Impressive start from the GOAT in Melbourne as he crushed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 in just 72 minutes to book his spot in the 2nd Round against Alexandr Dolgopolov. Bit of a schooling really as Federer kept his foot on the gas from start to finish, breaking his opponent 8 times in the match and dropping just 3 points behind his first serve en route to victory.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides, Basilashvili then opted to serve first; holding to make a solid start landing 5 out of 5 first serves. Fed quickly levelled and then went up a break courtesy of some genius defensive work. The break was consolidated for 3-1 and the Georgian was then broken to love for 4-1; he did however get one of the breaks back, taking advantage of a sloppy Federer service game for 2-4. Roger however soon recovered it, breaking again in game 7 before serving out the set to love 6-2.
Into the second and Basilashvili immediately went down a break as Roger began to really give him a bit of a hiding; bamboozling him with a forehand dropshot en route to the double break and 3-0. A bagel looked likely at 4-0 but Basilashvili saved a break point to hold for 1-4. However he wouldn't trouble the scoreboard again as Roger held then broke to take the set 6-1.
With no way back for Basilashvili it was purely about saving face for him and he offered up a bit more resistance in the third, going for some big shots which paid off as he kept parity up until 2-2. A love hold for 3-2 though saw Roger have the finishing line within sight and he broke for 4-2 before reeling off the next 2 games to surge into Round 2.
|Stats||Roger Federer||Nikoloz Basilashvili|
|1st serves in||36/56 (64 %)||44/68 (65 %)|
|1st serve points won||33/36 (92 %)||23/44 (52 %)|
|2nd serve points won||9/20 (45 %)||7/24 (29 %)|
|Fastest serve||206 KMH||212 KMH|
|Average 1st serve speed||189 KMH||185 KMH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||162 KMH||160 KMH|
|Net points won||12/18 (67 %)||6/11 (55 %)|
|Break points won||8/14 (57 %)||1/1 (100 %)|
|Receiving points won||38/68 (56 %)||14/56 (25 %)|
|Total points won||80||44|
|Distance Covered (M)||1231.7||1266.8|
|Dist. Covered/Pt. (M)||9.9||10.2|
Thoughts on the Match
Routine, schooling, a hiding, call it what you want it, was one way traffic in this one and Roger played a very impressive match. You don't win slams by playing awesome tennis in the first round of course but it was a very good victory with a lot of positives – serve, groundstrokes and net game all firing nicely. Fed took virtually every ball on the rise and just didn't back off one iota which Basilashvili could not handle. In terms of first rounds you will rarely see him play a better one.
Not much else to say really and so far there haven't been any upsets. Djokovic won through comfortably as did Nishikori, Berdych and Kyrgios. So all the seeds in the top half are still right there in the mix. In terms of court speed Rusedski said on Eurosport it's playing pretty slow so far but he hopes it will speeds up in Week 2. Obviously take what he says with a pinch of salt but from what I've seen it does appear to be sludgy with lots of extended rallies; which is probably the reason we'll see any big upsets in the early rounds as the top guys know how to grind it out.
Predictions vs. Dolgopolov
Next up is Dolgopolov who saw off Berankis in 4 sets. The Ukrainian is a tough proposition at any time during a tournament but especially in the second round so Fed will need to be on his game like today. Fed leads the H2H 2-0 and I'm backing him to get it done in straight sets as I think he is too solid. Dolgopolov has lots of shots and spins but lacks consistency on serve and from the ground so I think Fed will have a ton of opportunities to get on the front foot. I'll pick Fed in 3 – 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.
What did you think of the match? Let me know your thoughts and predictions against The Dog in Round 2 in the comments.