Federer Overcomes 33 Aces from Karlovic to Make Record 11th Basel Final

And another record crumbles under the weight of this all time greatest. With his win over huge serving Karlovic Roger surpasses Vilas with 10 finals at a tournament. Roger is also joint third on the list with 9 finals(Wimbledon and Halle) with Nadal(French Open and Monte Carlo). And he is 5-5 in Basel finals and clearly he would like it to be a positive record after today, rather than a negative one. That would be especially satisfying given he lost in the final to Del Potro the last couple of years. But first he must beat Goffin who is on a 16-match winning streak, while Roger is on an 11-match winning streak himself. I think most people would agree that Roger goes into this match as the overwhelming favorite to win a 6th Basel title, but for that reason it is important that Roger should not underestimate his opponent.

The main problem for Goffin will be that he doesn’t have a big weapon to hurt Roger with. He is just an all round solid player that does everything well. Honestly Roger could not have asked for a more comfortable finals opponent, but he had to work hard to make the final. Istomin, Dimitrov, and Karlovic were all difficult opponents. Karlovic proved to be particularly tricky with his destructive serve, but Roger was just a class above in the end. Sure the home crowd support didn’t hurt, but in the end Roger would have won anyway. That is just the advantage of playing at home and all players are favored by their home crowd. I don’t think the Swiss crowd went overboard either. You see that kind of behavior everywhere and it is probably worse in Madrid for instance.

In the third set at 1-2 and Karlovic serving he went down 0-40 on his serve and the crowd was cheering for his unforced error or something(I don’t remember exactly), which caused him to double fault on break point. He clearly let the situation get to him but it had a lot to do with the pressure Roger put on him too. The crowd was just doing their normal thing and I think saying that is the only thing that caused Karlovic to be broken would be wrong. Karlovic was mentally fragile in that situation and it cost him the match. But like I said it had a lot to do with Roger as well who was once again mentally very solid. Roger was in trouble on his own serve at 4-4 in the first set again where I think he faced one break point. Then right at the start of the tie break Roger made a great stretch volley to avoid getting broken.

They traded mini breaks once and I think at 7-6 Roger had a shot at a pass but missed. Fortunately he got another opportunity at 9-8 and this time he made no mistake as he ripped a beautiful backhand pass cross court to claim the first set. Despite Karlovic having a pretty boring game with his massive serve I found this to be an absorbing contest. Karlovic really does have a massive serve and if you look at the highlights half of it is basically aces. Karlovic pulled out one of his best service performances and I think he played as well as he could, but still Roger found a way. In the second set out of nowhere Karlovic broke Roger at 4-3 after a couple of poor shots from Roger and a couple of Agassi-like returns from Karlovic. Karlovic held serve and it was all squared.

The GOAT marches on…

In the end the match stats were terrific and shows what a high quality affair it was. Karlovic’s serve was as good as it gets on a fast indoor court and yet Roger still found a way. Certainly this performance from Roger should not be underrated, even though he did get some help from the crowd at the end. Karlovic is not the kind of opponent that gives rhythm and allows Roger to put all his talents on display, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy watching it any less. I think it is great to watch the serving contest and Roger’s ability to win the most important points. So like I said Roger now plays Goffin who defeated young prodigy Coric 6-4, 3-6, 6-3. Their only previous meeting was at the French Open in 2012 where Goffin actually won the first set against Roger in a tough four set match.

So I don’t think Roger will be taking him lightly, but if he keeps his recent form up I think he should be OK. Another interesting stat is that Roger can reach a 1000 career wins this year if he wins everything from here on including Davis Cup, and he can even afford to lose in one final. He is currently on 988 wins so if he wins everything from here on(which is not impossible) he will be on 1001 career wins. If he is to lose a match I’d prefer it be in the Paris final, as long as it is not against Djokovic as that could make it problematic to end the year #1. But ideally he just wins everything from here on. He is in terrific form so it is definitely possible, but like I said winning Basel is very important to me and after that I will basically just relax and enjoy. Chum jetze GOAT!

Highlights:

Posted in ATP 500, Basel.

32 Comments

  1. Great post Ru-an, thanks! I’m optimistic for the final, Roger got his mojo back. I hope he wins and then skips Paris to be fresh for WTF, he can go all the way there.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    No worries. So you don’t want him to end the year #1? To me that is first priority now, before DC for sure. WTF and #1 kind of goes hand in hand. DC is more like an afterthought.

