Australian OpenGrand SlamsRoger Federer

Federer Cruises into Round 2 in Melbourne

The Swiss Defeated Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

A regulation victory for the Swiss Maestro in Melbourne as he defeated Denis Istomin 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 to move into Round 2 at the Sunshine Slam.

Federer needed a single break in each set to win through in 1 hour and 57 minutes and in doing so records his 15th straight win at Melbourne Park.

In Round 2 the defending champion will face Britain Dan Evans who came through qualifying and saw off Tastuma Ito in straight sets.

Quick Match Recap

Fed Istomin AO 19

Federer won the toss and elected to serve. Two aces in the opening game saw him hold to love for 1-0. A missed chip return at 15-30 would have given the Swiss to break points and although he did hold one break chance at 30-40, Istomin levelled for 1-1.

Another routine hold put Roger up 2-1 and he broke through in game four, moving swiftly to dig up an angled volley to set up two break points which he converted for 3-1.

A hold to 15 saw Fed move up 4-1 and he was soon serving out the set 6-3, hitting 17 winners in the process to get off to a solid start.

Into set two and Istomin held his opening game for 1-0. Roger quickly levelled and again broke his opponents serve early, moving into a 3-1 lead. 

More break points came his way in game seven but Istomin held for 3-4. However, the Uzbek wasn't able to find much in his return games and the one break saw Roger take it 6-4.

Two sets to the good meant Roger was well on the way and it looked like Istomin was about to falter in the first game of set three. However, he was able to save a break point and finally hold after a four-deuce game; that gave him a little boost of energy and he held again for 2-1.

That brief spell of resistance soon ended in game five when Roger broke for 3-2, aided by a well-chosen drop shot. That was quickly 4-2 and the Swiss cantered over the line, holding to love to take the set 6-4. 

Match Stats

 Denis IstominRoger Federer
Aces414
Double faults12
1st serve in70% (69/99)56 % (46/82)
Win 1st serve65% (45/69)83% (38/46)
Win 2nd serve53% (16/30)67 % (24/36)
Breakpoints won0%33% (3/9)
Net points won65% (13/20)77% (23/30)
Receiving points won22% (18/82)37% (37/99)
Winners2252
Return winners21
Unforced errors2130
Return unforced errors13
Total points won81100
Fastest serve202 kmh202 kmh
1st Serve Average187 kmh194 kmh
2nd serve average150 kmh166 kmh

Highlights

Thoughts on the Match

Federer 1st R AO19

 I think I was hitting the ball pretty well. Yeah, look, I think I protected my serve well, didn't allow Denis really to get into my service games very often. I was always in the lead, as well. Obviously that helps. I can free swing maybe a little bit more. At the same time I think I have to do some defense, some offense. It was a bit of everything.

But I'm very happy with my first round, to be honest. It's been great. Felt the ball really good.

A solid start from Roger here and he came through untroubled. You could tell from the get-go Roger was going to have a pretty good serving day and despite only landing 56% of first serves, he didn't face a single break point and hit 14 aces en route to the win.

With his serve untroubled he was able to get a bit of breathing room on the return and the one break in each set proved decisive. Nothing too spectacular or a crushing victory as Istomin kept it competitive throughout, especially at the back end of the second set and start of the third where he found some good rhythm from the baseline to hit crisply off both wings. 

However it was efficient, he protected his serve well and moved swiftly on the defense for the few times Istomin was able to get on the offensive. So all in all a solid day at the office and an ideal start to the tournament.

Predictions vs. Dan Evans

Fed Evans

Next up is Dan Evans who had an impressive win against Tatsuma Ito and he's the only Brit left in the main draw after Murray, Edmund and Norrie all lost.

I'm a big fan of the Evan's game and he has some stylish shots. In the age of baseline grinders, it's good to have someone like him on tour who can mix it up a bit, take it early and do something a little bit different. 

Roger leads the H2H 1-0 from their match at Wimbledon in 2016 and they also played each other at the Hopman Cup which Roger also won in straight sets.

I'm expecting a fun match with both guys hitting some flashy winners but I think Fed's game is just too solid. He has more ways to win free points in the crunch moments whereas Evans doesn't have too much in the way of weapons.

