ATP Masters 1000Monte-Carlo MastersRoger Federer

Federer Cruises Past Bautista-Agut to Make Monte Carlo Quarter Finals

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 Monte Carlo 3rd Round 2016

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.

Match Stats

R. Federer R. Bautista Agut
Aces 5 2
Double Faults 2 2
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
Winners 29 8
Unforced Errors 21 21
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%)
SABR 0/1 0


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Agut Monte Carlo

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

Fed Tsonga Ao

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!


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 writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. Oh well, maybe Roger needs a 3-setter. Will see.

    BTW, is it my imagination, or is he still a bit short on muscle mass on the left leg? It’s looked like it in several photos, but I know how deceptive they can be.

    1. Not really noticed, guess he is going to have lost a little since he was out of action for a while. Usually by time French rolls around guys have packed on a fair bit of leg muscle.

  2. The “old” leo is still swift when it needs and relaxed when not. True GOAT in respect to elegant play. Seemingly effortless. Thanks Jonathan, for raising the delight with your fabulous blog!

  3. Thank you for Report J. Seems clockwork for Roger….Hope he wins next one too, should be great confident booster going forward…Cheers..

  4. Hello all, I have just watched the you tube highlights and what I see is good. Regarding his movement he seems to be like normal prior to his knee injury.
    I hope the match with Tsonga he plays good as this will be a tough match as we saw at the French Open a couple of years ago Tsonga sort of like railroaded Federer in straight sets. I know Federer played well below his best, but Tsonga on all surfaces is a really dangerous player when he is on. But if Federer can play solid and with variety then Tsonga can lose his concentration which he will play shots that aren’t there. Therefore if Federer can take advantage of this then I see Federer coming through either 2/3 close sets.
    Fingers crossed that Federer wins. As for the Djokovic match and his loss. That was just a deliberate tank as he was probably told you got the masters 1000 record and that the public don’t like someone especially him winning all the tournaments. So he thought I live hear in Monaco so I’ll spend the time with his family. Plus he was saying he misses sleeping in his own bed. So he gets a little vacation and some CVAC healing to do as he desperately wants to win the French. Yeah pull the other one Mr Novocane Djokovic. Lol I am onto him. I’ve got my beedy little eyes on him and his false persona to lay claim as GOAT. But unfortunately that title and greatness has been given to Federer long time ago. The true king of Tennis and long may it continue. Allez Allez Rogeeeerrr Federeeeeerrrrr!!! Cheers, applause and whistling and chants. Literally the roof of all arenas has just been blown away.

    1. Yes Serajul mean me says a bit the same he is maybe trying too hard to be the loved one with the loss. He did not berate his box or do the jeering with the fist, nor ugly glaring or any of that stuff and then the falling into the arms of the opponent at the net like he did Stan last year at RG. This match was hardly a battle. Seemed contrived and OTT. Susie may have more insight though she was there wasn’t she? Not missing him for a moment at present. Seems he zenned himself to a rest at home and he can well afford to lose a few excess points and build some image and clientele for the new restaurant in his adopted city.

      Fed’s match was gorgeous, great tactics, shots sharp and Spanky and such a contrast to the long drawn out affairs of the others, he makes clay a delight you wish would last forever and I hope his rest propels him past Jo as they are quite an enjoyable match up as they both can play tennis and respect and like each other. Allez

  5. Hey can someone tell me where I can find stats like average first and second serve speed of this match. I really want to see that.

  6. Great stuff. As far as I can see, Fed’s movement is spot on. A few shanks but he was far too good for bust-a-gut who has nothing to trouble him; his flatter shots are perfect for Roger. Tsonga will be tough; he looks as though he’s playing well, but I’ll happily agree with your prediction Jonathan. Allez Roger 🙂

  7. Am I the only one who suspended breath on that backhand down the line that landed in, just on the corner… in a break point against? Damn!

