Federer Wins 81st Title in Shanghai After Very Stern Test from Simon

Boom. Title #81 in the bag, Masters title #23 in the bag, and closing in fast on a record 6th year end #1 at age 33. Old in tennis terms? Roger Federer says no! Judging by the way he played this week there may as well be a whole new era of Federer dominance ahead. OK maybe that is going over board a bit but is 100 titles and 20 slams within range? Just a thought. This Shanghai title is a big deal and should be appreciated on its own terms. Never mind what lies ahead. Roger has now won 7 out of the 9 Masters titles and is only missing Monte Carlo and Rome. It’s a pity he couldn’t win Monte Carlo this year after coming so close against Stan, not to mention how close he came in Rome against Nadal in the 2006 final. As far as overall Masters titles go Roger is now alone in second place moving ahead of Lendl on 22. Nadal is on 27 but he has a bit of an advantage since there are three Masters on clay and none on grass.

If there were an equal amount of Masters on clay and grass, or at least one on grass and two on clay, then you bet Roger would have been ahead in that category as well. But no matter, he still leads in the most important categories like slams, weeks at #1, and Masters Cup titles. This is now Roger’s 4th title of the year after missing out on some big chances in Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, and Toronto. And he only just missed out on those chances too. So this is very satisfying in that regard. That puts him now only one short of his goal of winning 5 titles this season(if I remember correctly). That would be a good number of titles in my view anyway. It would top 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013 in terms of titles won. But of course he lacks the all important slam so in that regard he would only top 2011 and 2013. In 2011 Roger also won the Masters Cup so Roger would probably have to achieve that feat to top 2011 too.

Whatever the case may be it has already been a terrific comeback season after the big low of 2013. And the way he played this week makes me not only excited for what lies ahead the rest of this season but after that too. I think Roger showed something very special this week in Shanghai. And I am not necessarily talking about the way he played and the title that he won. Maybe the most impressive of all to me was his mental fortitude. It showed in his first match against Mayer, it showed in the first set against Benneteau, it showed against Djokovic, and maybe today it was the most impressive. OK I realize saving match points against Mayer in his first match took titanium balls but there was less at stake than in the final, especially after Roger had already done the hard work by defeating Djokovic. He had already lost three Masters finals this year and this was an opportunity he did not want to let slip.

But Simon proved to be an incredibly difficult and worthy opponent. I won’t lie to you. At times during the match I hated Simon because of the way he plays, but you have to respect the way he competed. I said in my last post that Roger could crush Simon, but right out of the starting blocks I knew there is no way that would happen. Roger was no doubt in for another very difficult match. Roger went down an early break even, but in the nick of time at 4-5 got the break back after adjusting his game plan. The game plan he used against Djokovic where he took the initiative and played full out offensive tennis was clearly not going to work against Simon. Simon likes pace and he absorbs it very well, then catches you unaware with some pace of his own. Roger was caught off guard in the first set but I thought he did extremely well to adjust his tactics in time and not let the first set slip.

It was clear that he had to be slightly more patient in the rallies and not give Simon as much pace. Once he figured that out things became easier, but not by much. Simon was still making a massive nuisance of himself. He kept Roger 100% honest and gave him absolutely nothing throughout. Roger really had to win this final the hard way by busting his butt. In the first tie break Simon got the early break but Roger pulled him back and got a mini break of his own. But Simon wouldn’t let him pull away and broke back too. Then at 5-4 and Simon serving I thought there was a big moment when Roger missed a volley he really should have made which could have given him two set points. I thought that would cost Roger the first set but again he was hugely impressive in the mental department, by holding on to his own serve and making a beautiful clutch pass down the line at 7-6 in the breaker.

To my great relief the first set was in the bag, but there was no letting up from Simon. He just kept making life very difficult indeed for Roger. Roger had a break point at 1-1 but Simon wouldn’t let him get away. Then with Simon serving at 5-5 and 15-30 down there was another big volley miss from Roger which could have given him another virtual two set and match points. Again I thought it would cost him the set, because in the next game Simon had two set points on Roger’s serve at 15-40. But again Roger showed great mental fortitude to dig himself out of a difficult situation and force the tie break. In the tie break Roger got the early break but Simon pulled him back one more time. Simon hold serve once to even at 2-2 but after that it was all Roger. With Simon serving to stay in it at 2-5 Roger was taking no more prisoners as he ripped a forehand return winner to set up four match points.

