Finals previews and predictions: Federer vs. Zverev, Cilic vs. Lopez

A blockbuster final in Halle will pit Roger Federer against Alexander Zverev on Sunday afternoon. At Queen’s Club, meanwhile, the winner’s trophy is coming down to a showdown between Marin Cilic and Feliciano Lopez.

Halle: (1) Roger Federer vs. (4) Alexander Zverev

Federer will contest his 11th Gerry Weber Open final and will be seeking his ninth title at this event when he takes the court for Sunday’s enticing final against Zverev. The 35-year-old Swiss is 55-6 lifetime in Halle, where he first triumphed in 2003 but had not reached the championship round since 2015 before beating Karen Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(5) on Saturday. Federer, who preceded that result by taking care of Yuichi Sugita, Mischa Zverev, and Florian Mayer in straight sets, is also 23-2 this season.

This marks the third career meeting between Federer and Zverev, with the head-to-head series tied up at one win apiece. Federer got the job done 6-3, 7-5 last spring in Rome before Zverev scored a 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-3 upset in the semifinals of this same Halle tournament. The 20-year-old German is up to No. 12 in the world thanks in part to capturing the biggest title of his career in Rome just a few weeks ago. Maintaining his fine form despite a relative disadvantageous surface change to grass, Zverev advanced to the final by defeating Paolo Lorenzi, Philipp Kohlschreiber, Roberto Bautista Agut, and Richard Gasquet. The fourth seed is playing well, but Federer is 100 percent, well-rested, and should be able to exact revenge for last year’s setback.

Pick: Federer in 2



Queen’s Club: (4) Marin Cilic vs. Feliciano Lopez

Cilic and Lopez will be squaring off for the eighth time in their careers and for the second time this month when they meet again on Sunday in the final of the AEGON Championships. The head-to-head series stands at 5-2 in favor of Cilic, who just recently thrashed Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 in round three of the French Open. With that the seventh-ranked Croat extended his winning streak against the Spaniard to four straight matches dating back to 2013. This stretch includes two Queen’s Club victories (4-6, 7-6(5), 7-5 in the 2013 second round and 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in last year’s opening round).

Cilic’s 2017 has been somewhat of a roller-coaster, with a whole host of bad losses but also a title on the red clay of Istanbul. So far at Queen’s Club, the 2012 champion has taken out John Isner, Stefan Kozlov, Donald Young, and ‘s-Hertogenbosch winner Gilles Muller, dropping only one set to Muller in the process. Lopez booked his spot in the final by beating No. 2 seed Stan Wawrinka, Jeremy Chardy, Tomas Berdych, and Grigor Dimitrov. The 35-year-old’s lone straight-set success came at Chardy’s expense in round two. Grass is a good surface for both veterans and Lopez’s prowess on the green stuff may not be quite enough to overcome what is sure to be some fatigue in addition to his disastrous recent history against Cilic.

Pick: Cilic in 3

119 Comments on Finals previews and predictions: Federer vs. Zverev, Cilic vs. Lopez

  1. Is Feli going to retire?

    This third set has been quite the battle. If Feli is near the end of his career, then this is the way to go out! He’s certainly giving it his all.

    • Should have included bionic left shoulder too. Poor Feli if he is to lose! I don’t see him in the Eastbourne draw. Terrible to be a finalist again. He has to WIN here! Muller isn’t in Eastbourne either. It’s a pretty tame draw in Eastbourne. And Antolya, the new 250 this week — Thiem the #1 seed. When I confirmed the courts were grass, I was stunned. The draw screamed Clay!

      Cilic is a fighter tho at times like this….

  2. The TB getting very exciting now! Cilic please take this MP!
    Oh no, 6-6 now. Unbelievable tennis by both!

  3. Very happy for Feli. Vamos!

    Feel bad for Marin.

    Cilic isn’t in the Eastbourne or (Antolya lol) one.

    There’s always Boodles this week.

    • RC, Cilic is good enough on grass now, no need any exho matches. He should rest now and gets ready for Wimbledon.

      Gracious speech by Cilic! Yeah, he’s right it’s a high quality match ( unlike that Halle final!).

    • And I’m one who dislike Feli! Never like Feli, not ever! Any Spaniard who prefers Fed over Rafa will never get my respect!

  4. I’m a pretty big Cilic fan so I’m pretty sad but nice to see Lopez take a title again with that nice grass court game of his. Great final.

    • Benny, Feli said he longed for this title, he’s being playing here for fifteen years and waiting so long for this title!

      Cilic will have his chances next time. Cilic has a big game but he needs to find a way to return the lefty big serves! I think he’ll have problem facing Rafa, a lefty. Perhaps he has better chances vs a righty Fed? After all he’s not afraid of Fed, after beating him at the USO.

      I think Cilic has more problem vs Djoko and then Rafa. He has beaten Murray a few times.

    • Yeah, I agree. Cilic will go further than Feli at Wimbledon. Will be nice to see Fed vs Feli at Wimbledon this year, Feli has never beaten Fed, too much respect for him, even when he came so close one year, at Madrid if I’m not wrong.

    • Same here. Feli could make QF though. But Cilic could go as far as the final imo and who knows what happens or if he gets there.

  5. Haven’t been able to watch much from Queens or Halle but took time out to watch today. What a match. Right up to the bitter end impossible to predict the winner โ€“ real edge of the seat stuff. High quality tennis from start to finish.
    So happy for Feli he finally lifted the trophy in the autumn of his career.

  6. It’s easy to say that the Halle final was one-sided because Zverev didn’t play well, but there’s no question that a big part of why he didn’t play well was because Federer didn’t let him. It’s like how when dudes played poorly against Rafa on clay this year and got destroyed by him, a big reason they played poorly was often because Rafa dictated and didn’t let them play their game! It’s no different with today’s Halle final. Sure, Zverev could have played better, but only to a certain extent when the guy across the net won’t let you…

    Zverev says, “Of course I could have played better, but he didn’t really let me play my best tennis. He messed with the ball a lot. He played very aggressive… I think he deserved to win.”
    That sounds exactly like what we heard Rafa’s decimated opponents say post-match all throughout the clay season! That’s what Rafa and Federer do when they are playing well- they don’t allow you to play your game. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Er… Khachanov didn’t have such a problem though. The thing is, Khachanov didn’t let Fed have his way whilst Zverev did. I would think if Zverev came out serving like he did in his last service game, at least he would make it competitive even though he might not win.

