Federer Saves 2 MPs v Monfils In Madrid, Faces Thiem Fri; Nadal v Wawrinka
by Staff | May 9th, 2019, 10:49 pm

Roger Federer was on the brink of exiting the Madrid Masters twice on Thursday. The Swiss who is playing his first clay event in three years, breezed in the opening set against Gael Monfils, then, serving to stay in the match in the third saved match points on two occasions before eventually pulling it out 6-0, 4-6, 7-6(3).

Federer won the first set in a blink but Monfils found his form, grabbing an early break and hanging on to force the decider.

The Frenchman continued to have the upper hand in the third jumping out to a 4-1 lead until Federer roared back. Then the Swiss, thanks to some timely serve-volley artisty, saved the match points at 5-6 and rolled in the breaker.

“I just felt not so confident to win the point from the baseline, so I said panic mode is switched on and we are coming in,” Federer siad the match points. “Regardless of how and what and when, there were no more tactics except to serve it to the forehand to mix it up and you go to the net as quick as possible so you are as close as possible and I framed the first volley, which ended up being perfect.”

Playing Monfils for the first time in nearly five years, Federer sensed the first set was too easy.

“It cannot go on like this. You can dream about 6-Love, 6-Love but they never happen,” Federer said. “I think that’s the beauty of the scoring system that if you win the first set, everything’s back to scratch in the second set.

“And I don’t remember the break in the first game, but I think Gael showed great intensity in the beginning of the second set to make sure that he somehow got a rhythm going, and he started playing better and he did.”

The win was Roger’s 1,200th of his career.

Federer now has little time to recover to face arguably the second best clay courter in the game in Dominic Thiem who beat the Swiss to win Indian Wells.

Thiem won his seventh straight match beating Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5. He also gave Federer his last loss on clay (back in Rome 2016) as well as on the tour. The Austrian leads Federer 3-2.

Losing just four points on first serve, Rafael Nadal played some of his best tennis of late thumping American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4.

“I’m very happy. It’s an important result against a tough opponent,” said Nadal. “As I said yesterday, he already won against Basilashvili and Kohlschreiber, so he came to this match with good confidence and winning against two great players on clay. It was a tough match. I think I did a lot of things well tonight, so I’m happy with the performance and excited to be through.”

Nadal will have a tough test Friday in the quarters against Stan Wawrinka who KO’d Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6(3). Nadal leads the other Swiss 17-3 in their series.

“It’s a tough one. He’s one of the best players in the world,” said Rafa. “He likes to play in these conditions, fast, altitude, big serve, big shots. It’s in this kind of match that I need to play my best. I need to add something else, and I hope to be ready to make that happen.”

Novak Djokovic continued to play well winning his 13th straight over Jeremy Chardy with a 6-1, 7-6(2) decision. Djokovic will now take on Marin Cilic on Friday. The Croat ousted Djokovic countryman Laslo Djere in three.

“I’m building slowly,” Djokovic said. “Roland Garros, on clay is where I want to peak. But of course I would love to try to get as far as in this tournament and also in Rome next week as possible.”

The fourth quarterfinal will put NextGenners Alexander Zverev against Stefanos Tsitsipas. Zverev overcame a slow start to rally past Pol Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Tsitsipas eliminated Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 6-4 to win his sixth straight match. The two have split two prior meetings. If he wins, Tsitsipas will have the most match victories on the season with 26.

Manolo Santana 12:00 Noon
QF 1 Novak Djokovic v 9 Marin Cilic
Not Before 2:30 Pm
SF Belinda Bencic v 3 Simona Halep
Not Before 5:00 Pm
QF 4 Roger Federer v 5 Dominic Thiem
Not Before 8:00 Pm
SF 8 Sloane Stephens v 7 Kiki Bertens
Not Before 9:30 Pm
QF Stan Wawrinka v 2 Rafael Nadal

Arantxa Sanchez 12:30 Pm
SF 6 Gabriela Dabrowski/Yifan Xu v (WC) Jelena Ostapenko/Vera Zvonareva
SF 5 SuWei Hsieh/Barbora Strycova v Veronika Kudermetova/Galina Voskoboeva
Not Before 7:30 Pm
QF 8 Stefanos Tsitsipas v 3 Alexander Zverev

You Might Like:
Rome Draw: Roger Federer Returns, Faces Brutal Road; Novak Djokovic-Rafael Nadal QF?
Thiem Saves 2 MPs To Beat Federer, Will Face Djokovic In Madrid SF; Nadal to Meet Tstisipas
Cilic Saves MP In Madrid, Americans Advance; Federer Makes Clay Debut Tues.
Wawrinka v Zverev in St. Petersburg Final; Thiem Faces Pouille For Metz Title
ATP Finals Groups: Novak Djokovic = Easy, Andy Murray = Not So Easy

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47 Comments for Federer Saves 2 MPs v Monfils In Madrid, Faces Thiem Fri; Nadal v Wawrinka

Van Persie Says:

Djoko gest a walkover round and he awaits the other semifinalist. I think Thiem should prevail.

