I thought it would be neat to have a thread where we can analyse and describe Roger's matches. This would serve two purposes:
1. Give some insight for the benefit of those who did not see a particular match.
2. In a few months time, or a year from now it would be interesting to look back on some of those matches and compare them and/or reflect on them.
So, I will start:
Tournament: Qatar Exxon Mobil Open
Location: Doha, Qatar
Date: Jan 8th, 2005
Opponent: Ivan Ljubicic
Result: Federer def. Ljubicic 6-3,6-1
In the beginning of the match Ivan started very nervously and had to save breakpoint in his opening service game. He then was improving and in early stages of the set really looked like he might threaten Rogi.
Roger was returning well and getting into just about every single one of Ivan's service games but there was a distinct feeling throughout the match that he would have difficulty in penetrating the big Croat's defenses and would have to force the errors out of him by changing pace and using the angles which is what hapenned.
After breaking to go up 4-2 Roger had to save 3 break-points (0-40) and did so without doing anything too special, just keeping good length and enough pace to neutralize Ivan's big shots, and eventually forced the errors out of him to escape being broken and holding his serve. He went on to win the 1st set with a routine service game thereafter.
The first game of the second set was a bit of a struggle but in the end Federer's persistence paid off and the pressure that he put on Ivan forced him to go for too much and he double faulted to give Roger the break.
From this point on, Roger lifted his game and there was a real feeling of Ivan beginning to wilt in face of Federer's consistent play. Federer's great defense and him forcing Ivan to go for that one extra shot each time paid off and in the end Federer ground him down mentally and broke twice more to wrap up a 6-3,6-1 victory.
Things to take note of:
- As was previously mentioned, for much of the match Roger couldn't just blast shots past Ivan even if he did get a short ball because of the Croat's big wingspan and his ability to soak up the power- even when Ivan was forced to play defensive shots he ended up playing them with great depth thus neutralizing Roger's attack and many times managing to turn the tables on Roger and being able to attack himself.
- Roger was volleying sparingly- he did when he had a good opening but was wary of Ivan's passing shot abilities.
- Roger used the bakchand slice to great effect which was a great tactic to use: it forced Ivan to bend down and a big man like that is not comfortable in such a position which resulted in weaker replies or errors which allowed Roger to take control of the point.
- The topspin backhand was working very well today too, especially the down the line which often left Ivan with no answers and were either clean winners or resulted in forced errors or weaker replies from Ivan which allowed Roger to finish off the point.
- When he needed it, Roger was able to call upon good solid serving varying between slice serves out wide to the deuce court, kickers out wide to the ad, or just flatter serves down the T on both sides of the court.
- Ivan did not serve one single ace
) which is a tribute to just how mighty well Roger's returns were today.
Summary: a well deserved victory for Roger- wins his 1st title of 2005 and hopefully many many more to come