On match point Simon netted a forehand after a base line rally and it was all over. Roger had finally gotten this incredibly difficult and annoying opponent off his back. If Roger ever deserved a Masters title then it is this one. First he saved match points in his first match, then straight setted the world #1 in an absolute master class, and finally shows tremendous composure to overcome a very difficult final opponent. I rate this Masters title among Roger’s best. People will look at the match and the stats of the final and say Roger played OK but not great, and they would miss the point completely. Tennis is definitely not always about looking good when you win. Tennis is a match up game and some opponents simply won’t allow you to look good against them. For me this victory is right on par with the win against Djokovic. Maybe even better because mentally it was a tougher test.

Roger was actually a break down and had to change his game plan mid match to find a way back into the match. And Simon never loosened his grip in the second set like I expected he would. That’s why I say he kept Roger 100% honest. But whether people appreciated the mental effort of Roger or not doesn’t matter. The title is in the bag and he is looking awfully good towards the end of the season here. I think Roger may even play Paris and not skip an event. We will see. I don’t think he will skip Basel anyway. The fact that Djokovic will possibly skip Paris due to his baby’s birth gives Roger the unique opportunity to end the year ranked #1 for a record 6th time. Roger comes away with a delicious 1000 points after his title and is now almost 1000 points ahead of Nadal in the rankings. And of course in the race he is only 990 points behind Djokovic.

I mean if Djokovic skips Paris and Roger plays Basel and Paris then Roger can already be in the lead when the Masters Cup begins. I’m not sure when Djokovic’s baby is expected though and I’m not sure if he will skip Paris, so we’ll have to see. But given the way Roger is playing the chances actually look more than decent that he can end the year ranked #1. How cool would it be if he wins the Masters Cup, ends the year as #1, and wins the Davis Cup? It couldn’t get better than that of course but to win Davis Cup for one thing he will need the help of Stan, and he won’t be allowed any room for error himself. Stan is still struggling and I hope he can play himself into some better form before the all important Davis Cup final. Well it’s been another terrific week as a tennis fan and a Fedfan and I very much enjoyed sharing this experience with all of you, so thank you!

I can’t wait to see what is next!

 

Highlights:

Match Stats:

Posted in Masters 1000, Shanghai.

57 Comments

  1. Wow, if Djokovic skips Paris, there’s 1000 points off right there. I bet you that he’s praying that the baby gets born earlier. LOL.

    As far as Simon, I told you guys. Especially against Roger, his game matches very well. He’s a wall and early I figured that Roger is going to have to beat him from the baseline. But the way to do it – and that is the tactic that he chose to use – was to utilize the backhand slice more to take Simon out of his comfort zone. That is reminiscent of the days when Roger wouldn’t have to worry about injuries or stamina but only about tactics and finding a way to win.

    I bet you that all those finals that he lost taught him such big weapons. I mean. Roger should have closed the door on multiple occasions in the 2nd set and yet Simon kept hanging in. So I was happy that Roger’s serve was spot on and that his forehand is becoming a weapon again.

    I read that he took that break between Davis Cup and Shanghai and literally took a break from tennis for 2 weeks and that was key. Roger already knows his game. He has perfected it. He just needed to push reset and that was great. Obviously the tennis gods smiled on him this week and he should be thankful as are we.. Now another week break – then enjoy (and win Basel) and then we’ll see where we stand in regards to the Year End Number 1 :-) ))

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  2. Ru-an, your analysis on Roger’s Shanghai win is the Best. Felt like I saw the entire match being played over again. Did see the TBs…I was so nervous…but it ended with a smile. Roger was brilliant, he deserves the title.
    Simon says, after the match….
    “He still has the same strengths, the fantastic serve and this huge forehand. Now I know him, so I’m not scared anymore when I have to play him. But it’s still hard to beat him.”

    Think Davis Cup is very important to Roger, as you mentioned, both he and Stan will have to be their best to win it.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Dolores. Your support is as always very much appreciated. DC certainly won’t be easy against players like Simon, Tsonga, Monfils, and Benneteau. I think Roger will relish the challenge of playing on clay though and Stan is supposed to be pretty good on clay too. But let see if Roger can dominate the indoor season first! Can he do the Basel/Paris/London triple again like in 2011? He has a week off before Basel now, then if he plays Paris he will have one more week off before London, and then four days before DC. It is a lot of tennis but maybe doable. Exciting times ahead.

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    Vily Reply:

    Ru-an,

    I forgot to thank you for the wonderful analysis, as always. Now, I think that Roger can do it. Especially, if Novak skips Paris (I doubt it – I mean that’s pretty much handing it to Roger) but if Roger wins Basel, then he can try and pursue.

    You are right. There is a week off now and then a week off between Paris and London and you just never know.

    I agree about Stan – obviously he’s key. He’s got to produce at least one win if Switzerland is to win. Will see. Let’s take it match by match.