      Zverev has the weapons to make it competitive, at least in holding his own serve, but he was poor even in his own service games. He has more weapons and more experiences playing on grass than Khachanov yet he fared worse.

      • The Sascha that beat RBA could have at least made the final vs Federer competitive, possibly have taken a set, and made it close in the decider, imo.

        But it’s not Fed’s fault — Sascha needs to get stronger and be more prepared: he has last through tough matches and be able to compete well in a final. I don’t think Sascha will go deep at Wimbledon.

        A win is a win – Fed will take confidence from it, as he should.

        There’s lot’s of examples — like Kei Nishikori US Open 2014. Kei got through a tough draw but he wasn’t the best competition for Cilic in the final. That’s not Cilic’s fault and it doesn’t take away from his great win.

        Sascha beat Federer last year in Halle, and it was because Fed was Crap…even I will admit that!

      • That’s what I meant by “when they play well”. When I watch the Zverev match, I see a Fed with much better timing and much more aggression than he appeared to have against Khachanov and the others. He looked to me like a different player against Zverev than against Khachanov. It looked to me like he went into the match against Zverev Gavin learned some lessons from the previous match. He clearly looked to be going for more on his shots from the first point of the match this time. I think that he is going to have to come out firing with that aggressive mindset if he wants be able to beat guys like Rafa, Murray, Djokovic, Cilic, etc. at Wimbledon this year. If his timing is off and he’s not playing aggressively enough, I could see him being at risk of getting eaten alive by someone like Rafa, or even Cilic. Maybe others didn’t see the difference in his tactics and timing that I saw in the final today? I saw a guy who was making it difficult for Zverev to impose his own game. It’s obviously impossible to know whether or not Zverev would have still played poorly had Fed not come out firing. However, what we do know is that history has shown us that when guys like Federer and Rafa come out playing really well and imposing their game on the opponent, once they get ahead it becomes extremely difficult for their opponent to get back into the match.

        • And that’s the problem with Zverev – allowing Fed (or Rafa at MC) to impose his/their game on him. In fact Zverev was already not playing well against both RBA and Gasquet. Against Gasquet I understand as Gasquet did play well on grass, but RBA was just running for and retrieving every shot possible and Zverev found it difficult to impose his game on RBA.

          Khachanov, otoh, despite not (or at least not yet) a good pedigree on grass, was playing aggressive tennis trying to impose his big game on others including Fed.

          I mentioned in one of my earlier posts somewhere, that in order to beat Fed on grass, one has to either play well and defend well from the baseline, moves well and goes for the offense when the opportunities arise ( Rafa and Djoko falls into this category of players); or one has to serve big, moves well, hits hard without missing and doing so consistently (Berdych, A Zverev, Thiem are in this category). Khachanov belongs to the second group though he hasn’t beaten Fed on grass yet.

          Fed did play better in the final, but he has a crappy Zverev not a Zverev who’s capable of playing like Khachanov i.e. big serving and hard hitting. Fed may still win of course but maybe not in such a lopsided manner.

          • I agree wth you, Lucky. It probably wouldn’t have been nearly as lopsided had Zverev imposed his game better early on, particularly on serve. I just think that Fed wasn’t making it any easier for Zverev to try to impose his game. That’s all I’m trying to say. Agree to disagree on that one, though.

        • Kevin, it’s obvious that Federer lifted his game significantly today. Zverev recognized it well:

          “So credits to him, he played an unbelievable match. Of course I could have played better but he didn’t really let me play my best tennis. He messed with the ball a lot. He played very aggressive… I think he deserved to win.โ€

    • And it’s also not true that Fedal when playing well didn’t allow their opponents to play their games; it depends also on how well their opponents play. It’s not like Fedal were having their ways all the time even when they’re playing well.

  7. The thing that some posters are irritated with here, is the over the top biased fawning from some of the commies when they watch Federer play, its like the other guy doesnt even exist, and god forbid they ever beat the guy they kind hide the contempt in their voices ….

    • Alison,

      Well said! That’s the issue! Try listening to Mary Carillo go on ad nauseum about the brilliance and genius of Fed throughout a match and you will understand the frustration.

      I am not surprised that Fed came out and played really well in the final. I expected him to play better than he did in the semis. He wanted to make sure there was no repeat of last year’s loss to Zverev. So Fed came out prepared. If he didn’t let Zverev play his game, then all well and good. But we don’t need Mary Carrillo searching for new adjectives in the English language to describe hiw awe struck she is!

      You are spot on with your description of it seeming as though the other guy doesn’t even exist. Sorry but the last time I checked, Fed was not God!

        • rc,

          No, I have a weak stomach!

          I love Sascha, you know that. But I don’t need to see him get his clock cleaned by the anointed one!

          Now I could try watching it on mute! No Mary Carrillo Fed hero worship!
          ?

  8. Exactly, I really don’t find Fed doing anything special in the final, it’s not like he couldn’t play this way all along, don’t see the need to drool over him.

    It’s different from Rafa, when Rafa was having his slump in the past two years so the tennis he’s producing now really made us awe struck!

    Fed played ten times better vs Murray at Wimbledon 2015 SF! And A Zverev is not Murray, and it’s only a 500 event here at Halle, not a slam!

    • Lucky, if you can’t see Federer doing anything special in the final, then you have a blind spot for exquisite tennis. And Federer was not 10 times better at Wimby vs. Murray; that’s absurd, and the stats I provided above suggest that this was near Fed’s best.

      • I think that’s a little harsh, Joe. What I saw was Federer having his way with a really tired opponent.

        Khachanov made Federer nervous and vice versa. That was a better win for Federer then beating a noodle.

