Shanghai QF: JesusFed def Cilic 6-3, 6-4, Sets Up Appointment with Murray

As I predicted a straight set win for Roger. I heard some less than great things about this match, but when I watched the highlights and checked out the match stats I saw that this was JesusFed. I don’t care that Roger was broken twice. Cilic played well and Roger still broke him five times. Judging from the highlights Roger looked really sharp. And that is what I would have expected after that close encounter with Wawrinka. The match stats were good as well. Roger made a fantastic 68% first serves. He did however win only win 64% for first serve points, which is a bit unusual. I guess Cilic returned well.

Roger also won 5/7 break points. I think this Roger will be very hard to stop from winning the title now. He will now play against Murray who needed three sets to beat Stepanek. It doesn’t sound like Murray was playing very well either. Roger is the firm favorite for me against Murray. He lost to Murray in the 2010 final but I think the court surface has changed since then. I don’t see how Murray could have won that match so convincingly if it was played on the current Shanghai surface. It looks pretty fast and low bouncing. This really counts in Roger’s favor. The head-to-head with Murray currently stands at 8-9.

I think Roger will even things up at 9-9 tomorrow. In the bottom half of the draw Berdych defeated Tsonga in straight sets and Djokovic did the same against Haas. Djokovic’s win was more comfortable however. Haas is playing really well at the moment and Djokovic still beat him 6-3, 6-3. I think Djokovic will definitely take care of Berdych, so this looks like a Djokerer final to me. That would be the most exciting final too. Like I said in my last post, the two had an appointment in the US Open final to decide who is currently the best hard court player in the world, but Berdych spoiled that party.

Murray won the US Open but I don’t think he is the best hard court player in the world. I still think Roger and Djokovic is better. Both Roger and Djokovic is looking in best possible form so I think a Djokerer final would be a good indication of who is currently the hard court king. Yet it is not a certainty that they will face off yet. Murray is no push over and neither is Berdych. But it would be terrific if Roger can defeat Djokovic in the final. It would confirm that he deserves to be #1, whether he ends the year as #1 or not. If Roger can win Shanghai I am convinced he can win Basel and the Masters Cup too…

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  1. Hey Ru-an. Nice post – short and sweet but a good read. I agree that Murray has looked a little sluggish this week. He went to 3 sets vs. Stepanek, but Stepanek also beat Isner this week (but that’s also not a surprise I guess, since Isner frequently loses to players he should easily beat) so Murray probably should have seen a tougher Stepanek coming.

    I also agree that if Fed is able to win this tournament, beating both Murray and Djokovic in the process, he’s sending a message. Not just for the WTF or the year end number 1, but for the 2013 season. Roger may be 31, but he is still going strong, and there’s still so much more that he can do. Like you like to say, Roger 3.0 is looking better than ever, and he’s here to stay!


  2. I think it’s pretty clear Roger is far from his best in Shanghai and definitely not in the best possible form as you said Ruan. Of course I hope I’m proven wrong, but my hunch says that if Roger doesn’t step it up against Murray, he won’t make the final. I’ve watched all of his matches so far in Shanghai and I haven’t really seen any of his genius play, just an uninspired player hitting much more unforced errors than winners, going for the wrong shots and losing many crucial points. Anyway, like I said I hope I’ll come back in a few hours adding another comment where I’ll admit I was wrong about the GOAT..who knows, maybe he was just too casual till now and hopefully the real Swiss Maestro is gonna turn up in the semis! C’mon ROGER!!!


  3. Federer made the unusual remark that he hadn’t yet decided how to play Murray in this match. It’s hard to interpret what that really means (he didn’t elaborate), but perhaps it’s because of the surface being so tricky that he’s still mulling over the right tactics to use.

    If that’s what he meant, I believe that, because his play has been erratic all week, with the exception of the Lu match. These courts seem very fast and the ball flies quite a bit, so perhaps he hasn’t yet figured out how to time the ball properly and execute what he wants to do.