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  3. The Maestro continues to amaze us all. How long can his charmed tennis life continue? Could it actually be possible that he won’t retire until he’s 40? That’s a very hoary age for a tennis professional, but this is Roger, and if anyone could do it, it would be him. And I’m not talking about just hanging around and winning a few 250 pt. tournaments a la Jimmy Connors. No, what I’m alluding to is the distinct possibility that the Swiss great could consistently make deep runs in the Majors and Master tournaments until that unbelievable age. What an incredible feat that would be, especially if he wins another Major or two along the way. 2015 may well prove to be the capstone to a brilliant career. A fifth Australian crown is now within reach, considering Nadal’s woes and Novak’s baptism into the travails of fatherhood. And then there’s the enticing goal of winning a record 8th Wimbledon title. But the Maestro needs to maintain his current championship form to succeed at these gargantuan tasks. And most importantly, this means that he must keep stoking that fire in his belly, that will to win no matter what the cost. Just as he did against the fighting Simon today.

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    Vily Reply:

    I really like your post, Balthazar! Very inspirational. I love it most when Roger wins and that there are still new things to look forward to.

    Basel
    (Paris)
    London
    Year-End Number 1
    Davis Cup

    There are so many things to look forward to and yet I feel so happy and satisfied already. That first Shanghai title is going to keep me happy for quite a while! Thanks, Roger!

    Well done!

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    veronica Reply:

    Well said, Balthazar! And what Beautiful vocabulary!

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  4. As I have been saying all along Federer shouldn’t skip Paris. He could easily be the world number 1 at the end of the year with this kind of form !! Alllllllezz !!

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  5. Wonderful analysis of the final, Ru-an–and posted with your usual lightning speed. I agree, just because it wasn’t as spectacular as the semi doesn’t mean it wasn’t a high-quality match.

    He’d never played Simon in a final before, when the Frenchman was playing his best tennis, they’d only ever met in the early rounds of tournaments. Yet all but two of those encounters went to a deciding set, and one of those two was a Simon retirement due to injury. For some reason, Federer just can’t read Simon’s game or anticipate his shots, his keen sixth sense that allows him to see through most opponents’ games goes awry. So instead of just playing freely, he must rely on his tactical acumen and choose a deliberate game plan.

    The match was extremely close. Had Simon won just two key points—set point at 6-5 in the first tiebreak, and one of the two set points at 6-5 in the second set—he would have walked away with the title. But such was Federer’s confidence in his ability to come through that he won all of those points and then capitalized on his own set points. That’s the key indication that he’s successfully raised his game. To dismiss the world #1 with a masterclass, and then to go out the very next day and navigate all the twists and turns of a very complicated title match against a fiendishly tricky opponent who’s such a bad match-up for him and forces him to play a kind of tennis he’s not comfortable with—to me, that’s a sign that he’s ready for big things in 2015.

    It wasn’t a swashbuckling match of aggressive, winner-take-all tennis like the semi. There’s rarely any discernible momentum in a Federer-Simon match, for either player. It’s just a kind of grueling, point-by-point slog. Even when he seems to have Simon on the back foot, you get the sense that his control of the situation is tenuous, almost illusory—one small lapse in concentration, one little letup, and Simon will grind his way back. You can’t overwhelm Simon and break his will like you can with many other players. If you blow him away in the first set, he’ll spring right back up in the second, as if nothing had happened.

    Tennistically speaking, Simon is like a leech or a bad summer cold; he attaches himself to the other player and clings on, devitalizing his opponent bit by bit with his weird, soporific game, and he’s nearly impossible to shake off. He’s also a quite cerebral player, his groundstrokes are deceptive because he redirects the ball so readily and can inject pace without warning. His strength doesn’t lie in raw power, but in his consistency, ability to anticipate, and his opportunism in taking advantage of any ball left short or hit in the wrong spot.

    In their first two encounters, Federer tried to overpower him and ran out of gas in the end. Today he took a more measured approach to conserve his energy—in the rallies, he was content to do enough to fend off Simon, hitting deep, mixing up the pace, using the slice, forcing errors, going for winners only when he had a really clear shot. He served well, with precision, and came to net to protect his own serve. Then when he needed to win the key points in the tiebreaks, he flipped the switch and went for more aggressive shots to get over the hump. It may not be as beautiful or thrilling as what he produced against Djokovic, but it got the job done. Indeed, it might have been the only way to get the job done. If he’d gone full blast the whole match the way he did against Djokovic, Simon would have probably squeaked the second set, Federer’s game would’ve unraveled in the third set and he would have lost.