        The point however is that Fed won Halle this year and didn’t play like crap like he did last year. Fed feels happy and confident — well, more than he did after Stuttgart. His competition was shaky. But it’s a feat at his age to still be playing at such a high level and not competing on the Powershares circuit. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Well, as I said I agree that Zverev was not as his best. But Federer played brilliantly today. And Lucky said Federer was 10 times better in beating Murray at Wimby 2015. And, Lucky continues to think, it seems, that Roger didn’t play much better in the final; it’s just that his opponent played worse.

          I see it very differently, and the stat line from his respective matches (see, e.g., Khachanov vs. Zverev) tells the story.

          If he plays at this level I don’t see him losing at Wimby.

          • Stats are not very good storytellers. Stats show some objective elements of the match: how many aces, defaults, how many minutes it took — other stats are less objective and firm, like what kind of winner it was or why it was an error. Fed was able to play brilliantly versus a weak opponent and rack up the stats. And when Fed plays brilliantly there is no arguing with a Fed Fan! And I love many Fed fans. But I’ve tried to take the side of one of Fed’s opponents in discussing a match with Fed fans and been told that I’m flat out blind and stupid. Sometimes they never speak to me again. But I’m reporting what I see. I don’t hate Fed. I’ve seen absolutely stunning tennis from Federer over the years. I respect him. It’s a relief I’m sure that he won Halle. And a win like this helps propel him to greater wins at Wimbledon. He appears tremendously fit and there have been times, especially after the Christmas break, that I thought he appeared paunchy. But he can quickly get into astonishing form.

            Certainly I’m at least going to pick him to the quarter final at Wimbledon, depending on how the draw looks ๐Ÿ˜€

            Cheers Joe. And Benny G will be so happy too if Fed wins #19, #? how many Wimbledons has he won? Fedal really do have an embarrassment of riches ๐Ÿ˜€ Like the Williams Sisters’. Just an opinion… I’ll be happy for the Federer fans.

            (I’d probably put a limit on it if I was ruler of the GOAT debate in the Universe: only your first 10 GS’s count, ect…)

            • Thanks RC. But you watched the whole match, and you didn’t see Roger playing brilliantly? For me, the stats only back up what I saw, which was top-notch play from Roger, much better than in the previous rounds.

              As I say, I totally agree that Zverev didn’t give him the challenge that he’s capable of giving. But it wasn’t for lack of trying: Alex was going for his shots, he just wasn’t hitting them in for the most part.

              I would never call anyone blind or stupid; please note that what I said of Lucky (blind “spot”) was selective (with regard to Federer). I certainly didn’t mean to say she was blind to exquisite tennis in general. But you’re probably right that it was too harsh, and I will be more careful in future. Sorry, Lucky!

            • Not that I’d say was brilliantly vs Sascha because of Sascha’s physical state — he was over-played.

              Roger is under-played, imo. When he converts break points and hit backhand return winner as he was earlier this year, I’ll be calling him Vintage Fed. But as long as he’s sloppy against Khachanov who is not a good grass court player, and Florian Mayer isn’t as good as last year, and Sugita…well…

              Fed handled a very tricky opponent in Mischa Zverev — very well. It’s brilliant that he won Halle, considering his loss to Haas in Stuttgart. Federer is making good progress but the draw in Queens had more dangerous grass specialists. I want to see Federer dismiss Muller brilliantly and Feliciano Lopez. I got ridiculed yesterday for hoping Gasquet would win — I was Sascha was running out of steam and a match vs Gasquet would have been better for Federer, imo. He would have won… but Gasquet isn’t over-played like Sascha and he’s got more experience, even though probably holding a mental block facing Federer, since their h2h is 15-2. hahahaha

          • Joe. Agree. If Roger plays this level at Wimbledon, he can’t lose. But will he be able to maintain it, especially in key moments? Depending on the opponents’ form however, he might well win it all playing on a slightly lower level in my opinion.

            • Eugene: Well, I wouldn’t say he can’t lose with this level. He could still come up against a big hitter on fire. But I certainly like his chances if he plays like this; there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the pre-tournament favourite.

              Can he keep the level? I think so, especially if he can win matches like this. He’s playing very fast and expending relatively little energy. There are no guarantees, but I think if he’s got his game to this level at this stage, he’s in good shape.

          • I think it is really pushing it to say that you don’t see him losing at Wimby! Really? Before the draw has come out? Before a single match has been played?

            That’s not how I approach slams. No such thing as a sure thing! The closest has been Rafa at RG, but even I would not have made a statement like that about Rafa not losing at RG before the draw or any matches had been played.

            • Nny, We can never know who is going to win a slam, even when a player is very dominant and in good shape, like Nadal was before RG. There are many too variables to predict such an outcome. But I liked what I saw today. I think if he displays the same creativity, technique, inspiration he has a great chance. But that’s just theory. That’s a different competition with a lot more pressure. The 2015 match against Murray was one of the best performances I’ve seen on grass from Fed. Then he couln’t maintain that level against Djokovic. And I thought it has to do with his mental sharpness. Psychological factor can be as decisive at that stage as the forehand direction or BH strength.
              As Joe said, although Zverev displayed a poor performance today, that was partly due to Fed’s amazing level. He won more than 90% of points on first serve and used a great variety of shots in his game. I hope he is fit and healthy and mentally sharp in order to be tough when he faces Rafa, Novak and dangerous hitters like Raonic or Cilic.
              Although this is just theory, right now I personally think Roger has about 40% of winning at Wimbledon this year. Of course we don’t know the draw yet, Novak is a big question, Murray too. I think Rafa has a good chance to make at least QF. In other words, I believe Fed is more likely to not win (60%) Wimbledon than win it, which of course as you’d expect I very much want it for him. If he doesn’t that’s fine. He is almost 36 and competition is tough with many powerful hitters and talented players.
              It’s okay to disagree Nny. I appreciate you are being respectful towards Roger fans as well as lucky, rc, MA, hawk eye (a bit tricky though, depending on his mood lol) I might forget someone here, but the most important thing is I am glad we can agree and disagree on different topics while not crossing the line.

      • Come on Joe, you’re always exaggerating when it comes to Fed, the most absurd one was about Fed with bigger racket beating Rafa at FO!

