Federer Overcomes Istomin After Struggle to Reach Basel Quarter Finals

Hey folks. If you read the comments you would have seen that I had laptop problems which is why I missed the last post about Roger beating Muller 6-2, 6-1. I couldn’t watch but from what I read and saw on the highlights it was a good performance from Roger. Fortunately last night I was able to watch Roger’s match against Istomin on a computer at work. It was quite a struggle for Roger who got broken in the sixth game to fall behind 2-4. He couldn’t recover and Istomin won the first set 6-3. Something seemed off to me and I was wondering whether Brennwald and Nadal had not gotten to Roger. He was hitting too many shanks and at the beginning of the third set he came awfully close to smashing his racquet after three shanks in a row. He was definitely struggling with himself and no doubt this whole Brenndull situation was affecting him.

It really is pathetic that Brennwald is treating the player who carried the Basel tournament for the last 10+ years so poorly. Not to mention Nadull who abandons his home tournament in Valencia for Brennwald’s appearance fees. And of course Brennwald knows Nadull is Roger’s big rival which makes the whole thing even more scandalous. And what is even more surprising is the way Nadull has been playing given that he has appendicitis(according to the Nadull camp that is). Nadal has only dropped six games in his first two matches. He also played his second match before Roger played his first match. That is very strange and poor scheduling and probably just another way Brennwald and Nadull is trying to ‘get’ to Roger. So no surprise that Roger seemed unsettled and out of sorts against Istomin.

But as we have seen from Roger 4.0 his main characteristic is probably mental strength and he battled through it to get the 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory. Roger’s break point conversion rate was low as we have seen from him of late in early rounds. In Istomin’s first service game of the third set Roger wasted several break points to get the early break, which was also the point where he came very close to smashing his racquet I think. In Istomin’s next service game it was the same story as Roger missed several break point chances again, but finally got the break and won the decider. It’s good that Roger is going through this anyway because his mental strength needs to be tested once again if he is to meet Nadull in the final, and I think that will probably happen. Nadull is all of a sudden on top of his game again and only Raonic can pose a serious threat to him before the final.

He now plays promising 17-year old Borna Coric from Croatia who he will no doubt defeat. Then he plays the winner of Raonic and Goffin. Goffin has made some waves of late in the tennis world and could defeat Raonic, but I don’t see how he could pose a threat to Nadal. I don’t think he is mentally capable. Raonic is pretty good mentally and with his huge serve indoors could possibly make life hard for Nadull. But personally I want to see a Fedull final. Roger has lost his last five meetings with Nadull and that nonsense has to end here. Sure Brennwald is a douche bag and an annoyance, but Roger won’t get a much better opportunity to defeat Nadull than in front of his home crowd on an indoor court. And as I have said in the comment section beating Nadal would be as satisfying as anything he could still achieve this year.

Maybe even more so. I have said a couple of other important things in the comment section too. One of them is that it’s all about Basel now and that I have once again made the mistake of looking too far ahead. The title in Shanghai was very satisfactory from a fan standpoint but a Basel title would be even more satisfying for several reasons. First the fact that Roger lost in the final the last two years. Second the fact that Brennwald has been such a douche and the ultimate way to spite him would be to win the tourney. Finally the fact that it would be Roger’s fifth title of the year, the target he set for himself at the beginning of the season. For me if he achieves that goal I would be very satisfied about 2014 after the low that was 2013 and everything afterwards would be gravy. That includes winning Paris, London, Davis Cup and ending the year ranked #1.

Wow! What a season it must have been if that is all just gravy. And then of course if he beats Nadal in the final that would be the ultimate way to win the title. But yes there is still a long way to go. The focus should be on the next match which is against Dimitrov and it won’t be easy. This will be Roger’s toughest opponent before the final and can’t be taken lightly. Especially after Dimitrov destroyed Posipisil 6-2, 6-2 yesterday. It should be an entertaining match to watch anyway and I am looking forward to it. But let me get back to something I said in the comment section just quickly. Roger has made it clear that he intends to play Paris which I was very happy to hear of course, since that means he is very much going after the year end #1. I feel this is very important since Davis Cup is out of his hands.

Stan lost in the first round of Basel against Kukushkin and is now on a four match losing streak I think. So his form is definitely a concern and Roger can’t depend on him to win a match in the Davis Cup final. He has to look after himself first and try to win Basel, Paris, and London and end the year ranked #1. Then it doesn’t matter much what happens in Davis Cup and there will be less pressure on Roger. The way I see it the Davis Cup title is nice if it happens but since it is not under the control of the individual it means very little for their personal resume. Winning a seventh Masters Cup and reaching the pinnacle of the rankings again at age 33 would mean much more for his personal resume than Davis Cup. All those Davis Cups Nadull won means very little for Nadull personally as it was done with the help of a very strong Spanish team.