    The most dangerous opponent when playing Simon is Federer’s own tendency towards boredom and lassitude—his lulling game exasperates Federer and tempts him into just trying to hit through it. As a rally goes on, he has this ability to stealthily reset the point to zero so that the opponent has to start building the point all over again. It’s like trying to escape an ever-shifting maze which changes with each step you take, so that you’re never sure if you’re actually making progress or if you’re simply getting drawn deeper and deeper into the maze. A couple sets of this and you can no longer tell up from down or left from right, and that’s when the UEs multiply.

    Navigating this maze was a supreme mental challenge for an offensive-minded player like Federer, whose natural response is to take the initiative and pierce the opponent’s defenses with swift attack. He passed the test with flying colors, reined in his natural tendencies and played patiently. He adjusted to Simon’s tactics and the conditions despite being a break down in the first set, and managed to sneak the set. He didn’t get frustrated or panicked even as the missed BPs piled up in the second set and he had to face down set points. He just matter-of-factly went about his business, came up with the goods when he needed them, and saw the thing through to the end. And when he won, he was as happy and enthusiastic as if he had just won his first title and not his eighty-first.

    Among his Masters victories, I would rank this right up there with his winning Madrid on the blue clay. That was another test of his versatility, adaptability, and determination to rise to the challenge.

    This victory is significant because it breaks new ground. Dubai, Halle, and Cincinnati are happy hunting grounds for him, the courts there suit his game well; it’s no shock that he would be able to win there. But to win a tournament he’s never won before in 16 years as a professional tennis player, after some tough defeats in the final and semis, is an incredible accomplishment and will surely give him confidence and inspire him to do well in the upcoming indoor season as well as next year.

    Who knows what the future holds for Roger Federer, 33 years young? With the new racket to aid him, he might well be able to once again consistently produce the otherworldly level of tennis that was the hallmark of his younger days, dominate the game, return to the #1 ranking, and win majors and Masters well into his thirties. The horizon remains open and there is much unknown territory that remains to be explored.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Steve. I loved this description of Simon from you. I thought it was very accurate and your English vocabulary is better than mine:

    ‘Tennistically speaking, Simon is like a leech or a bad summer cold; he attaches himself to the other player and clings on, devitalizing his opponent bit by bit with his weird, soporific game, and he’s nearly impossible to shake off. He’s also a quite cerebral player, his groundstrokes are deceptive because he redirects the ball so readily and can inject pace without warning. His strength doesn’t lie in raw power, but in his consistency, ability to anticipate, and his opportunism in taking advantage of any ball left short or hit in the wrong spot.’

    PeRFect!

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    veronica Reply:

    Another gold comment, Steve!! Your description of Simon is so damn good; it deserves to be published in tennis news!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ah, she’s back! The long lost daughter lol.

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  6. What a great post Ru-an!
    Awesome victory yesterday and performance by roger through out the week.
    Cant wait for Basel.
    I will be watching semi final and final highlights many times over this week.That would be equally satisfying :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you Muhammad!

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  7. Great post after a very difficult final.

    I have a dream:

    Roger finalist in Basel (+300) and wins both finals in Paris and in London vs. Djokovich (+400+500) .

    Conclusion:

    Roger: 8020+300+1000+1500=10820+DC
    Novak: 9010+000+ 600+1000=10610

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Rahan. I like the way you worked out the points but I think Roger will win Basel after the final losses the last two years. A lot depends on whether Djokovic plays Paris. If he does not then you gotta like Roger’s chances to end #1. If he does then Roger still has to win the tourney if Djokovic makes the final. Interesting times.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I just thought about it. If Roger is tired it may be better to skip Basel and play PAris where there are more points up for grabs. But then again if something goes wrong in Paris and Djokovic plays then he can pretty much kiss the #1 good bye.

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    rahan Reply:

    Yes, all depends on Paris.

    By the way, I am not sure how many ATP ranking points will get Roger from each single win in Davis cup final.

    The details from:

    http://www.daviscup.com/en/rankings/atp-ranking-points.aspx

    contradict the data from:

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Top-Players/Novak-Djokovic.aspx?t=pa&y=2010&m=s&e=0

    (Novak received no points for 2 wins in the 2010 DC final. The same for Nadal in the 2011 DC final)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Far as I know 75 points per singles win and 75 point bonus if the team wins, but it doesn’t count in the race as the year end #1 is awarded at the WTF.

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    rahan Reply:

    Thank you very much: all is clear now.

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    Ajay Reply:

    No it counts towards the year end number one all right !!

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    Ajay Reply:

    They didnt count that year for Djokovic because he already had points other 500’s which were counted. Read that Davis Cup link carefully man !!

