Federer by the Gilles, Survives Beating Simon in Five Sets at Australian Open
by Staff | January 19th, 2011, 9:30 am

World No. 2 Roger Federer needed everything in his arsenal to defeat a player be had never beaten in two career meetings entering play Wednesday at the 2011 Australian Open.
Up two sets to love on Frenchman Gilles Simon, Federer found himself unable to close the match against the Frenchman, who just kept hanging around until the Swiss finally finished with a flourish after five sets 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.

Federer was brilliantly aggressive over the first two sets, running to a 6-2, 4-1 lead before assuming a 2-0 set posture. In the third set the momentum immediately shifted to Simon, who broke twice for a 3-0 lead before closing out the set 6-4, then breaking late in the fourth to even the match at two sets apiece. In the fifth Federer leapt in the air with pumped fists upon breaking Simon in the sixth game, and eventually serving it out at 5-3 after the Frenchman saved three match points in his previous service game.

“Every time we played we go the distance, so hopefully we don’t play each other any more,” Federer joked. “It showed what a great mover, return player he is. I wasn’t playing poorly either to lose the third and fourth set, I really think Gilles took it to me, but you remain positive, I worked hard my entire life, I’m happy I won and I’m still in the tournament.”

Federer next faces Xavier “X-Man” Malisse in the third round after the Belgian upset No. 25 seed Al Montanes, dropping only five games with a middle-set bagel.

Other seeded upsets Wednesday were Spaniard Tommy Robredo over No. 16 Mardy Fish in four after losing the first 6-1, and Dutchman Robin Haase defeating No. 24 Juan Monaco in four.

No. 8 Andy Roddick was the only Top 10 seed who had an easy time of it Wednesday, defeating Russian Igor Kunitsyn in straights. No. 3 Novak Djokovic needed four sets to beat Croat Ivan Dodig, No. 6 Tomas Berdych needed four to subdue German Philipp Kohlschreiber, and No. 9 Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco was pushed to the limit by Serb Janko Tipsarevic, winning 6-0 in the fifth.

“It’s important, no, for yourself to get confidence, to see that you are good physically and mentally,” Hot Sauce said. “So it was of course very important win after coming again two sets to love down, and also saving the match point in the fourth set. So I think it’s very positive for me.”

Djokovic next faces his Davis Cup teammate and No. 29 seed Viktor Troicki, who defeated Nicolas Mahut in four sets.

“Anytime I have a look at the last couple of points of Viktor’s [Davis Cup-clinching match last year],” Djokovic said, “the last backhand winner, the celebrations that we had, the shaving heads, all these kind of things, it just brings the smiles and goosebumps. It’s probably the best feeling I ever had in my life as a tennis player.”

Other seeds advancing were No. 12 Gael Monfils, No. 14 Nicolas Almagro in five over Russian Igor Andreev, No. 17 Ivan Ljubicic, No. 19 Stan Wawrinka, and No. 28 Richard Gasquet.

Kei Nishikori was an unseeded winner, defeating the Davydenko-killer Florian Mayer in four sets.

“We started December. It’s on and off actually,” said Nishikori of his part-time work with coach Brad Gilbert. “For this week he has to do ESPN. But we talk together every day about matches. He mentioned some things to change my tennis little bit. And everything, it’s going well now. More steady on the court and get more percentage for my serve, especially first serve.”

Highlights on Thursday in Melbourne come fast and furious, featuring (1) Rafael Nadal vs. American upstart Ryan Sweeting, Juan Martin Del Potro vs. (21) Marcos Baghdatis, Aussie Bernard Tomic vs. (31) Feliciano “F-Lo” Lopez, (4) Robin Soderling vs. Gilles Muller, “Iron Mike” Russell vs. (7) David Ferrer, (20) John Isner vs. Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, and (27) David Nalbandian vs. former world No. 1 junior Richard Berankis.

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27 Comments for Federer by the Gilles, Survives Beating Simon in Five Sets at Australian Open

sheila Says:

simon is no slouch. he has been ranked as high as 6 in the world. i’m curious what the commentators or “experts” read into this match as far as federer being up 2 sets & then narrowly escaping in 5. its obviously a positive thing federer won the match but how does this affect him getting to the finals. federer, as he ages, seems 2b playing more 5 set matches in slams whereas nadal is now playing more 3 set wins in slams. i guess thats y nadal is #1. everything i’ve read or heard from sports commentators is nadal will win this w/o a doubt. is there anyone who can challenge nadal. although federer was dominant 4solong, nadal seems even more dominant. i mean, these other guys cant even take a set off of him. its incredible & btw i’m a huge federer fan, but nadal seems 2b on another level from all these guys including roger.