Evans can certainly cause problems, taking Stan to five sets and holding a match point the year he won the US Open, but I'll pick Fed in three sets.

What did you guys make of Roger's first match? Prediction vs. Evans? Let me know in the comments.

Federer vs. Istomin Australian Open 2019 Rating

Serving
Returning
Net Play
Winner to Unforced Error Ratio
Break Point Conversion

SOLID

Good start from Fed, protected his serve well, solid from the baseline and everything in working order for the first round.

User Rating: 4.65 ( 4 votes)

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Federer and tennis in general.

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104 Comments

  1. I’d expect Evo to give Roger a better match than at Wimbledon, but I’m not sure how well he’s playing at the moment? Hopefully it should be fun. And assuming he’s on RLA at least Evo has that Centre Court experience. Would like to see Roger’s FS % get a bit higher, though – at the moment I’m wondering what the cause of it still being around where it was late last year is …

    NB: Katie Boulter is still in in the Ladies’ side of things 🙂

    1. Maybe but Fed had the knee problem still when they played at Wimbledon. Ideal opportunity for Evans to challenge him there. So if he couldn’t then, not sure he can now. But he is playing well, he came through qualifying and beat some good players.

      Who is Katie Boulter?

      1. The British tennis player who gets her photo in the Daily Telegraph almost as often as Darcey Bussell does 🙂

  2. I drove my car like a mad woman just to see federer’s match but then they broadcast murrays match.oh well I understand.. so just watched the highlights.. great backhand today from fed.good serve also. That was always the key…
    Love the outfit, but i hope he tried more bright color…but the shoes was always amazing…

  3. I was eager to read your post as I couldn’t watch it, so thanks Jonathan. Sounds like a good solid 1R, glad to hear. Hope he will keep up!
    Oh, by the way, BP won 3/3 33%??

  4. Great first round! Roger with a smooth and relaxed game yet sharp and precise! Quite a few spectacular shots…
    a pleasure to watch and worth getting up at 5am

  5. A very straightforward match,for Fed although he was getting a bit stressed in one game because of some annoying
    line calls.I rather liked that system in the NG championships where they got rid of the lines people altogether.
    Everything seemed to be working well.Moving very quickly around the court,absolutely rock solid on overheads.
    Istomin seems such a charming man,I loved the little rueful smile when yet another Fed bomb flashed by him.
    Don’t see Evans causing him many problems.

    1. There were quite a few poor line calls. I guess in 2019 they employ line judges on diversity and not their eyesight or ability to do the job 😆 it’s ok if you’re blind in one eye, we need a fat black one armed lesbian to make sure our line judges are diverse.

      Despite that I don’t like the idea of no line judges though, makes the court seem empty and I like the traditional aspect to it.

      1. OMG that comment was too funny Jonathan. I was one of the folks watching the Murray match. Once in a while the broadcast would flip to Fed’s match for 30 sec. so I missed out in the circus line calls – I can imagine it now though thanks to you 🙂

  6. I think the main question I’ve got is where the hell was courier after the match? So much better than Mac at interviews

    1. I found it awkward to watch. He comes across too try hard and weird sort of set up questions.

      For me keep it simple – point out any records or specific achievements tied to the match, ask thoughts on how he played himself, thoughts on Istomin, thoughts on Evans. Then one question about time in Aus e.g. How will you spend tomorrow? Done.

      1. Yeh it’s somple. Courier normally does a good job and fed normally seems more comfortable. Mac would get a lot more criticism if it wasn’t for his playing career

  7. As someone else said, worth getting up at 6 am for. Federer looked sharp and hit crisply, the forehand looked like it had some penetration to it. Still, he looked good as the US Open until the 4th round, so at his age you can’t take it for granted.
    Evans has a rough kind of game, a bit like Benneteau in that he’s not a mental midget either . So he can cause anyone headaches when he starts making all those down the line backhands. I think it will be tight but Federer is the favourite of course.
    Nadal meanwhile seems to have courageously survived whatever problems he has been fighting through heroically.

