Monday, July 15, 2019

Roger Federer's thoughts on the 5 set Wimbledon final loss

A Grand Slam final is said to truly sink in the moment all the noise fades – when the adrenaline wears off, the interviews wrap up and that moment of solitude arrives.

Every critical point is played out in the mind again and again. For the champion, the instant they swung the contest in their favour.

For the vanquished opponent, where it all went wrong. Again and again.

For Roger Federer, his fourth defeat from his 12th Wimbledon final will hurt more than most. And two points will be swirling through his mind more than most on Sunday night.

Twice the Swiss held Championship points to clinch a record ninth gentlemen’s singles crown and take his Grand Slam tally to 21. But for a third time in a Wimbledon decider he came up short against a relentless Novak Djokovic.

“Yeah, I mean, one shot I guess,” Federer lamented. “You try to see the positives, you try to take it as a good thing, I guess, that you're not down a break or that the match is not over yet.

“If I could have picked it before the match to be at 9-all in the fifth, that wouldn't be a terrible thing. You just always try to push yourself to see things on the better side. But, yeah, it was definitely tough to have those chances.”

Those chances arose when the No.2 seed served for the Championships at 8-7 in the fifth.

Three tie-breaks played, three lost for Federer on this final Sunday. He had now fallen in nine of his past 11 showdowns with his great Serbian rival. It was the third time he had gone down to him in a Wimbledon final after defeats in 2014 and 2015.

“I don't know if losing 2-2-2 feels better than this one,” Federer pondered. “At the end it actually doesn't matter to some extent. You might feel more disappointed, sad, over-angry.

“I don't know what I feel right now. I just feel like it's such an incredible opportunity missed, I can't believe it.”

This was the longest gentlemen’s final in Wimbledon history, the first to be decided in a 12-all deciding set tie-break. A 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3) triumph secured Djokovic his fifth at the All England Club and brought him within four majors of Federer’s all-time mark.

The Swiss was attempting to become the oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era. Next month, he will turn 38.

He acknowledges time isn’t on his side if he is to indeed add further trophies to his tally. And he accepts the two men nipping at his heels could well pass his mark.

“Well, I mean, it used to be a really, really big deal, you know, I guess when you were close,” Federer said of setting the benchmark. “I guess two behind, then eventually you tie, then eventually you break. That was big.

“It's been different since, naturally because the chase is in a different place. I take motivation from different places, you know. Not so much from trying to stay ahead because I broke the record, and if somebody else does, well, that's great for them. You can't protect everything anyway.

“I didn't become a tennis player for that. I really didn't. It's about trying to win Wimbledon, trying to have good runs here, playing in front of such an amazing crowd in this Centre Court against players like Novak and so forth. That's what I play for.”

Parallels were naturally drawn between this and his five-set, four-hour, 48-minute defeat to Rafael Nadal in the Championships decider in near darkness 11 years ago.

“Like similar to '08 maybe, I will look back at it and think, ‘Well, it's not that bad after all’,” Federer said. “For now it hurts, and it should, like every loss does here at Wimbledon.

“I think it's a mindset. I'm very strong at being able to move on because I don't want to be depressed about actually an amazing tennis match.”

Those moments of solitude will arrive. But the eight-time champion is more experienced than most at taking stock of a harrowing defeat and turning to his next Grand Slam opportunity. At 37, it’s not over yet.

Roger is basically echoing a lot of the points I made in my post a day prior, only with even more positivity than even I would expect him to have. 

When he blew those 2 match points I actually wondered whether it would have been less painful if he had lost in straight sets or 4 sets as well.  

I still don't really have an answer honestly. Although I guess if he had lost in straights then it would have felt like he didn't put up enough of a fight. 

So it's a no win type of situation.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Roger Federer's historic 5 set heart-breaker at Wimbledon

The body language of a man who has given it his all and is left with nothing to show for it

Given that Roger has never beaten Rafa Nadal and Djokovic back to back in a slam I went into this match with low expectations, but because I'm an eternal optimist when it comes to Federer I had a tiny spark of hope.

That hope was dashed the moment Roger lost the first set tie-break knowing it would be an uphill battle against one of the great returners in the sport.

But than things got weird, Djokovic had no energy and seemed to completely tank the 2nd set. Won the 3rd in yet another tie-break, than kind of went away in the fourth.

And I begun to wonder if it was going to be that kind of match. One where neither guy is playing well, and the winner will be whoever just scrapes by.

Throughout it Roger remained the steadier of the 2 players on serve (having twice as many aces as his opponent). He was also returning better and won more total points in the match overall.  And that kept giving me hope as we went into the 5th. The set that turned this match from an ordinary one to something otherworldly.

The final set is when both players picked up their level and stated playing better overall, this after 4 hours of play. When Roger finally broke at 8-7 in the 5th I thought 'Oh My God he's actually gong to defy the odds and beat Novak Djokovic in 5 sets'.

At this point my hands were shaking as I tried to live tweet my reaction, at 8-7 40-15 (2 championship points) I was ready to crawl out of my skin while at the same time trying to not hyperventilate.

The rest of  the (internet) world held it's collective breath. What happened next is something that I'm sure will haunt not only Roger but all his loyal fans for some time. Serving for it in that split second Roger blinked, he had just beaten Nadal in the semis finally solving the puzzle of that rivalry and reversing their H2H over the past few years.

And than the fact that he had never beaten 2 of his greatest rivals in one tournament got into his head and Djokovic leveled it at 8 a piece.

Despite set backs Roger was consistently the better player throughout the match and in that final set.