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    rahan Reply:

    Ajay, you should be a layer man.
    (I personally prefer to wait for the end of November)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah this seems to be the case…

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    rahan Reply:

    ‘… If Djokovic wins either of his final two tournaments, he’ll finish No. 1. If Federer wins one of his final three, plus a Davis Cup, and keeps up his solid play, there’s a very good chance he pulls the No. 1 stunner….’

    The detailed analysis can be found here:

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/10/roger-federer-number-one-atp-ranking-novak-djokovic-2014-no-1

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  8. Ru-an, do you remember the danger in the first tie-break when Simon had a set point at 6-5, after Roger missed an ‘easy’ volley at 5-4 ?

    I also thought that Simon will win the first set.

    I would like to point out an interesting article that ends with:…

    ”…Federer’s re commitment to the net at 33 years old takes courage, as losing points coming forward always seems to sting a little harder than from the baseline. Now with a healthy body, a clear mind and a ruthlessly efficient strategy, he is once again taking the tennis world for another glorious ride…”’

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2014/10/41/Shanghai-Sunday-Brain-Game-Federer-Simon.aspx

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah I remember it Rahan. I referred to it in my post.

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    rahan Reply:

    Of course: I know that you referred to it in your original post (I red it carefully :))

    I just asked the question in context of ‘… losing points coming forward always seems to sting a little harder than from the baseline…’

    Only Roger can win the tie break after
    such key moment of the match.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok I see where you are coming from Rahan. And yes I totally get your point. I think this is exactly the reason why Roger has avoided the net in the past. But I think Edberg has helped him to find the courage to approach the net and he must have realized that is the only way he now stands a chance against the baseline grinders. I thought he did an amazing job in the fore court in Shanghai. It was terrific to see and bodes well for the future. Ever since I can remember I have wanted to take advantage of his net game more. I think he was both stubborn and unsure of himself in that regard but after suffering some tough losses and getting the right coach he has overcome that.

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  9. Check out this crazy scenario:

    Djokovic: 9010 + 360 (Paris SF) + 1000 (WTF Final) = 10,370 points
    Federer: 8020 + 500 (Basel Win) + 360 (Paris SF) + 1500 (WTF Win) = 10,380 points. LOL!!!! 10 points given on the final day! LOL

    Or check this:

    Djokovic: 9010 + 1000 (Paris Win) + 1000 (WTF Final) = 11,010 points
    Federer: 8020 + 500 (Basel Win) + 600 (Paris Final) + 1500 (WTF Win) = 10,620.

    It will come down to whether Djokovic will play Paris (I think that he will unless the baby gets born exactly during that week – fingers crossed) and whether he wins it or not. Djokovic and Federer have had alternating wins and losses. I think that if they meet in Paris, Djokovic might win. Hopefully not but you never know.

    But if they don’t and they meet in London in the final – I think that Roger will win.

    A lot of calculations but it all depends on Basel. If Roger wins that than there is a point in hoping for the Year-End Number 1. If he doesn’t – that we should forget it – unless of course Djokovic skips Paris.. ;-)

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  10. BTW guys, now that Roger has won Shanghai I’m starting to get a little obsessed with the so-called Golden Masters. I almost want Roger to achieve that feat even more than winning another Grand Slam. Winning All Nine would be so sweet. He’s bed so close too – this year at Monte-Carlo and last year in Rome. I hope that he’ll take it seriously and try to do it. It will be hard but Nadal is no longer the beast and Roger has certainly shown that he can beat Novak on the clay so we can dream right. :-)

    Here’s a list of his ATP Masters 1000s:

    ATP World Tour Masters 1000 (23 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Titles/39 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Finals)

    1. BNP Paribas Open – Winner (2004,2005,2006,2012); Runner-Up (2014)
    2. Miami Open presented by Itaú – Winner (2005,2006); Runner-Up (2002)
    3. Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters – Runner-Up (2006,2007,2008,2014)
    4. Mutua Madrid Open – Winner (2006,2009,2012); Runner-Up (2007,2010)
    5. Internazionali BNL d’Italia – Runner-Up (2003,2006,2013)
    6. bet-at-home Open – Winner (2002*,2004*,2005*,2007*); Runner-Up (2008*)
    7. Rogers Cup – Winner (2004,2006); Runner-Up (2007,2010,2014)
    8. Western & Southern Open – Winner (2005,2007,2009,2010,2012,2014)
    9. Shanghai Rolex Masters – Winner (2014); Runner-Up (2010)
    10. BNP Paribas Masters – Winner (2011)

    bet-at-home Open is the current name of the Hamburg Masters and since 2009 it is an ATP 500 event..

