Roger Federer Outclasses Stan Wawrinka to Set Final Showdown With Novak Djokovic in London (Steven Flink Audio) - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Outclasses Stan Wawrinka to Set Final Showdown With Novak Djokovic in London (Steven Flink Audio)

Ivan Pasquariello

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Roger Federer outclasses Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals winning in straight sets by 7-5 6-3 in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Federer reaches his record 10th final in 14 appearances at the ATP Finals. The 6-time champion will face Novak Djokovic in a rematch of last year’s final. The match wasn’t played a year ago, as Federer pulled out with back injury.

 

 

Steven Flink from Tennis Channel comments on Federer’s victory here:

 

Roger Federer has found his progression at the net in splendid fashion on Saturday at the O2 Arena. The World No.3 outclassed his friend and compatriot Stan Wawrinka in 70 minutes in the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London. A 6-time champion, Roger is the oldest player to qualify for the finals since 35-year-old Andre Agassi qualified in Shanghai in 2005. Together with the American, Federer also holds the record for most appearances in the finals, qualifying for the final event of the ATP season 14 times.

Not just the show ups, but also the consistency of the results achieved are outstanding for Federer at the year-end championships. Beating Wawrinka on Saturday, Roger has reached his 10th final in 14 appearances, not to mention the 13 semi-finals with just one Round Robin set back in 2008. Clearly, the Swiss loves to play the last even of the year, and age doesn’t seem to be a problem at all.

The oldest in the group by far, Roger also seems the player with the most energy left in the tank, thanks to a perfect scheduling of the tournaments perfected in over a decade of experience on the tour.

Federer found his touch, his flawless movements, and most importantly his best serves when he needed them the most. Trailing back from 2-4 in the first set. the 34-year-old caught both break point chances right away to clinch the first set. Free to hit full power and unwilling to let go, Roger held his lethal vice on the match dominating early on in the second set and keeping the momentum going to finish in 70 minutes.

And so the 2014 final in London is to happen again, or we shall better say for the first time. Last year Federer needed 2 hours and 48 minutes to beat Wawrinka in the semis, having to save a total of 4 match points. The following day, Roger stepped on court, but only to apologise to the fans revealing he wasn’t going to face Novak Djokovic in the final due to a back injury. “The worst moment in my career, something I am not used to” defined that moment the Swiss reminiscing the event after beating Djokovic early in the Round Robin action. This time around, unless something extraordinary happens in the next 20 hours, Roger should step on court at 6:00 PM on Sunday, tomorrow, to face Djokovic yet again.

It will be the 16th time in the history of the tournament that the finalists will be playing against one another twice in the event. The last time it happened was 4 years ago, when in 2011 Federer beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Round Robin phase and then again in the final, both times in straight sets. Out of these 15 times, 8 times the result has been turned around, with the Round Robin loser avenging the loss and winning the tournament.

The last time something like that happened was exactly 10 years ago, when Federer beat Nalbandian in their round robin match in Shanghai, to then lose the final to the Argentine in five sets.

The experience could help the Swiss in facing Djokovic, even though the Swiss hasn’t managed to beat Djokovic twice in a row in the same year since 2012 when he beat the Serb in the semis at Wimbledon and then again in the finals in Cincinnati.

No matter who wins, history will be made on Sunday. Federer could claim a all-time record 7th title, Djokovic could become the first player in history to win the tournament 4 times in a row.

It’s the perfect ending to the tennis season.

 

MATCH REPORT

 

(3) Roger Federer (SUI) b. (4) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 7-5 6-3

Match time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

 

O2 Arena, London
SF Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

 

Head-2-Record: Federer leads 17-3

Last match: Federer b. Wawrinka 6-4 6-3 6-1 – 2015 US Open SF

 

Roger Federer wins the toss and starts the match on serve

 

British star Hugh Grant in the audience

 

THE FIRST SET

 

Federer makes his intentions clear immediately. Roger goes Serve & Volley on the first two points, winning both, then again at 40-0, holding serve to love to lead 1-0. Wawrinka starts his service game with an ace at 121 mph. The video wall keeps on filming the two players and Wawrinka asks for the still graphic before serving again. The French Open champion fires his 2nd ace in the game and then closes the game at love as Federer hits a return backhand wide. 1-1.

 

Federer’s career indoor record:

 

Federer is challenged for the first time on his serve in the third game, as Wawrinka gets to deuce after Roger misses a forehand long. The World No.3 recovers, closing another attacking point at the net with a backhand volley winner. Federer holds without facing break points and confirming the lead up 2-1.

