Doha QF: Injured Federer def Seppi 6-3, 5-7, 6-4

20th Win in a row. However, the 6:3, 5:7, 6:4 in the quarter-final in Doha against the South Tyrolean Andreas Seppi (ATP 38) Roger Federer is anything but business as usual.

During the paging he sits down hard, each is already far ahead of the “Time” call by the referee to the baseline.

He hardly ever strikes on more than 190 km / hr. And he lost in eight games for the first time a set against Seppi.

In an interview with the 30-year-old delivers Blick.ch Swiss after the statement. “In the match on Wednesday, has suddenly closed down my back,” he says. A severe spasm.

Actually, he would have liked a day off, but that is not possible in Doha, because the final ison Saturday on the program.

With a lot of massage he gets his back up so far that he can play against Seppi. “I am glad that I could play at all,” said Federer. “And I almost surprised that I’m through.”

Nevertheless, calms the Basel: “It’s a muscular problem, fortunately, nothing really bad.”

Therefore, he will probably try it in the semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ATP 6).

“I have not played against Seppi, and then give up tomorrow ‘, is Federer’s fighting spirit.”There is also a small chance against Federer.”

http://www.blick.ch/sport/tennis/federer-muss-gegen-seppi-kaempfen-191258

 

As you can see Roger is now on a 20-match winning streak. Not bad for a past prime Fed. As you can also see he started having back problems on Wednesday in his match against Zemlja. You would never think it though. Roger is good at hiding injuries. If he had a back spasm against Zemlja then he would have had it treated before his match against Seppi. So you would think that it would have been feeling better against Seppi than against Zemlja. But of course it is hard to tell. We just don’t know how he felt out there. My first reaction when I saw the score against Seppi is that Roger was having his ‘off’ match for the tournament. I watched the first set and Roger looked fine, after which I fell asleep. I am catching up now on the rerun though. I’m not sure what happened in the second set as Roger fell behind 5-1.

He then got both breaks back, only to lose serve again at 5-6 and lose his first set in eight meetings to Seppi. Seppi was playing pretty well. He is not a player who has any big weapons to hurt his opponent with, but he hit some really nice backhand down the line winners. In the third set Roger got the break early on which was enough to give him the edge in the third set. The first serve was once again at a high 69% although he could not hit it as hard with his back problem. I guess that is an obvious indication that he was struggling with his back in this match. When I first saw this result I thought Roger was having his ‘off’ match and I was convinced that he would be in JesusFed mode in the next round and destroy Tsonga. After hearing about the injury I am not so sure however. It kind of reminds me of the 2009 Masters Cup where he had back problems against Murray.

This is a similar situation and the back may affect him again against Tsonga. I won’t mind if he loses against Tsonga as I said before. He has now had enough competitive matches and it may be better if he loses and rest the back for Melbourne. I would have liked to see him face Nadal but then he must be at his best and I don’t want him to make the back worse before Melbourne. We will see what happens against Tsonga. This is now the seventh time these two will meet since Wimbledon, and Roger leads the head-to-head 8-3. He thoroughly got revenge for that Wimbledon loss so it’s not such a big deal if he loses here. He still rules the head-to-head. If he loses then his back will get more rest and he will go into Melbourne with slightly less pressure as well. He will get some more treatment after today and maybe he will be OK against Tsonga.

It is after all just a muscle problem. He may not need much time to rest it before Melbourne. Nadal played against Youzhny today and won 6-4, 6-4. Nadal struggled to get over the line in final game but in the end it was a fairly comfortable win. Nadal will now play Monfils, so we have the top four seeds in the semis. It seems Nadal’s shoulder problem has also disappeared. I think he will be too good for Monfils and then we will see if Roger can beat Tsonga for a fifth straight time with his problem back.

Highlights:


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26 Comments

  1. Hi Ruan, nice article as always.

    I have a few corrections from the Blick interview for you and your readers (german is my native language), hope you don’t mind :-) .

    “20th Win in a row. However, the 6:3, 5:7, 6:4 in the quarter-final in Doha against the South Tyrolean Andreas Seppi (ATP 38) Roger Federer is anything but business as usual.

    During the changeover he hardly sits down, stands already at the baseline before the “Time” call.

    He hardly ever serves with more than 190 km / h. And he lost a set against Seppi for the first time in eight meetings.

    In an interview with Blick.ch the 30-year-old Swiss provided a statement. ”In the match on Wednesday, my back has suddenly closed down ” he says. A severe spasm.

    Actually, he would have liked a day off, but that is not possible in Doha, because the final is scheduled for Saturday.

    With a lot of massage he gets his back up so far that he can play against Seppi. ”I am glad that I could play at all,” said Federer. ”And I am almost surprised that I’m through.”

    Nevertheless, calms the Basel native: ”It’s a muscular problem, fortunately, nothing really bad.”

    Therefore, he will probably try it in the semi-final against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (ATP 6).

    “I have not played against Seppi to give up tomorrow ’, is Federer’s fighting spirit.”There is also a small chance against Tsonga.”

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for that Martin. What do you think he means in the end by ”There is also a small chance against Tsonga.” ?

    [Reply]

    Chris Reply:

    What he meant was that he has been fighting to get through the Seppi match, and now he does not want to give up before even trying against Tsonga, despite his back problems. He will still try to win against Tsonga. It will be more difficult with this handicap, but still there is a small chance that he can win against Tsonga even with a back that hurts.

