Struggling to find form in 2013, Roger Federer managed just one title and suffered 17 losses. The Swiss dropped out of the top-5 for the first time since February 2003! Things picked up a bit for the Swiss in early 2014, reaching the Australian Open semi-final and winning the Dubai title to gain confidence heading into the first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells.
After beating Dmitry Tursunov in the third round, Roger defeated Tommy Haas and Kevin Anderson to reach the semi-finals, where he faced Alexandr Dolgopolov. The world number 31 surprised Rafael Nadal at the start of the event.
In subsequent meetings, he dispatched Fabio Fognini and Milos Raonic to secure a spot in the first Masters 1000 semi-final. the fifth Indian Wells final. It was his second matchup, and Roger assaulted Alexandr from start to finish.
The Swiss gave up ten points after the opening blow and stole half of the return points to earn four breaks from nine chances and sail home in just over an hour. The Ukrainian served at 39%, a ticket to self-destruction after hitting 12 winners and 25 unforced errors.
Federer mastered his shots more efficiently to score the same number of winners and unforced errors, drawing 25 forced errors from the other side, which helped him tremendously.
Fritz on facing Roger Federer
In a recent interview with CultureMap Dallas, Taylor Fritz recounted his experience of facing Roger Federer for the first time.
Having grown up watching the Swiss maestro at the peak of his prowess, Fritz recalled how the thought of squaring off against his childhood idol was enough to unnerve him. “It is [both fun and intimidating to face players I watched growing up].
When I was 18 and playing Roger Federer for the first time, it was like, “Wow!” I literally grew up watching this guy beat everybody. It’s pretty crazy,” Fritz said. Despite the loss, the 24-year-old was thankful for the opportunity to lock horns with a modern-day legend.
“It was close in the third set and I thought I had a chance to win. I think the thought of possibly beating Federer that day is what did me in. I lost the match. But it was an amazing experience. You have to take a step back and remember who these players are and what they mean to tennis,” Fritz said.
Being the No. 1 American has always been a dream of mine. Sometimes I have to stop and think about it. I realize that it’s something I’ve worked my whole life toward, but I want to be ranked a lot higher,” Fritz said.
“I’m happy being the No. 1 American, but I’m not happy being No. 19 in the world.”