        I’ll bet that if it’s Murray who’s playing well enough to be in the Halle final, this Fed would not be having his way like he did against Zverev! It’s obvious to many of us, except the fedfans, that Zverev simply wasn’t playing well in the final!

      • Joe, I’ve seen Fed played better tennis than this; you’re really doing a disservice to Fed saying that this was near his best tennis, beating an opponent who played like crap!

        • Lucky, we agree that Zverev didnt’ play well. But it’s possible to play brilliantly against such an opponent, which is what Roger did today. Again, look at the stat line.

          Playing great against an opponent who is not playing well is what Nadal did against a few opponents at RG, imo.

          • Joe, why you must refer to Rafa each time we disagree about Fed’s level? It’s as if you’re being spiteful here. Anyway, I’ve no doubt Rafa was much better than any of his opponents on clay, whether they played like crap or they played well!

            Whilst here at Halle, you can’t deny Fed wasn’t much better than his opponents and at times had to fight tooth and nail for his wins (vs Khachanov in particular).

            You think Fed playing like in the Halle final would beat anyone at Wimbledon, but the problem is, will his opponents allow him to play this way like Zverev did? I’m sure there’re players who will play better than Zverev when facing Fed at Wimbledon.

            • Here’s the difference in your analysis, Lucky. Generally, when you analyze Rafa, its in terms of what *he* allows his opponents to do or not do. When you analyze Fed, it’s in terms of what *they* allow Fed to do.

              I agree that Federer had some tough wins early in the tournament at Halle (though they were all straight sets). But his level in the final was much higher, which you seem unable to recognize. Again, I direct you to the stats (which, btw, show that Zverev didn’t play all that badly).

              What, exactly, do you think Federer could have done so much better than he did in the final?

          • Wrong, that’s your bias Joe, that you see things in this way. When Fed is not playing well, I would say so, likewise for Rafa esp when he’s playing on the HCs early this season. I think you missed all my posts when I criticized Rafa, esp at AO (IW and Acapulco too). I mean if Fed was mistiming his shots , mishitting or hitting into the net, I couldn’t say he’s playing well!

            On clay though, there wasn’t much I could criticize Rafa about, he clearly was playing very well almost always, save for a few tight matches – two at MC, one at Madrid.

    • Yes, the “drooling” and fawning gets annoying… I don’t think he played that well relatively speaking. Nothing even close to against Murray in 2015! I’m just pointing out that people love to point out that opponents played horribly, but never want to even consider the fact that maybe they were at least partially forced into playing poorly.

      You know what I’m talking about, Lucky. I remember a match during the clay season where Rafa destroyed someone like Zverev or Thiem or someone like that, and everyone seemed to be just saying that the opponent sucked without giving Rafa any credit for being at least part of the reason why the opponent sucked. And you rightfully stepped in and called people out for not giving Rafa any credit whatsoever for making it difficult for the opponent to play well. I really liked that you did that! So in the interest of fairness, I felt compelled to step in and point the same thing out for Federer, since no one else ever would on this site. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      It’s not like he played the most amazing match or anything! I did see, however, Federer imposing his game at least enough to make it harder for Zverev to play better. That’s all I’m saying… No drooling here. No fawning. I thought he played much better than his previous matches at Halle, but relatively speaking it was nothing to write home about! Don’t worry, Fed will retire in just a couple years, and the Fed-fawning and drooling will end! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Kevin, I did mention in my earlier post (to VR) that Fed was playing at a high level and was giving Zverev different looks that Zverev wasn’t able to know what next to expect.

        I also mentioned that Zverev was disappointing in that he didn’t come out all guns blazing (unlike Rome final for example) and so he had a hard time holding his own serve. Did he have a better serve than what he had in the match? He has, as shown during his last service game, but he couldn’t serve that way from the beginning and that’s the disappointing part.

        Yes, Fed’s returns might have caused the problem, but Zverev ended up doing some things that were poorly executed like trying to S&V but without success, hitting a tweeter, etc out of desperation, running out of ideas.

        If he could serve well ( like Cilic for example) and hit consistently with depth (like Khachanov) perhaps the match won’t be so lopsided. He couldn’t, end of story.

    • Lucky I value your opinions a lot here. You are very knowledgeable about this sport and very often I look for your comments to find out what you think about a specific match, player, draw etc. However saying that Fed played 10x better against Murray in 2015 than today, is very inaccurate and subjective.

      • Come on Eugene, that’s an exaggeration of course, I mean who can measure what’s ten times better? All I’m saying is : Fed had played much better than this and against a much tougher opponent that is Murray and at a slam (Wimbledon) and Murray wasn’t playing badly all tournament!

        Zverev otoh, as I said, was already not playing well the whole tournament but managed to scrap past two of those matches going the distance. To compare beating this Zverev to almost as good as beating Murray at Wimbledon was really off the mark.

        • See, here’s where you are trying to make fine distinctions that there’s no need to make. Of course it’s hard to compare Fed today to how he played against Murray at Wimby two years ago. That was a slam, against a top player who played extremely well. Of course that is going to bring things out in Federer that weren’t needed today. But again, he played extremely well today, good enough to win. He hit 73% of his first serves, winning 93%!

          Again I’d ask what you think Roger could have done better today.

          • You should ask what Zverev could have done better today! Like I said, the way Zverev played, he let Fed impose his game on him!

            Did you ask the same question after Fed’s SF match?

            • Which question? What Federer could have done better? Quite a lot against Khachanov, I think. I agree with you that his timing was slightly off earlier in the tournament; he was shanking a number of balls and not hitting through a lot of his shots. He was not bad, but certainly not at his best.

              Where I really disagreed with you is when you said that you didn’t think Federer could play much better. First, I have no idea why you would say that given that he was the best player in the world only a few months ago. Second, I would have thought watching the Halle final would make you admit you were wrong about that. But it seems not.

            • Lucky,

              You should not be surprised to see Fed fans taking this result from a final at a 250 tournament with lesser competition, where Fed has a dominant record and somehow extrapolating from it that now they simply do not see him losing at Wimby playing at this level!