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  11. I don’t want to spoil everybody’s party but winning london may be tougher than thought. last year the conditions were so slow it was almost impossible to hit winners. Lets wait and see the court speeds first.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    True Alex it was very slow. I hope they speed it up at least a little this year. That kind of court speed for an indoor court is just gross.

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    Vily Reply:

    Yeah, but wasn’t Shanghai supposed to be slow also, traditionally? I know that it looked fast but anyway.. Roger has done decent on the slow courts except in Miami where it’s pretty much sand (worse than clay) ;-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, it actually was. That’s why I was so pleasantly surprised by Roger’s performance last week. I kinda just hoped he would make semis and then do better indoors. It did look faster than previous years though, but maybe I am wrong.

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    veronica Reply:

    The balls bounced low in Shanghai; that was the biggest difference and what made Roger so effective. And I think the courts looked a tad faster this year…maybe..

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    veronica Reply:

    True, Alex, it was so darn slow last year, I remember how frustrated I was watching Roger trying to hit through it. I hope they speed it up this year; otherwise I agree, it’s gonna be tough.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I found it disgusting that Nadal vultured a win against Roger at the WTF too, when he was so low in confidence and then the added sandpaper-like surface. I hope they play again this year because Roger would destroy him and he can really use a win over the dull one.

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    Alex Reply:

    Very true. I hope they do play in the wtf

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    Veronica Reply:

    “I found it DISGUSTING that Nadal VULTURED a win against Roger…” Lol! Love your choice of words, Ru-an! Described exactly how I felt last year. WTF is Roger’s holy grail, the one place that is sacred to Roger and I couldn’t believe it when Dull tainted it! Roger can be playing shit or be injured or whatever, but for me, WTF is the one place that Roger is untouchable regardless (I expect wins or finals from him there, no less). I really hope Dull will be there. The coward has been avoiding Roger like plague every time Roger plays well. Nothing would thrill more than Roger schooling him this year, not even year end no.1 or DC!!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Well now that you wrote those two words in caps lock I feel like the typical tard, but it does describe well what I was feeling. I’d really like them to meet at the WTF. Along with the year end #1, WTF, and DC beating Nadal would be another big deal. You are right that dull avoids Roger like the plague when he is playing poorly and that Roger does the opposite, but at least if they are in the same group at the WTF then there is no running away for dull. So lets pray it is the case.

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  12. Hey Ru-an! Thanks for the fantastic Shanghai coverage. You analyses are spot on! And you couldn’t have “said” it any better with that Lion, Ru-an!! lol! It is hard to say whether Roger’s level dipped a little compared to the semis as he faced two totally different opponents. You maybe right that Roger played well, maybe even better in the final considering that leech of a player in Simon! However, Roger had more ufe whereas against Djoker, it was like he couldn’t miss a ball!! And how well was he hitting that FH against Djoker?! Dare we conclude that the FH has finally adjusted?! You maybe right too about a possible Roger dominant era ahead if he can play like that! It does look like finally he has learned his lesson after so many tough losses. He is willing to adjust tactics mid match and is fully embracing his net game and most important of all, staying mentally tough and playing the important points so well! I think he has come full circle. 2012 wasn’t it. He was just driven. But this year, I think he finally “got it”. Edberg was like the last jigsaw puzzle that Roger needed to put his whole game together again. Edberg could get through Roger as Roger looks up to him; plus Edberg could actually help perfect Roger’s volleying techniques! I think Roger should play Paris if his energy level is good. You won’t get too many chances to be year end no. 1 although it is not the most important goal for Roger right now. I’m more worried for DC though. Stan is so up and down. The French would be rested and practising hard. And seeing how well the leech matches up to Roger/Stan, the French might play him instead of the injured Monfils/Tsonga!! Shout out to dear Dolores! Yes, I was over the moon when Roger won although I expected a loss! But it feels so much better to lower my expectations and then Roger wins it!! Haha! And yeah, Ru-an, I thought Djoker looked untouchable and Roger was due for a poor match! But it was so good to be wrong, haha! But I got FO, Wimby, Cincy and USO right; so my crystal ball ain’t that bad, eh?! Haha! As for Vily, yay! You finally got it right this time!! Haha! What’s your take on Basel, WTF, DC and AO?!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well that was a loaded comment Ronster. A lot to reply to. About Roger’s level in the final, you may have missed my point. Simon forced Roger into make more errors and having worse match stats. Roger’s level was not worse going into the match I think. It’s like I said, some players just doesn’t allow you to look good and play a clean match. It’s very hard to compare with the Djokovic match because Djokovic is a good match up for Roger. It brings out the best in him, more than any other player does. That’s because Djokovic is not a ball basher like Berdych and he’s not a pusher like Simon or Nadal. He just hits a very nice constant pace which allows Roger to settle into a rhythm. It doesn’t mean it’s easy for him to face Djokovic, but I do think it brings out the bets in him. I don’t think the Djokovic and Simon matches should be compared too much anyway. I think he played great in both.
    As for the fh yes it does look like it has adjusted much better. He is now going after it and it is becoming a big weapon again. I think he was too tentative on it but it was probably the new racquet.
    And yes you are right I think he has come full circle with Edberg. It is just basically the perfect partnership. Exactly what he needed in hindsight. He is now more confident in his net game than ever and it is indeed paying dividends. And of course the mental aspect is very important which was affected by Roger’s injury.
    The year end #1 is a real possibility after Roger won Shanghai, something I was not expecting. Like you I thought the courts would be too slow like previous years and Djokovic would win it. And yes, Vily’s predictions in Shanghai was good for a change. I guess if you keep making predictions you’re gonna get it right at some point, right? Haha. Your predictions before Shanghai has probably been the best.
    For me the year end #1 and WTF is more important than DC, but DC is still very nice if he can get it. So I think he should go after the #1 by playing Basel and Paris. I don’t think he will be too tired for DC anyway. There are enough breaks in between. If I am worried about anything it is the India thing, but I think Roger is going there for holiday mostly, so maybe it will do him good.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ruan,

