Federer Double Bagels Zverev in Halle for Haas Rematch

Thanks for the responses to my last post guys. As usual you have come up with smart and respectful comments. There are still one or two of you who I want to hear from however and I’d like to keep he discussion going on that topic. It is a tough one but we don’t shy away from tough things on this blog. We deal with it. But let me get back to Roger and Halle, as I’m sure that is what you want to hear about right now. The match was at a difficult time for me so I did not get up for it, even though I’m not currently working. I’ve been struggling with a bit of a cold and needed my sleep. I just caught extensive highlights in Youtube of the match though. In such a one-sided match there usually isn’t much to analyze. I couldn’t get the match stats on the ATP site either so that makes it even harder. Basically Roger took care well of his own service games and obviously put a lot of pressure on Zverev’s serve.

Zverev is another talented lefty like Stebe with no big weapon. He is however a serve-and-volley player. The problem for him was that he doesn’t have a big serve and Roger returned his serve with ease. He kept the ball to Zverev’s feet and forced him to volley up, giving him time to make the passing shot. I have always said Roger’s returns are a very underrated part of his game. He is for instance very adept at returning big serves. We have seen time and time again how he handled Roddick’s serve with ease, and the same for Karlovic and other big servers. Look at this masterful display of returning from a young Fed:

How did you like the point at 1-0 and 30-15 in the 2nd set? What about the last return to break? Unreal. I think Roger is up there with the best returners of all time, but he does tend to chip quite a lot on the return. Of course having a one-handed backhand is not ideal for returning either. Anyway I was pleasantly surprised with this result when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the match against Stebe, although I wasn’t particularly disappointed either. It was just an average performance. But it is hard to call a double bagel an average performance. Strangely enough the last time Roger double bageled someone he lost the following day. That was against Guadio at the 2005 Masters Cup. I remember well watching that match and then afterwards he lost to Nalbandian in the final, after serving for the match at 6-5 and 30-0 in the 5th set.

Hopefully we don’t see a repeat of that against Haas tomorrow. The other double bagels that Roger have served in his career that I am aware of was against Del Potro at the 2009 Australian Open(6-3, 6-0, 6-0), against Alan Mackin in the 2005 Davis Cup(6-0, 6-0, 6-2), against Diego Hartfield at the 2008 Australian Open(6-0, 6-3, 6-0), and against Hewitt in the 2004 US Open final(6-0, 7-6(3), 6-0). I have seen the ones against Gaudio, Del Potro, and Hewitt. The one against Hewitt must be the most impressive given that it was a slam final and Hewitt was still close to his prime. I mean Hewitt is one of the toughest guys to bagel. Sure he didn’t have a big serve but he had one of the best returns and he gave 100% on every point. That US Open final was one of the most destructive performances I ever saw from Roger. Take a look:

At 3-2 in the 2nd set Hewitt has a break back point. Problem? Roger serves 3 aces in a row to hold serve. Prime Fed was monster. If only Nadal was good enough back then to make US Open finals he would have been destroyed. But of course Nadal used clay as a spring board to gain an upper hand in the head-to-head and then finally started to make some slam finals outside of clay. Anyway I thought I’d run that video by you for nostalgia’s sake. Haha. It’s nice to see Roger still double bageling opponents at this stage of his career. I think it was important as well, because Roger now faces Haas who beat Monfils 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-3. Haas of course beat Roger in last year’s final and Roger will need every bit of confidence he can get to turn that result around. A clinical and clean performance like the one against Zverev should help him.

The head-to-head is 10-3 in Roger’s favor but that won’t matter much tomorrow. Haas is playing at home and he has been a revelation of late. This is also the final as I see it. Whoever wins here will have a great shot at winning the title. In the other semis it will be Gasquet and Youzhny, so things are pretty much going as we expected. This is a big test for Roger folks. He needs to beat Haas and win the title. Anything less and his chances at Wimbledon this year diminishes greatly. As I said before none of the really big players are playing here. Granted Roger did not win the title last year and still went on to win Wimbledon, but this is an entirely different situation. Roger had already won 4 titles before Halle last year whereas this year he has not tasted title success yet. He must get that winning feeling back. That taste for success.

I believe Roger’s success at Wimbledon last year was due to a long process that started long before Wimbledon. He was knocking on the door and waiting for that moment to pounce. When Nadal lost in the 2nd round he sensed and opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. The point is he was in the winning habit and knocking hard on the door. That’s why I find it hard to believe that he can just show up at Wimbledon this year and defend his title. But he has to give himself a chance by winning Halle. Roger will play at 1 pm tomorrow which will be 5 am for me, and you better believe this time I will get up. This should be a great contest and I am very much looking forward to it. I hope you guys can watch too. I have started a thread in the forum again in case you want to leave live commentary during the match.

I feel like it has been a tough old start to the year, but I think this can be a new beginning. It can only get better from here on, and winning Halle would be ideal for making a fresh start. It’s time to believe again folks.

