Kyrgios Defeats Federer in Madrid Classic

This match was a highly anticipated second round encounter between arguably the GOAT and the brightest young star of the tennis world. And it didn’t fail to live up to its billing. Kyrgios won the encounter 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12) in surely the best three-set match of the year so far, if not the best match. It’s unfortunate that there had to be a loser because both players were playing phenomenal tennis. Neither player deserved to lose and it was unfortunate that they had to meet so early in the draw.

  • Opening Set

Kyrgios got off to the ideal start as he broke Roger in the opening game. It was clear he meant business as he let rip with a big ‘Come on!’ when he won break point. But since Roger found his clay court game in Istanbul he broke back with a terrific game when Kyrgios was serving for the first set at 5-4. Both players continued to hold serve and in the tie-break Kyrgios lost his cool after a poor line call. He got a code violation and didn’t recover as he lost the tie-break 7-2. After the early danger, it looked like Kyrgios’ youthful outburst would cost him the match.

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  • Second Set

That seemed to be especially the case when Roger got the break at the beginning of the second set as well. But this Kyrgios is just a remarkable player for his age. He broke back in the fourth game to even the score at 2-2 and again he let rip with a massive ‘Come on!’. The second set came down to a tie-break too and this time it was Kyrgios who raced to a 5-1 lead. Roger did well to pull it back to 5-6, but Kyrgios made no mistake on his own serve when he pounded down another big first serve to claim the second set.

  • The Decider

It was down to a deciding set to decide who would be the winner of what had already developed into a very good match. And fittingly it would be decided by a tie-break after there were no more breaks in the third set. And what a tie-break it was. Kyrgios got the mini-break twice, but Roger pulled him back on both occasions. At 8-8 in the tie-break, Kyrgios set up a match point on his own serve with a ballsy drop shot that Roger could not reach. I thought he had it in the bag, but Roger came up with a strong backhand drive that forced Kyrgios into error.

At 12-12, Kyrgios came up with another gutsy play as he forced the error from Roger with a forehand drive I think. Then at 13-12 he finally held serve to win the classic encounter as Roger hit a forehand well wide.

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  • Closing Observations

I think at the end if there was any difference at all between the two players it was that Kyrgios’ was just a tad more clutch than Roger. First he came back from a set and a break down and then in the final set breaker he was just a bit bolder than Roger. There was just a sense that he was playing with a little more freedom but like I said there was very little between the two. It was a tough draw and loss for Roger but he won’t feel too bad about it. At least now he can play Rome without having any doubts about it.

And I’m sure he will get a better draw in Rome. It is a shame that his draw was so tough in Madrid because he clearly found his clay court game in Instanbul, was playing very well, and the altitude suits his game. But you can’t win them all and an awful lot of credit must go to Kyrgios who played a remarkable match. After the first set and a break down you thought he lost it because of immaturity, but then he comes back to win the match in a high-pressure third set tie-break.

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I’m not crazy about Kyrgios’ cocky personality, but you can’t deny that he has big match temperament and that he is the next big thing in tennis. His serve is exceptional, he has a huge forehand, a very solid backhand, he has an all-court game, and he is mentally very good. He can clearly also play very well on clay, which is something I wasn’t sure about with his attacking game style. I mean he has it all. Almost all tennis players are arrogant anyway. Kyrgios just more so.

A nice thing he said at the end of the match is that Roger is the GOAT to him and that this was his biggest win yet, even bigger than the win against Nadal at Wimbledon. Kyrgios’ serve is really exceptional and Roger said afterward that he couldn’t return it properly. But probably for me what made the difference in the end was the total abandon Kyrgios’ played with. We saw the same against Nadal at Wimbledon. He doesn’t get down on himself at all and he doesn’t fear anyone.

He was asked afterward about playing Roger and he said it was just another match.

  • Elsewhere in the draw

Nadal’s cakewalk draw began today against Johnson who had a pathetic backhand that he kept slicing which is a terrible tactic against Nadal on clay. Nadal didn’t impress at all, but the organizers made sure he got a very comfortable opener to get some confidence going. And now he plays Bolelli after the seed Anderson already lost first round. At least Stan won a match for a change and now plays Dimitrov again after he tanked against Dimitrov in Monte Carlo.