    If you think Veronica is giving you a hard time now, just imagine what your life would be like if Katanyi’s prediction of a French Open victory for Roger ever comes true!

    :-)

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    veronica Reply:

    Good one, Joe! Katyani deserves nothing less than GOAT status (of Predictions)if Roger ever wins FO again!

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Veronica!

    You’re quite right, of course! Katanyi would deserve a lot of credit for that prediction – and her faith in Roger – if that day comes to pass.

    She could gloat about it endlessly, even at my expense, and I still wouldn’t mind at all!
    :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I actually wouldn’t mind that Joe.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey, we do know that Ruan. And I think I’d be as happy as anyone about that too!

    [Reply]

    veronica Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an for taking the time to explain again! I understand it better now. I’m thinking with only second serves, Simon played him so close, would Roger have won if Simon’s fist serve was clicking?! Btw, I really loved the way you talked about Simon, “making a nuisance of himself…. etc etc”, lol! And you are so right, Ru-an, Shanghai is among Roger’s best Masters won. Roger had to work for it. The composure he showed esp against Mayer and Simon was outstanding. It was so thrilling to see him improve match by match and the icing on the cake was actually outplaying Djoker – the trophy was just the added cherry on the top! I wanna say again how much I enjoyed your Shanghai posts. The way you analyse and describe the matches were so engaging, interesting and spot on! There are so many quotables! Such a pity I can’t mention them all…. As for our unsinkable Vily,”I guess if you keep making predictions, you’re gonna get it right at some point, right?”…So true, Ru-an! Haha! I’m happy for him that he finally got it right! And he might be on a roll and get the next ones right too! Allez Vily!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are right about the match with Djokovic being the highlight. That was the real final but still Simon proved to be a very difficult opponent. Not because he is better than Djokovic but because he is a tough match up for Roger. You are welcome for the posts. You know if Roger is on his game it means I am on my game too. I just like how mature Roger seems these days. He seems much more comfortable in his own skin. Unsinkable is the right word for Vily. He just keeps pressing forward relentlessly lol.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    Sorry, guys! I’ve been writing on the new blog that Ru-an made and I missed all the praise that I’m getting here! WOW! I feel like an expert for a change! LOL!

    Anyway.. Actually if we go back to the Cincy win, I made a prediction that Roger will be undefeated until Shanghai – that was my feeling anyway. Well – he lost at the US Open but he won here – so that was cool.

    Honestly, I didn’t expect Roger to win the tournament prior to its start but when I saw that lucky escape from Mayer, I felt that Roger will grow in confidence, etc.

    But the bigger picture and the reason why Roger is better is because of all these losses that he had in the finals.

    I mean he arguably should be sitting on 9 TITLES right now. He was in a tie-break in Indian Wells. Also in a Tie-Break in Monte-Carlo in the 2nd set. Lost to Hewitt in Brisbane – shockingly and also to Tsonga in Toronto. Pushed Novak to 5 at Wimbledon. I mean he has had his fair share of losses. I think that this mixture of wins and losses is what’s keeping Roger grounded – he’s not too high and not too low. I bet that if he won Wimbledon, he would have relaxed and it would have been similar to 2012. Now, he’s on a roll and I like him better this way. He may win 2 titles, and then lose 1 or 2 but I love it that he’s always in contention. Yes, some days will be better than others but as long as he keeps making deep runs, he’ll win some of them.