Van Persie Says:

I should root for Fed today, as it would be an easier match for Nole. On the other hand Dom would be a really good test for Nole , so, Bamos Thiem!

Daniel Says:

Be careful VP, Djoko usually doens’t fare well on clay after QF walkover, remember RG 2011 and who he faced next?:-)

Agree, Thiem should win today and Djoko x Thiem semis should be great and pose a real threat to Nadal in finals (if he makes that far). Oddily (or aging) this is his worst clay season ever. His wins are not that convincing as in the past when he was distributing bagels and breadsticks at will. Even 2011 when he had those losses to Novak they were on finals. This year seems something is missing, as if he came down from his own pedestal. Anything short of at least Madrid final will be a bad result for him, entering Rome for the first time with no final in 3 clay events.

Van Persie Says:

haha Daniel, at GS a walkover means usually 3 days break, which is bad. would not compare it with the FO

maybe it will be like IW this year though. Fed got WO, Thiem played and in the next round Thiem prevailed as well.

Wog Boy Says:

If I remember well Fognini’s WO in 2011 gave Nole 5 days off and killed his momentum (3 days between QF and F plus previous 2 days).
Regardless, Nole doesn’t stand a chance against Thiem.
His pattern is back to post 2016 FO, he has enough focus and energy for one set, any player who can take set from him will beat him, check IW, Miami, MC…
If Chardy kept his cool in TB and took Nole to third he would have won, problem with Chardy was that he has never won one single set against Nole, he was close yesterday.

Wog Boy Says:

“..3 days between QF and SF ..” should say

lylenubbins Says:

I think Thiem beats Fed, and then Thiem-Joker will be a blockbuster. Also I think Tsitsi beats Zverev and hopefully gets Rafa.

Madrid really great this year!!

Giles Says:

Daniel. Don’t sound so surprised at Rafa’s results so far. Remember his injuries this year? Injuries mean little or no practice so quit with all the criticisms. 😱😱😱😱😱

Daniel Says:


Last year he wa sinjured also and cruised through clay, hence I think is more age related. Eventually his level will juts drop a bit. He still is winnign multiple matches in clay tourneys, just not in Nadla fahsion.

Thiem a bit erratic with FH. Fed a break up again with an great early start this week.

PK Says:

Federer with an early break in the fist set! 2-0.

Daniel Says:

Federer with unreal 89% first serves in 17/19 in 4 service games, untouchable if he keeps this serving.

Daniel Says:

Flawless set, just 5 UE in 30 min.

Thiem improved his return court position (he was too far early on) and add a bit extra pressure on Federer, but his serving is impressive, finish the set with 84% 1st in and he is solid from the back of the court.

PK Says:

Now 5-3, with the Swiss serving for the 1st set.



I am of the same opinion — rooting for Fed in order that Nole can face him tomorrow and win but Fed is a hard nut to crack.

Daniel Says:

Fed indeed is worth the ticket. This tiebreak had everything. The only bad for him is 1st MP he hit too hard BH and was long by a few inches middle court. The second one he return sliced deep but The runnaway BH and unleashed a killer FH inside out close to the line. Fed also escaped this set as he saved 5BPs whereasn he didn’t have any chance in Thiem’s serve.

Hope the level continues in third set.

Van Persie Says:


momentum with Thiem now. He started the game badly but is on now.
Have to admit, Fed was surprisigly good on clay this week. well, this clay is a bit faster.

FedExpress Says:

Federers chances to win gone.

Some questionable decisions. After saving MPs now losing a match after holding MPs


Van Persie Says:

Another dramatical TB with Fed winning would be perfect:D

lylenubbins Says:

Good for Fed but I am rooting for the kid, it’s time.

FedExpress Says:

Fed mentally not there.

FedExpress Says:

Fed gets broken. And this should be it.

Good performance. But he cant maintain it. Thats the problem.

Van orten Says:

Well played roger at 37 years old !!! Shame he lets to many opportunities slip vs some players every now and then but he has a good form and will be hard to beat in Wimbledon ! Thiem is just the best grinder right now out there ..

Daniel Says:

2 great returns by Fed in Thiem’s feet. BP

Daniel Says:

Damm, now Thiem making excelent returns, 0-30

FedExpress Says:

and the break only to get broken afterwards. what a waste

Daniel Says:

Bad luck Fed, return was in. Thiem breaks again and will serve for the match 5-4. Let’s see if Fed has another phoenix act in him

FedExpress Says:

I thought Fed wouldnt stand a chance and after seeing this its more frustrating.

Van Persie Says:

Good match, Thiem

Daniel Says:

Great win by Thiem, he adjust his game after an unbelievable start by Fed. 2 wins agaisnt him this season proving he is one of top 3 clay courters right now.

Actually favorite for the title now I think. Unless Djoko decides to play tomrrow.

Good clay comeback for Fed. Keep the rustyness off and use RG to not stay too long away from courts.

lylenubbins Says:

Well Thiem is the top clay court player at the moment so that is a very decent first outing on the clay for Roger.

Now to see how Nole does. Not sure the W/O helps him, he needs matches on the dirt.