TGiT Says:

I don’t believe you.

queen Says:

Who cares what you believe TGiT. Sheila told the truth. LOL

van orten Says:

it was a great match in retrospective and all the credit to both players…fed hung in there and played a superb 5th set under immense pressure!!! i believe he is going to take out positive things from this match…if he had won in straights it would have been ok , but winning in 5 against in the way he did will give him confidence boost and remind him what a fighter he can be himself!

dari Says:

If you, Sheila are such a huge fan or roger’ s you have to believe he can win more majors, even against nadal!
Yes, Rafa is a beast, yes Rafa absolutely stormed through the last few majors, but roger can have his day, too! Rafa is still human.
I do agree that Rafa’s dominance seems more dominant than even what we saw in roger a dew years ago- all the more reason to rack up as many majors as he can before he goes out, cause who knows what Rafa is gonna do in the next few years!

madmax Says:

Sheila, what a pile of rubbish. No federer fan would say that.

Federer is playing the best tennis out of everyone. Check out the statistics, will you. Let’s start with the tail end of last year shall we?

Fact 1: The ATP World Tour Finals title match was the 22nd time that fed and nadal have played each other.

Fact 2: The match at the World Tour Finals was the first match between the two rivals in London, since their legendary Wimbledon final in 2008.

Fact 3: Nadal has a 14-8 career win-loss record against Federer.

Fact 4: In title matches, Nadal has defeated Federer twelve times, while Federer has prevailed on six occasions.

Fact 5: The last match between Rafa and the Swiss Maestro in London was their third indoors meeting.

Federer won their last two matches on that surface.

Fact 6: Nadal has a 10-2 advantage over Federer on clay.

On other surfaces, Federer holds a 7-4 record.

Fact 7: Nadal has taken six of their last three-set matches, while Federer has won five.

Fact 8: Nadal had a record of six consecutive wins over Federer until the World Tour Finals, where he was defeated and his streak interrupted.

Fact 9: From 2006 to 2008, the two players competed against each other 13 times. They have only played each other five times in the last two seasons.

Fact 10: Out of the 22 matches played by the pair, eighteen have been finals. Out of the remaining four, three were semi-finals. The only preliminary round meeting between Federer and Rafa was their first-ever match, a second round clash in Miami in 2004.

Fact 11: Rafa and Federer have won three matches each on hard courts. Federer now ups that with his win at WTF 2010.

Fact 12: Federer and Nadal have together dominated Grand Slams since Wimbledon in 2003. Since then both men have won 25 of the 30 Grand Slams tournaments held.

Fact 13: The only time when either Federer or Nadal did not win the French Open or Wimbledon was six years ago, when Argentine Gaston Gaudio lifted the 2004 French Open.

Fact 14: The last man to hold the World Number one ranking before Federer and Nadal established a strangle hold on the top spot, was Andy Roddick in February 2004.

Fact 15: Until 2009 both men were responsible for each others exit in a Grand Slam final. However Juan Martin Del Potro broke that run by defeating Roger Federer in the U.S. Open final last season.
Fact 16: Either Nadal or Federer have featured in every Grand Slam final since the 2005 Australian Open, except the 2008 Australian tournament.

Fact 17: In their three indoor meetings, Nadal has only been able to win one set against Federer.
Fact 18: The shortest encounter between the two players was at Shanghai in 2007, when the match lasted just under two hours.

Fact 19: At the age of 24, Nadal has only spent 70 weeks as World Number one, while Federer had already clocked in 100 weeks when he was 24.

Over the last 12 months, Roger Federer has dispelled the quite frankly ridiculous whisperings that he is a thing of the past.
He began the year by wiping the floor with Andy Murray and finished it by lifting the ATP World Tour Finals trophy.

Okay, so the middle of the year wasn’t quite so impressive, with a limp French Open quarter-finals loss to Robin Soderling and a defeat at the same stage at Wimbledon to Tomas Berdych.

But federer roared into form in the back-end of the season, claiming wins in Cincinnati, Stockholm and Basel as well as at the O2 in London, and reaching the finals in Toronto and Shanghai (in both of which he was beaten by Murray).

And what did all of this prove? That when he wants to, Roger Federer can still be completely dominant.

And it’s the “when he wants to” that is the key to all of this. Federer is undeniably less dominant than he was, say, three years ago.

But so what?

His focus has shifted slightly, and fair enough too. What does he have left to prove?

Absolutely nothing. He owes tennis fans absolutely nothing and he has two young kids that are bound to affect his concentration at times. Let’s just be grateful for the fact that he hasn’t retired completely.

In every year, since he won his first Grand Slam title—Wimbledon back in 2003—Federer has been voted the “ATP fans’ favorite.” That’s eight consecutive years.

He was asked what he put his success down to. He replied that he tried to give the fans time, sign for them, have photos taken with them, and give them respect. Also saying, “It’s their support that gives me the motivation.

Federer’s WTFs statistics are, in themselves, remarkable, a fifth year-end title from six finals and nine appearances, the fourth time he’s won it undefeated, a 34-7 win-loss record.

And in 2010 that topsy-turvy approach to his end of season yielded some more big rewards.

Federer’s 21 match wins between the U.S. Open and the year-end was a personal record.

Make no mistake Sheila, Federer is doing just fine.

DavyCrockett Says:

One thing that p$ssed me off was Chris Fowler repeatedly pointing out what a shock to Federers career and upcoming year if he lost that match. He wanted to stress this point, repeatedly, right after Fed came off a tough early round win. Instead of talking about what a great win by Fed, and he is moving on in the tournament. WTF? What kind of talkin out of rear is that?