Well I am still very excited for what is left for the rest of the year especially after hearing that Roger intends to play Paris. Djokovic has also announced that he will be present after the birth of his son a couple of days ago. So congrats to him. This race to the year end #1 is now getting really interesting but for now all focus is on Basel where Roger must put Brennwald to bed by winning the title. Then he will also be only 490 points behind Djokovic in the race and can maybe catch up with him in Paris already. But for now it all comes down to Roger’s match against Dimitrov tonight. As expected Nadal was once again favored with the schedule as Roger will play the last match and Nadal before him. This means the match will be after 1 am my time but I won’t miss it. Anything for the GOAT!

 Highlights: 

Posted in ATP 500, Basel.

47 Comments

  1. Regarding #1, it’s impossible to know until after the tournament when he can assess how he feels physically. He’ll decide when the time comes. I don’t think he’s thinking about world #1 at the moment, just about Basel. Then he’ll make decisions about Paris when it’s time to think about Paris.

    I don’t think it was the worst match from Federer, Istomin played well. I saw only the highlights, but it seemed that most of those break points were saved by Istomin’s big serves or aggressive shots. Federer cleaned up his game and buckled down. BP conversion is irrelevant after a win–he converted enough break points to come away the victor, end of story. Next match he might have to be more efficient with his BPs, but it’s a different opponent so the whole shape of the match will be entirely different anyway.

    It’s a bit of deja vu–Federer played Istomin last year at Basel, also winning from a set down, and now he’s playing Dimitrov, whom he also beat last year in the same tournament. Hopefully he can get the job done again.

    Nadal’s draw is the jokiest draw in the history of joke draws. Seriously, to get so many guys ranked outside the top 100, it’s ridiculous. Now to get Coric who wore himself out against two higher-ranked opponents and who’s all starry-eyed about just being in the same tournament as Nadal–it’s simply ridiculous.

    I don’t give Raonic much of a chance against him. But if by some chance Raonic makes the final, he’ll be full of confidence and really tough for Federer to beat. After those two one-sided matches against Federer, he’ll be eager for revenge. And indoors he’ll be able to really bomb his serve and hit those one-two combos which make him so dangerous. Federer will have to play his best tennis to counter the big server. If it’s Nadal in the final, Federer will obviously have to take his game to the next level but I think he can do it after the boost of confidence from winning Shanghai.

    Anyhow, even though Djokovic is playing Paris, I doubt he will be in any shape mentally to contend for the top. Look at what happened to Federer in Rome after the twin boys were born. Federer was already a parent and it was still hard for him to deal with it. This is Djokovic’s first time as a parent, I think he’ll be a bit distracted. To clinch the year-end #1 he’ll have to be completely focused, he might have some trouble doing it.

    If anyone can do this (i.e. win every match from here on out through Davis Cup), it’s Federer. Indoors is his best surface, he can serve a bit bigger and more consistently and play more aggressively than he can outdoors. The points will generally be shorter. Even Davis Cup is indoors. All this means he can keep the points shorter and lessen the strain on his body, compared to outdoor courts.

    I think he planned well by taking the long break after USO. He’s got enough in the tank to keep fighting hard until the off-season.

    Remember at the end of ’11 he went unbeaten in three indoor tournaments and laid the groundwork for an amazing 2012. I think he’s looking for a similarly strong finish this year. The new racket and the Edberg-inspired game plan will help him with that.

    I think he has a good chance to finish the year in style, as long as he takes it match by match. C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ru-an,

    Tremendous post! We really love it when you come out with a new one. And excellent stuff as always!

    Steve, that’s a great reply too. “jokiest draw in the history of joke draws” – quite excellent! and true! And there’s a lot more good stuff in there than the memorable remark I just love too.

    I just want to say that I think Roger could remove Basel from his calendar next year – if he does it the right way – and it would be the last we’d hear of Brennwald.

    He doesn’t have to mention a name specifically, but if he says something like, I’d like to come back to Basel, my home town, my first love, the place where I was a ball boy, the place where my dreams were born – SOME DAY – then everyone would understand that it’s time for Brennwald to go. Maybe Roger would have to be a little more specific than that, but if everyone knew Brennwald was the reason Roger wasn’t playing, I think Brennwald would ‘magically’ find a buyer and quietly exit – hopefully never to be heard from again.