Giles Says:

Its so funny when people play the age card when fed is losing and also when he’s winning . Hilarious. It’s a win win situation no matter what!

Van orten Says:

The commentators seem always so happy when fed loses … lol he will retire soon enough … pretty sure fed will learn them one more lesson this season

Giles Says:

Aww. Never mind fed.

FedExpress Says:

All of Fed 3 losses were from one set up.

fred stone Says:

Fed is a master of losing matches after having match points.
Pretty good match otherwise but way too many fancy/trick shots. His coaches were shaking their heads going WTF over and over again.

skeezer Says:

“Good match, Thiem”
Great match Roger!
First outing on Clay and took arguably the best player on Clay atm to the limit.
Gonna be interesting to see how Fed plays at the lower altitude though….

Van orten Says:

Thiem the favorite thiem the top cclay Court Player this season thiem the favorite for Roland garros and so and so on .. but still fed held Match Points and is uber competitive in his first outing on clay since 2016 .. people always exaggerate too much .. it’s a very open season this year so stop pretending you know the outcome before the matches are played

Maybe djoker will win v thiem tomorrow maybe nadal loses v wawa.. who knows ?

RZ Says:

Nice to see Thiem come through another close match. Last year I was worried that so many heartbreaking losses would affect his game but he seems mentally solid now.

chrisford1 Says:

It seems that slow but sure, the changing of the guard is underway. We are now consistently seeing the 20ish players in quarters and semis. Winning Masters 1000s. David Ferrer retired in glory. Tsongas and Berdych are shadows of what they were. Stan, Anderson, Del Potro, Bautista Agut, Monfils all over 30 and winning consistently is hard now for them. Raonic, Nishikori are not 30 yet but their time to nail some big wins has passed. Andy Murray is ???????. Novak and Rafa are now having ups and downs tennis form that comes with age.

And Federer is at that point where with his talent he can still play with anyone over two sets and still win 2-setters, but 3 is tough. 4 is still remotely possible, but I don’t think he can hang with the other guys in 5 sets…and if he falls a set behind, you see the energy go out of him.

Before Fed Rafa and Novak go with the setting sun, though, they will still add more wins and more stats even as they share the later rounds with Thiem, Felix, Zverev, Tsisipas. Roger gets to 1200 match wins. Novak got his 250th week as number 1, on track to pass Connors and Lendl, leaving Sampras at 286 and Fed at 310 weeks. But if he somehow stays #1 through all 2019 and most of 2020, he would pass both of them as well.

lylenubbins Says:

@ chrisford1, agree and I hate to say it because Rafa is my favorite, but the records look to be Nole’s for the taking if he can stay motivated.

FedExpress Says:

Since 2016 he has lost so many matches when having MPs

From todays presser:

“[It’s] frustrating, clearly,” said Federer. “Losing with match points is the worst, so that’s how I feel. But nevertheless, if I take a step back, it’s all good.”

j-kath Says:

And out goes Sasha again.

Wog Boy Says:

One day you save 2 match points next day you blew 2 match points, that’s how it goes.
Thiem in two against Nole, if it was 37 years old I would say Nole in 2, but it wasn’t to be.

Yes JK, with this win Tsitsipas established himself as a worthy top 10 player soon to be GS winner. I don’t give him much of the chance against Rafa, Rafa has point to prove and he will prove it, he is winning Madrid.

If anything, Zverev is proof that too much credit was given to Lendl for Andy’s GS titles, far too much.
I said then and I say now, Andy was due for GS title, with or without Lendl, far more credit should have been given to Andy’s pre Lendel coaches.
Andy was extremely unlucky to play his entire career in the era of 3 best players ever without any “week” era period, any other era or even if it was only 2 not 3 of them you would be looking at 6-10 GS for Andy, easy.

Wog Boy Says:

“weak” and not “week”

Daniel Says:

Checked out HxH between Djoko and Thiem as I didn’t recall all their matches and its 5-2 Djoko. But Thiem took last 2 in 2017 RG and last year MC, both on clay. Forgot that infamous clay trashing Djoko give him in Rome 2017 6-1, 6-0. Actually their last 3 matches were on clay and tomorrow as well, making 4 straight clay contests between them.

Thiem is solidly having decent HxH versus big 3 in last 3 years. He is the most consistent on beating them:
– 2-1 vs Djoko since 2017 (overal 2-5)
– 2-1 vs Federer since 2017 (overal 4-2)
– 3-6 vs Nadal since 2017 (overal 4-8)

He is probably the player who has best HxH against the 3 right now: 10-15

And he is 4-7 versus Nadal on clay, which is the best ration ever. (Djoko is 7-15)

j-kath Says:

Yes, Wog Boy – I think Lendl helped Andy to control his on-court self-abuse a bit…. while Andy was no. 1 for about 18 months he was really a consistent no. 4 before Lendl and during Lendl. Had Andy been born with a little less physical problems, he might have shone brighter – but hey ho – it is what it is. There will always be 3 players in his era who were more successful. PS: I’m guessing he may play Queen’s……but 5-setters might be a physical step too far.

Daniel Says:

Federer will play Rome next week. Just saw a video on his insta

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