Masters Cup SF: Federer def Ferrer 7-5, 6-3, to Meet Tsonga in 100th Final

To say that Roger was not at his best today is a bit of an understatement. Yet he still won in straight sets against a competent opponent. In doing so he first of all took back the number three spot from Murray in the rankings, after Murray overtook him during the Asian swing. As always he justifies his words in the press when he said that Murray only did well in Asia because him and Djokovic was absent, consequently making anyone who calls him arrogant look like a hater. The bottom line is that Roger is right most of the time. That is all that matters. As soon as the big boys were back Murray folded like a cheap tent. Taking back the number three spot from Murray was like taking candy from a baby. Murray just isn’t a member of the big three, and therefor haven’t been able to stay in the top three for an extended period of time.

There never was a big four in my book, and there never will be. By winning today Roger also made his 100th final. That is a lot of finals. If he wins tomorrow he will have his 70th title in the bag, and a record 6 Masters Cup titles. That is a strike rate of 70% in finals. I don’t know the strike rates of previous all time greats in finals, but that is a very good strike rate nonetheless. Most of those final losses has been to the clay GOAT on clay anyway, which makes it even more impressive. Like I said, Roger struggled a bit today. I thought he would raise his level from the Fish match, but that wasn’t the case. He had to really work for this win. He just wasn’t timing it out there quite as well, and therefor had to rely on his will. At 4-5 and serving he went down 0-15 on his serve. On the following point he approached the net after which Ferrer hit an awkward return to his feet.

If he went down 0-30 on his serve he would have been in trouble of dropping the first set, but came up with a gutsy drop volley winner. It was a difficult service game where the score went to deuce several times, and it turned out to be the pivotal game of the match. Ferrer had his chances but he twice dumped regulation shots into the net. I guess when you have lost 11 straight times to someone you kind of lose belief. Roger eventually held serve and broke in the next game. After holding serve to win the first set he also broke in the opening game of the second set. The second set was a bit more comfortable as Roger broke Ferrer again when he was serving at 3-5 to stay in the match. Looking at the match stats Roger made 63% first serves which is good, but his winner to unforced error ratio was 24/29, while his break point conversion ratio was 3/8.

The stats pretty much sums it up. It was a struggle, but the served once again saved Roger. In the other semi Tsonga beat Berdych 6-3, 7-5. I think it’s pretty obvious that Tsonga has been the better player this year and deserved to be in the final. This means that Roger will play Tsonga for a third consecutive Sunday. I wonder when was the last time that happened. There seems to be quite a few Fedfans who are nervous about this final. It is understandable as Roger’s form has not been what I expected in this tournament. I have struggled with this fact because I expected Roger to be in JesusFed mode throughout this event like he was last year. He had the best possible preparation after all. But I think I found my answer from someone on twitter. The person told me that Roger has been ‘relaxed’ since he beat Nadal.

I think the win over Nadal was such an emotional high that Roger have not quite come down from it yet. Lets face it, that was a massive win. It has been a long time coming and had all Fedfans across the world in ecstasy. Roger did not show much emotion when he won the final point, but that was just out of respect for Nadal. Believe me that was a big weight of his shoulders. He badly needed a convincing win over Nadal. So for me that match is the explanation for Roger’s lack of JesusFed form throughout this event. Even the match against Tsonga may have lacked a certain intensity because Roger knew Nadal was in his group. After today I was a bit disappointed with Roger’s form, and I was tempted to fall into the trap of negativity that some Fedfans fell into. There are some Fedfans who think Roger will lose tomorrow.

At first I was also tempted to believe that we are being reminded of the fact that Roger is just not in his prime anymore, and that these kind of matches are inevitable, even when he is going through a good phase. But I am not going to submit to that kind of negativity. I still want to believe that Roger’s recent form bodes well for next year and that he can win a slam. Therefor I am choosing to believe that his lack of form has been because of the emotional high of the Nadal match, and that he will bring his best again in the final. As long as he wins this event his form throughout it doesn’t matter to me, since he already destroyed his main rival in the process. If he goes on to win the title tomorrow in would cap off the peRFect week as far as I’m concerned. Sure he beat Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic last year. But the way he beat Nadal this year is almost better than all those wins put together.

