The Swiss, aged 35, was emphatic against the young German, Alexander (Sascha) Zverev, by beating him in straight sets 6-1 6-3 earlier today.
It was the match-up that the organisers had wished for prior to the final, however the match was finished in just under an hour as Federer rolled back the years on the grass, as he now heads to Wimbledon for the third grand slam of the year in eight days’ time. This is now Federer’s 4th title of the year, after winning the Australian Open, Indian Wells and the Miami Open before today’s final.
The rain came down heavily in Halle, Germany, but that did not interrupt play, as they have a retractable roof which was used throughout the whole of the ATP 500 event final. Roger Federer has one of the best records on grass and is incredible when playing indoors, so the odds were against Zverev, but he is growing to play great tennis on all surfaces, and the German did beat the top seed in the semi-final of the same tournament 12 months ago. However, Sascha did go on to lose the final to Florian Mayer. Whether losing last year’s final had an impact on today’s match, it’s very hard to tell because Federer was so impressive.
In the whole of the first set, Roger Federer won every point on his first serve, whereas the World No.12’s was under 50%, and the German was broken three times. Zverev found it hard to read where Federer was going to play the ball, and the Swiss’ drop shots were out of this world, some of them where he had no right to play them from.
Mischa Zverev was in the player’s box and played Federer earlier this week, but he could do nothing to help his younger brother stand up to the former World No.1. If Zverev was playing any other opponent, he would have been favourited to win lift the title, but one of the greatest players of all time was on the other side of the net, and he was not going to lose the match, and was on it from the first to the last point. However, people did question Federer leading up to today’s final as he wasn’t quite 100% in the first semi-final, yesterday, against the Russian 21-year-old, Karen Khachanov, as he struggled to close out the match in the second set, in which he did win, but in a tie break. However today, he was in top gear and there was no looking back.
With just eight days to go until Wimbledon, Roger Federer should be the odds-on favourite to lift the trophy. He has been fantastic all year and has re-invented himself on the court as he approaches the net more frequently and looks to close out the point a lot quicker. The biggest question is his fitness, but he was in great condition when he beat Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller in the Australian Open final this year and did not bother with the clay court season as he felt he wouldn’t go on to win the French Open and he would put more focus into Wimbledon as he is more comfortable on the grass.
With the World No.1, Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic having slow starts to this season, this is the best opportunity for Federer to win his eighth Wimbledon title.
Also, Andy Murray lost on grass earlier this week as he was defeated by Australian World No.90, Jordan Thompson in the first round at the Aegon Championships at Queen’s. Rafael Nadal has taken a short rest from winning his 10th French Open, so he hasn’t played any competitive matches on the grass as he was due to play in West London this week. Novak Djokovic has accepted a wildcard into Eastbourne, which is starting on Monday, and this will be an important tournament for him as he has been far from his best. Canadian, Milos Raonic, and the Swiss No.2, Stanislas Wawrinka also struggled at Queen’s this week, but that does not mean they will have an early exit at the All England Club. Five set matches do prefer the better players as they can settle into the match easier, compared to the frantic best of three set matches.
It’ll be interesting what Wimbledon this year has to unfold, and there is sure to be an upset in the early rounds. But it’ll be surprising if Federer does suffer a first-round exit.