    That’s how I feel about the Grand Slams as well.

    Also, there’s something new that may have changed. Roger fired his physio and he keeps talking about how he changed his WHOLE physical approach and fitness routine. That is HUGE and may be the ground work for prolonged sustained success in the next couple of years.

    I still obviously want to see how he’ll end the year but there is renewed hope ad not only for Australia but the rest of 2015.

    I actually like this renewed obsession with the lesser tournaments.

    I mean if you look at Roger’s resume there are hardly any holes but here are holes that I would love if he can fill:

    Singles in Olympics – Roger got the Silver Medal but may try once again for Gold in 2016. That is the one that I have accepted that he may never win but I am OK with it because he has a Gold Medal in the Doubles.

    Davis Cup – if he can win this trophy this year – it would be huge. Maybe even more than the Year-End Number 1 – because it is a trophy. Yes, they made a trophy for the Year-End 1 as well but the Davis Cup is such an achievement – it is one of those classy historical tournaments that would be just so cool to have on his resume – and that is something that doesn’t come every day – just like the Olympics Gold so it’s something that Roger will be obsessed with this year – maybe even more than anything else.

    The Remaining Masters 1000 –

    Monte-Carlo – Roger has been in 4 finals – I would love it if he had one last crack at it – obviously with smart scheduling and if he puts his mind to it – it’s doable – there’s a break between Miami and Monte-Carlo so Roger could come in Fresh and try for it.

    Rome Masters – THAT would be tough because it’s right after Madrid and since Roger skipped Madrid, then he messed up this year. Last year, though he lost early and made the final.

    Maybe the key is to play Madrid but lose early and use the extra days to practice and go all-out again..

    I don’t know but now that Roger did win Shanghai, I have renewed hopes that maybe he could win the Golden Masters… I don’t know. It sounds cool.

    Brisbane – that’s a gimme. Roger has won all of the ATP 250’s in which he has participated so he wants to add that to his list of trophies.

    I bet you that Roger probably has this awesome TROPHY Cabinet.

    I would love to be able to see it one day – like in a Roger Federer Museum or something. I mean that would be like – WOW!!!

    But anyway. Let’s see how it pans out. I cannot wait for Basel to start and hopefully to watch Roger in the Final.

    Speaking of Nadal, do you think that he’ll make the final or lose early or if he does, do you think that Roger will beat him?

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ruan,

    Do you think playing against Simon could help prepare Roger to play against Nadal?

    Of course it’s not as difficult…

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes I think so because both is mentally very difficult.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ruan!

    I know you’ve been a little under the weather. How’s all that going?

    If you’ve recovered, is it time for us to refer to you as Ruan 2.0 yet?

    :-)

    Best wishes,
    Joe

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Not too well Joe. I get sick all the time but I think I may have figured out the reason this time. I think it’s the poor hygiene here in Thailand. I read if you are not exposed to these kind of environments when you are young you don’t build up immunity to it. It’s just much dirtier here than what I’m used to. But you can refer to me as the GOAT blogger if you want to use something different than my name. Haha.

    [Reply]

    Joe Reply:

    Hey Ruan,

    You ARE the Goat Blogger, whatever your (thoroughly excellent) name is! :-)

    But I’m very sorry to hear you’re not entirely on the mend yet. I think if you have an auto-immune condition you need to be especially careful about hygiene.

    I’ve certainly been through it! I had ulcerative colitis some years ago, which definitely affects the entire body, and I thought I was dying before the diagnosis.

    It took the better part of a year but I kicked it. I’m not taking any meds now (which amazed my brother-in-law, who’s a vascular surgeon – he said a UC diagnosis meant a lifetime of drugs…).

    I made progress mostly by mild exercise and a great deal of meditating. Mostly chakra and AUM meditation, but I’m not sure how much the specific form of meditation matters… (but chakra meditation does touch the whole body).

    And patience! It took the better part of a year to get back to a normal routine. Which truly sucked! :-)

    In all ways you have my best wishes Ruan! I hope it helps to remember that you have so many people who are hoping the best for your life!

    And don’t forget to watch out for those germs! :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks Joe. That sounds like a tough disease you had. And it’s great you could recover without a lifetime of drugs! Exercise and meditation would cure many things. I do both myself. But apparently it is not helping for the problem I have. I think I may just have to go work in another country.

    [Reply]

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