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  2. I felt this was a hugely important win for Roger and will be yet another boost to his confidence. Particularly because of the way Roger lost the second set. It must have been really despiriting being aced all the time, especially when you’re trying to break back. The crowd were so quiet at the end of the second set and fed looked a little lost. I feared for the worst. But the GOAT came up with the game to beat his opponent yet again. He is in unbelievable form at the moment. Hope he caps it up with a win today for the title.

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  3. Ru-an we have to think that Fed will win today, I was surprised that Goffin has such a fine serve down the T can’t say I’ve ever noticed it before. But what serving from Karlovic, it’s great to see in some pics the look on Roger’s face when fending off a bodyserve! So c’mon Roger make our day x

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    Joe Reply:

    Hey Elizabeth,

    Too true! I actually saw one picture of Roger hitting a two-handed backhand! I was thinking, is this pic photoshopped? :-)

    But it surprised me that I didn’t see more serves to the body FROM Roger.

    I couldn’t watch closely because I was working from home, but I’d think it would be easier to hand-cuff a tall player like Karlo or Isner than a person with more normal dimensions.

    Did you see many of those from Roger?

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  4. A sweet and relaxing victory. :-) It’s good that he didn’t sweat too much so that he can still try to play Paris next week..

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Try? After this relaxing practice session he will be fully rested come Wednesday.

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    steve Reply:

    Thank heaven for first-round byes in the Masters. Now he has time to recover, sleep, and even have a day off with the family before he has to play in Paris.

    Physically he should be fine. Even the Karlovic match was more a mental test than a physical one. The points were usually over with one shot, after all. It’s not like they engaged in thirty-shot rallies.

    Mentally, I think he’s quite hungry to lock down the world #1 ranking. And a couple days with the family should refresh his mind and help him avoid becoming over-tennised.

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    Joe Reply:

    A wise man once (quotably) said, “There is no try.”
    :-)

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    veronica Reply:

    Haha! Yes, Ru-an! Try???!!!! Roger didn’t even break a sweat in Basel. He can play till he drops dead in Paris and still gets a week’s rest before WTF!!! Things couldn’t be panning out more perfectly!!

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  5. Fantastic week from Roger! Some very tough opposition from Istomin, Dimitrov, and then Karlovic playing the best tennis of his life.

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Karlovic serve so well against Federer (and Federer said as much himself); indoors his serve is much more potent. It really took everything Federer had to deal with it. But he managed somehow.

    It took an incredible feat of mental toughness for Federer to survive that first set and claim that tiebreak. It would have been so easy for him to get frustrated by Karlovic’s serving barrage and beat himself, but he stayed totally focused and calm despite having so few looks on the return, came up with clutch first serves at the business end of the breaker to save set points, and took his chance to win when it presented itself.

    Once he edged the first set, I felt he would win even when he had that lapse in the second set. After producing his very best tennis and losing that first set, Karlovic had to push his game beyond its limits just to play catch-up, which he admirably did. But in doing so, he overexerted himself and that led to that one slack service game in the third set that allowed Federer to break him and zoom past the finish line.

    I can understand why Federer had that momentary mental blip in the second set, after having to stay so focused and serve so well to claim the first some kind of lapse was inevitable. You have to credit the enormous pressure the Karlovic serve put on him. 33 aces—that’s more than 8 games’ worth of points from aces alone, to say nothing of unreturnables. And Karlovic did take his chances when Federer started wavering on serve, clubbing forehand returns to break.

    He showed incredible mental strength this whole tournament, winning two crucial tiebreaks (he’s on a streak of 10 straight tiebreaks won), saving set point after set point, and finding a way to win. Fortunately he was able to breathe a bit easier in the final and produce a masterclass against an outmatched opponent.

    Now he’s got five titles, just as he’d hoped for at the beginning of the year. Here’s hoping he’s got enough in the tank to keep it up. If he feels good enough to play Paris, he could easily do well there. There’s a weeklong break between Paris and the WTF and that just might prove crucial to his chances of coming away with the year-end #1 ranking.

    Some people are hoping he won’t have to face Djokovic again, but I say bring it on! If he’s to regain the top spot, I want him to do it by beating the current #1 in a crucial match. If he wants it, he’ll probably have to top Djokovic in London and if they both dominate their group they can only meet in the final, so…

    The way he played in Shanghai and now here shows he’s playing with total confidence in his game. This is the level of tennis he was producing at 25, although he’s playing a different style that uses more of his all-court skills. And since they’re playing indoors, I think he has a good chance of sustaining his level of play for some time yet.

