A swift afternoon's work for the GOAT as he continued his fantastic record against Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-2 6-4 victory to book his spot in the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Quarter Final.
When I saw this match up was on the cards I knew it'd be a good one if it materialised as it was always going to give Roger a good workout on this surface and he came through without any issues; dictating play with his forehand and mixing it up with the slice to give Bautista-Agut a whole host of problems. Next up is Tsonga who came through Pouille in the last match of the day on Court Rainier III.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Agut held to 15 and Roger quickly levelled with a hold to love. Game three saw the first inroads on serve as RBA fended off deuce to hold. Roger again levelled and at 2-2 converted his third break point in the next game to move ahead. The advantage was quickly consolidated for 4-2 and the Swiss broke again for 5-2; he then served out the set from 0-30 down, sealing it with an ace on set point.
With Agut unable to win a set in their previous 4 meetings it was important he regrouped at the start of set and he dug in to save break point in game 1. Roger then ran into trouble of his own, slipping to 0-40 but he saved all three, even causing Agut to knock over the Rolex court clock he was pushed so far back behind the baseline 😆
After missing his break point chances (Agut has only broken Fed once in 5 meetings now) the Spaniard fired down a love hold. Roger then levelled for 2-2 and after rolling through his next two service games Fed decisively broke serve to love at 4-4, closing out the match 6-4 to book his spot in the Quarter Finals.
|R. Federer||R. Bautista Agut|
|1st Serve %||63%||73%|
|1st Serve Points Won||26/33 (79%)||24/47 (51%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||12/19 (63%)||11/17 (65%)|
|Break Points Saved||3/3 (100%)||3/6 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||9||9|
|1st Return Points Won||23/47 (49%)||7/33 (21%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||6/17 (35%)||7/19 (37%)|
|Break Points Won||3/6 (50%)||0/3 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Net Points Won||18/25||2|
|Total Service Points Won||38/52 (73%)||35/64 (55%)|
|Total Return Points Won||29/64 (45%)||14/52 (27%)|
|Total Points Won||67/116 (58%)||49/116 (42%)|
Thoughts on the Match
After making light work of Garcia Lopez, Federer looked even better in this one, losing just 14 points on serve, converting 3 of 6 break points and hitting 29 winners to win through in just 1 hour and 8 minutes.
Like I said in my preview RBA is solid but he has a sub par serve and Roger clearly takes a liking to it, in fact Agut served at 80% in the first set yet won less than 50% of points behind it. Fed also moved extremely well again, no fear of the knee giving way either as he tracked down numerous drop shots at full stretch pulling off a couple of brilliant gets whilst on the slide.
I find this one an interesting matchup because Bautista-Agut is definitely one of the guys most players would like to avoid in the draw as he's going to give you a tough time from start to finish purely because of how he plays. For this matchup though it it's the complete reverse as Agut clearly doesn't enjoy playing Fed – he has no time at the back of the court and he's constantly getting pulled backward and forwards which eventually puts him in no mans land. Once Fed is up the court RBA has no real weapon to get back in the rally with other than his ability to track balls down hoping for a Fed miss and if you're not left handed it's not a great recipe for success.
Predictions vs. Tsonga
Next up is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who defeated his fellow country man Lucas Pouille in straight sets. These two met in Monte Carlo in 2014 and it was a typical topsy turvy match between the two, Tsonga getting off to a flier but Federer grinding out the win before losing to Stan in the final.
This one will easily be the toughest test of Federer's week so far as Tsonga has been playing well so far this year. You'd think clay would produce good results for the Frenchman but he's never even made a clay final which surprised me. He did have a good French Open last year though so he can clearly play on it.
Based on what I've seen so far this week I make Fed slight favourite but it will probably go three sets. Allez!