Roger Federer, the number one seed for the 2010 Australian Open Men’s Singles Tennis, has made it through to the Semi-Final of the tournament, but only after dropping the first set.
The Swiss master, however, proved his tremendous talent on the court yet again by rallying and producing some excellent tennis before taking out his quarter-final against Russian Nikolay Davydenko 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, 7-5.
Despite having defeated Davydenko on each of the first twelve times these players met, the Russian must have gone into this match with a good deal of confidence having beaten Federer on their last two meetings. This run of form against the world’s number one player continued with Davydenko taking the first set 6-2.
Federer found himself in an even more difficult position soon after: he was soon 3-1 down in the second set, and 15-40 on his own serve, before he seemed to dig deep to hold serve and begin the fightback, telling in the post-match conference:
Was in a tough situation at 6‑2, 3‑1 down and 15‑40 on my serve. I knew I wasn’t looking very good, you know.But that’s the beauty of best of five sets. I wasn’t panicking, even though I maybe would have lost the second set had I lost another point there at that stage.
But, you know, I just relaxed and thought, you know, maybe if the sun goes and his level drops just a little bit, the whole thing might, you know, change for the better. It did. I couldn’t believe the way it changed.
It wasn’t merely Davydenko’s level which dropped, however, as Federer began hitting some excellent shots from all round the court, in the style and at a level that only he and perhaps a tiny handful of top players can achieve.
Federer fought his was back to lift the set 6-3, winning six games on the trot, which must have rocked his Russian opponent as, before he knew it, he had done it again, taking the third set 6-0.
Davydenko finally regained his good early form in the fourth set, and managed to save a match point at 5-4 by breaking Federer’s service. The return was short-lived, however, as Federer immediately broke back to seal game, set and match.
Federer’s magnanimity in his post-match interview does not tell the full picture of the first set, however, as he hit 17 unforced errors in only 8 games of tennis: an uncharacteristic blip which, once eradicated, saw the World Number One power away from his highly rated, sixth seeded, opponent.
Federer has now made 23 Grand slam semi-finals in a row.
Every Grand slam champion has a blip along the way, but only the truly great can turn their form around in an instant. The manner in which Federer was able to turn on his best game today surely marks him out as this year’s most likely Australian Open Champion.