    But even with all the ‘antibiotics’ Nadal has been taking lately – and he must be feeling his oats if he wants to take Roger on, on Roger’s home turf – it’s time for Roger to take the gloves off for a good old-fashioned beat-down.

    I think Roger is tired of Nadal’s mind games and gamesmanship (maybe that’s just me!), and that he’ll overcome the fact that Nadal forces Roger to play on Nadal’s very one-dimensional terms, and take it to him. Roger has some new attacking elements in his repertoire, specifically a better net game and a Roger 4.0 version of bhdtl, has played against some lefties lately, and I want to see him try throw it all down against Nadal.

    I don’t want to look beyond Dimitrov, but I definitely remember the determination Roger showed when he beat Djokovic in Shanghai! And if Roger makes it through to the final, then I think we should all be ready to see something special!

    Cheers,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    And another thing – what’s with the lights going out at Basel this year? I don’t remember seeing that in previous years..

    I tend to place that at Brennwald’s feet.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah either that or it’s bad karma for Brennwald Joe.

    [Reply]

  2. Hey Ru-an, please don’t take this the wrong way, but… I love you dude :-) :-) What a great great greattttttttt post :-) Atleast in my opinion. Every and I mean EVERY sentence is like gold and so true and again almost everything I think. You have to have been Roger in a previous life. No other explanation :-)
    First that word “Brenndull”. How do you come up with that? So true.
    Then the sentences: “It really is pathetic that Brennwald is treating the player who carried the Basel tournament for the last 10+ years so poorly. Not to mention Nadull who abandons his home tournament in Valencia for Brennwald’s appearance fees. And of course Brennwald knows Nadull is Roger’s big rival which makes the whole thing even more scandalous. And what is even more surprising is the way Nadull has been playing given that he has appendicitis(according to the Nadull camp that is).
    That is very strange and poor scheduling and probably just another way Brennwald and Nadull is trying to ‘get’ to Roger. So no surprise that Roger seemed unsettled and out of sorts against Istomin.”

    I have a couple of quick things to say. First of all I want Roger to win Basel, STICK it in Brennwald’s face and never come back to Basel Tour as long as that loser is there.
    Second of all, you are so true that Roger should worry less about Davis Cup. Rafa won it 5 times (yet Roger played more DC matches), but he had all top 10 Spain players. Roger HAD !!! Stan, but I think even Roger knows now that he cannot count on Stan to help him win it.
    I want Roger to be “selfish” and go for world number 1. But… to be honest, like Severin says, that is also more on Novak’s racquet. I don’t see Novak losing very early in Paris, not now also because there is a week extra between Paris and WTF. So… lets just not hope that Novak will lose early, because he won’t. Roger had twins and played better and better, so will Novak.

    But tonight, lets first worry about Dimi. What is up with him? Says he doesn’t want to be compared to Roger and STILL plays almost exactly like Roger. Copycat. No wonder they still call him Baby Fed. I know Roger will beat Dimi. But will not be easy at all and will not be in straights.
    And lets not forget what apparently has become the GOLDEN RULE in tennis: “Any player, no matter what age or rank, forgets that they know how to play tennis and will either win or lose… BUT when they play Roger they SUDDENLY remember that they are great players and play either in the zone or the match of their life” !!!

    Again Ru-an, great post, one of your best :-) I would like to write more, but I have to continue with my work :-) If there is any “tennis justice” than Roger WILL beat Rafa and he will win Basel and Paris and DC. But AGAIN, for Godsake, please God please, for justice… please let Roger win WTF !!!

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Oh and Ru-an, very soon I will come up with a short comment about predictions for Rafa. Because I don’t believe him and I don’t buy it and I honestly think THIS is the beginning of his downfall :-)

    [Reply]

    steve Reply:

    Katyani, Nadal obviously doesn’t have appendicitis and is simply lying through his teeth. Only his most gullible fans genuinely believe that he’s sick.

    As for Dimitrov, give the poor guy a break, he never asked to be compared to Federer. The media always loves to hype new players as the next big whatever and talk about torch-passing and heir to the throne and all that silly stuff. They have to promote their narratives to glue eyeballs to screens and get page clicks.

    Federer had to weather all the Sampras comparisons until he had proven himself. And keep in mind he never had it as a goal to top Sampras’ number of major titles, until he was on about ten or eleven Grand Slams and felt obligated to do it to live up to his talent and all the expectations people had invested in him, and because he has to meet any challenge head-on.

