Thursday, 26 January 2017

Federer in the final

The Swiss semi final between improving youngster Roger Federer and fellow up-and-comer Stan Wawrinka, promised to deliver another match lacking in double fisted backhands. 
17th seed Federer had embarrassed Mischa Zverev in their fourth round match and 4th seed Wawrinka proved too much for Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in their's.

The two had met 20 times before tonight with Federer leading 17-3 but they hadn't played each other since 2015 when they had four contests, including the quarter final at Roland Garros where Stan won en route to winning the title and the semi final at the US Open where Roger won on the way to losing the final.
Stan had only ever beaten Roger on clay.

Federer served first.  Four errors decided the first points and Roger had two game points.  He held for 1-0.  Stan hit an ace to move to 40-15 and his signature backhand won him the game 1-1

A clutch volley dug out for a winner probably saved Roger in the third game and he held on for 2-1. Some good serves helped mask a few errors.

Having to generate his own pace on ground strokes worried Stan into hitting long and mistiming.  At 0-40 his serve assisted him to deuce.  An ace gave him game point. That was lost and a lovely forehand presented another chance, also wasted.  Third time lucky and it was 2-2.

A Stan forehand forced a Roger error and a net cord flew long.  0-30. A mishit created two break points and a good serve saved one.  The second was saved through a well structured point.  Stan set Roger up with deep forehands to return to deuce but eventually serve was held 3-2

Stan levelled despite a nifty drop shot from Roger.  15-30 on the Roger serve after a poor approach.  A better  pair of points saw Stan finish in the net and a backhand winner pushed Roger to 4-3.  

A net cord made an easy winner for Roger but he failed to follow up and Stan went to 40-15.  A big serve won the final point for 4-4.  Roger was quickly to 5-4.

Serving to stay in the set, Stan reached 40-15 with the help of errors from Roger. Not so helpful was the forehand winner from Roger but Stan had a better one himself which clinched the game and 5-5.

Roger dumped one into the net but an overhead winner countered it.  Another mistake wide left him vulnerable at 15-30.  And at 30-40 Stan had break point.  Saved through Stan being too defensive. Serve was held and 6-5 Roger.

A long rally decided with a passing shot from Roger was bettered with a backhand dazzler from Stan.  Then Stan missed one wide.  A good serve for 30-30.  Set point with another shot wide.  The set was over once Stan found the net. 7-5 Roger.

Set two and Roger double faulted but a volley winner and ace helped him over the line and 1-0.  Stan joined him at 1-1 with the service game he'd have enjoyed at 5-6 in the first. 

Again poor choices by Stan when having Roger 15-30 cost him chances of a break 2-1 Roger.  Stan had 40-0 and two poor shots long dragged the game out before he squared it at 2-2.

3-2 in a flash.  And then the break - a poor game from Stan and he assaulted his racquet.  The racquet holder should have borne much of the responsibility for the hole in which he now lay. 
Roger held for 5-2.

Stan chucked away another 40-0 lead but thankfully held in the end to make Roger serve out the set at 5-3.

Three set points as Stan was temporarily elsewhere.  Roger led 7-5 6-3.

Stan started set three and immediately found strife at 15-30.  Roger and the net met and it was 30-30.  A decent forehand produced an error from Roger and Stan led 1-0.
Relaxed Roger served a love game for 1-1.
Stan played an off forehand winner but Roger replied with a winner of his own for 30-30. Stan's backhand brought up game point and Roger pulled one out of court.
Stan led 2-1.

Two Roger errors gave Stan 0-30 and a second netted shot created three break points.  One saved thanks to a long shot from Stan but his winning backhand achieved what he had desperately wanted. 3-1 Stan.  A quick consolidation with the serve being somewhat reliable stretched the lead to 4-1.

The Stan backhand forced Roger into error but two good serves made it 30-15.  A careless shot from Roger and a winner from Stan and suddenly another break chance. It arrived courtesy of an out of court miss from Roger. 5-1 Stan and serving for the set.

Three set points and this had happened in a rush.  Stan had the third set 6-1.

Roger served the first game of set four.  Double fault and unforced errors and break point.  Backhand return winner from Stan for 1-0.  Break back point after a mistimed backhand from Stan.  Saved when Roger missed long.  Double fault.  The break back happened with Stan's shot going long. 1-1.
A much easier game for Roger on serve and he led 2-1.

Stan held quickly too for 2-2.  Roger to 3-2, the final winning shot down the line noteworthy.  3-3 and no one for the moment wanting to threaten serve.

4-3 easily for Roger and 4-4 for Stan far from easily.
0-30 following a sweet forehand from Stan.  Three break points after a forehand return winner.  One saved with a good serve.  Good second serve saved the second.  Forehand pass for the break and Stan led 5-4 and would serve for the set.

Three brilliant first serves and three set points.  A love game and the match was tied at two sets apiece.  7-5 6-3 1-6 4-6 to Roger who had lost the momentum, but this would be treated now as a one set sprint, and the players had both taken a break.

Roger held serve in the first game of the decider.  1-1 just as simply by Stan.
Break point with Stan playing some delightful backhands.  Saved by Stan missing wide.  
Roger led 2-1.  
Twice not clearing the net Stan was down 0-30.  A big serve and 15-30.  A mishit from Roger 30-30.  A return way long and game point.  A forehand winner set up by the previous backhand and Stan levelled at 2-2.

Break point after a searching rally but it was saved and Roger led 3-2.  Many good shots but as many nervous errors in that game.  Two break points on Stan's serve and a double fault could have cost him the match.  4-2 Roger.

An easy hold and 5-2 Roger.
Stan held and at least forced Roger to serve it out.
Three match points.  Roger Federer won in five sets 7-5 6-3 1-6 6-4 6-3

He will play in the final on Sunday.

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