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Hopefully, his issues are sorted out by now and he will play seriously against Dimitrov this time. He could definitely beat Nadal if he plays well, but that is still a big if. And at least Kyrgios, Isner, Tsonga, and Berdych are all alive in the top quarter which means Nadal will have to face a big server with big ground strokes in the semis. So actually Nadal’s draw can still be a decent challenge. As for Nishikori he just won 6-4 in the third against Goffin which I am relieved to see.

His draw is tough and I hope he makes the final in case Nadal is waiting there. Finally, Murray is still on court against Kohlschreiber and is a break up in the first set. That about concludes my coverage for the day. It’s a shame Roger lost today because he finally found his game on clay and was actually looking very good again. I would have loved to see him play more matches and go deep here. But at least he can play Rome now and I am still hopeful that he can go deep there and in Paris.

 

  • Highlights

  • Match Stats

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The  is in your court.

Posted in Madrid, Masters 1000.

41 Comments

  1. Really positive post, Ruan. I think like you said it is actually good in hindsight that he lost. Now he has to play Rome and he didn’t face and lose to Nadal in Madrid. I am not sure what to make of him losing early this year more often but I really think starting from Rome he needs to get consistent because confidence is something he is going to need to win Wimbledon. And right now the more important thing is Nadal doesn’t win Madrid with a joke of a draw compared to Roger’s.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Glad you thought so, Ajay. I don’t know if it’s good that he lost, but the way that he lost suggests that he is in great form and he basically loses nothing because now he just plays Rome instead of sitting it out. It’s tough for Roger to lose to a young player like Kyrgios when he is playing well, but all he can do is accept that on the day he lost to the better player. Roger is not the type to lose hope because of such a loss anyway. He will go to Rome feeling great about his game and look to make a deep run.

    [Reply]

    mridul1 Reply:

    I am disappointed at the loss of Federer but I also recall his loss to Gasquet at Monte Carle when Federer was at the prime of his career and his loss to Andy Murray in the first round of Dubai ATP tournament in the past. I hope Federer will continue to play at the highest level and it is highly satisfying that even at 33 and with so much play behind him he is playing at such a high level.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Exactly Nakul. There is this loss and then there are the losses at the AO and Monte Carlo. This was a positive loss because he still played very well and didn’t collapse at any point. And I’m glad you make the point about how well Roger is playing at his age. That’s something I forgot. The game at the very highest level is still there, but it was also good to see his clay court game is still there at the highest level too.

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  2. Great post Ru-an. I thought Roger played fantastic today, showed clear fighting spirit, and the match was big fun to watch. You are right on the money, Roger was great but conservative and Kyrios was great and let it rip freely. That is something about youth in general and this kid’s spirit specifically. Could have easily gone either way. Bravo to Roger for playing so well and my hope is restored for the rest of the dirt patch for him. Question for you Ru-an. How are these draws actually made up and how can they get done so unevenly? Shouldn’t it be random by rank???

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Cheers, Eric. The draws are supposedly done randomly. But sometimes it is hard to believe.

    [Reply]

  3. Nice post Ru-an. Not often do we see Roger having a better winner to ue ratio, winning more points in the match than his opponent but still ending up as the loser. Kygrios should definitely be given credit for his mentality. Apparently Fed flew back to Switzerland on Tuesday again to celebrate the birthday of his twin boys. So it seems that tennis was not the only priority for him yesterday. It’s also a shame that he got such a difficult opponent in his first match anyway. Hopefully this time around there won’t be any distractions like last year During FO and wimby. It seems he’s still undecided about playing Rome. In the presser he said that he’s confident enough that even skipping Rome won’t be bad. I wonder why he’s so reluctant to play Rome. Hopefully he does so that he gets more practice before FO.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Nakul. It would be a surprise not to see him play Rome after all the clay court hype. I think he doesn’t particularly care for the slowness of the clay in Rome, but I could be wrong. He’s never won Rome. So that should already tell you something.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Yeah but it’s surprising that Rome was his most successful MS event in 2013 despite the court speed. Never mind getting thrashed by Nadal in the final. If I remember correctly, that year all his matches he played before the final were night sessions. Maybe that made the difference. If anything that helped his confidence heading into FO and making QF there. That way his consecutive QF streak at slams extended by one. ;-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Easy draw and he still got destroyed by Clownga at the FO.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Imagine Fed’s draw being that easy this time around. Surely he’ll do better than 2013

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Easy draw I meant Rome though. But yeah he should be beating a guy like Clownga easily if he plays like he did vs Kyrgios.