    1. Evans compared to Benneteau, I don’t see it at all. And I would say Benneteau is a bit of a mental midget, he won zero ATP titles and lost to Fed from 2 sets up at Wimbledon and this is from someone who actually quite liked his game 😛

      Did anyone see Nadal’s new serve?

      1. Yes I see what you mean about Benneteau. And he can fade against top players in a big match, like the best of five in wimbledon 2012 vs Federer where he was up 2 sets and then a 4th set tiebreaker . I would say though in general Benneteau lacked belief and maybe the fitness, but at least he doesn’t roll over like a Gasquet or something.

    2. @ Arjuna

      What problems? He always says he’s injured but still is out there year after year running like a rabbit. A real injury is what Murray has had. Quite a difference, wouldn’t you say?

      1. Yes I was being sarcastic there, I can’t remember one tournament where all the media reports said ‘Nadal is battling through injury concerns’. So many that I don’t even remember – ankle, hip, hamstring, knee, wrist, blisters. I don’t think he’s faking it, but there is probably some mental aspect to it. Because you can bet a lot of the other players play through pain and it never makes the news.

      2. Whoops, I meant I can’t remember one tournament without the media talking up Nadal’s heroic battle through injuries.

        Murray’s case really puts it to light. The guy is No. 250 after falling from No. 1 and is still out there competing, even at maybe 50% his original fitness. Nadal at No.2 pulled out of a tournament 2 weeks ago and then destroys Duckworth.

  8. Good first match. Solid all around should be in second week soon without having to make us sweat it, hopefully. Hope his first serve % keeps improving each round and get to high 60s by week 2.

    1. Cheers. I don’t mind JMac in the commentary as he can actually give some good insight. I don’t really think the comments he get a lot about being unprepared are that valid, as that to me is the main commentator’s job. Who cares if he doesn’t know who some random top 250 player is etc?

      But on court interviews? Nah not his forte.

  9. He looks sharp still, really fast gliding around and nicely shooting, – and the low 1. serve percentage I wouldn’t take too seriously. He tells the court or whatever is somewhat different to Hopman, so this is obviously something we may see improved during next of his. I like the outfit a lot, suits him very nicely. Bencic also won her first round, nice.

  10. I missed the match because I was at work but thanks to Jonathan for the great recap.

    What is a peRFect Monday motivation ?

    Thinking you are going to go bananas 
    Watching Roger all dressed in teal topaz
    Hitting fifty-two winners
    in less than two hours
    While sipping a raspberry cocktail called razzmatazz
    And enjoy it as a good 37-year old jazz.

    Well done, Roger… I am going to watch the replay 🙂

  11. Almost blasphemy to type this on a Federer blog, but I ended up watching the Murray match primarily, interestingly he left open the option of making a comeback after having surgery, and to be honest it was a more competitive match once Murray got into it, so for that reason alone I don’t particularly regret watching it. Bit of an awkward moment where Andy was talking about a possible comeback and then they played a montage as though he was definitely, absolutely 100% retired after this match. Going to have to strongly disagree with Jonathan though, I’ve gradually warmed to Murray more and more over the years, and he’s probably in my top 5 list of favourite players excluding Federer (that list also includes Del Potro, Cilic, Zverev, Fognini and perhaps a couple of others, but if I named anyone else then it’s not a top 5 is it?).

    To get back to Roger’s match, I watched the highlights afterwards, and it looks like Roger remembered the anti-Istomin tablets as well as Jonathan! Maybe he stole from Djokovic and that’s why Novak lost to him a couple of years ago. Goal for the first week is always just to get through as many matches as possible in three or at most four sets, and so far Roger is on track to achieve that. Will make sure to pay closer attention to his matches now for the rest of the tournament!

    Also a question for Jonathan, is there some sort of arcane ritual I need to do to be forgiven for watching Murray instead? Do I need to sacrifice an animal or spin around on the spot or clap my hands three times or something?

    1. Uh oh, Murray over Fed. Well what can I say. I don’t tell anyone how to live their life but suffice to say loyalty is hugely important to me. In fact it’s the number one thing. Break it and I simply cannot forgive.