It was just a very special feeling. I think if Roger was on an emotional high after manhandling his so-called nemesis, then it is about time that he comes down tomorrow. Yes, Tsonga is dangerous. I just believe that Roger will raise his level tomorrow. His level would have to be better than any of his matches in this tournament so far aside from the Nadal match, or else he will lose. The way he played against Tsonga in the first match will not get the job done. Tsonga will be more confident now and he will not gift Roger the break at 4-5 in the third set again. But this is Roger Federer we are talking about. I believe he has one more very good match in him left for this season. Lets face it, it is a big match too. This latest run of form from Roger has all come down to this match. It has been an impressive run, but if he loses tomorrow it will leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

We have reached the crescendo of Roger’s indoor run, and to fail here would be a big anti-climax. Not only does Roger have a chance of breaking another impressive record here if he wins a sixth Masters Cup, but it is also about the future. The fact that he destroyed Nadal gives one a lot of hope for the future, but if he loses tomorrow it will spoil things somewhat. If Roger wins tomorrow he will reinforce the fact that he is still very much at the top of the men’s game and that he will be a big threat at slams next year. It would also be the best possible way to prepare for the Australian Open next year. OK I think I have built this up enough. Let me just say that Roger have shown he can beat Tsonga with relative ease in the Paris final. And there he wasn’t even playing as well as he was in the semis against Berdych. So as far as I’m concerned Tsonga has zero chance if JesusFed shows up.

This is it Fedfans. One last push!

Highlights:

Presser:

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25 Comments

  1. What i gather from the way Federer has played ever since Basel is that he can switch on the God Mode when he wants to(like he did against Berdych in paris and against Nadal in round 2)..so i am not really worried as to how he played in the last 2 matches.he didn’t really have to be at his best to get the job done. So i believe that he’ll get the job done against Tsonga!!!

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  2. The Federer/Ferrer match was a little deceiving. In the first set, Roger certainly played far from his best tennis, but he did not get broken and came away with the set, showing mental fortitude. Overall, he was 15 of 17 at the net and never faced a break point. He was certainly not at his best, but far from his worst, and he really picked it up in the 2nd set off the ground.

    Roger has played Tsonga enough lately to know how dangerous he is and he knows he will need to be at his very best if he wants to win. His professionalism wouldn’t allow for anything less. Anyways, I hope Roger comes away with a 6th WTF trophy and a 70-30 record in finals. Capping off the year on a 17-match win streak would be huge heading into next year. Hey, maybe Roger can go on his own 41-match winning streak haha!

    You never know, if he wins Doha, AO, Rotterdam, and Indian Wells….

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Never hurts to dream ;-)

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  3. If he keeps his focus and keep the pressure on Tsonga for start to finish he can definitively win. He can´t allow Tsonga to think he has a chance cause that´s when the problem start.
    Anyway I have faith in him, after all he was the only one that won all his matches.Tsonga world Champion? I can´t imagine, never please.
    Come on Roger you can do it again!!!

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  4. I am too a bit worried about the final match. Tsonga wants it badly and he’s playing at very high level. He also wouldn’t want to lose for the 3rd straight time in 2 weeks.
    My hope lies in Federer’s confidence. As mentioned above, he knows he can raise his game in the crucial points, he knows that the level he showed against Nadal is in him. He wasn’t that confident since AO2011.

    It’ll be a though match, Federer must be tired (so does Tsonga), it’s not easy (mentally) winning 3 events in a row. If he starts strong, takes the first set and execute well in break points he will win.

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  5. hi ruan,

    thanks for all your great posts. really fair and thoughtful. i’ll tell you something – i too thought that roger was either finding federror or not caring or something – until, that is, i saw the on court interview.

    the problem today was not the problems we’ve seen before. the problem is that roger is in some way sick – a cold, the flu, something. his color on his face in the on court interview and in the post match interview above is absolutely terrible. he is very white, drained of color, not looking very well, and his energy and excitement in both interviews is very very low. i am not concerned for anything about his play right now, only for his fitness. i am sure we will hear about some illness he is suffering at the moment, whether he wins or not tomorrow.

    luckily for us, we know that roger has the ability to dig very deep when he wants to and i think he knows that tomorrow’s match is going to be a benchmark of gargantuan proportions for him, so i believe he is going to fight perhaps as hard as he has ever fought in a match in his career.

    i think it will be an ugly win, perhaps, but nonetheless a win, even if it is tiebreaks in three sets.

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  6. Ruan, I admire your positivity but I think it’s probably best that you lower your expectations and admit yesterday’s match was due to Roger’s lack of consistency as he gets older. One day we get JesusFed and then he plays like yesterday, and against a more able opponent like a top form Nadal or Djokovic he may well have lost. That is why he has struggled this year and I believe he will continue to struggle next year.

    Nevertheless I believe he will win today and really hope he does.

