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No thread? Great match this. Felix on fire in set one.

Slight choke by Herbert at the end, although he also saved a few match points.


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From what I saw, it was easily the most entertaining match Felix played all year. Herbert was super clutch at times and made so great shots. Felix did well mentally not to lose this one. Herbert never even had a break point and somehow had 2 match points. Doubt Felix has much left in the tank but he has a winnable match against Gerasimov. I would not have been mad at all if he lost in the first round so this is just gravy!

Certainly worth it to have a look at these highlights for some really amazing points:

 

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Saving match points 2 matches in a row? lol I guess Felix really wants to prove he isn't a mental midget
 

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Also, going from those highlights, FAA saved at least 3 match points.
 

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Saving match points 2 matches in a row? lol I guess Felix really wants to prove he isn't a mental midget
Having watched this, I'm not sure this would be the match that proves that. He should have won this in an easy two sets and kind of allowed it to turn it into this mess. If Herbert didn't completely choke the last 3-4 points away, we're talking about something else right now.
 

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Having watched this, I'm not sure this would be the match that proves that. He should have won this in an easy two sets and kind of allowed it to turn it into this mess. If Herbert didn't completely choke the last 3-4 points away, we're talking about something else right now.
I see. Indeed, Herbert seemed extremely tight at the end. So he choked before Felix could, essentially.

I guess it's something.
 

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I see. Indeed, Herbert seemed extremely tight at the end. So he choked before Felix could, essentially.

I guess it's something.
I think it would be accurate to say they both choked, but Herbert choked harder. If Felix was to lose this match, it likely would have gone down as the worst loss of his career statistically (he won 57% of the points).

But hey, winning is better than losing and he did at least hit an ace to end it.
 

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What's actually become quite surprising is just how bad a returner Felix is right now and how serve-dominant he is. I never would have predicted that a few years ago. His RPW% (return points won) of 34.9% is only slightly better than his compatriots Shapovalov (34.6%) and Raonic (34.3%) over the past 52 weeks, both of whom are notoriously bad returners and always have been (especially before Denis started chipping his returns more).

But the odd thing is that's only become a trend since he got on the main tour. At the futures/challenger level, he was far, far better (near 40% RPW which, if he posted that kind of number at the ATP level, would place him in the top 10 in the world). It seems to me that he has the tools and reactions to be a good returner, but his timing is regularly way off. I guess we'll see how that develops.
 

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Herbert has this ability to somehow make it close when he's clearly on the losing end or win a match outright that he totally shouldn't deserve to win. I've seen him labeled as a "choker", but that's probably because when he "chokes" he tends to do so in style. In actuality, though, he can be incredibly clutch, saving one gazillion break points in a row.

On the other hand, FAA is anything but THAT, so this match makes all the sense in the world.
 

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What's actually become quite surprising is just how bad a returner Felix is right now and how serve-dominant he is. I never would have predicted that a few years ago. His RPW% (return points won) of 34.9% is only slightly better than his compatriots Shapovalov (34.6%) and Raonic (34.3%) over the past 52 weeks, both of whom are notoriously bad returners and always have been (especially before Denis started chipping his returns more).

But the odd thing is that's only become a trend since he got on the main tour. At the futures/challenger level, he was far, far better (near 40% RPW which, if he posted that kind of number at the ATP level, would place him in the top 10 in the world). It seems to me that he has the tools and reactions to be a good returner, but his timing is regularly way off. I guess we'll see how that develops.
Personally, I don't think this is an odd trend. At the futures/challenger level Felix played mostly on clay courts where you will have more chances on the return. Now he's playing mostly on hard courts, even more so this year than last year when he played the South America clay swing.

Now I agree with you that he could get better on the return and it wouldn't surprise me if he and his team are spending more time in the serve department during training since it's an issue that needed to be fixed. It's not difficult to see that his success in Rotterdam had a lot to do with him serving great and even his first 2 wins this week. For Felix, he needs to between 65% to 70% first serves in and try to limit double faults to less than 1.5 per set and I think he'll have chances to win most matches he plays when serving like that.

Unfortunately, he served at 58% first serves in and averaged 2.5 double faults against Monfils which didn't do him any favors last week. I'm not saying he would have won if he hit his service numbers (He still needs to better construct points from the baseline and make less errors). However, the scoreline would of been a lot tighter for sure if he served better.
 

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Felix is so athletic that he can get to anything but I think he's too far up on service returns, he needs to play back a little more and get them into play. I'm not expecting Felix to become a serve bot over time but very, very good at serving and his game will be built around that.
 

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Personally, I don't think this is an odd trend. At the futures/challenger level Felix played mostly on clay courts where you will have more chances on the return. Now he's playing mostly on hard courts, even more so this year than last year when he played the South America clay swing.

Now I agree with you that he could get better on the return and it wouldn't surprise me if he and his team are spending more time in the serve department during training since it's an issue that needed to be fixed. It's not difficult to see that his success in Rotterdam had a lot to do with him serving great and even his first 2 wins this week. For Felix, he needs to between 65% to 70% first serves in and try to limit double faults to less than 1.5 per set and I think he'll have chances to win most matches he plays when serving like that.

Unfortunately, he served at 58% first serves in and averaged 2.5 double faults against Monfils which didn't do him any favors last week. I'm not saying he would have won if he hit his service numbers (He still needs to better construct points from the baseline and make less errors). However, the scoreline would of been a lot tighter for sure if he served better.
It's not odd in the sense that he got worse when he jumped to the ATP level. That's pretty standard. What is odd is just how big a difference it has been. He went from one of the better returners at the challenger level to one of the worst on the ATP tour. He's been able to maintain good ATP results largely because his first serve is much improved over the past couple of years.

I certainly think there's a lot more growth in terms of his returning based on what we saw when he was 16-17 years old.
 

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Felix is so athletic that he can get to anything but I think he's too far up on service returns, he needs to play back a little more and get them into play. I'm not expecting Felix to become a serve bot over time but very, very good at serving and his game will be built around that.
Yes, I feel like he should also probably move back further than he is and just take bigger swings. He's not really adept at blocking returns back (like, say, Djokovic or Goffin) and he just seems to miss returns completely sometimes because of court position.
 
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