    The second set was not nice to watch, Federer hit ball after ball into the net. Poor Seppi still could not take more than a set from him.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for that Chris :-)

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  2. In my opinion, as Ruan said, it’s not very important if he loses to Tsonga, but I hope this injury is just a minor thing and not a major problem……….

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  3. Backs are tricky things. I’ve struggled with back issues for a long time. I noticed Roger wasn’t bending much even waiting for serve. Hopefully, this situation will improve before the AO. I agree, losing to Tsonga might be a good thing at the end of the day. Strange comment “small chance against Tsonga”.

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  4. hey ruan.. i dunno wots happning wid my email subscription.. whenevr i try 2 open the link from my mail, it jut doesn’t display the page, nd instead says “address not found”… :-(
    any of other fans found this irritating??

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hmmm how long has this been happening?

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  5. maybe he means there is a small chance that he WONT be playing against tsonga?
    fed knows his body very well, i am sure that if he is in pain he will pull out and not risk it. main thing now is to be healthy for AO.

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  6. Knowing Fed, he will be on court to play as he does not like to dissapoint fans. I prefer that he lose in straight set and get enough rest before Jan 16th.

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  7. Ahhhh. Again, these back problems. Roger should withdraw from the tournament. Why does he risk his health and a chance to win the AO open for a semi final in Doha?
    Even if he wins somehow against Tsonga, there is no chance to beat Nadal.
    Do I have a buckle in my optics or can you see Nadal’s shoulder injury?

    [Reply]

    marron Reply:

    You’re assuming Nadal will beat Monfils, which isn’t a given.

    It’s too bad Roger’s back is bothering him again, I agree that he should rest it, but he knows how he’s feeling better than anyone else.

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    marron Reply:

    Well he’s withdrawn. A smart move, imho.

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    neil Reply:

    It is very rare for Roger to complain of injury and even more unusual for him to pull out of a tournament because of it. I hope it is not the result of his getting older and therefore becoming more susceptible to break-down.

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    Chris Reply:

    hard to know, given the circumstances. Even with a minor issue, it’s certainly worth to give up Doha if this increases the chances of a good run at AO. My fear is that there is something more than a back muscle problem. He looks pale, weak and has signs of an infection at the right side of his eye. Hope he recovers quickly

    [Reply]

    booya719 Reply:

    Very strange. Federer was fully-rested and prepared to start 2012. Hope it’s just part of his preparation for the AO.

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  8. Frenchman Gael Monfils just has beaten Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4 in Doha. Will Rafa win now the AO 2012 as he did in 2009, after also losing from Monfils in Doha back in 2009 ? Will history repeat itself?

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    Duarte Reply:

    About a 5% chance.

    Want to bet on it? I bet he won’t win obviously.

    Djokovic is the favourite and Roger is second in line.

    Let’s just hope for once Roger is drawn in nadal’s half for god sake.

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    Wilfried Reply:

    High, Duarte. I’m not taking your bet as my question was in fact a bit rhetorical. I don’t expect Rafael to win either in Melbourne, but for other reasons.
    Rafael Nadal has been trying out recently a new, heavier racquet than he used to, and he intends to use this racquet at the Australian Open as well, if my information is right. Experimenting with new equipment however right before the start of a major, is taking risks, as you have to adapt your way of playing a little bit to the new racket. The timing of this change makes me think Nadal is already looking further than the Australian Open. He knows the odds of beating Djokovic on hardcourt are not very good. Therefore it is more sensible for him to aim the second major, and experiment with his new racquet in order to find out which adjustments he has to make to preserve and increase his chances of winning in Paris. Competing in Melbourne with this in mind, is
    a whole different mindset than aiming the title.
    As for Nadal’s chances against Roger Federer at the AO 2012, I already mentioned in my (second) comment to Ruan’s recent post “Australian Open 2012: Early discussions” that Toni Nadal, Rafa’s coach believes very much in Rafa’s chances against Roger. I hope Roger believes also in his own chances against Nadal, but I’m afraid his back injury won’t do any god and is complicating a bit his chances in a possible encounter with Nadal.

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  9. I pray this injury doesn’t become chronic and serious. Roger did the right thing by withdrawing. This is such a rare event for the Maestro. It’s been years since he’s withdrawn from an event. Does anyone remember when it happened last? On the bright side, Fed knows his body well, and obviously realizes he needs to rest and heal. All the best to you, Roger.

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    steve Reply:

    I think the last (and only previous) time he withdrew from a tournament in the middle of play was at the Paris Masters in ’08, just before he was slated to play Blake.

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  10. I’m actually a little concerned at Federer’s back injury. With the AO only 10 days away I cannot see how Federer can recover fully. Federer probably needs at least two weeks rest, maybe more, to be sure it’s fine. Going into the tournament in such a state runs the risk of it flaring up again.

    This must make Djokovic the heavy favourite to win the AO, with probably Tsonga second favourite, with the rapid decline of Nadal, and Murray being indifferent since the Asian swing in 2011.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    How do you know it would take two weeks? Are you a physio? He can take pain killers if it is a problem at the AO.

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  11. It seems he’s withdrawing more as a precaution to prevent things from getting worse, since AO starts in a little over a week.

    He’s had chronic back issues for a long time, apparently they’re the reason he was exempted from Swiss military service.

    The only thing he can do now is rest and recover.

    At the Grand Slams he’ll have that extra day of recovery time between matches. That may end up making the crucial difference in his later career.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I wouldn’t take the exempt from the Swiss army too seriously ;-)

    [Reply]

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