Until we got to the newly introduced 12-all tie-break.  In that dreaded final set tiebreak is where his great tie-break record for the year just fell apart and he lost his 3rd one in a row and the match with it.

He continued hanging with Djokovic in the last tie-break until the very last ball and that one last shot that proved to be too much.  At the flip of a coin that final set went from exhilarating to a repeat of a nightmare no Federer fan ever wanted to relive. The 2011 U.S. Open Final. Or the 2009 U.S. Open against Del Potro, take your pick.

Just like in those finals, one shot turned everything on it's head, and morphed into a nearly 5 hour tussle that left me feeling emotionally spent. And hating the invention of tiebreaks.

The intensity of that final set  tiebreaker rendered me unable to eat until the last ball was struck.

Honestly the immense stress of this one took about 5 years off my life.

I'm left with a feeling of de ja vu when it comes to gut-wrenching losses like this, but this bares repeating nonetheless. What hurts the most is not knowing how many of these missed chances Roger has left with time not being on his side.

How much longer can he sustain this type of  incredible level, the level required to reach Grand Slams. And perhaps most importantly how much longer will he stay motivated to contend for them.

With all that said while I'm left quoting my fave sci-fi  characters lines of misery (a qoute from Willow Rosenberg from Buffy) in my head and lamenting and agonizing over it. Roger is probably thinking life goes on, and will as always bounce back a lot sooner than it'll take me and all his fans to come to terms with how it all unfolded.

Or maybe I'm being a bit too optimistic again on his behalf, because realistically I know that this one will sting. A lot. There's no doubt about it in my mind.

 He give it his all. Literally. And it all came down to one final hit of the racket, one final ball he was unable to put passed his opponent. Just thinking about it fills me with so much sadness and rage (even as I write this almost 12 hours later).

He will agonize over those 2 match points for some time as will the rest of the tennis world.  But I also know without a shadow of a doubt, he will move past it, because he's done just that countless times in his career.

And I know he'll move on to the American hard courts where he will once again try his hardest to capture another U.S. Open in September.

And we'll all be left revisiting all the same emotions I've been describing all over again. I'm hoping he'll maybe finally have a bit of luck in terms of his draw. The tennis gods have not been kind in that regard when it comes to NYC in recent years.

If there are any positives to take away from it all it's that Roger is walking away uninjured and healthy. That at almost 38 years of age he stood toe to toe with a much younger opponent and matched him physically for almost 5 hours. A feat that has to be commended. And may never again be repeated.

That despite the outcome this display created yet another historic match full of moments that rival Wimbledon 2008, (considered by most as the best in the sport). Thus adding another glorious chapter to his already storied career.

If nothing else this performance solidified why he's continuously considered the greatest of all time, and for me the reason I love watching him play tennis as well as my love for the sport itself.

And while this match will undoubtedly be regarded by all as one no tennis fan will ever forget (as it should). I on the other hand choose to follow what Roger himself  jokingly said in one of his post-match interviews. "I will try to forget".

What I will remember above all however are the words he uttered towards the end, that even at 37 "it's not over yet".

And knowing Roger he means it.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Simona Halep Wimbledon Champion!

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LONDON, Great Britain - Former World No.1 Simona Halep scored her second Grand Slam title at the All England Club on Saturday, stunning 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-2 to win Wimbledon.

"It feels good," she said to open her post-championship press conference. "I wanted this badly. When I started the tournament, I talked to the people from the locker room that my dream is to become a member here. So today it's real and I'm really happy."

The 2018 French Open champion was playing her first final at SW19 (and fifth overall), while Williams was aiming for an all-time record-tying 24th major title and eighth at Wimbledon, but it was the No.7 seed who secured victory after just 56 minutes on Centre Court.

"I'm very sure that was the best match of my life, and also on grass against her is never easy. So I'm really proud of my game of today and the whole tournament."

Halep had beaten Williams just once in 10 previous encounters - and the American avenged that 2014 BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global round robin loss that same week, in the final - but all three of their Grand Slam meetings had gone the distance, including a three-set thriller at this year's Australian Open.

"I knew that I have to be aggressive, being 100% for every ball, that I don't have to let her come back to the match because she's so powerful and so strong. She knows how to manage every moment. So I knew that I have to stay there, which I did pretty well today."

It had already been a revenge-filled fortnight for the Romanian, who made the final with tricky wins over the likes of fellow former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka, teen phenom Coco Gauff, and two nemeses in Zhang Shuai and No.8 seed Elina Svitolina, both of whom led their head-to-heads with Halep ahead of their All England Club clashes.

The first set, in turn, saw the former World No.1 play some of her best tennis of the tournament as she raced out to a 4-0 lead behind some sparkling defensive play. Williams soon got her footing as she cranked in some powerful first serves, but Halep was undeterred, serving out the second on her second opportunity.

"I decided this morning how I have to play against her. I knew exactly what I have to do to put her in trouble, not letting her make her game. When she has time, she plays unbelievable.I played many times against her. I knew how the ball is coming. I knew what she doesn't like that much.

"Today I just went for it like in Singapore. I had that image in my head. I really believed there is the chance to do the same thing. I knew I have to stay there every ball. Otherwise, when she comes back, she's very powerful."

Williams began the second set keen to pump herself up, getting on the board early and opening up a 30-30 opportunity on her rival's serve in the very next game.

"I think she was getting so many balls back," Williams noted after the match. "I do have a strategy for players that do get a lot of balls back, which I thought about far too late. I think I was overhitting it, trying to go for too much. She was getting just a tremendous amount of balls back."

