No Chardy troubles here for the GOAT as he defeated the Frenchman 6-2, 6-1 in his first clay outing of 2015 at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters. The match was a far cry from their encounter in Rome last year which ended in defeat for the Swiss but here he needed just 55 minutes to book his spot in the third round.
It's the first time we've seen Fed since his Indian Wells final loss to Djokovic and after a brief holiday he's been training hard on the clay in preparation for Monte Carlo, Istanbul, Madrid and potentially Rome ahead of the French Open in Paris. Safe to say he looks in decent shape and has clearly been putting in the miles on the legs to build up the endurance required to have any success on the red stuff.
Quick Match Recap
Chardy won the toss and elected to receive and Roger held to 15 in relatively dull conditions to kick things off. At 1-1 the Swiss fired down a 50 second hold to move in front before breaking Chardy to lead 3-1 after the Frenchman double faulted on break point.
4-1 soon became 5-2 and with Chardy's serving becoming more erratic Roger broke for the second time to take it 6-2. 9 winners to 4 errors and winning 70% of second serve return points; very solid.
Into the second and Roger immediately moved up a break to lead 2-0 after some sloppy play from Chardy. However this time around he failed to consolidate, giving Chardy a real buffet service game to get back on serve.
Fortunately though Fed soon got himself back in front, converting his 4th break point of game 4 before reeling off the next 3 games to breadstick Chardy 6-1. No more drama in this one; just comfortable service holds, some nice volleying and a genius dropshot / lob / smash play that left Chardy out of ideas and on the train back to Liege.
|J. Chardy||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||52%||76%|
|1st Serve Points Won||14/26 (54%)||22/31 (71%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||8/24 (33%)||7/10 (70%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/10 (50%)||0/1 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||7||8|
|1st Return Points Won||9/31 (29%)||12/26 (46%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||3/10 (30%)||16/24 (67%)|
|Break Points Won||1/1 (100%)||5/10 (50%)|
|Return Games Played||8||7|
|Net Points Won||2/6||9/12|
|Total Service Points Won||22/50 (44%)||29/41 (71%)|
|Total Return Points Won||12/41 (29%)||28/50 (56%)|
|Total Points Won||34/91 (37%)||57/91 (63%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Pretty good start really for Fed here, he looked good on serve, mixed it up with some nice serve and volleys and looked solid from the back of the court. His backhand was in tip top form especially on the return which is always good to see and his movement was all very fluid.
Chardy on the other hand was very poor; he only made the trip back from Houston 3 days ago and he's already played a singles match and a doubles so it could that the travel has caught up with him. He was clearly having problems with his serve as his ball toss was all over the shop, throwing it way behind his head en route to double faulting on break point in the first set. No patience from him either in the rallies and he bailed out of any medium to long exchanges with wild low percentage shots.
As for the stats, it all makes nice reading in the far right hand column with Federer managing to hit 19 winners to 12 unforced errors, won 70% of second serve points and only faced the one break point which saw him drop serve in the second set which is the only real blemish. All tidy stuff and you can't ask for more in his first clay match of the year.
Predictions vs. Monfils
Next up is Monfils who saw off Dolgopolov in two tie break sets to setup the tie with Roger. An impressive win for La Monf and although I expected him to come through I thought he'd have to do it in three.
Like I said in my predictions post you only have to look at the US Open and the Davis Cup final encounter to know what Gael is capable off – huge groundstrokes, massive serve and a ridiculous athlete. It all just depends on what sort of mood he's in as to whether those facets of his game make an appearance on court.
Roger dominates the H2H between the two but even in his wins it's not always straightforward and he will definitely have to be somewhere close to his best to ensure he gets the win and does so without having to fight it out over 3 tough sets.
It's hard to really say where the match will be won and lost considering Monfils is so enigmatic but if Fed plays to his strengths (a la their Cincy match) and avoids letting Monfils get into the fun & games style of play he seems to enjoy then I think he gets it done in straights. 6-4 7-5.