 

Wawrinka follows the trend in the following game, going down 15-30 on serve missing two backhands. World No.4 recovers attacking with his forehand to get back to 30-30. Stan fires his third ace in the match at 40-30 and closes the game to set the score tied at 2-2. Roger is in trouble again on serve in the 5th game. Federer hits a double fault, the first in the match, at 15-15 falling behind 15-30 on serve. Stan doesn’t build on his chance hitting a forehand in the net. Stan manages to get to break point, helped by the net firing a passing shot with Federer at the net. At 40-A Federer takes control of the rally, facing his first break point, but then misses a forehand that hits the net cord and then bounces wide. Wawrinka breaks first to lead 3-2 after 15 minutes.

As Wawrinka finds continuity, Federer fails to put pressure advancing on the court. Wawrinka stays strong on serve, firing a good first serve in the middle of the service box to hold serve to 15 and confirm the break up 4-2. Federer reacts stepping closer to the baseline, swinging full power with his backhand and holding serve to 15 to trail back 3-4.

 

Wawrinka uses the confidence coming from the break to step further on court. The World No.4 advances to the net and closes with a backhand volley winner to get 15-0 in the 8th game. Two forehand misses and a double fault, the first in the match, and Stan is in danger again. Wawrinka is down 15-40 and Federer has his first break points in the match. Federer teases Wawrinka’s backhand with a top spin deep forehand. Stan misses long and Federer breaks at his first chance to get right back into the set. The score is tied at 4-4.
https://twitter.com/MoTafolla/status/668167749701537792

 

The 17-time Grand Slam champion plays a great point of consistency up 40-15 in the 9th game, moving Wawrinka around the court, then comes at the net to close with a backhand volley winner. Federer back on the lead at 5-4.

 

Serving to stay in the set, Wawrinka is yet to lose a point on his first serve. The French Open champion has won 10 out 10 points on first serve for a perfect 100% record. The trend continues as Stan goes 13/13 on first serves to lead 40-15 in the game. Wawrinka holds and sets the score at 5-5.

 

Federer continues coming at the net and the strategy pays off. Roger holds to 15 and leads 6-5 after 33 minutes. Federer has won 5 points more than Wawrinka (32-27) so far in the match.

 

Stan loses his first points on first serve at 5-6. Wawrinka hits his 2nd double fault in the set and then misses a forehand long falling behind 15-30 on serve. On the following point, Federer fires a stunning cross court angled forehand passing shot to get to 15-40 and have two set points. Roger uses the forehand passing shot again, with Stan at the net. Wawrina can’t put the forehand volley on court and after 37 minutes Federer wins the first set 7-5.

https://twitter.com/SkySportsTennis/status/668171445382479872

Wawrinka loses his first 3 points on first serve in the set all in the game that mattered the most.

 

First serve stats:

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 20.53.46

 

THE SECOND SET

 

Federer starts the second set down 0-30 on serve. Roger finds his first serves to get out of trouble and hold to 30 leading 1-0.

Roger wins the best point of the match at the net, closing with a forehand drop volley cross court winner to get to 15-30.

https://twitter.com/Mikno78/status/668171601750401025

Wawrinka reacts but faces another break point at 30-40. Stan kills a forehand in the net and Federer breaks right away to lead 2-0.

 

Federer seems in control of the match now, but he gets distracted while up 40-15 allowing Wawrinka back in the game. Stan has a chance to break at 40-A but misses a forehand passing shot long. Federer responds with an ace, the third in the match, and closing the game at the net with another volley winner. Federer leads 3-0.

 

 

In the fourth game, Federer hits yet another stunning forehand passing shot and has two chances to break Wawrinka’s serve again. The French Open champion reacts in time to save the game and get on the scoreboard in the second set. Federer leads 3-1. Roger holds serve to 30 in the following game, finish off with an ace to build a 4-1 lead after 57 minutes in the match.

 

https://twitter.com/TennisMajesty/status/668173593545609216

 

Down 1-4, Wawrinka lets his racket swing full power. Stan wins the game with a backhand on the line, on which Federer accidentally drops the racket.

 

Federer starts serving at 4-2 with an ace, the 6th in the match. Roger hits to love and solidifies his lead at 5-2 sending Wawrinka to serve to stay in the match.