      1. Me too it’s fashionable to criticise him on twitter but he is no mug !
        Mark Woodford on a podcast alluded to his brilliance, he even told Woodford Woodbridge would be good for him & it was of course!
        Jonathan agree about loyalty and Fed v Muzz hope watching the last set and the speeches after Fed and enjoying it was ok!
        Was Fed just doing what’s needed trying stuff out , finding range, ridding not trying to do a show match, but enough spanky shots to show he’s up there like at Hopman Cup still?
        Denis can be tricky & he has reach etc. Just pleased Fed got through the first round.
        PS your linespeople observations & Muzz tweets hilarious !

      2. I respect Murray but in watching him play. But I had forgot how much that I don’t really enjoy his style of play. The moping, emotion, and constant grinding takes its toll on me. He definitely had a role over the last few years as part of the big four but I think history will really talk about the big three … Fed, Novak, and Rafa.

  12. What I feel extremely odd about the Murray match,which I watched until the Fed match began,was that he was able to
    play at such a high standard against an in form player for five sets.The man who had been in tears and talking about
    the end of his career because it was painful even to put his socks on in the morning! And now it seems he may not be
    retiring at all.I just don’t know what to make of it .

    1. I watched the Murray match on and off, mostly off, waiting for Fed to start play. Is there anything more boring than watching Murray running about after the ball? And the swearing and his clothes? The “remarks” to his team??? Hopefully never again.

    2. I guess he was on some sort of pain killer but who knows.

      I dunno why he bothered announcing it before his match if he is now saying he might be able to come back but requires a riskier operation? He should have waited until he lost and said look, not sure on my future now as my hip is in bad shape. I want to make Wimbledon but we shall see…

      It sounds like Simon Fuller had a hand in it. Murray said he would reject knighthood, now he’s a sir. So for me, he can be a bit disingenuous? Either that or having the same PR ponies behind you as Beckham and you get made to look a bit of a kipper from time to time…

      1. Yes,it seems to me a PR disaster and that presentation on court was ridiculous when he starts
        saying he may not retire after all.

      2. I thought that presentation was REALLY awkward after he said something like “I will do everythign I can to come back next year”!!!

        I think Murray is a really emotional guy and the possibility of ending the career is killing him. And I think he is not being very disciplined about his remarks.

        But I don’t blame him. I can’t imagine what it would be to have that much scrutiny at a time when you have this life changing decision to make. In that context – given his penchant for putting his heart on his sleeve and wanting to appeal to his fans – I can see that he’s got a real vulnerability here. So I’m cutting him a lot of slack. …I’m sure that means a lot to him 🙂

        As far as inconsistency of playing so well and then complaining about pain – Actually I totally get why he plays like he plays and why he says he can’t walk. The adrenaline, the endorphines, the pain killers – they all kick in and do their job in the heat of battle when you’re really committed, but come a few hours later – even 2 days later – there can be massive consequences of pain.

        I’m not a pro-athlete but I played varsity level in college all 4 years and I can attest that the body has a way of compensating and doing amazing things you can’t think it can during competition – especially as it goes on – but then it call comes crashing down later.

      3. I think Murray felt a knighthood was premature (so did I). But I’ve been told that if you turn one down once it’s unlikely to be offered again, so maybe he felt he had to accept?

    3. Annie, I don’t think that Murray’s stamina is the issue, it’s more his movement, which to my eye is only a fraction of what it was. He also had no real
      power in his shots. Bautista Agut trumped him on both counts easily. He made Murray look 45. It was only Murray’s determination (and his serve working well) that made it close and I think BA got a bit spooked by the occasion.

  13. Nice to be back here reading Yr RF comments. Solid 1R altho Yes, lets get that serve % up a little. Thought court played a little slowe and Fed took a little longer than needed as he clearly tried out some stuff as felt confident on holding and protecting serve. I like Denis, one of the genuine guys.
    I hope Rog crushes Dan not least because the Brit press will be all over it post Muzz. He might be tricky for a set but he has now played4 matches in a row and has to be a touch weary . Straight sets please Rog and no messing. Ps what is Nadal wearing???

