets win ;)

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.

36 comments

  1. Great write up! I believe in Roger and this loss doesn’t mean anything just like his loss against Roddick. Federer actually looked happy for Haas. Like you said, you can’t base Federer’s performance at a lower level tournament and predict that it will rollover into a slam such as Wimbledon. Federer is having a great year and I’m proud of all his accomplishments leading up to this moment. This loss means absolutely nothing. Off to bigger and better things. Looking foward to Wimbledon. Keep up the great work!

    • Cheers Dave! Yeah everyone panicking again after one loss. If he’d lost to Raonic then it’d be time to worry but not this. He’s had a cold too. Wimbledon will be a good tournament I’m sure.

  2. Thanks for the perspective. I needed that! Was definitely feeling a bit discouraged after seeing all the errors. Plus I was thinking about how last time he lost in the final of Halle he almost lost in the first round of Wimbledon and then lost in the quarters. But I’m sure hoping that this year he really, really wants it at Wimby and will stay in there mentally and do what he needs to do to get it done!

    • Yeah 2010 final was a weird one against Hewitt, should have won, but had an injury too so I don’t think we can compare. I’m sure Wimbledon will be good.

  3. Hi Jonathan.
    I didn’t have the opportunity to watch the Halle fnal and was quite surprised afterwards to read that Roger lost this final. If you don’t mind, Jonathan, I’d like to know your opinion on this comment I read on Craig Hicman ‘s tennisblog, where someone writes with regard to Roger’s performance in the final the following comment :

    « So Haas took Federer down in straight sets. I saw much of the match and it confirmed my impression that Federer’s grass game isn’t in form right now. One shot in particular he is missing badly: the forehand half-volley. Over and over he has been dumping that into the net, not just in this match but in his previous matches in Halle. His second serve also looks extremely vulnerable, maybe more so than usual – and he’s not getting first serves in reliably.
    The serve can come back on its own, of course. But the forehand half-volley is something he’ll seriously need to work on if he’s to have a prayer at Wimbledon. »

    • Hey Wilfried,

      Yeah no problem, I think that comment is pretty ridiculous. Pulling out obscure shots as the reason for his loss. He’s played 4 matches on grass after 3 months on clay there’s bound to be transition time. I think Roger served well against Raonic too so and his ground strokes have been fine. It’s just a matter of putting it all together. I don’t think you can start breaking his game down shot by shot and laying blame to them individually for the reason behind his loss. He just wasn’t consistent enough today in all areas and never got on top in any of the rallies.

      Oh and he netted too many between the legs top spin dropshots ;)

      Jonathan

  4. 2 ways of looking at it:

    – Fed has a great year so far, he is serving well, playing well, this loss means nothing, he is going to be a strong contender on WS19

    – Fed has come to the peak of the seaon playing bad tennis; he stunk up the joint in RG, he has no confidence while facing the top 2, his timing on the ground strokes sucks and he is bound to lose every rally that goes beyond 5 shots. he’ll be lucky if he makes it past the QF in Wimby.

    which perspective do you choose?
    btw i think the fact that Fed misses the forehave regularly is very alarming. his game is based on agressive striking and taking the ball very early off the baseline. if his no. 2 weapon (after the serve) is gone – he will have a problem.

    hope he will get some rest and recover his confidene and form.

    • The first. Every time.

      I don’t think he is missing the forehand a lot though, it’s all about rhythm – the more matches he plays, the better he will get.

      I also don’t think he has lost confidence – he’s still winning matches even when he’s not playing in JesusFed mode. Raonic match was a confidence booster for sure.

  5. At first, I was ashamed of Roger. He really DID play bad today. Or maybe Haas played good. Now I realized, Roger had nothing to loose Besides a 6th Halle crown and a 75 title. He’ll have more chances for more titles as the grass and hard court seasons advance. I really think Roger should of won it but he didn’t seem upset so I won’t be upset either! Why is “Rogers’s Demise” being so hyped up in the media? Do you think this hurt Rogers’ confidence going into Wimbledon? Like you said, a 250 event doesn’t say a lot about majors (Haas and Cilic, really…)

    Roger can look at this in 2 ways:

    1: I made it to the Halle final for a record 7th time. I lost a close match to my friend Tommy and I didn’t play good and he deserved to win. I made it to the semis in the last 9/10 events. I made it farther that my rival Nadal and have been far more consistent than him on non-clay tournaments. Heck,I won a title on clay this year and have 4 titles so far, going strong at age 30.

    2. This lost was sooo devistating! I can’t believe I lost to someone ranked in the 80s ON GRASS! I stunk and really doen’t feel good going into Wimbledon. I’m 30 and I’m going to face reality that I’m never gonna win a major let alone beat Rafa again. If I disappoint at a easy 250 event, how on earth will I win at any other event.

    2 different points of view. Fed’s last 3 loses(Halle, Roland Garros, Rome) were only lost by himself. All of these, Roger had a great chance of winning and each time, his serve was horrible and he hit unmeasurable(according to his standards) unforced errors. He needs a positive mindset and while playing anyone but Djokovic and Nadal, 99% of the time his fate is in his hands.

    • Thanks for commenting Chris, I think your right that many matches are still on his racket its just up to him to get the job done!

      I think he will take the first option…

  6. Sid TheCookieThief

    At 34, Tommy shows Roger he still Haas it :D But I agree that Roger got four matches in and he couldn’t care less if he didn’t the title. Besides, if you’re going to lose, you are better off losing to a great friend. On to the green clay of Wimbledon :)

    • Haha Green clay of Wimbledon!

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Wimbledon is becoming a disgrace to grass. It’s suffering from male pattern baldness. Notice the receding hair…err…grass line? :) Pretty soon there won’t be any left. Nadal must be very happy.