              Honestly, is it really a surprise? It’s the kind of over the top rhetoric that we hear from them, talking up their man prematurely. As though saying it will make it so.

              You and I and others here know that it will take a lot more for Fed to win at Wimby than anything he displayed against Zverev today.

            • So I guess you can’t pinpoint anything Federer could have done much better today, Lucky? Well, then, you’ve made my point.

              NNY, Halle is a 500 level tournament. Zverev is probably the best young player in the world at the moment. So, a dominating victory over Zverev in a final is what it is. All I said is, if Federer plays at this level, then I think he’s the favourite at Wimby. How is that over the top or premature? Before the match he was already the bookies favourite. Who else would you put in front of him?

          • Joe, must I repeat the whole thing again? Now if Fed was able to play this way vs Khachanov, then yes I would’ve said he had played or was capable of playing much better than his early round matches. The thing is this wasn’t Khachanov but it was Sasha, who to many of us here, was obviously not playing well.

            And, he wasn’t playing as well as his early 2017 matches on the HCs! I mean you want to compare beating Mischa, F Mayer, Khachanov and Sasha on grass to beating Kyrgios, Rafa, Stan and Kei on the HCs?? Sorry, he isn’t playing as well as during his early HC matches imo.

          • Joe, what Fed could do better today? The answer is: beat a tougher opponent!

            I mean, isn’t it easy to look perfect playing against a crappy opponent? Allow me to bring in Rafa at MC vs Sasha; didn’t Rafa look perfect or almost perfect beating Sasha 6-1, 6-1? And yet, did I think he would be beating everyone else to win FO based on that one match? The answer is/was: NO. Because I knew at that time, there were many more tougher opponents for Rafa out there.

            • First, you’re being too hard on Sasha. He didn’t play well, but he wasn’t crappy. I think he had an even number of winners/UE. He was a lot better, for instance, than the lowly ranked opponent that Rafa smashed at RG, Balashavilli or something. And I’ll be you were (rightly) impressed after Rafa’s performance in that match.

              And, I would say: no, it’s not easy to look perfect against anyone, even that last guy. I thought Rafa looked absolutely overwhelming against him. What more can you ask?

              So, if the only thing you have to say in response to the question what Federer could have done better is: “to beat a better opponent” then I would say it’s better to say nothing except to tip your hat to a great performance. That’s what I did after Rafa beat Bashavilli.

            • Roger in his own words, post match:

              “I played unbelievably well. I felt good and never let up,” said Federer, who dropped just nine points on his serve. “It was my best game this week. Nearly everything worked out for me.”

              Again, he raised his level significantly from previous matches, and played near his best.

          • Nope, you’re free to feel however you wish to feel but I DO NOT need to feel the same way. I don’t think beating Sasha the way Rafa beat him at MC was that impressive that I had to be like you here arguing till no end about how great Rafa (in your case Fed) is/was. Rafa just did what he need to do, stamped his authority on Sasha who happened to play poorly on his own birthday.

            I hadn’t even bothered to feel ecstatic about Rafa’s so lopsided win over Bashasvilli; I thought he was no match for Rafa that’s all!

  9. Zverev is a looooooooog way from future #1. I’m sure after the 2nd beatdown from Fedal, the penny is beginning to drop that he is not there yet. I wonder if he’ll request a re-match against Fed at Wimbledon like he did after Rafa sent him away with his tail between his legs in MC.

  10. And yes NNY, to think that the same people was arguing with me when after Miami, I said Rafa would do very well on clay! I mean Rafa was able to reach three HC finals – a slam, a Masters and a 500 event – and yet people think that he couldn’t do well on clay? But when it comes to Fed, he simply could win anything?

    • Who ever said that Rafa couldn’t do anything on clay this year before RG? Not me; I had doubts after Miami but changed my tune after Rafa did so well in the warm-ups. That doesn’t mean I thought he was unbeatable, but I certainly thought he was the pre-tournament favourite at RG.

        • I believe you shared some of my doubts after Miami: that Rafa looked a step slower, that his FH wasn’t what it was, that he was too inconsistent. Perhaps I am mis-remembering, but I think a lot of Rafa fans on this site were concerned about how he might do in the clay season, based on his HC performances, which were good but not great.

          • Nope, Joe, I was the one who insisted that Rafa would be doing well on clay. I had no doubts about that. Please DO NOT lump me with those Rafa fans who had doubts about Rafa on clay!!

    • Lucky,

      I don’t understand how you can be accused of bias, when we have a Fed fan now saying that based on the fact that Fed basically did what he was supposed to do at Halle, i. e. win again in the final after playing lesser competition at a 250 tournament, that somehow his performance now translates into no one being able to stop him at Wimby! Talk about bias!

      I mean come on now! We are comparing Fed winning at Halle to being the odds on favorite for a slam where the level of competition is going to be considerably higher and where he will need to win seven Bof5 matches!

      So everyone will just roll over for Fed! Why even bother to play the matches? If Fed fans now have decided that no one can beat him based on his performance in the Halle final, then that is either bias or just pure hero worship!

      • NNY, again, Halle is a 500 tournament, not a 250. And take a look at the predictions on this site. Did everyone expect Fed to roll over Zverev? Did you? In fact, lots of people picked Alex to win, or Fed to win in 3 tight sets.

        He won the tournament he entered as a warm-up to Wimby, winning the final in convincing fashion. What more do you want?

        • But it wasn’t in a convincing fashion in the final. And that’s my opinion. His final was a dud. There was very little competition from Sascha. As a whole, Federer’s performance in Halle was shaky and rusty to my standards anyway for Fed. And the final was not convincing because his opponent was crap, tired, unable due to his own inability through tiredness; and okay in part by Fed’s good play. But Fed’s easy match and good performance was assisted by an over-played, over-extended, half gas Sascha. Fed didn’t play the strongest draw – no fault of his own. You play the draw your handed.

          I’d be more apt to say brilliant on Fed had he beat Muller and Lopez. Kohls wasn’t near his best this grass season and Florian Mayer was lousy compared to last year.