    He was not like Tiger Woods who always wanted to break Nicklaus’ record from the very beginning, or Nadal whose sole motive for playing is to break Federer’s record.

    Basically until he won 15 majors they were always comparing him to Sampras. If Dimitrov has to win 17 majors (or whatever Federer’s ultimate total will be), that’s asking way too much.

    If he ends up winning two or three that’ll have been an amazing accomplishment.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Steve, I don’t dislike Dimi. Don’t get me wrong. I do give him a break. I saw him the first time at the Brisbane Final against Murray. 2013 I think. At THAT point, to me, he was COMPLETELY Roger. From the serve to the way he goes through his knees to serve to playing the points to the rallies to the net, even the grunting. It was ALL Roger. Now when I see him, I can see things are different. But he has a big part of Roger still. Like yesterday, the way he holds his racquet and shoots during rallies, that is still EXACTLY Roger. To a 100%. He is becoming less of Roger, but not yet. That is what I meant. I like him a lot and I hope he wins a lot too (when Roger is not on the other side of the net). I don’t like his taste in girls (not a fan of Sharapova)…. but other than that, he is a cool dude.

    Did you see the promo he made of the exho he is playing with Roger in 2015? I loved it. He called Roger “an old man” :-) Hope Roger teaches him that “old is gold” :-)

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Guess I qualify for “…old is gold”, Katyani, you are so funny. You give us smiles, thank you!
    Tschuess,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hi Dolores,

    You are the best proof that old is gold I know about!!!

    Best,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Indeed Joe. Dolores is a star.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    A big THANK YOU to you Ru-an and Joe from little ole’ me. You are both very kind, am truly honored to be part of this great blog, Ru-an’s RF GOAT blog. Great minds come together, voicing opinions all about tennis.
    First of all, am much in agreement with your analyis, Ru-an, which is super.
    Am so excited reading all about the tennis matches that I had to miss today. Maybe TennisChannel will repeat this evening. Roger WON, so happy for him, Nadal lost, am not shedding a tear.
    If he needs surgery on his appendix, why would he want to play tennis when it only causes more problems for him. Where is his brain? Well, he was defeated by a teenager to boot.
    At this minute, I do not know who Roger plays in the SemiFinal….yes, agree Ru-an with many others, let us hope Roger wins the Title to never return again.
    Brennwald and his new partner, InfrontRingier, can go fly a kite!
    Oh, am having naughty thoughts.
    Best to Ru-an and all,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ben chia Reply:

    @Dolores, I seriously doubt that Nadull even has an appendix problem. But he definitely has a brain… Using it to come up with all types of excuses to prolong his “you only beat Nadal when he is injured” hypothesis.
    @ru-an, I love your posts and occasional wrong predictions; “he(nadull) now plays promising 17-year old Borna Coric from Croatia who he will no doubt defeat.” LOL!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha I was pretty sure Nadal would win. I didn’t think he would play as pathetically as he did, hitting 1 winner and making 19 UE in the first set! That was maybe the worst I have ever seen him play. At least in the first set.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Are you kidding Dolores? You are the star of this blog! People don’t realize what your loyal support has meant to this blog and to me. They should all be grateful.

    [Reply]

    Katyani Reply:

    Hey Dolores, hey sweet “young” girl :-)
    Thank you for your comment. You have no idea what you mean to the blog and to newcomers like me. You always reply to me, no matter what I write. Please know that I NOTICE IT and appreciate it a lot :-) You are a diamond, lovely young granny :-)

    [Reply]

  3. Hello folks been trying to follow all your great posts on my phone, because like Ru-an I’ve had laptopitis! My fault entirely I was watching the Nadal/Klizan match got a little excited, stood up and the laptop landed on the floor, the air was blue but I still had a smile on my face watching Nadal lose. Too bad for the laptop though!!!! Good to see that Roger still fighting well against odds that seem to be stacked against him, as for Nadal it’s hard to know what else anyone can say except even if you are a Nadal fan excuses will be hard to find.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    It looks like another golden opportunity to chip at that H2H is going down the drain..

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes this is what I am worried about. It’s not over though.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    The expression on Toni’s face is – almost – worth it.

    [Reply]

  4. Well, here you have it: Nadal has pulled out of the Paris Masters 1000 tournament.

    http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/11753850/rafael-nadal-pulls-paris-masters

    I don’t know why he’s citing “personal reasons.” It’s not his appendicitis?? What is going on with him?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lost the first set 6-2 to the 17-year old too. Almost got bageled.

