Roger Federer reminded us of beatings past with his 6-2, 6-4 victory over Andy Roddick today in Basel. Federer is now a commanding 20-2 against Roddick and will face Novak Djokovic—who beat the Swiss in last year's final—for the title tomorrow.
In reaching the big two-zero, Federer has made a habit of negating Roddick's cannon serve. To no one's surprise, his return game was one of today's highlights, by way of stab backhands, precise slices and neutralizing forehands. Once the rally began, it was 2004 (or 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2009) all over again. Federer was opportunistic when he needed to be, but for the most part he let Roddick play himself out of this match. The backhand Roddick used to great effectiveness in the 2009 Wimbledon final, which he lost 16-14 in the fifth, was nowhere to be seen. The American made a brief surge once the second set began, breaking Federer instantly for a 1-0 lead. But Roddick himself was broken two more times, including in the contest's final game.
Federer seems to get more out of his shots, particularly the backhand, whenever he plays Roddick. He'll need similar results tomorrow against Djokovic, who will force Federer to hit one-hander after one-hander. Just like old times.