    [Reply]

    Nakul Reply:

    Yeah. FO draw was pretty easy as well. Clownga proved how bad Fed played when he got schooled by Ferrer in the next round anyway.

    [Reply]

  4. FYI, I am getting emails about new posts from you but don’t seem to be getting any about comments or follow up comments.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Did you tick the box for it again Eric?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Remember you asked me before about the two boxes for comment following? I found a way to remove one so maybe that is why you stopped receiving comments? Just tick the other box if that is the case. Let me know if it works.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Yeah, I always click both boxes to be sure. I’ll do it again now to test.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Nope, email on comments still not working for me. Not going to spam either. But maybe it’s a good thing. I am way too easily distracted by a good argument :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hmm OK I will look into it Eric. It’s important that it works, and I don’t want two check boxes for comments there.

    [Reply]

  5. What a great match too bad there has to be a loser. I must confess that the quip from Fed about the circus and a clown was classic! Wonderful young player though, if only Roger had held serve after breaking Nick, but this has been happening with Fed in quite a few matches lately after breaking he just hasn’t held serve. Wasn’t too sure if all the travelling to and fro by Fed would have been bad for his game but he really played well. Good too that he praised the young man for his play. In a way maybe it will work out for Roger because I think that with such a rotten draw against big servers one after the other I had visions of the ‘back’ being an issue so congrats to the winner x

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No, I don’t think flying to Switzerland affected him, Elizabeth. One must not always look for excuses. He was beaten by the better player.

    [Reply]

  6. Like everyone else, I’m not that disappointed at this loss. There’s still one clay-court tournament left before RG so he has one more shot to get some extra matches in. He played very well and had MPs so it wasn’t like he lost tamely. And with the murderous draw, he’d have had trouble winning this title, especially with the quick turnover between Istanbul and Madrid.

    Kyrgios has established himself as a real talent. I must say that if he’d played like this against Gasquet, he’d be Estoril champion right now. It seems facing the top players brings out the best in him, but he has trouble getting motivated against lesser opposition, even when a trophy’s at stake. He’ll have to learn how to raise his game for the big occasions. Raonic, for instance, learned how to win titles first, then only later learned how to beat the very top players. Kyrgios has more flair and perhaps more raw ability than Raonic, but the discipline to channel his talent into solid, lasting achievement isn’t there yet. Splashy wins against Federer and Nadal in early-round matches will get you into the headlines from time to time, but if you want to make a lasting mark, you have to win titles and go deep in Masters and Grand Slams. But he’s still young and there’s plenty of time for him to learn this. Discipline can be learned, but you can’t teach brashness and attitude, and he has those.

    When Federer was in his prime at world #1, everyone was ranked below him, but he was able to raise his game on final Sunday every time. Even now, in Istanbul, he took every match very seriously and got the job done in the final. That’s the attitude the up-and-coming players need to have.

    Now Federer will have a few days off to recuperate before Rome. In 2013, he played really well to reach the final there despite losing early in Madrid. But that year he was inconsistent and put on a poor performance against a streaking Nadal. This year, he’s in good shape physically and is more comfortable the new racket, so he has a good chance of going all the way, even if he has to face Nadal (which he almost surely will).

    C’mon Roger!

    [Reply]

  7. Greetings, Ru-an, another good blog on your site. Thank You!
    Yesterday, Kyrgi defeated the GOAT, Roger, in a classic match to remember….and today, Kyrgi’s run stopped! Reading Steve’s comment who pointed out this happening, defeating top players but more easily succumbing to lower graded players. Your thoughts on this, Ru-an?
    Rome still seems to be up in the air? Wait and see, I guess.
    Nadal is plugging along….with his old racquet.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Dolores. Not sure what you mean about Steve’s post. That Kyrgios defeated Roger and then lost to a lower ranked player? I wouldn’t make much of that. Isner is a very difficult player to deal with himself in these conditions and can beat anyone on a given day. Did Kyrgios’ match against Roger affect him today? There is no way of telling other than asking Kyrgios himself.