As usual, some want to be the first to hammer a nail in Fed’s career coffin. Haters.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Sorry, had my squirrel hat on…..

madmax Says:

Federer is the best. People will always have a problem with that. Real federer fans stick with roger through wins and losses, best times and more difficult ones. DCrocket, chris fowler cant handle the man. Simple as that.

dari Says:

DavyCrockett- that’s surely short for DAVYDENKO crockery, right?
Fowler is being quite the instigator this AO. he already wanted to stir up a reaction in Rafa in regards to roger hiring anacone “for the purpose of beating Rafa” which isn’t even provable. And in all his interviews he tries to start something between the players with a he said she said leading question.
But Killer Cahill wasn’t gonna be baited in, he wouldn’t really agree with fowler.
It’s like saying “oh, man if it would have rained it woulda been really really bad” well, it didn’t rain, so move on!
Drama at the AO…

dari Says:

Spell check changed crockett to crockery. how is that a better option?!

fognini Says:

hahhaha …squirrel? wasn’t it racoon tail?

guessing you are not davy crockett on tourneytopia. but that’s a funny nic for you on tennis x

fognini Says:

the first week of a GS is the best! always miss having so many matches going on at the same time. second week gets so serious.

ESPN 2 is showing federer – simon! i get to SEE what everyone is talking about!

andrea Says:

dari is right about fowler.

when the fed match started chris pontificated that after just one match, he was deeming roger still one of the faves for the tournament. darren was noticeably surprised and even said “really. after one match you’re saying that?”.

i prefer a more tempered approach to analysis. first round matches rarely give you anything to hang your hat on.

steve-o Says:

This was a second-round match that should have more properly been a quarterfinal or semi, maybe even a final.

Simon was not your typical early-round opponent. He was a top ten player, and he sure played like it last night. Plus he had an unbeaten record against Federer. That had to have been on Federer’s mind.

Simon had absolutely nothing to lose. He just kept plugging away and he didn’t lose hope after being down two sets to none.

Federer wobbled somewhat in the third and fourth but he regained focus in the fifth set and returned to playing tactical tennis to finally break Simon and finish him off.

Skeezerweezer Says:


You’re right. I took it off and it was a Racoon’s tail! Now if I can only find my moccasins..

PS: If u want to see Fowlers fowlness, match sure and watch a few minutes after Feds on court interview. Movin on….

Go Fed!

dari Says:

You guys ready for JMdP back on Rod Laver tonight?
Surely the biggest stage he has been on in a year. Question is, is HE ready?!!!
I will be cheering for him!

Skeezerweezer Says:


Yes win or lose he is worth the watch just to see him hit FH’s. Cool they put him on Laver, they didn’t have to do that :)

jane Says:

dari do you know what time it’s on? Hopefully I can watch a little bit. He and Baggy should be fun to watch! I am cheering for JMDP to save my bracket.

contador Says:

well skeezer, sitting home watched the whole set knowing the ending and now in the 5th set. federer was not even sweating until now. simon was sweating and red-faced from set 2.

fed is in such awesome shape. but he was being out-played by the clever, speedy simon for 2 sets. 5th set federer was making some terrible misses but simon lost a bit of snap to his backhand…making a few more errors and the simon serve appeared to get really tired. yeah, simon’s level dropped.

federer’s patience, experience superior fitness and calm despite his errors really great…and was still strong on serve.

love the “allez’s” from fed, lol…

toward the last simon gasping for air and fed looking perfectly cool while mixing awful shanks but coming back with calm brilliant winners.

simon stronger with a big serve? watch out! he’s so stubborn…”love his never say die” mental strength.

that’s non-expert my take on that great 5 setter.

the thing is: those 2 wins simon had against federer were in 2008…both at federer low points…one was the first tournament back after losing wimbledon to rafa, the other was the 2008 tour final and federer was suffering a back injury. excuse? okay…but also a reason, just like simon’s knees a reason his rank is now what it is but he’ll be moving up! go gilou! go fed!

federer was so cool in that courier interview. courier changed the question. fed takes it stride…love federer!

yesssss! let’s go delpo!! my “real” bracket is finished anyway….was when davy and fish went out.

go delpo! go cilic!

contador Says:

oh @#$%! delpo v baghdatis match is the last one scheduled like federer/simon.

grendel Says:

delpo in 4. Then Melzer to take him out. That will count as a promising comeback.

skeezerweezer Says:


nice post and your insight was well indeed :)

skeezerweezer Says:

Contador…I meant your 7;04 post :)> and yes go Delpo…

Daniel Says:

Nadal is practicing some drops, he already know his opponent can’t threaten him.

tennisfansince76 Says:

sorry Dcrockett but Fowler was right. Fed losing in the 2nd round at a major would have sent seismic shockwaves thru the tennis world. it would be something that hasn’t happened in a long long time.

margot Says:

skeeze: what’s with you and that hat? Just put it in the bin…NOW ;)

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