  8. Hi guys! Just back from MC! What a great tourney! Relaxed, not stuffy, sunny (??) and intimate!
    I saw all of Fed’s 1st match from v close as found myself sitting just behind Mirka and Lynette!! Thought his movement was excellent although not 100% convinced by push off on serve leg quite yet…
    Thought his hitting was pretty consistent helped by his first 2 opponents. Perfect for him really as hit a lot of balls but no huge power to blow him
    Off court! He sounds pretty pleased ( and relieved) in his on court interview in French saying he was happy with everything… He knew it was a test as practice nothing like match play, but it’s looking like those 11 days solid prep are paying off!!
    One thing you notice being there live, is that the court is really pretty small and plays faster than you think, def faster than RG. Plenty of oppo to come forward and attack which I really enjoyed seeing! Watching Thiem today who had Rafa on BP so many times, he had clear oppos on this court to shorten those rallies and didn’t! It is also quite breezy which affects the ball flight!

    Hoping he can take advantage of Tsongas inconsistencies tomorrow! Allez!

    Ps the outfit is gorgeous!!

  9. Are we getting a separate fan report, Susie? Thanks for the info. Were you behind Mirka with sunglasses and ponytail? That person was very focused on the match, lol.

    Today’s match was fun. Some nice shots from the GOAT. Match-ups are interesting….RBA’s game doesn’t seem to bother Fed in the least.

    Wondering if the court is faster than in the past?

    1. Susie was in white RF hat. Was on camera quite a bit before the match started but once underway the angle they had of the players box cut her off.

  10. Moved flawlessly for a guy who was just injured his knee 😉
    Touch the wood 🙂 I can see fed all the way to the final and hopefully he wins his first MC

    1. 1 match at a time 😀 Tsonga has beaten Fed when he’s been playing well so he’s going to fancy his chances in what is only Fed’s 3rd match.

  11. Great escape by Murray. Rafa too had to fight.

    Its been a long time since Fed played Rafa on clay. Lets hope it happens.

    Fed is underdog right from match 2.

    1. The two guys he played so far, TB and Agut, have match up problem with Fed, so the gave him the required workout for the tournament so far. That would help for the next matches

    1. Roger should have broken in the 9 minute second game of the third set, and then lost his nerve at the end of the set. Tsonga meanwhile made made a shaky start serving at 4-5 in the final set and then closed his eyes and smacked winner after winner. He also defended like a demon. Tsonga is an irritatingly erratic player who can often look appalling out there but once again he pulled a blinder against Roger, who became shaky in the clutch, despite looking like a well-oiled machine in the first set.

    2. Yeah that was a long game, but he didn’t create 1 break point in that game.

      Fed missed too many forehands, wasn’t getting there in time after middle of second set.

  12. Damn you Federer just when I thought you werebback in the groove. Anyway onto the next tournament. At least he knows where his level is at. Hopefully the next tournament he will do a bit better.

  13. Ugh, was at my daughter’s orthodontist during this match….was it the serve? Rusty match play instincts? Oh well, onward. Is he definitely playing Roma??

    1. Emily, he actually played a great first set, and his serve, while not imperious, was effective. He had no looks in the second set as his level dropped and Tsonga’s rose, but in a tight third, comfortably holding every game, he donated passing shot opportunities to Tsonga with pitifuly weak approaches that were painful to watch. And then, at 5-6, 30-30, he had an easy volley putaway (low, but cake for Fed) and dumped it into the net. Tsonga was double faulting a lot during the match and had at best a 50-50 chance of winning that point. Fed would’ve had a chance in the tiebreak, since Tsonga would’ve been deflated. But, he blew it, as he pretty much always does now.

    2. Fed was sluggish after first set, missed too many forehands as he was late on them. Wasn’t a bad match. Tsonga is a decent clay courter in recent years, arguably his best results on the surface even though he is title less.