          Last year it wasn’t Sascha’s brilliance alone that enabled him to beat Federer. Federer was half gas, or as Benny says, Crap. There are two sides to every tennis match story. The truth is somewhere in there, if you take both players conditions and playing activity into account.

          I think this discussion ultimately ends up in that continuous loop because…what esle: bias on all sides. It’s essentially subjective.

          • Well, RC, it’s certainly true that some bias is ineliminable. That’s why objective stats are useful. But also, in this case, Roger saying he played “unbelievably well” and Sasha saying Roger didn’t let him play his game.

            In my experience, players tend to under-rate their performance if anything, so Roger’s statement is further evidence, I think, that indeed he played great. As you say, you can only play the player in front of you, and Federer did about as well, judged by that standard, as one could ask of him.

            • Stats can be cherry picked — they don’t tell the whole story, again, that’s my opinion. Some stats are hard fact others aren’t.

              And I don’t believe player’s statements in full or 100% They tend to be edited and not entirely candid.

              As a whole the Halle experience was very positive for Roger. But I can’t say I watched a brilliant final, because I didn’t. Brilliant tournament for Federer compared to Stuttgart! A 500 is a 500 no matter the condition of the draw.

              I watched a couple brilliant quarterfinals from Halle. But I’m very difficult to please, Joe ๐Ÿ˜€
              Not your average tennis fan because basically I prefer WTA to ATP these days. And I prefer early rounds of a GS to the finals.

          • Yes RC, I agree with you, it’s more to do with Sasha being poor than Fed being great! Sasha made Fed looked great! The final was a dud! Watched the Queens final, it was so much better, and I doubt Fed would have his way playing against anyone of the Queens finalist!

            • Such biased comments from Rafatards..Even if Fed doesnt win Wimby that doesnt change the fact that he played a very good match and didn’t allow Zverev to play his game. It was there for all to see except these Rafanatics. Hilarious…

        • Joe,

          Yes, I stsnd corrected about Halle being a 500 tournament. A thousand pardons! I do want to keep up to the standard that Eugene said we were displaying by being able to disagree with respect. I don’t want the volume to get dialed way up.

          For the record, I did not specifically pick Zverev to beat Fed. In fact, if you read what I said, I stated that I expected Fed to play better in the final. I thought he would raise his level, especially given that he lost to Zverev last year. I was right in that regard. Fed played the way I would expect him to play. He went for his shots and brought the goods. He didn’t appear to let Zverev play his game.

          Again, this is what I would expect from Fed. He did what was expected in winning Halle. He got the match play he needed for Wimby. The title was the icing on the cake, but not unexpected given the level of opposition even in a 500 tournament and his record here.

          So Fed’s preparation has gone as planned and he is on the right track. But I really don’t see how you can state based on his performance in this final that he should win Wimby. That is certainly your prerogative, but I think you should then think twice before you throw around the whole “biased” argument at Lucky or others here including myself.

          I am usually pretty cautious in my predictions, especially before the draw has even come out. That’s just the way I am. I have learned not to take anything for granted. It’s good that you are feeling confident about Fed’s prospects. He took time off to rest and be ready for this one. He’s targeted it and seems to have done what he needed to do. But there is a lot of tennis to be played and one just never knows.

          People have been writing Murray off because he crashed out of Queens. Not the result he would have wanted for sure. But I am not writing him off. I also think that warm up results to do not necessarily correlate to winning slams. Sometimes they do and many times they don’t. For instance, I don’t see Lopez making any kind of a serious run at Wimby even though he just won Queens. I am not even that sure about Cilic as a dark horse.

          If Fed is the favorite, then so be it. I assume the bettors have him in that position. I still think Murray is in the mix as far as they are concerned, but I don’t make it my business to check betting odds.

          • rc,

            Well stated! Stats certainly do not always tell the whole story and can be cherry picked at will. The same with player’s statements after matches. Nobody wants to come off as a sore loser. It’s usual to give credit to the opponent for the win.

            I see it basically much the way you do. Not a great tournament, but what was expected. Fed did what he was supposed to do against lesser competition. It would have been a shock if he had lost or failed to reach the final. He got the job done and had the match play required to work off any rust and get used to grass conditions. But the level of competition at these smaller tournaments, be it a 250 or a 500, is simply nothing like what we will see at Wimby or any slam. Also BOf5 set matches.

            I still prefer ATP, as you know! But if I can get to see WTA matches, I am happy to watch! The women’s game is pretty wide open now and the competition has been enjoyable.

          • Hi NNY,

            Yes, agreeing to disagree respectfully is always important. It is true I have accused Lucky of bias, but it appears there is a genuine difference of opinion on the quality of Federer’s play in this final. My view, which I think is supported by the objective evidence (particularly 22 winners against 8 UE) and Federer’s self-assessment is that he played terrifically well.

            Lucky and Ratcliff, on the other hand, are less impressed. I’m not sure why, but it seems to be mainly based on Zverev not playing very well, which indeed he did not.

            As far as level of competition, sure it’s not a slam. But it’s much better to win than not do so, and to win convincingly over a quality opponent is particularly impressive. At any rate, one can be sure that had Federer lost early at Halle, many people (perhaps including you?) would be downgrading his Wimbledon chances.

            • Joe, like I said before, had Fed played this way against Khachanov and beat Sasha in the final then perhaps I would be impressed. But, his play vs Khachanov wasn’t impressive at all and Khachanov didn’t even have much experience playing on grass! That tell me that if Fed is going to meet a big hitter who’s playing well on his day, Fed may get into trouble, so I’m not too impressed with Fed even though he routed Sasha in the final. Anyone without any biased opinion could see that Sasha wasn’t playing well in the final.

            • Joe,

              I didn’t watch the final. I decided not to after hearing about Mary Carrillo’s commentary. It’s obvious that Fed did play better in the final as I expected. Whether Zverev was tired after a few tough matches or whether Fed just did not let him play his game, is moot at this point. Fed has an easy win and accomplished what he needed to at Halle with regard to preparation for Wimby.