 

https://twitter.com/Mikno78/status/668175402960072704

Federer insists on Wawrinka’s backhand, forcing Stan to miss the ball first. The French Open champion misses long again, and is down 0-30 with Federer two points away from victory. Stan reacts firing three aces in a row, joining Federer with 6 aces in the match. Roger gets back in the game, opening the court with a cross court angled backhand. Federer wins another great point, with Wawrinka at the net, running on a drop volley and winning the point with a backhand down the line winner.

https://twitter.com/Mikno78/status/668177596870475777

As Wawrinka hits in the net a backhand Federer has his first match point. Stan saves the match point with a forehand winner down the line. Finally Wawrinka holds with another forehand winner, this time cross court.

Federer serves for the match at 5-3. Federer gets to 40-0 with a forehand winner cross court. On his second match point, Federer wins as Wawrinka hits a backhand return long. Federer wins 7-5 6-3 after 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Here are the match stats:

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 21.30.15

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 21.32.02

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Rafael Nadal May Have Luck On His Side This Time Down Under

Could 2022 be Nadal’s year at Melbourne Park?

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Image via https://twitter.com/ATPTour_ES/status

Rafa Nadal hasn’t always been so lucky, especially at the Australian Open.

 

Melbourne generally has treated the great Spanish left-hander rather harshly. If not injuries, it was bad luck. He easily could have been sitting well ahead of both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in Grand Slam titles, say 23-19 in both cases. The fact Djokovic was not allowed to compete in this Australian Open wouldn’t even be an issue.

But anyway, here’s Rafa back in the Australian semifinals. Federer and Djokovic aren’t anywhere in sight.

BEST TWO-SET PLAYER IN THE GAME?

Nadal may be 35 years old, but he still may be the best two-set player in the game. He looked like his old self the first two sets of his five-set (6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3) quarterfinal win over talented, but bad-mouthing 22–year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

Then, there was another significant quarterfinal just a year ago in Melbourne that almost made this Nadal-Shapovalov meeting look like a replay of Nadal’s five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s Australian Open.

Nadal didn’t waste his 2-0 set lead against Shapovalov, although all Nadal fans watching Tuesday’s Nadal-Shapovalov match must have had an errie feeling that it could be 2021 all over again.

NADAL PLAYED IT SMARTER THIS TIME

Yes, Nadal appeared to play it smarter this time. He went after the third set until he missed what should have been an easy passing shot down the line to get to double break point at 3-3 in the set. After 4-4, Nadal won only two more points in the set, one on a Shapovalov double fault and the other one a Naval love-40 ace.

Finally, after dropping three straight games to fall behind 4-1 in the fourth set while looking very un-Nadalish, the Spaniard called for medical help while holding his stomach. That didn’t make Shapovalov happy.

RAFA CAME ALIVE IN FIFTH SET

Afterward the medical visit that Shapovalov seemed to be upset about, Nadal appeared to slowly respond to the medication while closing to 5-3 and holding a double break point in the ninth game before Shapovalov evened the match at two sets each.

In that stretch of four games and then the seven-minute break for Nadal between sets, it became obvious that the medication had worked as Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set. 

Earlier, Shapovalov reportedly called chair umpire Carlos Bernardes “corrupt” for not calling out Nadal for taking too much time between points and thus giving Nadal special treatment. And the seven-minute break before the start of the final set upset the Canadian left-hander even more.

LUCK OF THE DRAW ON NADAL’S SIDE

This time, Nadal’s luck comes from the fact Djokovic is absent as well as the draw that pits Nos. 2 and 4 seeds Daniil Medvedev and Tsitsipas against each other in Friday’s semifinals while sixth-seed Nadal will go against hard-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini, the seventh seed.

Berrettini is a strong player, but realistically he isn’t in the class of Medvedev or Tsitsipas.

Berrettini isn’t the most consistent player around. Very erratic at times, repeatedly going all-out on the forehand side, while his backhand is a glaring weakness,

Of course, Medvedev turned back Djokovic’s bid to break the 20-20-20 Grand Slam title deadlock between Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. That says enough about Medvedev’s ability to live up to the task in Grand Slams.

And then there’s Tsitsipas with his enormous talent and desire to win a Grand Slam title.

Maybe Medvedev and Tsitsipas will push each other to physical extremes in the semifinals, while Nadal breezes past Berrettini.

IS NADAL’S BAD LUCK IN MELBORNE OVER?

Nadal’s bad luck Down Under where his lone title came with his 2009 five-set victory over Federer in the Aussie final that brought Federer to tears receiving the runner-up trophy for the third straight time after major finals against Nadal.

Eight years later in 2017, Federer got Nadal back by upsetting the Spaniard in another five-set Aussie final in which Nadal was a heavy favorite.