      • Haha what do you recommend? I was thinking if we got Roger to fill his pockets with some Aftercut – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0031RG7Q0 and put some holes in them so it slowly drained out as he’s playing. By the time the match is over – fully regrown.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        Good one, about the “Aftercut”. With Nadal taking so long between serves, should be good enough time for the grass to regrow by the fifth set :) But tell me, why is it that I do not see a “Reply” link with some of your posts, especially the last one?

      • Haha yeah they could mow the grass the time he takes between serves. I’m not sure what you mean? As in a reply to the comment?

  7. The Nadal fans thought it was no big deal that he did not win his first match. They said oh he did not need the points nor the money. Yes, I was disappointed because I want him to win every match and tournament, but he is only human. How many of us would go play with a bad cold. Roger has given us all so much enjoyment and reasons to brag on our favorite player. I say go rest Roger and come out smoking at Wimbledon. I agree it was not Roanic who beat him.

  8. The loss is really of no worry to me. As you pointed out Jonathan, Rafa lost to Lopez in 2010 at Queens then won Wimbledon. Roger didn’t play his best tennis but he was very good all week long overall and served very well, something of which he didn’t do at RG, and of which he’ll need to do well at Wimbledon.

    Better he lose to a guy like Haas than a youngster like Raonic who Roger will have to contend with for the next few years. Fed took Halle like a warmup, as he should, and a loss in the final hardly means that he’s doomed at Wimbledon. If that was the case, then why aren’t we saying Rafa is doomed when he lost in the quarters?

    • Agreed, the Raonic match was the important one and he played an awesome tie break to win. It’s those matches that show how he’s playing and is still able to come through in the tight moments.

  9. Nice write, I agree with most of your feelings as well. For some reason last night I had a feeling that Roger wouldn’t play his ultimate tennis today, and that’s exactly what happened. But as I was thinking about the loss today, I just figured, hey, he knows that he played well this week, and it was a good warm up. People need to realize that this is what this tournament was – a warm up tournament! So of course he doesn’t give a shit that he lost. He came to Halle to have a good warm up on grass, and he got used to competing as well with great opponents: Mayer, Raonic, Haas.. etc.

    And you’re exactly right. He didn’t lose to Nadal in the final, and better yet, Nadal lost in the quarters here, so he still had a better result than he. Anyway, it’s on to Wimby 2012, and we can only hope for the best! Real fans don’t write Federer off. In my opinion, real fans just enjoy him the fact that he’s still playing, and pretty well (and not just for his age, it’s pretty great tennis at any age). Thanks for the write! Always look forward to your blogging.

  10. Not sure if anyone’s quite noticed yet, but it seems to me that — depending on the draw — Federer can take back the number one ranking from Djokovic by winning Wimbledon this year. Considering that he’s won the title on six previous occasions and is rated a 4-1 pick to win, I’d hardly say he’s on the verge of gloom and doom. Simple arithmetic is that Djokovic is defending 2000 points and Roger is defending only 360. If Fed were to beat the Djoker in the semis (in a very likely semifinal matchup) and go on to win the tournament, Roger would gain 1640 points and Djoko would lose 1280 point for a net change in ranking points of 2920. As Roger currently trails by 2845 he would take the lead by 75 points. If Djoko ends up on the other side of the draw, Roger would not control his own fate to the same degree as he would have to hope that someone else prevents Djoko from reaching the final. Were Djoko to make it to the final he would retain his #1 ranking.

    • Good info! I had heard that might happen but guess that confirms it. Likely Djoker will make the final though, have to make him favourite in a semi final against Roger.

      Although have they ever met on grass? I don’t think so thinking about it. Bet it’d be interesting!

  11. well said jonathan!…especially liked the last line :) … CHEERS TO FEDERER :D

  12. Well, i am confident that Roger will play well in Wimbledon. Maybe he was just keeping some secret weapons in his pocket and he wanted to show it in semis.

    After reading the article in ATP website talking about 3 possibilities of regaining no.1, i think roger is ready to fight for it!

    • Hope so Pollux! I like the idea of a secret weapon being unleashed at Wimbledon, a 200mph serve or something! haha

    • Roger has said gaining the #1 is a big priority for him, so I have no doubt he’ll play with everything on the line. Who knows, maybe he will play very inspired like he did in the USO2008 – I’m hoping so. This would be such an amazing title for Fed to win and I am sure he can do it.

      • Sid TheCookieThief

        I feel Roger’s biggest enemy at Wimbledon wouldn’t be his opponents like Djoker, Nadal or one of those big-serving-pile-driving-see-ball-hit crazies. It’s the nature/texture of the grass. Not sure how slow it will be. Wimbledon should honor tradition and make a really fast surface. That’s what grass is supposed to be: fast. Not clay. I mean Nadal has fun at Paris, what did Roger do do deserve this?

      • Yeah it’s gotten slower! 2001 they changed it I think. 100% rye. Bounces higher too. Shame really.

  13. Too bad Federer lost, but Tommy Played very well this tournament, and I think he deserves it. Tommy hasn’t won against Federer since the Australian Open at 2002!

    • Yeah Haas was playing good stuff all tournament. Fed should be winning those matches really but I can’t read too much into it. Any guy who tries to shine light off the runners up shield into a camera mans eyes clearly isn’t too bothered either!

  14. Hi Jonathan,
    Nice blog, love it. Keep it up please, for the sake of Federer fans like me…
    With respect to the point of Fed beating Djoko in a likely semifinal, he may still not attain #1 if he were to lose to Nadal in the final, which is a distinct possibility given their history and match-up.
    So I will be cheering him on but not holding my breath on him getting back to #1 so soon.
    I think his best chance would be at the US Open, provided he keeps gaining points from here onward.

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