    [Reply]

    Hari Reply:

    Nadal is the only player in tennis history who has such fluctuations in his career. From the invincible in clay to almost being bageled by a 17 year old Wild Card. Only Nadal folks, only him!! Yet the media believes all ĥis pseudo stunts and calls him a fierce warrior!! Ah, the chutzpah!!

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Paris draw is online:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2014/352/mds.pdf

    Roger vs. Fognini, Raonic, Wawrinka or Berdych, Djokovich.

    [Reply]

  5. I opened the TV ans I saw 50 for Coric vs. Nadal.
    I thought that it was a mistake.
    I closed it and I came back in 5 minutes and I saw 6-2.

    What is going on with Nadal ? I checked the stats:

    Rafa succeeded only one winner!!! In 34 minutes vs. no. 124.

    This is not such a surprise but what I really cannot believe is the % of 1st serve : Coric managed only 39 % vs. 68% of Rafa.

    ?????

    [Reply]

  6. Did you guys just see that bullshit move Nadal pulled with the ball in his pocket in the tie breaker, trying to throw the young guy off by making him look for the ball. Grrrrrrrrhh.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No Eric I missed that.

    [Reply]

    eric Reply:

    Coric was about to serve and only had two balls, everyone was looking around for a third,then finally Nadal pulled it out of his pocket and hit it over to him. Just a little crappy maneuver to throw off his timing. He’s such a punk.

    [Reply]

  7. 6-2, 7-6 THIS IS HOW I LIKE IT.

    VIVA CORIC !!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not as excited as you guys. Another opportunity for Roger to get a win over Nadal on a favorable surface down the drain. Story of the h2h.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    I hear you Ru-an, but at this point I just really enjoy watching Nadal lose and I really want Roger to win this tournament so he can fulfill his goal for the year and feel great going into Paris and WTF. More important to me than RF beating Nadal, though that too would be wonderful. Hoping for a great match and victory for Roger today. Probably won’t be easy.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    I guess I’ll just go back to wishing for year-end number one, sigh…

    [Reply]

  8. YESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Some of the highlights of Rafa’s activity this year:

    Rosol no. 100, Darcis no. 135, Dolgopolov no. 31, Brown no. 85 , Kyrgios no. 144, Klizan no.56

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    sorry for the mistake:

    highlights of Rafa’s playing activity since 2012

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Coric #124.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    YES, YES, YES !

    And we can add Lopez, Almagro and Ferrer
    for some remarkable wins in 2014.

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    and we should not forget that Coric is only 17 years old

    [Reply]

  9. Great stuff. Clutch Fed playing to take the first set. Ru-an I know you’re not a huge fan of Gregor but I REALLY enjoy watching these guys play. Beautiful.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No I’ve actually been impressed with Dimitrov here but even more so with Fed.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Wow wow wow, Roger fucking Federer. This is why I’m a tennis fan. Genius at work!

    [Reply]

  10. LOL!!!!

    Nadal loses 6:2 7:6 and confirms his season is over!!!

    http://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/29755595

    And then Roger wins in masterclass fashion 7:6 6:2!!!!

    Wow!!!! What a day!!!! This is crazy! For those complaining about the Nadal – RF H2H – it’s ok! Like I said: I don’t give a rat’s ass about that stupid meaningless stat. As we have seen: the H2H should be around 23: 16 if we need to be fair but Nadal has always ran away from FEDERER!

    But it’s ok! With the surgery coming up, Roger will be with a great chance in Australia being number 2 in the world and possibly ending the year at Number 1… Let’s hope that Murray will be on Djokovic’s side of the draw come January. I doubt that Nadal will even make the semis in Australia…

    [Reply]

  11. By the way the Paris draw is out and Djokovic’s side is stacked – Dimitrov, Ferrer, Murray, Isner, Tsonga and Nishikori are all on his side of the draw.

    No Nadal and no Cilic!!!

    This is the chance of a lifetime for Roger to take that Number 1 ranking!!!

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Where is the draw ??

    [Reply]

    rahan Reply:

    Paris draw is online:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/posting/2014/352/mds.pdf

    Roger vs. Fognini, Raonic, Wawrinka or Berdych, Djokovich.

    [Reply]

  12. Please help me !

    Does anybody know a reference for the `true` Head2Head Roger-Rafa.

    I mean :

    1. the full list of ATP tournaments
    in which both played.

    2. The total sum of all ATP ranking
    points in the above tournaments.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not sure Rahan try Wikipedia.

    [Reply]

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