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Djokovic’s 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory over Federer @ the Australian Open 2011 is one of the best performances from the Serbian number 1 – his sensational attacking forehand, brilliant movement and huge serving (at the most important moments) produced a brilliant tactical performance to defeat Federer, however there were a number of things Federer should have done differently:

1. Federer’s backhand, after 10+ shots in a rally, frequently made mistakes – Djokovic’s tactics were similar to the ones Murray used against Federer last year in the final – hitting hard to Federer’s backhand, yet the difference in Djokovic’s game is that his forehand is much, much more powerful than Murray’s. Federer should have been much, much more aggressive on his backhand – it would have maybe given 15+ more unforced errors, but he would have won a lot more points against Djokovic had he been more aggressive.

2. Federer’s serve was 60% for the match – under 50% for the second set yet he still lead 5-2 at one point. His serving and baseline display were very reminiscent of his US Open 2009 final against Del Potro – when his serve wasn’t working, he was being out-played from the baseline around 3/5 of the time by Del Potro. Federer needed to just serve better – Djokovic served at 75% on his first serve for the first set, had Federer done so for the whole match he would have had a lot less pressure on him.

3. Federer should have approached the net more and he should have approached Djokovic’s backhand more – the Serbian’s forehand, defensively and attacking, was sensational tonight. When being thoroughly out-played from the baseline, one of the delights of Annacone’s tactical philosophy is that you can negate any baseline rallies – you can finish points quicker, Federer should have done so, at numerous times through-out the match, when facing a breakpoint on his serve, he seemed to contempt to get into a rally and play on his opponent’s terms – this is what Annacone is trying to fix in his game.

And full credit must go to Djokovic’s attacking display; it is matches like these that show just brilliant you need to be to defeat Federer – Djokovic had to do everything tonight – Federer asked every question, and Djokovic, for the most part, answered. His serving was the most impressive facet – when Federer had break-points on numerous Djokovic games, the Serbian’s serve dug him out of the situation.

This was a rare case of two players, both aggressive, both very talented and both playing well – it is near impossible to find a Federer who doesn’t play well at the second week of a Slam – despite making 44 unforced errors, Federer put in a great defensive performance tonight, and when he did attack, he often reaped the rewards. Djokovic shows an increasing maturity, now reaching the last 2 finals of consecutive Majors. Djokovic also showed another technical progression – in the past when facing Federer, Djokovic has made it easy for Federer to be aggressive against him – but tonight he made it incredibly risky for Federer to be aggressive – and Federer struck half-way between playing on his opponent’s terms and his. It is this exact balance that Annacone is set on fixing.

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One Comment

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