The 17th seeded Roger Federer entered the Rod Laver Arena with the intent of making it to the 28th Slam final. Upfront was the unpredictable and enigmatic former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka. The proceedings began with Federer comfortably holding his serves and earning three break points but could not capitalize on any. He himself faced a break point at 5-5 but two errors from Wawrinka earned him the first set.
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka put on an exhibition of single-handed backhands, gracious and powerful. Federer broke Stan in the second set, and Stan broke a racket at 3-2 to gain a decisive 2 game lead, extending it to 3, eventually taking the set 6-3. Wawrinka looked troubled with his right knee as he left the court for a medical timeout. He came out with a tape strapped just under his right knee and Roger smelled victory, being inches away from the finish line, only for the hurt Stan to wake up and hurl backhand bombs at his opponent.
The third set was wrapped up quickly as Federer was continuously kept off rhythm and steadily attacked at, broken twice, lost the set 1-6. Wawrinka continued his rampage to break Federer for the 3rd time in a row. But Federer denied his counterpart from consolidating the lead as he broke back immediately for 1-1. In the ninth game of the set, serving at 4-4, Federer was broken yet again, courtesy some smooth movement and a flicked forehand crosscourt winner from the younger contestant. Federer soon took an eight-minute medical time out before proceedings began in the decider.
The demons of US Open 2010, 2011 semi-finals began to loom. Wawrinka also had a history of coming back from 0-2 sets deficit, 6 times to be precise. Against an error prone and visibly frustrated Federer, Stan earned two break points but could not capitalize any of those, only to be broken in the very next game. The match was in Federer’s grip as he upped his ante and Wawrinka dropped guard. The 5 setter ended in the 17 times Slam winner’s favor in just 3 hours and 4 minutes.
How did Roger Federer get the edge?
Roger Federer kept it simple, he varied the pace and directions of his strokes to keep Stan guessing and off the rhythm. He was courageously coming to the net, asking Wawrinka to take more risks. things worked out well as Wawrinka continued to struggle to step his feet right. things worked out very well till the first two sets.
As injury limited Stan’s movement, he began doing what he needed the most, attack! Better 1st serves and command of rallies with good angles were well utilized. Federer started spilling errors to add to his worries. 3 consecutive breaks of serve pushed him back. In the 5th set, it was more of a mental uplift that he gained to resort back to his pace variation tactic. Fewer errors and a good application of his strategy worked. It was another break of Stan’s serve, and the match was all the way on Federer’s side.
What’s up next for Roger Federer?
With the two day break, Roger Federer awaits the winner of the 2nd semi-final between Grigor Dimitrov and Rafael Nadal. The Swiss enjoys a clear head to head record (5-0) over the Bulgarian but has a losing record (11-23) against the Spaniard. While the fans would just love to witness another Fedal showdown, an in-form Dimitrov can spoil the party.
Roger Federer will believe he has a much better chance against Grigor, but a legendary Slam final between the two veterans is surely what the fans want.