              Would I have downgraded his chances if g didn’t make the final or if he lost in the final? Again I think it’s a moot point. He did it and will most likely go into Wimby as the favorite. Normally I would consider Novak to be one of the favorites at Wimby, given his recent record. However, he is in the midst of a slump at this time and therefore would not be a favorite imo. I am not sure where he stands with the betting odds.

              As far as bias, I remember you saying hiw you were not impressed with Rafa in some of his matches during the clay warmup tournaments. I remember telling you at the time that Rafa did not have to be at his best at that time. Rafa is good enough on clay to be able to beat 99.9% of players being at 70 or 80%. I thought he was playing better than you did then. But I also saw him getting better and better with each match and with each title. I felt he was on track to peak at RG. I also felt that the loss at Rome in the quarterfinals to Thiem was a blessing. Rafa had gotten what he needed in the previous three tournaments he played. Madrid was the icing on the cake for me. That was the toughest draw he had to face and being no able to come through at the one clay tournament where he has not dominated, was exactly what he needed.

              I think maybe we all come to these discussions with our own bias. We can see what we want to see at times. It’s human nature.

              If you feel good about how Fed played and believe that if he plays the way he did in the final, then he should win Wimby, then that’s what you believe.

  11. Nah Mark, it’s the Fedtards who think the world of him, I guess you’re one of those! Not difficult to figure that out!

    Right, Fed didn’t allow Zverev to play his game, but it’s the way Zverev played that allowed Fed to do so; if you think that’s Zverev best that he could do, then I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

    • You are biased as hell Lucky. Dont try to tell me what I should or should not think.

      Nobody can play their best tennis all the time. So I never judge a player by what he can do at his best. I was talking about this particular match and I said what I said based what I saw. I dont need your eyes to watch and understand a tennis match.

      No, I dont know what a Zverev playing at his best can do, neither its important here.

      To me your opinion was very biased and it was not hard to see.

      • Mark, you’re the one trying to be smart and call out on others! Yet you’re here telling us don’t try to tell you what to think?

        If you think others are biased, what make you think others don’t think you’re biased too? You’re entitled to your opinion but so do others! Some people think the world of Fed when he won a 500 event, but others don’t think the same and you call others biased just because of that?

        Fedtards are always like that, huh?

  12. Now, does this win in an ATP 500 event, where he didnt play his main rivals, make him an overwhelming favourite?

    – No, not in my opinion. He needs to play 7 BO5 matches to win the title. I dont think he is match ready just yet.

    On grass, where the margins are very small, anything can happen on a given day.

    For me, Rafa has as good a chance as Fed this year at Wimby, based on how both have played thus far this year and also because both Nole and Murray are not at their best.

    • Mark, I agree with everything you say except about Rafa.

      On form alone, yes, Rafa would have to be considered an equal or near-equal favourite. But Nadal has lost early at Wimbledon for the last five years, often to a player outside the top 100. He clearly is no longer the same player on grass as he once was, and until he proves otherwise, I think an early exit for him is as likely as a deep run. The fact that he will have no grass tournament preparation makes it even harder for him, I think.

      If Nadal makes it through the first week, at which point he’s playing on dirt as much as grass, I will reassess his chances.

    • Mark,

      I gave my take on the whole bias issue. None of us is free of it completely. If some of us think it.’a premature to infer from Fed’s performance in the Halle final that he is now going to win Wimby, then that is what we think! We have a right to that opinion.

      It could just as easily be bias to think Fed is a the overwhelming favorite to win Wimby, so it goes both ways.

      There are a number of unknowns at this point in time. One is the draw is not out yet. Then there are some of the key players. Rafa is a question mark given that he has not played on grass for two years and the state of his knees. He has not had much preparation for Wimby and he has always said that he needs a warm up tournament.

      Then there is Novak who is mired in a slump. Kyrgios would have been considered a possible dark horse threat, but he had a nasty
      fall at Queens and tweaked his hip.

      I don’t think we will know Fed’s form until the start of Wimbledon. I don’t think that one can know for sure based on how he looked in the final at Halle.

      Fed got the preparation he needed and did what was expected of him against lesser competition. Now it remains the be seen if he can peak at Wimby.

  13. Haha, ‘Fedtards’ and ‘Rafatards’ being thrown around now. Keep calm guys, it’s really not a big deal if you disagree about a player’s form.

  14. Easy guys! you guys are running in circles. I think Federer is playing great. His ROS (his biggest improvement this year imo) is more dangerous than ever and his backhand has got more penetration. Federer is not the player who needs to build a mountain of momentum to be able to get in that position where he can beat top guys. I think his preparation has been good and he has practised so much. Federer is looking very very dangerous.

    BUT, was that really that scary a performance ? NO! It was a very strong performance but he still has work to do! It wasn’t like scary good. Sure, he has a week to practice and then he can play himself into form. When your serve is as good as Fed’s, your chances of escaping the earlier rounds shoot up!

    I think Fed’s the favourite but of course there will be dangers and he can lose to some players.

    • The one thing that was scary about it imo, which I haven’t seen from Federer before, was the number and quality of drop shots, which really befuddled Zverev. If Roger can mix his new driving BH with off pace short slice or even drop shots like he did, that’s a new weapon, as far as I can tell, and will be potent against many players.

      • I hope he uses them more often Joe. Especially during rallies with players like Djokovic. I hope he’ll play relaxed. I know there will be lots of pressure, but Fed is experienced. If he is relaxed, he doesn’t have to THINK, the shots just flow naturally and creatively. As we saw earlier this year, Fed’s ‘fear’ for Nadal basically vanished. All was left it’s just respect as it should be. No more anxiety. Now I hope he stays physically fit and relaxed against Novak.

        • Absolutely, Eugene. I actually think if Roger had been able to relax and play his best tennis against Novak he would have won in 2015; I thought he was the better grass court player before that final.

          Djokovic today is a far way off what he was two years ago, so if they even meet at Wimby (more unlikely than not, imo), I think Fed’s current level and newfound mental confidence will see him through. Still, it would be a major breakthrough to beat him there, since he hasn’t won a slam match against Nole since 2012.

