Roger Federer has played five matches in the past two weeks, and three of them have involved saving match points by one side or the other. On Thursday, Federer's most recent example, the Swiss saved two match points before advancing past Borna Coric to reach the quarter-finals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome.
Have the matches been stressful experiences for the 37-year-old? Nah. Federer, who's playing in Rome this week for the first time since 2016, called playing in the tight matches “great”.
“I feel like I've won a lot and lost a lot like this,” he said. “It was fun to be part of. The thing is also once you end up in these situations and you've been there before, like not long ago, they're easier to play. The problem is when they never happen and all of a sudden they do happen.
“I feel like they're tricky because you put so much energy and focus on every single point. You don't want to do wrong, you want to do right. Things happen so quickly. It's like a penalty shootout at the end.”
Coric led 6/4 in the third-set tie-break before Federer saved them both and converted his second match point to advance 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(7). Coric had won two of their past three FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings.
“Definitely, again, felt like I got a little lucky obviously. Borna had the lead. There were crucial moments throughout the match, second set and third set, for me to stay in it. Things definitely went my way tonight,” Federer said.
Last week at the Mutua Madrid Open, Federer split the toss-up contests. He saved two match points in his third-round match against Gael Monfils, but he lost two match points and bowed out in the quarter-finals against Dominic Thiem.
To Federer, though, the close matches aren't particularly worrisome or a cause for concern. They're just part of tennis.
“It's not going to continue this way... For me personally, I think it's great playing these kind of matches here on the clay, enjoying myself, no, not all the time, but in moments... It's a weird one when they happen. I try to stay calm and do the right things,” Federer said. “I think it's important to sort of have a plan. That you do win and lose matches having match point, that's normal.”