    [Reply]

  8. Kyrgios is a clown as sure as he battled past Federer he lost to a much inferior opponent the next round.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    As long as you accept that Federer lost to a clown while playing at his best level then I am fine with this statement.

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    Best level? No, perhaps best level for clay 2015, then yes! But as it stands Kyrgios beeing touted as being the next best thing, to that I can only say… I will believe it when I see it.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Best level of clay in the last three years. And Kyrgios is already the next best thing. Already a win over Nadal in a slam and Federer in a Masters. Two slam QF. All at the age of 20. Who is gonna be better from his era?

    [Reply]

    FeDaL Reply:

    I really don’t see Federer clay court play being the best in the past three years, in fact it might be some of his worst to date. As for Kyrgios. those cuple of wins mean nothing in the gran scheme of things. He needs consistancy, beating a top player now a then i good, but he needs to start winning masters and placing in Grand Slam finals for him to be relevant. But as far as I am concerned this new era/generation of tennis players looks to be far from what we have gotten used to in the last 25 years in men’s pro tennis. We might be heading towars period of regression.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Well, then we’ll just have to agree to disagree. If you read any of my last posts then it should be obvious I am not talking about his form before the Istanbul final. Against Kyrgios he played better on clay than he did at any stage in the last three years. He played well in the Istanbul final too. Kyrgios is doing just fine. He backed up his Wimby result last year with a QF at the AO and is doing well on clay now even though he is an attacking player. If you can’t see this guy has big match temperament and a great future in tennis I don’t know what to say to you.

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    To be honest I agree with FeDal. I’m not impressed at all with Roger’s level during the match with Kyrgios. Sure, he was better than last week in Istanbul, but that was disastrous form, aside from the final, which was still not good enough to get far in Roland Garros. He kept choking on the important points of the tiebreak and he shouldn’t have played that tiebreak anyways. It should have been an easy straight set win, but he completely disconnected himself in that game were he was broken…

    Now, talking against the match with Kyrgios, Roger, in my opinion had that lackadaisical look you have mentioned and lack of enthusiasm. That first game were he was broken was given way too easily with unforced errors.
    After that, he should have just stayed in the match and finish strong, which shouldn’t have been a big deal, since Kyrgios kept his mind on the first set tiebreak where a mistake by some guy checking the lines happened. But no, he just played a game like he didn’t care and Nick is not a clueless player indeed, he got into the match again.
    The second set tiebreak started terrible. Too many mistakes and poor decisions regarding shot placement in crucial points.

    The third set tiebreak again Roger made poor decisions with his shot placement when approaching the net instead of just hitting the ball to the side that wasn’t covered, but no he had to play to where Kyrgios was and he made some good passing shots.
    Federer did well to put the first serve in when facing match points, but it was too late. One first serve not in or not being dominant in a point and it was obvious Kyrgios was gonna take his chances.

    So I really don’t take much positives out of this. Better level than Istanbul, yes. But not nearly good enough to do damage at Roland Garros. Federer just keeps breaking and not holding serve. It’s like he doesn’t take himself seriously until he is in deep trouble.

    Kyrgios is good, but like FeDal said, I don’t see him as something very special. I won’t believe until I see it. Roger playing solidly without falling apart when he is leading, shouldn’t face much trouble against him.

    Even if he was to get his head straight and not waste his break point chances or fail to confirm his breaks, he would still have to increase his level of play to his absolute best to beat Djokovic. Against Nadal, it’s a different story. A change of strategy would have to be done plus staying firm throughout the whole match without being vulnerable on key points.
    I don’t see a problem him beating anyone aside from Djokovic and Nadal if his levelis solid. For those two, something extraordinary has to happen. But he has been so inconsistent with his form that is completely unpredictable whether he will even be able to beat the other players.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Sometimes I wonder whether I was watching the same match as my readers. Roger himself said his form is good enough to play the FO without having to play Rome. So I guess you know more about the man than he does about himself…

    [Reply]