  14. Only saw the highlights. Thanks. Broadcast here was the Murray match. I don’t get it, is he retiring? Well, I thought Nadal’s wifebeater shirt was bad BUT did anyone see Fognini???

    1. Yeah I am not sure what he is doing, now said he needs a bigger operation and could try come back after that. I’m not sure why he announced anything. All these tribute videos pouring in, and he’s like maybe I’ll see you next year 😆

      1. Wasn’t it more of a being put on the spot in the presser and it sort of came pouring out? And from what I’ve picked up the chances of the op being sufficiently successful are low.

  15. This sunny weather hopefully dégrades the court surface & it gets faster sooner! I see a few pulling out or affected worse today, hate that! Good for Kei tho but I only care about Fed getting through Dan!

  16. I keep hearing court speed is same as last year. If not a touch faster on Rod Laver.

    I see no difference with my admittedly fallible eye.

  17. Looking forward to seeing Fed v Dan Evans. Is anyone else in the UK getting up at ?a.m to watch? Jonathan? The beauty of watching replays (only if he wins) is that we can enjoy the play without the angst. I thought he had one of his semi-snoozes in the second set but he did what he had to do and we got some fun stuff as well. His volleying is magnificent (he said playing at Hopman with Belinda helped his volleying??!!!). Watched Raonic sorting out Kyrgios. I rather like Raonic, solid in every way and with some great volleying today.

      1. Oh right. I just saw 2pm and “not before”!
        Murray is in a bit of a mess. I don’t think they should have done the tribute thing. That should have been saved for after a for sure retirement. Now he’ll have to retire whether he wants to or not, lol.

    1. Yes I saw some of that match.Raonic impressive on serve and volleys,never behaves badly(that I have seen) if only he didn’t do that weird lizard thing with his tongue.The trouble is once you have noticed it,
      then you keep looking for it…….rather than watching the tennis.?

  18. I’m staying up….7pm for me! Go Canada, eh? Let’s see if Bouchard can take out catwoman 2.0. Raonic and Shapo looked pretty good and a new teenager in the mix.
    So excited a match isn’t in the middle of the night for me.
    I don’t mind the Nike and Adidas fashion. Lots of black, white and stone-washed grey. So much better than last year.

  19. The Fed-Evans match will be around 4 or 5 am for me in France (with the 10-hour time difference). Phone under the pillow in vibrate mode  – not to wake up my husband –  … and hopefully a coffee-croissant celebration with myself  just afterwards (no cocktail every day, Jonathan :-)).

    For those of you interested, there is a daily tennis podcast here during the AO, but there may be some in each of your respective countries, I guess.

    https://play.acast.com/s/thetennispodcast

    1. Sorry to rain on the parade here about the Evans match, but the Englishman is yet another player coming back after having served a doping violation. Like Cilic earlier. And Sharapova has clearly found an effective substitute for her meldonium. But we don’t talk about the war.

      1. Alison, if it wasn’t “technically” doping as such he wouldn’t have incurred a year-long ban. And it wasn’t aspirin – cocaine is a stimulant. A banned stimulant. Stimulants improve performance. The authorities didn’t buy his “recreational” use. There’s always an excuse. Contaminated beef, spiked drinks, kissing a girl, the dog ate my homework.

  20. @Sheila,
    yes these long womens matches take some sticking.I remember Fed saying that Sharapovas matches take forever and when you factor in all those shrieks and moans it is time to do something else.

  21. Thought Roger looked good and his tennis was not too bad either. Was just
    reading an article about Andy Murray and the proposed statue at Wimbledon,
    some wag had posted a picture (one of many thousands taken) of him screaming
    with his mouth fully open, I couldn’t help laughing, however it’s sad to see
    someone who tried and trained so much so injured. Hope Federer plays well
    against Evans…don’t think I could bear it if Evans won !

  22. Fed needs to change clothing to cotton instead of 100% polyester. He used to hardly break a sweat, now he’s sopping wet like he was at the US Open. Overheating and dehydration.

      1. HaHa,yes very funny.The original is a wonderful portrait though.Going to Madrid in February so looking forward to seeing the Valasquez in the Prado.

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