Highlights:

Presser: Roger said it didn’t feel good double bageling Zverev. Clearly in touch with his emotions and not an animal. He also said he hopes his friend Haas wins. What a nice guy this Roger.

http://www.gerryweber-open.de/gwo_en/Interviews/2013/14.06.2013/Press-Conference-with-Roger-Federer-after-his-win-against-Mischa-Zverev

Posted in Uncategorized.

17 Comments

  1. Ruan – hope you are feeling better, there is nothing I love more than a bagel from Roger. The way he does it, don’t feel bad for his opponent since everyone in awe of his masterful display. I hope he notches another win against Haas. He needs it and I need it to before I start tearing my hair out worrying for him. Since you mentioned about returner, how does Djoker and Nadal fair against big servers cause I don’t recall them ever meet a big serve in any GS matches.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well I think Djokovic is a better returner. Not sure about Nadal. The point is Roger’s return game is not recognized as a strength of his. Hence it is underrated. Take it easy on that hair!

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    Dippy Reply:

    A lot Roger’s other strengths are not recognized too – serves and in some context defense.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You could say that yes. Basically everything from Roger is underrated aside from his fh, slice bh, and overheads.

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  2. Ru-an, like this post! “we do not shy away from…..we deal with it”! Well said!! Hope you are feeling much better; take high dose of garlic and vitamic C – ALWAYS works for me. Thanks for a bit of nostalgia, Ru-an! I just love how destructive Roger was in the USO against Hewitt; one of my favourite “go to” matches when I get the “Roger blues”! I’m not too sure what to make of this double bagelling; Is it really he is stepping it up or the opponent was just really average? We’ll soon find out tonight against Haas who is in the form of his life. I’m going back to your last post now to make a comment. Phew! Ru-an, slow down, will ya?! I’m going back and forth, back and forth, hahaha!!! Just kidding. DON’T slow down!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m fine thanks Veronica. Just some stress weakening my immune system.

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  3. About the interview, I just LOVE how a good human being Roger is. Just confirms to me everyday that I made an excellent choice in investing so much emotional energy in this guy because he is worth. BUT…..feeling bad about bagelling someone?!! And WANTING Haas to win?!! Does he not know that Haas is in the form of his life and can beat him?!! This interview confirms what we knew all along; that Roger is not a cold-blooded instinctive killer on court. But this is needed if you want to compete with today’s monstrous players! So the reality for Fed fans is : we can only hope and wait for those moments of pure brilliance from Roger because that’s the Roger way of winning – pure brilliance and superiority; not guerilla war fare.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    That is what makes Roger such an exception Veronica. Someone who is so talented that he can still afford to stay a human being and compete right at the top of one of the most competitive sports in the world. That is why he is loved and why people identify with him. Despite being totally removed from people in a sense he remains humble and human. He has emotions. He is vulnerable. He is accessible.

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    Katyani Reply:

    Hi Ru-an and Veronica, I love both your comments. They are so true.
    I saw that interview of Roger where he said he felt bad for the bagels. But…….. he really meant it !!! It was not acting or trying to be polite. You could see he meant it.

    You guys should watch the Misha after press. He was so nice and in awe or Roger, it was so nice to see.

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  4. In your opinion Ruan, who do you think will reach further within Wimbledon, Murray or Djokovic? It will be interesting if they meet each other on this type of surface; Djokovic has experience by winning the England’s Club once but Murray also looks more comfortable out there and he has bested him (in the Olympics) against Nole in the past before.

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  5. Yes……. Go Roger Go…… into the final. One more match to go. This one was a tricky one. Hopefully he will win the final in two tight straight sets or just like today in three.

    I loved that he went up an extra gear in the second set.

    For the people who saw the match:
    – I thought Roger moved very good. It that true or could he have moved better?
    – Roger played 14 aces, which is A LOT. But when he plays so much aces in one match or in a few matches,
    he rarely plays aces or a lot aces in the next match. Is that true or am I worried for nothing?
    – I really think Roger defended very well. Especially at the net.

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    Bharata Reply:

    Apart from one weak game where he gave the break up in the 1st this was a good match. And even that game Haas had to come up with a great effort after a nonchalant Federer volley. Too many errors, but it’s attacking tennis so you have to accept it. Double digits for the aces is a great sign. I think he had zero against Tsonga at the French.

    Haas handed the match a bit to him in the end with a couple of double faults to give up the break in the 3rd, but this time Federer didn’t show any weakness when serving it out to 15.

    Great clips up there…of course I think the danger in seeing these clips (I am guilty of this) is that they only show the winners, so you begin to think back in his prime Federer made no errors…but he did back then and he does more now.

    He looked bigger back then though, and prowled around the court like a panther…

    Well looks like Youzhny tomorrow. Think that was last years QF in Wimlbedon. Great one handed backhand, good serve, good mover, he just sometimes gets too negative on himself.

    I agree 100% with Ruan’s analysis, Federer really needs this one to feel good about himself.

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  6. Damn! I am in the wrong time-zone! I’m not receiving coverage of Roger’s Halle matches. Jeez, it sounds like he’s entered his own kind of zone recently. I’m developing a superstition: when I don’t see Roger play he plays amazingly well; when I watch his matches his game crumbles. I think I must be his jinx! I should stay away from the box – for his sake (and yours!)