Playing to win her second straight major final - and first since capturing that Roland Garros crown last spring - Halep remained focused and kept in front, winning the final four games of the match to ease over the finish line.

"Set and 5-2 when I was serving, after few points during the match, I looked at the scoreboard. I said, 'Okay, it's 5-2, it's real,'" Halep mused. "Then I just played every ball. I didn't think about the score at all.

"I felt my legs that are very soft after I won the last point. I didn't know actually how to react. I just did natural what it came in my inside. It's tough to describe the moment. You just feel,light, you feel everything is beautiful, and you just try to enjoy."

It was a pitch-perfect match for Halep, who struck just three unforced errors in two sets - and 13 winners - and converted four of five break point opportunities while allowing Williams just one break point chance on her own serve.

As for the American, she will rue 26 unforced errors and a 68% first serve percentage that helped the No.7 seed get into return games and keep the seven-time Wimbledon winner off-balance throughout.

Halep improves her Grand Slam final record to 2-3 and looking ahead to next week, she is tentatively set to return to the Top 4 on the WTA rankings, having dropped to No.8 after Roland Garros.

"The finals I lost in the past helped me for sure to be different when I face this moment. It's never easy to face a Grand Slam final. You can get intimidated by the moment. You can get nervous, too nervous.

"I have learned that it's a normal match, not thinking that much about the trophy, just going there and try to be the best as you can. So I did that. I said that every time I would play a final of Grand Slam, I will do exactly the same thing. So today I did it."

Well this Wimbledon just keeps getting better doesn't it?. 

First Roger beats Nadal and now Simona beats Serena in an emphatic fashion.

Don't think anyone saw this coming. I haven't talked about Simona much these past 2 weeks, but she has been mighty impressive throughout.

Seems like I never talk about her enough, I should really start because boy is she a joy to watch.

And what she did today was absolutely fantastic.

She used her biggest weapon her speed against a 23-time Grand Slam Champion who she had a 9-1 H2H with.

After the first set when she won it in about half an hour thanks to some incredible returning and court coverage I really thought her level would dip, or she would get nervous as she got closer to the finish line.

But instead she surprised everyone with her calmness and poise as she served for the Championship.  Today she came out with a plan and executed it to near perfection. 

It was wonderful to see.

It seems like all those heart-breaking losses she's had at Grand Slams helped her to pave the way for performances like this.

One can even go as far as saying maybe they had to happen for her to finally believe in herself. 

The 2018 Roland Garros win has been the catalyst to the new Simona Halep and her fans all over the world could not be happier for her.

Take a bow Simona, now a 2- time Grand Slam Champion you deserve this.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Roger Federer 'King of Grass' prevails over the 'King of Clay' for his 12th Wimbledon final!

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Roger Federer booked a place in his 12th final at The Championships, where he will attempt to lift a record-extending ninth trophy after a tactical masterclass against his long-time rival, Rafael Nadal, a two-time former titlist, on Friday at Wimbledon.

The Swiss superstar played at his aggressive best on return of serve, at the net and in long rallies to beat World No. 2 Nadal 7-6(3), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in their semi-final, which lasted three hours and two minutes, on Centre Court.

Federer seized the momentum in his 40th FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Nadal with a break of serve at 3-1 in the third set and, in spite of an early break in the fourth set, kept 18-time Grand Slam championship winner Nadal at bay before converting his fifth match point chance. It was their first grass-court clash since their legendary 2008 Wimbledon final, which Nadal won 9-7 in the fifth set.

“It's always very, very cool to play against Rafa here, especially [as we] haven't played [here] in so long,” said Federer. “It lived up to the hype, especially from coming out of the gates, we were both playing very well. Then, the climax at the end, with the crazy last game, some tough rallies there. It had everything at the end, which was great, I guess. I'm just relieved it's all over at this point.

“But it's definitely, definitely going to go down as one of my favourite matches to look back at, again, because it's Rafa, it's at Wimbledon, the crowds were into it, great weather. I felt like I played good also throughout the four sets. I can be very happy.”

The 37-year-old becomes the third oldest man in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach a Grand Slam championship final and now challenges World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and four-time winner, on Sunday in a blockbuster clash at the All England Club. Djokovic, who beat No. 23 seed Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain in the semi-finals earlier on Friday, leads Federer 25-22 in their career series, including victories in the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals.

Federer, who registered his 100th Wimbledon match win over Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals on Wednesday, will now attempt to capture the 21st major championship crown of his career in his 31st final. The World No. 3 won the Wimbledon title in 2003-07, 2009, 2012 and 2017. Australia’s Ken Rosewall, who reached the final at 1974 Wimbledon, aged 39 years and 246 days, and two months later at the 1974 US Open, aged 39 years and 310 days, remains the oldest Grand Slam finalist since April 1968.

Nadal stood deep behind the baseline on return of serve and Federer soon picked up on the ploy, exposing the angles of the court and serve and volleying with great frequency. The match, played in breezy conditions at the All England Club, went with serve to the tie-break, but Federer did have a break point on Nadal’s serve at 3-4, 30/40, when the Spaniard’s excellent footwork helped. Nadal got himself out of trouble at 5-6, 40/0, losing three straight points, but in the tie-break raised his game to lead 3/2. From that point, Federer went on the attack, stepping into the court and rushing the net to win five of the next six points to clinch the 52-minute opener. Federer completed the set with a forehand, his 16th winner.