Another misfortune for Nadal was his five-set loss to Djokovic in the five hours and 15 minutes long Australian Open final in 2012. Nadal owned a 4-2 lead in the fifth set before missing an open line on an easy-looking backhand passing shot down the line with both players at the net. A winner would have put Nadal within one game and one point of a second Australian Open title

BACK INJURY GOT IN WAY AGAINST STAN

Of course, there have been a line of injuries for Nadal in Melbourne, including the 2014 final against Stan Wawrinka in which early in the second set a near-incapacitating back injury got in Rafa’s way of completing a career double Grand Slam.

But Nadal didn’t throw in the towel, except maybe the rest of the second set.

Wawrinka complained heavily to the chair umpire and tournament supervisor for almost the entire seven minutes and 15 seconds Nadal was gone from the court to receive treatment for his back. Although in obvious pain, Nadal came back to win the fourth set before losing the decisive fourth set.

OTHER 3 HAVE AGE AND SIZE ON THEIR SIDES?

Nadal is the small one of the semifinalists. He’s only 6-1. The other three climb the stairs in height, 6-4 Tsitsipas, 6-5 Berrettini and 6-6 Medvedev.

And, of course, Nadal is the old-timer at age 35, while two of the other three are 25 years old and Tsitsipas is only 23.

 Nevertheless, Nadal looked like a 20-year-old in those first two sets against Shapovalov. Now with fresh confidence that he can survive in the heat, even another five-setter, Nadal has maybe his last shot at a second career Grand Slam. Win or lose Down Under, Nadal should still have a great shot at another Grand Slam title at the French Open.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award as the tennis columnist for the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier newspapers.  A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Matteo Berrettini Outlasts Monfils To Reach Australian Open Semi-Finals

Matteo Berrettini became the first Italian male singles player to reach the Australian Open semi-finals after a five set win over Gael Monfils.

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Matteo Berrettini (@AustralianOpen - Twitter)

Matteo Berrettini edged out Gael Monfils 6-4 6-4 3-6 3-6 6-2 to reach his maiden Australian Open semi-final.

 

The Italian was too strong in the key moments as he outlasted the Frenchman to reach the last four in Melbourne.

Despite a strong start to the season and a vintage comeback, Gael Monfils ran out of energy and produced key errors in big moments.

Berrettini will now face 20-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday.

It was a strong start from both players as they knew it was a golden opportunity to reach the semi-finals of a grand slam.

However it was Berrettini who drew first blood with some aggressive groundstrokes mixed with shortening the points at the net.

A break to love secured a 3-2 lead and the Italian had a pretty comfortable set on serve with some big first serve and forehand combinations.

Monfils had a better read on the serve in the second set, creating a break point when the Italian served for the set.

But the power of Berrettini counter-attacked the insane defence of the Frenchman as he closed out the opening set in 37 minutes.

In the early exchanges of the second set both players had to endure tough tests on their serve with Monfils saving three break points for an opening service hold.

In the fourth game Berrettini overcame a 15 minute hold of serve as he saved three break points and sealed a crucial hold for 2-2.

This seemed to be the turning point as he then turned up the aggression on both wings and a clinical seventh game secured the break for a 4-3 lead.

The Italian comfortably secured the second set with a hold to love as a two set to love lead was obtained and surely a comfortable straight sets win.

But this was Gael Monfils we are talking about and nothing is straightforward against the Frenchman with the third set showing why.

Monfils, one of the biggest fighters in tennis, continued to work the angles against a now passive Matteo Berrettini.

Eventually extending the rallies and making the Italian cover a lot of the court worked as the Frenchman secured the break for a 4-2 lead.

Monfils executed effected patterns of play on serve as he wrapped up the third set and rallied the crowd in his favour.

Berrettini’s legs were suddenly looked tired as well as his mental concentration going as sublime Monfils winner on the line saw him break for a 3-2 lead as Berrettini seemed to think the shot was out.

A re-energized Frenchman built his lead from then as Monfils took command of the rallies and dictated the tempo of the match.

Berrettini’s passive play wasn’t getting through Monfils’ angles and effortless power as another long game went the way of the Frenchman as he secured a second break to level the match at two sets all.

Now the pressure was on the Frenchman as the crowd were gearing up for an entertaining final set.

But this time it was Monfils’ passive play and fatigue that played a part in the final set as Berrettini found his consistent power when he needed it most.

A quick double break was secured for a fired up Berrettini who booked his place into the semi-finals in Melbourne for the first time.

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Denis Shapovalov Accuses Nadal Of Receiving ‘Unfair’ Advantage After Australian Open Clash

The two players give their versions about an argument which erupted during their clash at the Grand Slam.