    Ruan, I recall that 2004 USO final when he bagelled Hewitt (who was near his peak at that time, too.) Roger had been pretty impressive at Wimbledon that year but that USO performance was when I realised we were watching a player who was something else; I used to love Pete (Sampras) and I though Roger’s win against him at the 2001 Wimbledon was a bit of a fluke, but in 2004 it really hit me: a genius had come to our sport. Boy, has he taken us on a helluva ride, and from what he’s been apparently showing at Halle it may not be over yet!

    I’m gonna dive into another topic now, which you guys have been talking about in an earlier post: doping. I must say, Ruan you have raised the matter very responsibly and fairly – full credit to you – and commenters here have expressed themselves well, and not descended to the usual rant that this topic provokes elsewhere.

    So what can I add? Well, firstly, that people’s suspicions are much greater than they used to be, but that we have very little hard evidence to go on because testing – for whatever reason – isn’t revealing much. Some would say that’s because tennis is a clean sport. That’s the official line, in any case.

    I’m not inclined to buy that. Why? Well, here are a few things we know for a fact to be true.
    1. Doping works. (That’s why it’s funny to when Rafa says, “doping doesn’t make much sense in tennis”.) When he was doped, Ben Johnson destroyed the best sprinters in the world over 100m, running 9.79. That was 25 years ago. When he later tried to compete “clean” he struggled to break 10.4. Sure, there’s often a marked decline when an athlete comes off the juice (which is why we often see “cycles” in performance levels amongst doped athletes) and he might have performed a little better than 10.4 if he hadn’t previously relied on the dope. (Kinda reminds me of someone in the 2009 World Tour finals in London…) But in professional sport, differences of 2% can be the difference between winning and losing – and doping will definitely give that, and more.
    2. Doping isn’t just about big muscles. Forget the gym hulks of the past – the dopers now are harder to spot (like Lance.) The stuff used nowadays is very sophisticated. You can get way stronger without increasing muscle mass; you can greatly increase your stamina, and you can even improve hand-eye as reflexes can be sharpened.
    3. Doping is masked. We have known that since Marion Jones and Barry Bonds were revealed as dopers over ten years ago. They never failed a drug test. (They were caught because they were on Balco’s list of clients.) Dick Pound, the founder of WADA, says an athlete can take human growth hormone (HGH) the night before a game and it will be undetectable in his or her system the next day. He said you would have to be “stupid or careless” to be caught. How bad is doping currently? The present D-G of WADA has privately said that “the dopers are introducing a new masking substance every week”. There is no test currently for human growth hormone.
    4. In-competition testing doesn’t catch the cheats. The head of WADA again said there would be “hundreds of athletes” cheating at the London Olympics. Some estimates were as high as 60%. So how many did they catch? About two.
    5. Out-of-competition (OOC) testing is the only chance to catch athletes – if the dope isn’t yet masked, or out of the system. So how much of tennis’s testing is OOC? About 7-8%. What does tennis spend on anti-doping each year? Only a little more than the men’s singles winner takes in prize-money from a grand slam. Other sports spend millions. Blood testing is necessary for detecting EPO’s (stamina drugs). Cycling boosted its number of blood tests in 2010 to almost 5000. So how many blood tests was tennis doing at the same time? Around 30.
    6. Doping is in every sport. Cheats are being unmasked in sports like championship darts and curling. Everybody wants the winning edge.
    7. Some countries have been shown to foster doping. We saw that in the past with the Eastern bloc athletes; in the 90’s it was China and US, there are questions now about the Jamaicans and of course Spain – the Spanish sports minister has admitted “Spain has a doping problem”.
    8. Doping is big business. Millions of dollars are involved – this is pro sport we are talking about. It’s no longer back of the gym or the locker-room stuff. Athletes have “doctors” to look after them – like Dr del Moral, the doping doctor at the Valencia Sports Academy.

    So what can we know from this? We know for sure that doping gives tremendous competitive advantage, that it can be incredibly hard to detect, that it’s in every professional sports code, and that in tennis the authorities are way behind other sports in trying to catch the cheats.
    I’m not going to go into now what they call “the circumstantial evidence of doping” – that’s the stuff we all tend to argue about. That’s for a later comment. But I ask you guys this: knowing all this, do YOU think tennis could have a doping problem?

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    Chris Reply:

    Good summary Rich, thanks!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Rich. You summed it up very well. I have nothing to add.

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  7. I was wondering where our doping expert had disappeared and here you are, rich!! Thanks for sharing with us; very well summarised and most convincing. My question is what can we do? Are there any anti doping activists groups in existence? Can they make some significant noise?

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    Chris Reply:

    Ok, Rich is the expert, but just for the books, I was the first one to speak out about my doping suspicions regarding the GOAT blogger! Thanks Veronica for this question, I was wondering the same thing. Is there any form of petition we could sign, any kind of public pressure we could mount?

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