“I thought it was a tough first set with not many chances,” said Federer. “[It] came down to I thought a really good tie-break. I think I served well there, but [I] also came up with some really good returns and rallies. He got off the gates faster with a great lob, I believe, to get the mini break first. As the first set was dominated by a lot of good serving, I thought that was probably a big problem for me. But I was able to get out of that one."

Having won 27 of his 34 service points in the first set, Federer came under pressure in his opening service game of the second set, but continued to back himself at the net. The Swiss saved Nadal’s first break point with a smash and fired a backhand volley to deny the Spaniard on his second opportunity. One game later, it was Nadal’s turn to feel the heat as he recovered from 15/40, but Federer was still able to step inside the baseline. While Nadal’s return positioning, deep behind the baseline, was questioned, he soon won 10 points in a row, capitalising on a lapse in concentration from Federer, who lost his serve to love after a backhand error.

“I think [the] second set got tougher with the sun coming through on the Royal Box end,” said Federer. “So I got broken there. Also [there was] a little bit against the wind on the other side. Rafa was in the zone there. Maybe, also, I didn't serve as well. It was a close match and he was able to take charge after I had a couple chances early on in that second set, so that was tough. I was able to stick to my game plan, stay aggressive, stay offensive. I guess I also started to serve a bit better maybe after that second set."

Nadal carried the momentum, with Federer’s level dropping slightly in a 10-minute period. Federer mis-timed a forehand on approach to the net to give Nadal a 5-1 lead and the Spaniard then calmly closed out the second set with a hold to love — ending with an unreturned serve. Nadal won 30 of 45 points in the set, with 17 of 23 service points won.

As the intensity level increased early in the third set, Federer out-duelled Nadal in the fourth game, showcasing tremendous defence before ripping a backhand winner down the line for a break point. Nadal was then drawn to the net at 30/40, before Federer hit a backhand volley winner into space for a 3-1 advantage. Federer dug himself out of a 15/40 deficit in the next game, saving three break points – with Nadal left to rue missing a second serve return when Federer served at 0/30. Federer started to win the longer rallies, playing aggressively on return of serve, without mistakes to ensure that Nadal was placed on the back foot. The 2008 and 2010 titlist came back from 15/40 at 1-4, but Federer wasn’t to be denied as he soon secured the 37-minute set.

“The early break in the third set, I had a couple of mistakes in that moment. That was a tough moment I needed to resist. The beginning of the third set probably was one of the keys of the match,” said Nadal. “I started to play much better at the end of the match, but it was too late.”

Federer rode the momentum and broke early in the fourth set and later a deep forehand return helped him set up his first match point opportunity at 5-3. Nadal got back to Deuce with a well-placed serve that the Swiss returned long and a second match point chance came and went, with Nadal serving out wide in the Ad court. Upon winning the game for 4-5, Nadal ran to his chair and proceeded to take off the strapping on his left foot.

“I think I won a lot of the important points in the third and fourth sets," said Federer. "There were some brutal rallies in key moments that went my way. I think those might have made the difference today.”

A break point soon went begging with a backhand error to end an 11-stroke rally, and Federer could not convert two further match points, but at the fifth time of asking he earned his 38th match win of the season. Federer pumped his fists in celebration. He struck 51 winners, including 14 aces, saving six of eight break points against Nadal, who committed 25 unforced errors.

"It's been a tough one. I had my chances, but he played a little bit better than me," said Nadal. "Probably I didn't play as good as I did in the previous rounds, and he played well. So he deserves it. Congrats to him."

The 33-year-old Nadal, who captured his 12th Roland Garros trophy (d. Thiem) last month, is now 37-6 on the year, which also includes a ninth Internazionali BNL d'Italia title. He had been attempting to win his third Roland Garros/Wimbledon title double this fortnight (also 2008, 2010). He also became the first player to qualify for the 2019 Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 10-17 November, after his quarter-final win over Sam Querrey at The Championships on Wednesday.

I'm not dreaming right?. This actually happened, Roger Federer beat Nadal in four sets?. Where he actually won the majority of the long rallies?. 

Someone pinch me.  

What a performance from the almost 38 year old Swiss Maestro!. 

My heart was in my throat the entire time during that last game when he was serving for the match. When Nadal got the chance to break for 5-all in the 4th I had flashbacks to 2008. 

I thought OMG no this is not happening again. He's gonna break him for 5-all and win the 4th to take it to a 5th where Roger will suffer another heartbreaking defeat. 

I also almost had a mini breakdown after he lost the 3rd set in a half hour after playing a brilliant first set and winning it in a tie-break.

But Roger held firm, and it took him 5 times but he got over the line. Sublime is the only way I can think to describe his performance in that last set.  

A day before the match I actually had a feeling Roger would win it, because I knew he really wanted to prove the point of you may always be the best on the clay, but I'm still the best on grass.

It was revenge 11 years in the making and it was indeed sweet. 

Roger Federer's 100 Wimbledon wins

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Roger Federer Isn't worried about 'Intense' Roland Garros match against Nadal at Wimbledon

It’s been more than a decade since Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have played at Wimbledon in the 2008 final, which today is still widely considered one of the best matches in history. But the pair has met far more recently — just more than a month ago, in fact — at Roland Garros, with Nadal triumphing in straight sets.

Federer doesn’t think that match holds much relevance heading into their blockbuster showdown at SW19, though.

“Not so much the French Open, I do believe. I feel like conditions were slightly different. It was so windy. It was just insane,” Federer said. “I haven't heard it was going to be the same in a couple of days, so I hope not, even though that would be funny again.”