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  6. Great that he got the job done against Goffin too! That puts him in a good hunter’s position in the race. If I am not mistaken, Roger has the YE#1 position on his own racket even if he looses the Paris final to Djokovic. Then he “just” has to ensure he meets Djoko in the London semis. And wins the whole thing of course! :-)

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  7. Boy, Roger is a man of his word, isn’t he? He stated at the beginning of the season that he wanted to win 5 titles this year and I guess he fulfilled that promise, hehe!

    5 titles out of 10 finals.. Simply crazy!!!

    By order of magnitude:

    Wimbledon – Runner-Up 2014
    Shanghai Rolex Masters – Winner 2014
    Western & Southern Open – Winner 2014
    BNP Paribas Open – Runner-Up 2014
    Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters – Runner-Up 2014
    Rogers Cup – Runner-Up
    Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships – Winner 2014
    Swiss Indoors Basel – Winner 2014
    Gerry Webber Open – Winner 2014
    Brisbane International presented by Suncorp – Runner-Up 2014

    There are still things to achieve:

    BNP Paribas Masters
    Barclays ATP World Tour Finals
    ATP World Tour No. 1 Presented by Emirates:

    Davis Cup

    Match 1000 Milestone

    Greatest of All Time Trophy (I made that one) – LOL

    Man, that illustrious trophy cabinet is getting so sweet right now. I wanna visit that museum, hehe! :-) )

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  8. Great quotes from today.
    “I’m very pleased how well I’m playing,” Federer said. “It was a great final, I think I played really well. I’m full of confidence now.

    “I was expecting it to be tough and him taking charge at times but I think I was really able to control the match with my serve and then with my variation on the return. I think I did really well, I was fresh today, it was again a fifth day of tennis for me in a row and I’m happy I’m able to keep it up time and time again, week after week.”

    “It was a tough match of course, against Roger in his hometown,” said Goffin, who admitted he felt the pressure of it all in the buildup. “He is in great shape and he played so good today. It was too tough for me today”

    “He serves just perfect,” Goffin said. “You cannot read where it’s going and it’s not easy to return, that’s why it was a nightmare for me today.”

    “It would be very special to reclaim No. 1,” said Federer. “World No. 1 is what it’s all about in our game. With the year I have had and the amount of finals I have played, the level of tennis I have played, I am pleased to see that I have a shot. But having a shot and being there is two separate things. I am sure that Novak is going to come in very motivated, just after having a baby. I am very happy for him. There are clearly interesting weeks ahead.”

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks for the quoted Eric. Great to see how fresh Fed is staying and that he could get this final done quickly after 5 matches in 5 days. #1 would truly be special if he can get it. We said after Wimby that Fed will be rewarded at some point and I think that may be just it :-)

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    Vily Reply:

    That is especially true now, that the ATP has added even more significance to it by awarding the year-end number 1 a fancy trophy as well.. Roger should go all out here! I agree.

    By the way what’s up with all those trophy changes? The Bercy title that Roger won in 2011 looks completely different from the one Djokovic lifted last year. It’s crazy. I recall similar changes in Madrid as well as at Cincy. ;-) Tournaments tinkering with their trophies I guess! :-) )

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  9. Awesome week Mr. Fed. Also, did you guys see Tommy flip Andy off after Andy won the match? LOL, that was a trip. GO FED!!!! G

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha yeah I heard about that Gary. Cool.

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    eric Reply:

    Yeah, that was a really cool real moment. Those guys really beat the hell out of each other. Hey you know what else is really cool. Roger having a pizza party with all the ball boys and girls at Basel EVERY YEAR after the tournament ends, whether he wins or loses. He is such a cool dude, love him!

