Can Tsitsipas stun Federer on his home turf in semi-final? | Swiss Indoors 2019
At Swiss Indoors, generations are once again about to collide as we eagerly anticipate the blockbuster of a contest between the veteran Roger Federer and the Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas to get underway in the semi-final on a super Saturday.
Federer had a day off in the quarterfinal as his Swiss opponent Stan Wawrinka pulled out of the much-awaited contest against the 20-time Majors champion owing to a back injury that he seemed to have picked up at the closing stages of his titanic tussle against Francis Tiafoe in his earlier round match.
Chasing his 10th title in Basel, the local boy made extremely light work of his opponents Radu Albot and Peter Gojowczyk in his opening couple of rounds and would be fresh, positive and well-rested before he takes on Tsitsipas in the semi-finals.
On the other hand, the 21-year old Greek had to work hard to get through his 2nd round and the quarter-final clash as well against the unseeded players Ricardas Berankis and Filip Krajinovic respectively as he recorded come-from-behind victories, having dropped the first set on both of these occasions.
Up against his idol
Tsitsipas, who idolizes Federer, is one of the very few players of the new generation of tennis who has managed to beat the great Federer in their first ever meeting on the tour. In the 4th round of Australian Open at the start of 2019 season, the young Greek stunned the two-time defending champion in four sets, 6-7, 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 and holds a one-one head-to-head record against the Swiss maestro so far on the tour.
After unceremoniously going down against Tsitsipas at Melbourne, Federer did not have to wait too long for his revenge as the Swiss maestro breezed past his young challenger in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in the finals at Dubai and in the process, recorded his 100th ATP title triumph as well.
Focus on Federer
Since his last Slam win at the Australian Open, back in 2018, Federer has experienced a lot of cracks and loopholes in his game and whenever they had a chance, his opponents have made the Swiss great pay. Especially since the start of this year, Federer’s inability to close out matches that he should have won and his diminishing effectiveness to control the game are far from hidden, thereby haunting Federer when he is up against tough opponents under pressure situations.
With age, each loss would hurt Federer more and more and he is just trying to bounce back from his most recent loss against Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final of Shanghai Masters 1000 earlier this month. In the context of the conundrum surrounding Federer’s game and his probable chances of winning in the events to follow, the upcoming semi-final clash against a player of tremendous ability like Tsitsipas has assumed a greater importance for the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Should Federer win against Tsitsipas and go on to win the title at Basel, the doubts and uncertainties revolving around his game and future would receive a temporary pause; however, if the Swiss maestro indeed fails to get past the young Greek, it would amount to one more indication that the end might not be too far for Federer.
Important for Tsitsipas
Alongside Dominic Thiem, Tsitsipas is the only other player who has managed to beat all the members of ‘big 3’ in 2019.
Having made the finals of the China Open and the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters 1000, the 21-year old Greek is taking steps in the right direction towards attaining consistency on the tour and against Federer, Tsitsipas would aim to unleash his full potential to surprise the defending champion.
Tsitsipas’ emergence on the tour has been one of the most fascinating stories of 2019 so far and the young Greek, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final at Shanghai a fortnight ago, would fancy besting his role-model and idol, Federer for a 2nd time this year.
Federer has looked impressive and unrelenting so far at Basel and would enjoy massive home support against Tsitsipas. However, with determined Tsitsipas at the opposite end of the net coupled with vulnerabilities in Federer’s own game, the Swiss maestro might be up facing his biggest test since facing Djokovic in the finals of Wimbledon earlier this July.
In a battle that promises a feast of single-handed backhand exchanges, can Federer survive unscathed against an exuberant, young Greek or will Tsitspas, drawing inspiration from his win at the Australian open earlier this January, stun the defending and nine-time champion at Basel?
Irrespective of the outcome of the contest, the upcoming semi-final battle between the 38-year old warrior and the young Greek has the potential to throw at us some fascinating stories of what can one expect from the either men in Paris Masters and Nitto ATP finals, especially from Federer as we approach the back end of the 2019 season.
Prediction: Stefanos Tsitsipas to win in three sets.Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:51 IST