Nadal won that match 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, with Federer unable to find many inroads against the Spaniard, getting broken six times in the match. Before that, Federer had won five straight FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Nadal dating back to 2015 Basel. Each of those five victories came on hard courts.

“Maybe [the] Australian Open final [is relevant]. Obviously, best-of-five set match, five sets. Then again, I don't know,” Federer said. “It doesn't matter anyway. Who cares. It's about how has he played so far? How have I played so far? I hope it goes my way.

“It's going to be tough. Rafa really can hurt anybody on any surface. He's that good. He's not just a clay-court specialist.”

It’s been 11 years since the pair has competed on grass. They’ve met three times at Wimbledon, battling in the championship match at the All England Club from 2006-08. Federer emerged victorious on the first two occasions, while Nadal earned his first trophy on the hallowed London grass in 2008, defeating Federer in a match that Jon Wertheim detailed in a book called “Strokes of Genius: Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played”.

“[He has] improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing also very different than he used to. [We] haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He's serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points,” Federer said. “It's impressive to see how sort of healthy he's stayed. A lot of them are saying, ‘Oh, it's the end,’ by 2008. Similar to me in '09. We're still here. So it's nice to play each other again.”

Both players have been strong at serve this fortnight. Federer leads the tournament having only been broken three times, and Nadal has only lost his serve four times. The Swiss star isn’t happy with one thing in particular, but is generally pleased with his game heading into the last four.

“I feel good on the court. Even if I'm down a set or down a break, no hurry there. I stay calm. I feel like I have the 1-2 punch sort of under control. I'm serving good. I'm going in phases in returning,” Federer said. “It's been very different to play Berrettini in the last match where he's serving big. I was chipping a lot today, I was coming over all the time. That obviously takes some getting used to.

“Overall I'm just very happy how I'm hitting the ball. Feel good off the baseline, too, which is clearly going to be important maybe for the next match.”

I am choosing to believe you Roger, doesn't mean I won't be a nervous rack on Friday. I'm not sure I'll be able to handle it honestly. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Roger Federer's 100: 10 Memorable Match Wins at Wimbledon

Roger Federer has today become the first singles player in Grand Slam championship history to record 100 match wins at a single major. The Swiss superstar, a winner of a record eight titles at The Championships, hit the milestone after he beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori on Centre Court in the Wimbledon quarter-finals on Wednesday. He is now 100-12 lifetime at the grass-court major. takes a looks at 10 of his memorable match wins at Wimbledon.

Win No. 1: 2001 first round, d. Christophe Rochus (BEL) 62 63 62 

Three years on from winning the junior singles and doubles titles at the All England Club, Federer finally broke his two-match losing streak in first-round matches at Wimbledon, beating the older of the two Rochus brothers, Christophe, in 66 minutes. Losing just 14 service points, World No. 15 Federer hit 18 aces. He’d previously fallen to Jiri Novak in 1999 and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 2000.

Win No. 4: 2001 fourth round, d. Pete Sampras (USA) 76(7) 57 64 67(2) 75

Federer’s life changed on 3 July 2001 at 6:20pm, when, after almost eight years of dominance on the manicured lawns, seven-time champion Sampras left Centre Court, denied the 100th grass-court match win of his illustrious career. "I think Roger is something extra-special," said Sampras, afterwards. Federer broke Sampras’ 29-match winning streak at Wimbledon, dating back to the 1996 quarter-final loss to Richard Krajicek, admitting, "A lot of friends had told me, 'This year I think you can beat him.' I'd played a great year [and]… I knew I had a chance. But it was not like 100 per cent. I mean, he's the man on grass." Federer, playing his ninth major championship, dropped to his knees in celebration, but would lose in four sets to Tim Henman in the quarter-finals, two days later.

Win No. 11: 2003 final, d. Mark Philippoussis (AUS) 76(5) 62 76(3)

Federer held his nerve until breaking down in tears as he captured his first major championship crown with a 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) victory over Philippoussis, who had been told two years earlier he may never play again when a serious knee injury left him in a wheelchair. "I proved it to everybody and it was a big relief because there was pressure from all sides, especially from myself, to do better in Slams," said Federer, who had needed treatment for a back injury against Feliciano Lopez in the fourth round. "There is no guarantee of anything, but I knew I had the game and I have always believed in myself. I kept my level up here in the semi-finals [against Andy Roddick] and the final and to lift the trophy is an absolute dream."

Win No. 39: 2007 final, d. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 76(7) 46 76(3) 26 62

The World No. 1 emulated Bjorn Borg by winning his fifth straight Wimbledon title, coming through a huge scare against Nadal in their second consecutive final at the All England Club, over three hours and 45 minutes. Nadal broke twice to force a decider, when Federer saved four break points before striking a forehand winner down the line for a 4-2 lead en route to victory. With Borg watching from the Royal Box, Federer said, "Each one is special but to play a champion like Rafa, it means a lot and equalling Bjorn's record as well. He's a fantastic player and he's going to be around so much longer so I'm happy with every one I get before he takes them all! It was such a close match. I told him at the net that he deserved it as well. I'm the lucky one today."

Win No. 50: 2009 quarter-finals, d. Ivo Karlovic (CRO) 63 76(5) 76(3)

Karlovic had held serve 80 times over four matches, but Federer broke the giant Croatian in his second service game and committed only seven unforced errors in one hour and 43 minutes. "I think especially on grass, all my strength becomes even better," said Federer, after his 50th victory at The Championships that propelled him to his 21st straight Grand Slam championship semi-final. "I become so much more dangerous."

