Federer Almost Slips on Kohlschreiber on Halle Day 1

I don’t think it was the start that Roger had in mind for the grass court season, but the main thing is that he won, which he did with a score of 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-6(5). I tuned in on the last point of the first set tie-break when Kohlschreiber committed an unforced error to drop the first set. In the second set, a call seemed to upset the Swiss as he got broken at 3-4. He hit a backhand wide that was called good after which Kohlschreiber challenged it and hawkeye confirmed it was wide.

According to Roger the challenge from Kohlschreiber came too late, but there was no way the umpire was going to change his mind. In the next game, he got broken and then lost the second set. The final set came down to a tie-break again where Kohlschreiber was in control at 5-4 with two serves to come. Roger had played a poor tie-break up until that point. Kohlschreiber only had to hold both serves to win the match, or at least win one point to put the pressure back on Roger.

But instead he lost both serves and dumped a sitter forehand return off a second serve from Roger into the net. It was disastrous choking, but I guess when you are 0-8 in the head-to-head you don’t believe you can win anymore. Someone said this reminds them of Roger’s match in Shanghai against Mayer last year, and that usually when this happens Roger has a good tournament. I don’t think this match was the same. Against Mayer, Roger was mentally strong and had some luck.

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There were a lot of slippings

Against Kohlschreiber, he was mentally poor in the final set tie-break and was going to lose, only for Kohlschreiber to come to the rescue with severe choking. But like I said the only thing that matters is that he won. It wasn’t the easiest first round and his draw gets better now. The weakest aspect of his game was probably his forehand again. That shot lost a lot of penetration and accuracy with the change of racquets. He also missed some routine volleys. The strongest part of his game was his serve which saved him countless times.

Finally, Roger did his usual entertainment play when he hit a well-timed lob from behind his back which prevented Kohlschreiber from putting the ball away, after which Roger hit the forehand winner. Not something you see very often! As for other matches of interest the youngsters Coric and Zverev had good wins over Young and Nieminen respectively. As far as Queen’s go, Hewitt won the first set and was at *5-4 30-0 in the second set against Anderson, only to lose 7-6(5), 5-7, 2-6.

Retirement was a good idea.

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Posted in ATP 500, Halle.

5 Comments

  1. I think its not as bad a choking as you make it out to be. The 4-5 point from Roger was clutch and even at 5-5 he didn’t miss any shot. The one thing I really agree with you is the forehand. I mean basically it sucks. Where is the Federer forehand of old. I actually think he should have played doubles. Nadal played doubles in Stuttgart and both him and Murray are playing doubles in Queens. Also I think his volleys will improve during the week since he didn’t volley as much during the clay. I really hope he starts ripping his forehand since that’s the only way he is gonna defeat Novak. Also his backhand and serve look solid so that’s good news. His 2nd serve win percentage has been way lower than usual this year and that trend continued here as well. As long as he wins the tournament somehow his confidence will be high come Wimbledon. If his forehand starts firing he should be really ready to go and give it his all !!

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    Bharata Reply:

    Why do you think his forehand would be weaker? His serve was going well so I don’t see it as weakness or agening (although of course that is part of it). Maybe is he putting too much topspin on it and not hitting as flat as he usually does?

    It’s an interesting court at Halle. Sort of like what Wimbeldon used to be before they switched courts.

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    Krish Reply:

    The forehand has really been on its way down since 2007/8, when it was last see consistently at its absolute best. Federer has still been able to produce some patches of brilliance off that wing since then. The best it’s been this year was in Dubai, but he will certainly need it to click at least as well as that at Wimbledon.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    There are two things to note here. Like Krish said the forehand has been on its way down from 2007. But the reason for that is Federer doesn’t swing that freely anymore. The take back on his racquet has definitely decreased since then slowly but surely. But once he started using this new racquet the problem on his forehand side have multiplied further. It is unweildly as it is much larger and in fact I think even though it has a larger sweet spot the speed he can generate when it hits the sweet spot has actually decreased. So instead he top spins the ball a lot more and his swing is much more compact which is definitely good in clay but the worst in grass.

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  2. I still have fond memories of Roger beating Djokovic at Wimbledon ’12 in the semis. It seems to me that his forehand was one of the keys to that match. And that was back in the day when he was using a toothpick as a racquet too.

    However, it’s definitely been a dry couple of years for Roger as far as his forehand is concerned, no doubt.

    I just hope he’s working a little extra on his forehand and his return game for the upcoming Wimbledon tourney.

    [Reply]

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