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    Vily Reply:

    Yes, I am very impressed with Murray. Winning 3 ATP titles on the run – impressive. Obviously nothing to compare to Roger’s 5 but anyway. I am happy that he made the WTFs (unless disaster happens)

    Murray is coming back to where he belongs and he’ll be better next year. So I hope that ends up in Djokovic’s side of the draw in Australia. As far as Nadal, he’ll need longer time to get going because he’s missed half of the year – again so Roger will have a window in Australia but first – let’s try to cap this awesome year by winning the Year-end Number 1. If he gets it, this season will officially be better than 2012 in my book.. But let’s see what happens.. Right now 2012 and 2014 are very close to each other! :-)

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  10. Gosh, folks! something is seriously not right!! Roger has forgotten how to lose!!!!!!!!!!!! It is not difficult to see Roger making a clean sweep of the indoors season now!! What a perfect springboard for 2015 and no. 18; at AO hopefully! And who is the GOAT in breaking winning streaks?! – Nadal’s clay court streak, Djoker’s 2011 and China streaks and now Goffin’s streak!! Poor Goffin! It must have felt like being thrown into the Lion’s den! I thought the Ivo match was impressive. Roger may need to check for bruises after that 33 aces barrage!! We were all saying that if Roger’s body holds up, he should play everything; looks like it’s gonna be what we hoped for, Yay! Can we say that Roger is fully adjusted to the new racket now??!! Both wings seem to be fully clicking now and then some!! I love how gutsy (confident) he is especially on the big points! I wonder what Wilander is thinking now. Isn’t he the one who said Roger had no balls??!!! Btw, I still can’t get over that perfect match in Shanghai. I’m still intoxicated by it and watch it almost every night!! Haha! It is so exhilarating/inspiring/never a dull moment as a Fedfan to witness Roger continually scaling new heights and breaking new grounds. Using old school tennis to school new school tennis!! Who would even think it was possible? Who but only Roger Federer was capable?! It’s like “All quiet on the western front” now with all the anti-Fed writers. Nice change to not read a Roger obituary every other day! Roger is on another level now; and as you mentioned before, Ru-an, we maybe in for another era of Roger dominance. Exciting times ahead! This victory was exactly what we wanted and hoped for: continuing his momentum, achieving his goal of 5 titles, closing in on year end no. 1, and especially putting Brenndull back into their places! So Sweet!!! Bye-Bye Brenndull!!

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    Katyani Reply:

    “something is seriously not right!! Roger has forgotten how to lose!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Seriously Ronnie….. if you jinx the love of my life….. you and I are going to have some words :-)

    Stop jinxing the Goat of all Goats, you Aussie-Mirka-wannebe :-) :-) :-)

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    Veronica Reply:

    Hey Dutch Dynamite! Aren’t you over the moon and totally agree with me that Roger has forgotten how to lose!!!!! Remember not too long ago ppl were saying he has forgotten how to play tennis?!!!!!!! Haha! Nah, it’s not a jinx, Kat, but an endearing compliment to the GOAT of all GOATS!!!! Chum jetz!!!!!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ha Dutch Dynamite, that is good.

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    mridul1 Reply:

    Please don’t be too excited. There are still two more tournaments for Federer to win before we can celebrate the ascendancy of Federer to year-end No 1. Of course that is a dream for all Federer fans and let us keep our fingers crossed.

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    Veronica Reply:

    Of course Miridul1! My head is totally on the ground! I’m just happily surprised with Roger’s play ATM and allowed myself luxury of excitement!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    It is good that you are excited Veronica but I agree with mridul that we shouldn’t get carried away. Look what happened at Wimby and the USO. I have a good feeling about it all too but I also realize that wining Basel was huge and I am content with that should he not win anything else this year. He already achieved his goal of 5 titles. He never said one of them has to be a slam and I think considering last year we can be happy with this year already. Not even retirement seemed out of the question last year. So this has been a really terrific year!

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  11. Roger might have a couple of tricky matches with Chardy and Ivo again but I think that he should make the final. Weirdly enough, I wouldn’t put a third straight Masters 1000 title in a row past him. He’s in the zone right now. But he’ll need a bit of luck like against Mayer and Simon in Shanghai and like against Ivo in the tie-break.. Mentally, he’s very strong and motivated.. I bet that losing 5 finals this year have made him unbeatable in finals.. :-) Hopefully, the steak continues.

    And Murray – playing 6 weeks in a row. Impressive to say the least.. He’ll be a factor next year… He’s already back in the top 8 and May finish top 5/6.

    I am so pissed about Cilc though. Ok the lucky bastard won the US Open but basically since then he’s sitting out Valencia, Basel, Paris. He’s behind the pace to qualify for the WTFbut because he won a slam even if he is ranked 12th he’ll qualify. I don’t think that’s fair. They should have made him fight for it instead of just chilling while others bust their butts off to try to make it the right way. What’s your take on it guys?

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