Win No. 52: 2009 final, d. Andy Roddick (USA) 57 76(6) 76(5) 36 16-14

Federer bounced back from his 2008 final loss to Nadal by capturing a record-breaking 15th major championship crown 12 months on, in a tense and gruelling 16-14 fifth set victory over Andy Roddick, the player he also beat in the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finals. Roddick had secured the only two breaks of serve in the first four sets and the decider went with serve until the 30th game when the American, who had not converted two break point chances at 8-8, began to tire. Sampras flew in from Los Angeles to witness Federer break his major title haul. The Swiss reclaimed No. 1 in the ATP Rankings with his sixth Wimbledon crown over four hours and 15 minutes.

Win No. 53: 2010 first round, d. Alejandro Falla (COL) 57 46 64 76(1) 60

Federer avoided one of the biggest upsets in tennis history, over three hours and 18 minutes on Centre Court, recovering from 4-5 down in the fourth set, when World No. 60 Falla had served for a place in the second round. "I definitely got very lucky out there," said Federer, who had beaten Falla 6-1, 6-2 in Halle, two weeks earlier. "I have lost many matches this year which I should have won, this is one I should have lost but I came through. But that is sometimes how grass court tennis works. It came as a bit of a shock and it's not something I was that prepared for, but you have to draw from experience and physical strength. I live to fight another day." Falla would later admit her got nervous when serving for the match in the fourth set. "I was thinking that I have a big opportunity to beat Federer here," the Colombian said. "I just doubted a little bit at that moment for the first two points, and then he played good points."

Win No. 64: 2012 third round, d. Julien Benneteau (FRA) 46 67(3) 62 76(6) 61 

Federer had dropped only nine games in his first two matches, but struggled against the power of Benneteau in the first two sets and was contemplating his first third-round exit at a Grand Slam championship since 2004 Roland Garros. Federer regrouped under the Centre Court roof to force a decider, which saw No. 29 seed Benneteau receive treatment for an injury after the first game. "I did start to play better and better as the match went on, that's kind of what I expected of myself once a set down," said Federer, who came through the 26-minute fifth set. "That I guess comes with experience, but experience alone is not going to win you the match. I had to push deep and extremely hard, and I'm very happy with the way things sort of happened at the end."

Win No. 93: 2017 final, d. Marin Cilic (CRO) 63 61 64

Federer became the first man to capture the Wimbledon title eight times with victory over Cilic, who struggled with a blister on his left foot and broke down in tears in the second set. In sealing his first crown at the All England Club for five years, Federer extended his record to 19 Grand Slam trophies and at 35 years of age became the oldest man in the Open Era to lift the Wimbledon trophy. Watched by his wife, Mirka, and their four children, Federer said, "I think the younger twins think this is a nice view and a nice playground - hopefully one day they'll understand. They come for the finals. It's a wonderful moment for the family and my team. This one is for us. Thank you to Wimbledon, thank you Switzerland."

Win No. 100: 2019 quarter-finals, d. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 46 61 64 64

Closing in on his 38th birthday, evergreen Federer move through to his 13th Wimbledon semi-final, where he'll play his long-time rival Nadal, in his 21st straight visit to the major in south-west London. Nishikori broke Federer in the very first game, and came close to a 4-1 advantage, before the Swiss started his comeback in the second set en route to his 100th match win at Wimbledon. Federer is now the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam championship semi-final since Jimmy Connors, aged 39 years and six days, at the 1991 US Open.

Roger Federer wins historic 100th Wimbledon match sets up meeting with Nadal

The number ‘100’ is proving an important one for Roger Federer in 2019.

Earlier this year, the 37-year-old Swiss earned his 100th tour-level title in Dubai. And on Wednesday, Federer beat No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 to earn his 100th Wimbledon match win, advancing to the semi-finals at the All England Club for a record 13th time.

Eight-time champion Federer is the first player in history to earn 100 victories at a Grand Slam championship. Former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors had been closest to accomplishing the feat before Federer’s run this fortnight. The American won 98 matches at the US Open.

"It's special... It's been a lot of years I've been coming here. That's given me the opportunity to win a lot, naturally. I didn't think of it while I was playing today. Actually not at all, not once. Then as I'm signing, the guy says, 'Congratulations for your 100,'" Federer said. "It's nice, because if I look back at the hundred that have happened, some were so incredibly cool. Today again was a big match going into the semis [to face] Rafa, now that he won. A hundred wins here at Wimbledon. Who would have thought? I didn't, for sure."
Most Wins By Grand Slam
 Tournament Player Wins
 Australian Open Roger Federer 97
 Roland Garros Rafael Nadal 93
 Wimbledon Roger Federer 100
 US Open Jimmy Connors 98

The second seed’s triumph also sets the stage for his first FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting against Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon since their legendary 2008 final. Nadal defeated American Sam Querrey on No. 1 Court to advance to the semi-finals.

"[He has] improved so much over the years on this surface. He's playing also very different than he used to. Haven't played each other in a long, long time on this surface. He's serving way different. I remember back in the day how he used to serve, and now how much bigger he's serving, how much faster he finishes points," Federer said. "A lot of them are saying, 'Oh, it's the end,' by 2008. Similar to me in '09. We're still here, so it's nice to play each other again."

After losing his first set of the tournament against South African Lloyd Harris, Federer won 12 consecutive sets to cruise into the quarter-finals. But Nishikori, who beat Federer in their most recent match at last year’s Nitto ATP Finals, came out firing from the first point, going up 2-0 and earning three break points to take a 3-0, double-break lead, before the Swiss was able to hold and get on the board.