          • Joe, Fed lost to Djoko in four sets in that Wimbledon 2015 final, and that’s worse result than their 2014 encounter! In fact, I felt Djoko was playing even better in 2015 than 2014 Wimbledon. Perhaps it’s after two/three years since he won his first Wimbledon (in 2011) that Djoko tense up in that 2014 final.

            Djoko was more confident in the 2015 final, so I doubt Fed would beat him; Fed simply couldn’t reproduce the tennis he produced in that SF against Murray, because Djoko wasn’t Murray, he’s more aggressive, more confident and was playing great tennis after overcoming some tough opponents along the way.

            Djoko had taken over from Rafa, to be Fed’s main obstacle at the slams. Of course in 2017 we see a different Djoko, and so it’s unlikely he’ll produce that kind of tennis to stop Fed should they meet again.

            • I agree that Novak was a tougher opponent than Murray, but disagree that Fed couldn’t beat him in 2015. Yes, 2014 was five sets, but Roger did well to take it to a 5th, and at that point he was just getting used to the new racquet. I still think Fed got tight and choked at the end of 2014 match, but I think up until then he had played his best tennis and Nole was still a bit better.

              In 2015 it was a different story. Fed started like he played against Murray, was up a break, serving 4-2 in the first. I think he could have continued and he would have won going away. But he tightened up, couldn’t consolidate, and played less aggressively and less well the rest of the match. It was mostly mental, imo, and was the same story at USO that year.

              To be honest, after 2015 I had given up on Federer winning a slam because I thought he wasn’t strong enough mentally to do it. And I would have never thought he would do it against Rafa. But maybe the rest did him good and got him over the hump, and now I think the mental block is cleared. He might still lose to someone playing better tennis on the day, but I don’t think he’ll choke it away like he did in 2015.

          • Come on Joe, even if Fed won the first set, there’s no guarantee that he would win the match! You talked as if once he won the first set he’s going to win the match. Didnt Fed win the first set in the 2014 final and yet he lost? Djoko was just better than Fed in the 2015 final, whether Fed tightened up or not.

            As for Rafa at AO this year, why would you be surprised when Rafa had tougher SF, one less day to rest, and was coming back from a slump and from injury?? In fact Rafa getting to the final was a surprise in itself!

            • And, why do you keep emphasizing on Fed’s bigger racket, when he kept losing to Djoko? The racket didnt make any difference imo, its a matter of who’s playing a better game in the match.

              Im also sure that with bigger racket, Fed would still lose to Rafa on clay if they play each other this clay season. When Rafa and Djoko are playing at the top of their game, it didnt matter how their opponents play, unless its they vs each other.

              The same could be said of Fed during his heydays except when facing Rafa. Fed was using his bigger racket at AO2016 and was soundly beaten by Djoko!

        • Eugene, you’re not Fed, how do you know Fed doesn’t have anxiety anymore when facing Rafa? Esp on surfaces when Rafa does well, like on clay and at USO? It’s not like Fed hadn’t beaten Rafa at all, he had beaten Rafa in 2015 at Basel,not to mention at Miami or IW ( in 2012 or before). At the AO this year, it was a tight match and Fed barely edged out a win, who knows the next time they meet will the conditions be the same or not?

  15. I don’t know. It was a FINAL and Zverev just did not show up. He’s 20 years old. Adrenaline alone should have carried him, tired or not. For awhile I was wondering if he’d win a point. Then, would he win a game? Surely he’s not already so jaded that a 500 point tournament means nothing to him?

    I thought Roger did well. He had a great game plan and he executed it. Some of his shots were a bit off but no biggie. He did what champions do. He won. He didn’t need to shift out of second or third gear. The question will be if he has his top gear when he reaches the late stages of Wimbledon – and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t make the semis – when I’m guessing there WILL be competition. No one really knows, not even Roger.

    • Ramara,

      This is what I have been trying to say. Can Fed peak when it’s most important – in the second week of Wimby? He won yesterday by playing well enough against an opponent who was not able to play his best for whatever reason. I agree that one would think adrenaline might kick in at some point. Zverev certainly played much better in the Rome final. He played like a young kid with nothing to lose and everything to gain. But Novak did not play well in that final. Maybe Fed was too good in the day and Zverev just didn’t have his best. It is what it is. Zverev is very young and still learning and developing.

      So Fed did what he needed to do, what he was expected to do. All well and good. He got the necessary preparation for Wimby.

      Fed is looking like the obvious favorite not w, but it’s the unknowns that could make things interesting. If Rafa can get through the first week, then watch out! If Novak can find his mojo again and manage to make a run, then watch out! If Kyrgios is healthy and recovered from his niggling hip issue, then watch out! If Murray can play himself into good form, then watch out!

      There are question marks about some of the players that could influence the outcome. That will tell us the story. So for now Fed can look like the prohibitive favorite, but it may not play out that way.

      • I agree with your take on Wimbledon, NNY. I think if all the contenders (Fed, Rafa, Murray, Novak, Cilic, etc.) make it to the 2nd week, then things could really be interesting. Even though Fed may technically have the best chance of winning for what we know at this point, I think that there are question marks surrounding him as well. I think that if Wimbledon had been like 2 weeks after Miami, then I wouldn’t have many question marks at all surrounding Fed. But after that long layoff, we just don’t really know if he will be able to regain that supreme level he showed in the first part of the season. He may not need to play THAT amazingly- depending on the level of the other players, he or another contender could potentially win it not having to be a terminator. Overall I just think that we don’t really know for sure how this tournament will pan out due to the question marks that just about every single player has to some extent…

    • Honestly same only because the top guys aren’t playing well on grass other than Roger. Now we don’t know about Rafa. He may surprise us and step up at All England Club. Depends on his draw I would say.

      • I would say the heavy favorite is Roger but other top contenders are, in no certain order, Rafa, Murray, Djoker, Cilic, and a healthy Raonic/Kyrgios. And watch out for Muller and Lopez. With the right draw, I can easily see possible QF runs for either of those guys.

  16. I hope the courts are fast,so we see plenty of serve-volley .I never liked the green clay .
    The whole thing is wide open.Womens even more so.
    I don’t mind who wins,as long as they play interesting tennis.

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