ATP Tennis 360

November 25, 2009 8:19 AM

Roger Federer, the night of the champion

Roger Federer became the second man in tennis history, after Ivan Lendl in 1989, to have regained the year-end n.1 spot. He did in "his" London after defeating Andy Murray 36 63 61 with a stunning display of attacking tennis.



In a glimpse of "benevolence" towards the 17,500 fans who packed the greatest tennis arena in the world, hoping to see them again in the much expected final of the tournament, Roger repeated the diesel start he showed against Verdasco. Andy gained the light of the stage with a first 23-shots rally, an early break, and a display of aggressivity so rare considering his hyper-defensivistic evolution of this period. Roger played shorter than usual, and ainly on Murray's backhand, but the Briton alternating slice and top-spin hurt the Swiss, so similar in the game to the "bad copy of himself" breaking the first racket as a pro against Gilles Simon.

MURRAY HIT.jpgRoger mis-hit a number of forehands (only one winner and 12 errors in the first set) and struggled with his first serve percentage. In the Cincinnati semi, earlier this year, when Roger conquered his third victory in the h2hs in 9 meetings, the Swiss sealed the first set 62 with only the 36% of first serves. In the London night, the percentage was slightly higher but the result completely opposite in the first set, highlighted by the Sampras' style smash by an extra-dynamic Murray (so different by the "abortion" from Verdasco two days ago, who hit one on his own shoes). At the end of the set, from some angle of the by no imagination partisan crowd lifted a chant, "Roger, Roger". In that moment, the match changed.


The second set opened with Murray holding a marathon 14-points game serving only 4 good first balls while Federer started playing finally aggressively, focused, centred and well inside the baseline. The good old Roger dusted his shirt and racket and went on Murray's throat with 7 forehand winners in the second set (19 the total count of winners in the set) and serving with verve, accuracy and an outstanding 94% of points transformed. When Roger broke to 4-2 with a gorgeous inside-out forehand on Murray's backhand side, the cracks widened on his self-confidence.


Then there was space only for the inexorable flow of Roger Federer in his pomp.


The success, anyway, hasn't guaranteed yet the Swiss champion a berth in the semis. To be sure of coming through the RR he must defeat Juan Martin Del Potro. He could theorically hope to pass even losing against Palito, only in case the then eliminated Verdasco should defeat Andy Murray. Extremely, if Roger should lose to Delpo in three sets and Murray shoud win against Verdasco in as many sets, at that point the game percentage would decide the two spots in the Group A of the World Tour Finals.

A Member Of