Nishikori was succeeding at the start of the match by taking the ball early and earning the first strike in rallies, keeping Federer from controlling points himself. And even though the Swiss maintained contact by avoiding going down a double-break, Nishikori took care of his serve, saving the lone break point he faced in the opener to take the lead.

From there, Federer significantly raised his level, punctuating a break to love in his first return game of the second set with a massive inside-in forehand winner. He used the momentum of that moment to cruise through the set, making just one unforced error in the set to even the match.

Nishikori, who made five straight Grand Slam quarter-finals, did not let Federer race away, saving a break point in the first game of the third set. But at 3-3, Federer got a ton of topspin on a forehand approach shot, dipping it right onto the baseline for a winner to break.

As he did throughout the match, Nishikori battled hard to avoid going down two sets to one, lacing a crosscourt forehand return winner at 4-5, 30/30 to earn a chance to get back on serve. But Federer was undeterred, staving off that chance and later crushing a swinging forehand volley to take the set.

Federer broke at 4-4 in the fourth set after Nishikori missed just long to end a long rally. And the Swiss wasted no time moving into the last four, holding to love.

The difference was Federer's serve, as he won 81 per cent of his first-serve points compared to just 57 per cent for Nishikori. In addition to saving five of the six break points he faced, the Swiss was also ruthlessly efficient in the forecourt against one of the best passing shot players in the sport, winning 81 per cent (25/31) of his net points.

Federer will meet Nadal at Wimbledon for the fourth time. They clashed on the historic London lawns each year from 2006-08, with Federer triumphing on the first two occasions to lift the trophy and Nadal claiming his maiden crown at The Championships in 2008. Nadal, who beat Federer in the Roland Garros semi-finals, leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 24-15.

"I feel like conditions were slightly different. It was so windy, as you know. It was just insane. I haven't heard it was going to be the same in a couple of days, so I hope not, even though that would be funny again," Federer said of their recent clash in Paris. "It's going to be tough. Rafa really can hurt anybody on any surface. I mean, he's that good. He's not just a clay-court specialist."

Did You Know?

Federer is trying to become the first man in the Open Era to win five Grand Slam titles after turning 30. He is one of four men to have won four major trophies in the Open Era after his 30th birthday, alongside Rod Laver, Nadal and Ken Rosewall.

Monday, July 08, 2019

Roger Federer is one match away from match win #100 at Wimbledon

Matteo Berrettini walked onto Centre Court on Monday at the All England Club with more grass-court wins in 2019 (12) than anyone. But his opponent was Roger Federer, who showed why he is an eight-time Wimbledon champion.

Federer dominated the 23-year-old Italian 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in just one hour and 13 minutes, advancing to his 17th quarter-final at The Championships.

"Today was excellent. I was very happy," Federer said. "I was expecting a tough match and a close one with not many chances. It was actually quite the opposite, so that was great."

The 37-year-old Swiss lost his first set of the fortnight against 2018 Next Gen ATP Finals alternate Lloyd Harris, the first time he dropped a set in his first-round match at Wimbledon since 2010, when he came from two sets down against Alejandro Falla. But since, Federer has rolled, winning 12 consecutive sets.

Federer is trying to break his own record by lifting his ninth trophy at The Championships. But first, if he defeats Kei Nishikori in the last eight, he will earn his 100th Wimbledon victory, becoming the first player in the Open Era to earn 100 match wins at a Grand Slam tournament.

"I think it's going to be tough, plus he's getting into quarters with a lot of energy. I remember some of the Slams recently he arrived into the later stages with maybe some tough matches going into it. So far it's been really easy for him," Federer said. "I think he's ready. I'm a big fan of his game. I think he's got one of the best backhands in the game that we have right now. He's a great return player. Solid mentally. I always thought he was a great talent."

Match Stats: Federer vs. Berrettini
Player Winners Unforced Errors
Roger Federer 23 5
Matteo Berrettini 14 23

Federer set the tone early by blocking almost all of Berrettini’s thunderous serves right back into play. And throughout the match, once he neutralised the Italian’s serve, he found himself in a strong position in rallies, attacking the No. 17 seed’s backhand and coming to net when the opportunity presented itself.

"He didn't have his best day. I know that, as well. I was dialed in. I was able to get a lot of balls back, I think because of the conditions as well. I think if it would have been faster, then again we would have seen the match that I was expecting with few chances here and there," Federer said. "I was just able to maybe outmanoeuvre him with my slice. He couldn't hurt me enough with his forehand, which I thought was going to be maybe tough to manage today. Everything seemed to go easier.

"Eventually you know how it is, when you're down two sets to love so quickly, I mean, it's hard to figure things out. It's hard to change. I just think the conditions also didn't allow him to do that today."

Berrettini held to love in his first service game, but his success on serve did not last longer than that. Federer broke for 3-1 in the opening set by crushing an overhead smash, and Berrettini then made a backhand error to hand the second seed a second break in the opener.

Federer had his third break chance of the match at 1-1 in the second set. And although he did not get much pace on an approach shot, Berrettini missed a crosscourt forehand passing shot wide to give the World No. 3 the break. After Berrettini dumped a forehand into the net to give Federer another break, the Swiss took a two-set lead after 46 minutes with a heavy forehand to force an error.