    Yes, he came up with a way to beat Cilic but I wouldn’t call it his best match. I surmise that because he hadn’t worked out how to play the right way on these courts, he extemporized by choosing to be super-aggressive, knowing that Cilic would make more mistakes than he would. The highlights are misleading because Federer ended up making more UEs than winners (Cilic of course ended up with with fewer winners and more UEs that Federer). The match was chock-full of Federer errors followed by even more Cilic errors. Only occasionally was there a patch of good play.

    I don’t care how tired or sick Murray looks or says he is. It means nothing. We all know he loves playing Federer and relishes getting wins over him, he’ll have plenty of energy to battle Federer. He’s also never lost a match on these courts.

    The only way Federer can beat him is to play a masterclass. Hopefully he’s slept on the problem and will wake up having figured it out.


  4. Agree George, Steve. Roger is far frm His best so far. I’m not sure he can win against Murray. But if he manages to squeeze out a win, he definitely cannot beat Djoko who looks absolutely invincible and very fresh. He has worked on his first service resulting in easy aces and winning matches easily and in record time, playing more aggressive, shot selection is just so good and he plays the big points so well!! He is scary; really like the perfect player – Strong service, best returner, impenetrable defense, mentally strong, excellent athlete, etc,how can he be beatable?!!!
    Cincy was an abnormality where he swept thru the draw and then played a terrible match against Roger. It’s not gonna happen this time. Djoko will get Shanghai and will be a very serious challenger to Roger in Paris and WTF. He has that determined demeanor about him; he wants to make up for a poor summer and end the year on a high denying Roger the year end no. 1 and player of the year. I feel Roger’s sort of called it a year. He is mentally tired. I dont think he can summon enough to challenge Djoko. Hopefully he can defend his WFT.


  5. That was a disappointment but I’m not surprised. I agree with you, Veronica, I think Roger is mentally tired. I suppose he had to play Shanghai to get to 300 weeks and not disappoint his Chinese fans. He hasn’t had a proper rest. Murray and Djokovic didn’t play Davis Cup, could that have been the difference?
    It doesn’t make sense to me that WTF points don’t count. Why is that?


  6. Andy Murray has great retrieving abilities and is capable of reaching to most of Federer’s deep ground strokes. He’s not only very quick, but has good touch as well and uses the right tactics to limit the sting in Federer’s shots. These strengths turned Andy in the past unfortunately into a predominantly reactive and non-aggressive player, whose own attacks were too often limited to counterattacks of the backhand side. Federer was doing most of the shot making, while Murray wasn’t doing almost any shot making at all. He was just passively waiting for an opportunity to counterattack or for Federer making unforced errors.
    It seems to me that this has changed a bit. Andy has better calibrated his game now between defense and attack, and between his forehand and backhand wings. His already good arsenal of strokes has been enlarged with an efficient, quite powerful forehand, which he uses for cross court as well as down the line attacks. It’s not easy to take down such a player when he’s in form I think. Only an on-top-of-his-game Roger Federer can take down this kind of tricky opponent.
    Roger obviously wasn’t on top of his game in Shangai, so he lost. He’ll have to recalibrate his own game and refind form in order to be able to beat the Scott in the coming weeks.


    rich Reply:

    Well, I was not surprised Murray transformed himself from the often indifferent player we saw against Stepanek to the ruthlessly efficient powerhouse that showed up against Federer. He has a habit of doing that. His game has definitely gone up in the second half of this year. Yesterday’s match looked painfully like the Olympic final again, with Roger being consistently overpowered and outplayed by a bigger stronger opponent. Roger seemed a doubtful middleweight against an immovable heavyweight. The Scot treated his serve with contempt. It was embarrassing. Watching Murray now, I find myself wondering where the scrawny prone-to-fatigue and not at all hard-hitting player of a few years ago has gone, to be replaced by this Conan-like figure who now seems in quite another league to many of his present rivals, including Roger. It will be no foregone conclusion that Novak will win the final.


    Wilfried Reply:

    Andy Murray obviously has obviously gained some weight and muscles, and therefore more power in his strokes. If he has obtained in a natural way is the logical next question.
    Anyways, i believe he ‘s also got more accuracy in the range of his forehand and is making less errors with it than he used to do. I think Lendl’s coaching must have a lot to do with this.
    By the way, referring to your boxing metaphor, Andy is a great boxing fan. He likes , as some boxers do, to tire out his opponent and finally knock him down.