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Image via https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/

After losing a marathon five-set encounter against Rafael Ndal on the Rod Laver Arena, Denis Shapovalov didn’t hold back when it came to speaking about the treatment his opponent received during their match.

 

The Canadian world No.14 was still highly agitated during his press conference following a run-in he had with umpire Carlos Bernardes over the amount of time given to Nadal on court. A heated exchange started during the second set when Shapovalov was serving and he was frustrated by the amount of time Nadal was taking. Under the rules, the server must abide by the service clock timer and the returner must follow the pace of the server.

However, Shapovalov was ready to serve but was unable to as Nadal wasn’t. His frustration grew when Bernardes didn’t give the Spaniard a code violation. Resulting in the Canadian extraordinary calling the umpire ‘corrupt’ before later saying he misspoke.

Shapovalov: “You started the clock like 45 seconds ago and he is not ready to play. You started the clock like so long ago and he is still not ready to play. You’ve gotta code him.”
Bernardes: “Yeah. I code him now, now you are not ready to play?”
Shapovalov: “Code him!”
Bernardes: “For what?”
Shapovalov: “He’s not ready to play!”
Bernardes: “Yeah but you are not ready to play, because you came to talk to me.”
Shapovalov: “Are you kidding me?”
Bernardes: “I’m not kidding you.”
Shapovalov: “You guys are all corrupt! You guys are all corrupt!”

Following their clash, Shapovalov continued to voice his frustration to reporters by saying what Nadal has been allowed to get away with is ‘unfair.’ It is not the first time the 20-time Grand Slam champion has been accused of taking longer between points than what the rule states.

“I think it’s unfair, you know, how much Rafa is getting away with,” he told reporters.
“I’m completely ready to play and the clock is ticking 3, 2, 1, clicking towards zero, and I’m looking at the ump and obviously I’m going to speak up and say something.
“I’ve been ready to play for a minute and a half, and he tells me he’s not going to give him a code violation because I’m not ready to play. To me, it’s a big joke if somebody says that.”

At the end of the fourth set Nadal left the court for six-and-a-half minutes to have a medical check and go to the toilet. The Spaniard was experiencing stomach issues during the match and was given medication to help treat the issue.

“The guy goes — and for the same thing last year I wasn’t allowed to take a toilet break when I asked for a medical. He had already taken two medicals,” Shapovalov ranted.
“He was getting medically evaluated, that’s what the ump said after the fourth set, getting medically evaluated, and after the evaluation the guy goes and takes a toilet break.
It’s like, where is the line?”

When questioned by one journalist if Shapovalov thinks his opponent receives preferential treatment due to his status in the sport, he responded ‘100%.’

“Every other match that I have played, the pace has been so quick because the refs have been on the clock after every single point.” Shapovalov said.
“This one, I mean, after the first two sets it was like an hour and a half just because he’s dragged out so much after every single point. He’s given so much time in between sets and all this. It’s just dragged out.”

Rafa responds

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/1485842948420161536

Providing his version of the argument, Nadal has hit back at what the 22-year-old said by saying that he believed the umpire acted in a ‘fair way’ given the humid conditions. Nadal and Bernardes haven’t always seen eye-to-eye on the Tour. During the 2015 Rio Open he wasn’t allowed to leave the court by the match official to change his shorts. He ended up covering himself with towels to change his shorts, which he initially put on backwards. That caused a rift between the two.

I know I took some extra time at the end of the first set because I had to change everything there on the chair, in the changeover. I think honestly in that case normally at the end of the sets the umpire gives you some extra time, especially under these very humid conditions to change the clothes because that’s obvious that you can’t play with the clothes in the condition that I was in.” He argued.
“I think, in my opinion, Denis was wrong in that case. I understand that he just lost the (first) set and in some way he wanted to keep playing quick, but I think he’s gonna understand a little bit later that normally you have some time to change your clothes.”

The 35-year-old says he feels ‘sorry’ for Shapovalov who came back from two sets down to level before getting broken at the start of the decider.

As for the allegation of receiving special treatment, Nadal was quick to dismiss that claim.

“No. Not in that case. I really believe that on the court you don’t deserve better treatment than others and I don’t want it and I don’t feel I have it,” he stated.
“Without a doubt, as everyone knows, I have huge respect for Carlos [Bernardes]. I don’t think that is the case.
“I really believe sometimes it is always in the mind that the top players get bigger advantages and honestly on court that is not true. That is my feeling. I never felt I had advantages on court and really believe he is wrong.”

Nadal now leads Shapovalov 4-1 in their head-to-head.

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