If Berrettini was going to follow in Kevin Anderson’s footsteps, as the South African overcame a two-set deficit against Federer in last year’s quarter-finals, the World No. 20 needed a fast start in the third set. But instead of rushing forward to put away a high forehand volley when facing break point at 0-0 in the third, he let it drop too low and missed an attempted forehand drop volley into the net.

Berrettini maintained good spirits though. He tried to run around his backhand to hit a forehand on another break point, but Federer’s shot took a tough bounce off the sideline chalk, and Berrettini fell trying to make contact, cracking a laugh. Federer closed out his win by punishing a forehand volley into the open court.

In the next round, he will take a 7-3 FedEx ATP Head2Head series lead against Nishikori, who battled past Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 43 minutes.

"Kukushkin is not an easy player on grass," Nishikori said. "He was playing good tennis. I did really well to manage his tennis."

Nishikori is into the quarter-finals of his fifth consecutive Grand Slam championship. The only other players who have made the last eight in each of those events are Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. Against Kukushkin, the Japanese star converted five of his 13 break chances and won 61 per cent of his second-serve points, while the Kukushkin won only 44 per cent of his second-serve points.

The eighth seed has emerged victorious in 21 consecutive Grand Slam matches against players not named Djokovic or Nadal. He will take confidence onto the court against Federer having defeated the Swiss in their most recent meeting at last year's Nitto ATP Finals. Federer won their only Grand Slam battle at the 2017 Australian Open in five sets, and he also beat Nishikori on grass at 2014 Halle.

"I'm sure that I have to play good tennis to beat Roger, because he's best player on the grass," Nishikori said. "I think he seems to be playing good this week, past two weeks, so... I'm sure it's going to be tough. But I feel like I am very confident this week, playing good tennis."

Did You Know?

The Big Three of Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic dominated play on Monday. The trio combined to lose just 19 games in nine sets.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Roger Federer into round of 16 'Manic Monday' at Wimbledon

Eight-time champion Roger Federer was pushed early in his third-round Wimbledon clash against No. 27 seed Lucas Pouille, appearing in danger of dropping the first set for the second time this week. But one 10-minute surge was all the 37-year-old Swiss needed to grab the match with both hands and move into the second week at The Championships for the 17th time.

Federer defeated Australian Open semi-finalist Pouille 7-5, 6-2, 7-6(4) in two hours and minutes, becoming the first player in history to earn 350 Grand Slam singles wins. He is also the first man in the Open Era to reach the fourth round at Wimbledon 17 times, breaking a tie with Jimmy Connors.

"I'm very happy how it's going so far. I thought it was a good match with Lucas today," Federer said. "Of course, I hope it's going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me."

Pouille reached just one tour-level quarter-final since advancing to the last four in Melbourne this January. But the 25-year-old came out firing in his second appearance in the third round at SW19. The Frenchman went blow-for-blow with Federer in the early going, engaging in fast-paced rallied on the baseline with the 102-time tour-level titlist.

But Federer proved capable of maintaining his level in those types of exchanges, and that was key in determining the patterns of the match. The second seed hit 39 winners to just 14 unforced errors to advance to a battle against No. 17 seed and recent MercedesCup champion Matteo Berrettini, who defeated No. 24 seed Diego Schwartzman in a five-set thriller.

The biggest moment of the match arguably came at 5-5 in the first set, when Pouille earned a break point that, if converted, would have allowed him to serve for the opener. Federer used two overhead smashes to stave off that chance, and never looked back from there, winning the next six games to take a commanding lead.

"I'm happy that I'm able to raise my level of play," Federer said. "There was a great run of games midway through the second, also after winning the first. I like seeing moments like that in a match for me."

Pouille recovered well in the third set, using good depth to keep Federer from completely exerting his will on Centre Court. The Frenchman saved the first match point he faced while serving at 5-6, eventually forcing a tie-break. But Federer used a strong return to take control of a point on his first return point of the tie-break, and he stormed on from there. The 19-time tour-level grass-court titlist closed out his triumph when Pouille hit a backhand into the net.

Federer has never previously faced Berrettini, who has climbed from No. 81 to No. 20 in the ATP Rankings since the start of Wimbledon last year. The Italian saved three match points in the fourth set before outlasting Schwartzman 6-7(5), 7-6(2), 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-3 in four hours and 19 minutes, falling to the Court 18 grass after Schwartzman missed a backhand on his first match point. It was the longest match of the tournament thus far.

The 23-year-old has now won 12 of his 13 tour-level grass-court matches this year, despite having been 1-3 on the surface previously. Berrettini won two fewer points than Schwartzman overall, but he struck 22 aces and hit 75 winners in his victory.

"[It was] a really tough one. I wasn't feeling so good. I guess also because he was playing good, he was annoying me, the way he plays," Berrettini said. "I was a little bit nervous, too. But the good thing is the match was best of five, so I had time to figure it out and to improve my mind. It was a tough one, definitely."

Berrettini admitted he cheered for Federer when he was growing up, but stopped when he began to see Federer in the same tournaments draws as him. To the Italian, facing the Swiss is a dream come true. But for Federer, he expects a challenge.

"I don't know him very well on top of it. So that makes it a bit more tricky, as well. I saw him play a little bit in Halle. Saw his run, of course, in Stuttgart. Now he's backing it up here again. That's not easy to do, especially when you're sort of newer on the Tour," Federer said, before cracking a smile. "I'm expecting a tough one. I hope he has no energy left after today. I'm sure he'll recover. He's young. I'm sure we'll see a tough match on Monday."

Did You Know?
Federer is into the Round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the 65th time, extending his record for most trips to the fourth round of a major in the Open Era.