  9. Well Murray is bagelling people on clay. Now that’s new. Except the Swiss men all the other top 8 guys are there in the quarters. Nadal looks to be slowly finding his feet. All this is actually more dangerous for Djokovic than anyone else if you ask me. Come the French Open he really needs to be able to stand up to everyone else. I actually think there are about 5 guys right behind Djokvic: Nadal, Federer, Murray, Nishikori and Ferrer who will also be tough to beat in clay this year. In fact if Roger is not a little careful then after Wimbledon he might not be the number 2 ranked player. All this adds up to one of the most intriguing 3 months from now until the US Open and I really hope Roger is ready to do battle because he will need to !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The most dangerous thing for the Djoker is Nadal. He took a risk by resting during Madrid and it may or may not pay off. Of course, Madrid was gonna do their best they could to give Nadal as easy a draw as possible. He now plays Dimugtrov who I’m sure will fold like a cheap tent. Then at least he will have to face either Isner or Berdych in the semis. But by that time he will probably be back to his best again. The only guy who may be able to stop him is Nishikori. If Nadal does win Madrid then the Djoker’s risk did not pay off and Nadal will probably win the FO again. There are 2-4 guys in contention for the biggest prize on clay this year. The Djoker and Nadal are the main favorites. Nishikori could also be a factor if he wins Madrid. And Roger if he keeps playing like he did since the Istanbul final. He is more like a dark horse though. But a lot depends on what happen in Madrid I think. If Nadal wins it then he is the big favorite again.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I agree with you completely except that I am still hoping against hope that Dimitrov does something tomorrow. Fingers crossed

    [Reply]

  10. And about some other debates raging on here, here is my take.

    1) Roger really is playing some awesome clay court tennis right now as Ruan clearly pointed out. He just needs to dig deep when the going gets tough and he will definitely cause some damage soon.

    2) Krygios is the real deal like Ruan says. But where I differ is I still don’t think he is going to win Grand Slams any time soon. Soon meaning probably 3-4 years Because as Ruan who is a big fan of Djokovic will know, playing steady is the most important thing right now in tennis and there is almost no chance that he can win an entire best of 5 set tournament just playing flashy tennis, even thought I admit he has got a good temperament.

    3) I don’t think DImitrov is in as much shit as people want to believe. I say this because I believe very soon Rasheed will be sacked and once he appoints a proper tennis coach like Annacone who will actually force Dimitrov to impose his game, he really has the talent and skills to do wonders. How soon that will happen I don’t know.

    4) The French Open is still belive might not be straight fight between Nadal and Djokovic. Federer might play a role even Murray might. Nishikori has a real chance as well.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good balanced post, Ajay. I think Kyrgios has a good chance of winning a slam/slams in the next 3-4 years though. In fact, I’m almost sure he will. I think your underestimate his mental strength. He is not a flashy player as you suggest. He is very solid and consistent. Dimitrov has all the potential and if he gets a better coach and takes tennis more seriously then of course he can do wonders. But whether he will do that remains a question. I agree that the FO is more open this year too. But Nadull needs to be stopped by someone in Madrid. As long as Kei makes the final I’m happy. I don’t see anyone else stopping Nadull.

    [Reply]

  11. Well the Rome draw is out and what do you know Roger gets Nadal again. Anyway other than that it is a very balanced draw.

    Roger: Bye, Cuevas, Kohlshreber/Anderson, Berdych/ Dimitrov/Fognini, Nadal/Wawrinka/Isner, Djokovic

    Nadal: Bye, Mannarino, Isner, Wawrinka, Federer/ Berdych, Djokovic

    The other half I think it will be a straight fight between Djokovic and Nishikori who play in the quarters. Whoever wins will make it through to the finals. This is a draw Roger should definitely attack. I think even if he loses to Nadal it is going to give him a lot of info on how to play the big boys on clay at the French. I think Djokovic is the big favorite with Nadal 2nd.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I don’t think the draw is balanced. Djoker, Kei, and Kyrgios in the same quarter. Dull get’s Fed again in his half and Wawrinka in his QF. Least he got Isner for his 3rd round, but it’s slow clay so…

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I meant the first three rounds for Nadal and Federer are balanced. Federer should definitely look to make the semis here.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, but he has a tough draw again. Berdych is playing damn well of late. Making semis would be an achievement in itself for Fed. But I’m just glad he opted to play Rome.

    [Reply]

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