The other thing Roger Federer is known for is his serve. For many players, a booming serve is a crutch—something they rely on to compensate for other deficiencies, something they can ride to a solid career, though it might be a little embarrassing. For Federer it just sits at the core of a game that is altogether seamless. He can, almost incidentally, serve as well as anyone ever has. He can put the ball wherever he wants, not as fast as the very fastest but more precise than any of those guys, and that instrument has bailed him out of countless unpleasant situations. Today in the third set, when Berdych threatened to elbow his way back into the match by breaking serve, Federer rummaged around and found these four:
As someone who deeply enjoys both dudes’ styles of play, it’s a cool drop of relief to see them shut up the skeptics and sustain good tennis for a whole week to make a final of this magnitude. But as someone who has watched both long enough to know, I would not go so far as to confidently project big things for either at the . Open, which begins next week. They’re just a little too volatile for any bold predictions. Just hold out modest hope and believe it when you see it. The unending Federer-Nadal show has been pleasant enough, but, c’mon—let them duel for year-end No. 1 and leave this dang thing for someone else. It’s bizarre to see it in writing, but in 2017 the most radical outcome might simply be someone in their 20s lifting a major trophy.