  7. Rich’s prediction as to the closeness of the contest proved correct: Djokovic had to pull out another miraculous comeback from match point down to win it, but win it he ultimately did.

    I don’t think he can play too many more matches like this one without taking a break. They went at it for nearly three and a half hours on a fast hard court. Federer’s played five-setters at AO that were shorter.

    Once again Murray’s inability to maintain his momentum and consolidate a hard-won lead is exposed–if he had been able to defend this title for the third time, it would have helped him in his quest to be #1 next year. But he lost a winnable match.

    He has lost ground in Tokyo and Shanghai and must now look to regain it in Paris and London. After a match like that, he will be pretty tired.

    As for Federer, he can regroup for Basel and the indoor season. Now he has another small goal to add to his checklist: win Shanghai. He needs small projects to help keep him motivated.

    His chances of ending the year at the top are considerably slimmer now that Djokovic has added a thousand points from Shanghai, but let’s not count Roger Federer out of anything yet!


    rich Reply:

    Djokovic certainly showed what a fighter he has become these days (although I can remember when he was also known as “the quitter” just a few years ago.) It is quite a feat to see off 5 match-points from a player of Murray’s calibre. Murray, by contrast, showed that he can be a little short of bottle, when it counts, as he faded in the 3rd set. You somehow knew it would happen after he lost the second-set tie-break. I wish Roger had shown in his match against Murray some of the tenacity that Djokovic demonstrated in the final. After Roger’s 3 consecutive double faults in the second set – all the result of Murray’s pressure – I figured the match was gone. And so it went. No Djokovic-like comeback from the brink.

    Murray’s rise this year concerns me. There was a point at 5-4 in the breaker when his court coverage, defensive skills and power defied belief; he appears now to trump Nadal in that regard. There were also points in the 3rd set when his stroke-making was enormous – he is hitting with more power at times than anyone – including Djokovic – and against the very best players, including Roger as well as Djokovic, he appears to be playing well within himself. That is extraordinary and is not the Murray who only two years ago I remember was clubbed off the courts at the FO by a heavy-hitting Fernando Gonzalez. I couldn’t see that happening today.

    One last point. Who else is tired of the verbal tirades and endless racket-smashing these guys frequently indulge in – and get away with? Not even a code violation. A poor example to us club players.


  8. Roger said he doesn’t feel he’s had enough time to practice. Let’s see if he can get his game back on track. I noticed he is talking a lot about Murray and his improvement in matches. Roger’s not saying a thing about Djokovic. Interesting.
    I don’t think he will manage to end the year at No.1., not enough gas in the tank this time around.
    Amazing how everyone pounces on Roger when he doesn’t win. I don’t notice that with the other players. He definitely is the most criticized player on tour.


    Kyle Reply:

    He is certainly the guy that is under the proverbial spotlight the most.


  9. Hi guys,

    I bought myself a Roger Federer hat,,,,and no one has a clue what it is, but I still love it. Anyway, I am a little hesitant to ask this question, but did Roger tank it at the end? It just appeared that way to me. It was like the gas tank was on empty, and he got out of there quick. I know that even I would never say that, but I just felt that way in his defense of Murray’s last service game. Thanks for all the analysis guys and gals. Onto the next chapter. G


  10. roger seemed tired throughout the tournament, he doesn’t need to chase the year end no. 1 ranking. the record of 6 year end no. 1 isn’t such a big thing. now roger should withdraw from basel and paris and take a well-deserved rest, given the fact he is sure to play that exho at Brazil. roger said about this exhaustion himself a few weeks ago, now he mustn’t jeopardize his health.

    coming to the final, it was more enthralling than the us open i think. again djokovic turned around the match in his direction with the help of a sigle extraordinary shot(‘between the legs’ attempt and then dropshot at 0-30 down when murray was serving for the match ) and went a notch higher thereafter, it didn’t look like a choking on murray’s part.

    so it looks like it’ll be more and more difficult for roger and nadal in the next season !!!


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