    Off topic slightly, do you think Nadal and Djokovic have slightly devalued the tournament this year in terms of blatantly being to exhausted to play properly? This is one of the most important events of the year and both have turned up in bad condition, seemingly not even bothered whether they perform well or not. I fear that if players keep this end of year mindset this event could turn into nothing more than an ‘exhibition’ in a few years. What are your thoughts?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I believe the win against Nadal was a positive sign. Not only that but the way he played in Basel and especially Paris. If he played against Djokovic in the semis you may have seen a different level from him. He has beaten Ferrer 11 straight times. Not exactly easy to get motivated for that.

    As for your question I don’t think so. All they have done is show that they are grinders that can’t deal with a length of the season or schedule properly. If the ATP has a problem with it they should start speeding up the courts again.

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    booya719 Reply:

    The tournament is not devalued in any way. The tour finals is the 5th most important tournament and just because Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic were no good here won’t change the importance of the tournament. The two best players on this surface wound up in the final – Federer and Tsonga. It was a very exciting final too.

    It’s not going to become an exhibition just because the grinders are out of steam. That’s like saying clay should be devalued because it’s a secondary surface where big servers like Sampras, Roddick, Isner, Raonic, Karlovic, etc don’t stand a chance on and don’t get up for to play.
    Indoor hard to Nadal is clay to Sampras. Both men have limitations to their playing style. Besides, Nadal was fully rested. He didn’t play poorly here in any of his matches. He had the hardest possible draw and was narrowly eliminated in the RR by the two superior players on this surface. I mentioned previously if were in the other pool he’d have been 3-0, not 1-2.

    So just as clay is part of the tour so is the indoor season. The tour is the tour and it doesn’t end after the US Open.

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  7. I am just hoping Fed’s lackluster play in the Fish and Ferrer matches is part of his “pacing”. He just can’t be brilliant in all five matches, so he chooses his moment to raise his level. Like many Fed fans, I am also a bit nervous about Tsonga. Tsonga will come out with nothing to lose, having already lost the last 2 meetings, and blast his way from the first point. But match like this is nothing new to Fed. And by the way, it seems every time Fed plays, some kind of records are on the line.

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  8. Ruan, i enjoyed reading your posts through out the last few weeks, whether i agreed with your words or not. you are a true fedfan and you convey our collective feelings and thoughts so sensitvely.
    as for the match, i share everyone’s concern. Ts is playing with a lot of confidence and he will be super motivated.
    i think the key for rog would be attacking Ts 2nd serve, coz his 1st serve is very affective. of course fed has to serve well him self, thats a given. also i believe fed needs to win in 2, if the match goes to 3rd set Ts has the edge. imhp.
    whatever happens i thank fed for some great tennis this tournament. go for it fed!!!!

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  9. It will be an interesting final with currently the two best players.Seeing as Berdych is not a closer,and Djokovic and Nadal out of shape,this seems like it could be exciting.Ferrer was suprisingly good this tournament,but unfortunately for him it seems he needs the luck of the draw or the big four(three)being below par for him to win a big tournament.It would be cool if that could happen sometime as he definately deserves it ;-) Looking forward to ao,and seeing Nadals form as he has made it clear that his vacation-plans are off.It seems the final could go either way,but Tsonga is more inconsistent than Federer.He could pull out a wimbledon-upset when everything just clicked,or he can lose quite easily.But if Federer is in God-Mode he just can`t lose,especially on this surface!

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  10. Greetings Ruan!
    Another great post, agree with you on your many opinions about Roger’s play, condition, mood, etc. Am thinking positive about today’s match, which starts in just a couple of hours. It will be a tough match but Roger will make it an 8-3 win over Tsonga.
    Hope to come back to you with a smile on my face!
    Kindly,
    Dolores

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  11. Wonderful win, just wonderful. To any who think Roger doesn’t still have it i say bite me. Cant wait to hear from you Ruan. Congratulations to The Maestro and to us for having such good taste.

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  12. Many many congratulations, not only to Fed but to all us the Fedfans. I am sure he will keep it up in 2012 as well. Now it is time for Fed to enjoy a good holiday with the family. Ru-an, I can actually visualize the big big smile on your face now.

    CHEERS FOR OUR CHAMP!

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  13. Congrats to Roger Federer and all his happy fans! What a way to end the season! Six times the year-end champion, another new record.

    He worked very hard for this title, especially in the final. Now he can take a well-earned vacation and rest up for next year.

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    Simarin Reply:

    Great win for Federer and an exciting final.It seemed for a minute that Tsonga could turn it around after some trouble for Roger to convert break-points which has been kind of an issue this season and some bad luck,but Roger closed the deal this time.Impressive tournament again,and at age 30 he still holds a very high level.To come back from his slump in the beginning of te aeson where everybody was writing him off to finish in this style reveals true character.

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