The great man and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in civilian clothes (above). Tomorrow they will get to meet again in the finals of the Masters 1000 Series Paris Indoor Final. Recall that Tsonga dealt Federer his first loss ever after leading a in a major by two sets to love in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. Then Roger completely blitzed Tsonga in straights under the lights at Flushing with clinical precision, in 3 fairly easy sets.
It looked all week as if the matchup for tomorrow would have been anything but these two. Federer has Murray on his side of the draw, who has had a stellar indoor season, putting considerable distance between his newly won world #3 ranking, and Federer, now world #4, and over a thousand rankings points behind the Scot. But Murray didn’t have the pop yesterday that beating Tomas Berdych in a slugfest required. Then Federer abused Berdych this morning, playing ultra clean tennis, dominating on serve, and at net on his few trips in, and controlling the match with the Federer forehand circa 2005–the lights out laser beam. Berdych had taken 3 of the last 5 matchups with Federer coming in to the morning’s action, and Federer has seemed at a loss against Berdych to match the big man’s power. Today Berdych seemed spent, as he did barely get out alive versus Murray, in a match where the big man did lots of running for the full 3 hours, give or take.
Not so today. Federer won in decisive fashion–the kind of tennis that makes you go ‘oooh’–ripping 34 winners to the Czech’s 16. Federer flashed the brilliance last week in winning Basel for the 5th time in 6 years, but let’s be real. Nishikori in the final was a gift from the Gods. Nishikori had defeated a weary Novak Djokovic, in what was only his 3rd loss of his astounding season. Djokovic, after a tough match with countryman Victor Troicki, then forfeited prior to squaring off with Tsonga due to a recurring shoulder injury that nagged at him all summer.
Tsonga then got to face American giant John Isner today, and in what was a highly entertaining match, Tsonga fought off 3 match points on his way to a very narrow victory, taking the 2nd and 3rd sets in tie-breakers. A tough loss for the American, no doubt, who seemed to tighten up at 5-6 in the third, with a few looks on MP’s at Tsonga second balls. Tsonga would love to take home the hardware here in front of the home crowd, no doubt, but Federer is incredibly hot, once again peaking heading into the YEC.
Federer just seems to have a lot of jump, power, and precision indoors, on windless courts where he is spiking first serve after first serve. Federer is now 9-0 on the indoor circuit this season. Here are the odds, at current, for the morning final:
9:00 PM EST
Roger Federer: – 360
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga: + 280
Federer is 5-3 lifetime versus Tsonga. They’ve met once indoors in Madrid (2008), in which Federer won in a waltz. Should Roger win tomorrow, he will have won two tournaments in a row for the first time since November 2010 (YEC)/January 2011 (Doha). Federer will look for his 69th career singles title tomorrow in Paris. Should he win, he will become only the 2nd man to win both Roland Garros and the Paris Indoor. Andre Agassi is the other.