  14. This match was the microcosm of Fed’s overall game at the moment. He is completely unable to win tight matches against competent opposition. If he’s in front, no problem, he can win, but if he’s in a fight, he will pretty much always lose. He literally sh*t the bed in the second set. Then, in the third, serving at 5-5, he smacked one weak forehand after another at Tsonga and essentially gave him a drill on how to hit into the open court. His nerve absolutely failed him. Even at 5-6, up 0-30, he had a chance. And then that volley at 30-30! Okay, it was low, but he makes that all the time! He still could’ve lost the game, or the match in the tiebreak, but you gotta get there. His inability to play clutch points is blood in the water for his opposition.

    Candidly, this is the tourney I want Roger to win most of all (even more than the Olympic gold), since he’s knocked on the door so many times, but he just can’t do it. I guess it doesn’t matter, since Nadal is in great form and would’ve eaten up Roger anyway.

    1. So you are mad at him because he didn’t win the first tournament back after being out since January? Wow.

      1. Karen, not at all. Victory was barely a dream, especially with the inevitable beating from Nadal awaiting him in the final, and with such a layoff from match play. My comment was strictly confined to the results of this match as related to his 2015. Barring a few exceptions, I don’t see Fed playing well in tight matches going down to the end of the third set, or going beyond three otherwise. Is this necessarily the only way things will go now? Hopefully not.

        Don’t get me wrong, I love Fed and want him to win everything in the world! I’m just angry when I see him absolutely donate an even match to his opponent. I would’ve rather seen a comprehensive beating by Tsonga than a gruesome series of bad errors at the end of a tight match.

  15. Bitter bitter bitter – I didn’t watch as I was occupied elsewhere. But Holdco “He is completely unable to win tight matches against competent opposition” is taking a mouthful of sh*t IMO. Prove it!
    And all others – you didn’t expect him to even win first match. And then he won two of them in brilliant style. Yes, the nerve, maybe not the physical form, needs some training. Still we got more than we expected.

    1. Wow, muser, you’d think I was insulting a family member. Take it easy. This guy is a (practically) billionaire athlete who doesn’t care about his fan base’s inflamed passions. But as for “proving” it, look at his 2015 season. Easy as pie in Brisbane (the comeback against Millman was a foregone conclusion, since he is pretty bad), dumped to Seppi at AO, cakewalk in Dubai against everyone, only tough match at IW lost to Novak, loses only tight match at MC to Monfils, zero opposition in Istanbul, loses tight match to Kyrgios at Madrid opener, cruises in Rome only to get crushed in final, cakewalk in Halle, cruised to W final and lost tough match to Djokovic, easy victory in Cincinnati (tough two setter against Murray was the outlier, but not really a tight match otherwise), easy US Open (a winner in three TBs against Isner is outlier) until loss to Novak in back and forth final, three set loss to Vinolas in Shanghai, easy road to final in Basel (count the final as “tight” if you prefer, though Fed never looked back after breaking in third), three set loss to Isner in Paris, tight three setter against Nishikori (though Fed made it so, being up big in the third), and then crushed in final.

      So, what, he won three close matches in 2015. The rest were easy wins for him, or he got beaten (often soundly). That “clutchness” isn’t there anymore in a situation where his opponent takes a set. Today’s match was another example. Watch the last two games and see clutch Fed in action.

      1. Holdco, you mention a lot, but for me this is no proof of “complete unable…” This is IMO just making judgment in negative decisiveness. He may have some nerve, maybe sensitive, maybe a little vulnerable, but I hope – no, I’m sure he knows about it and works on it. I cannot mention so many things – have not watched all, made note of all, – but for instance the 4. set in Wimbledon 2014 stands for me for ever as THE clutch (down 1-5 as far as I remember and then winning the set) that made all gasping (and fans hoping – crushed unfortunately by that unlucky unfulfilled smash in fifth).

      2. I think you’re way off on most of it tbh. Based on your thinking every match he won last year was a cakewalk, and every match he lost was because he wasn’t clutch enough 😕

    2. I second that, muser.

      If we aren’t willing to accept anything less than a win in each tournament, then we are all in for a full time disillusion, one after another. And completely missing the whole point of it all because of that.
      Not for this dude. The idea is to enjoy as much as possible and accept the losses, hard as it may seem (and sometimes it is, indeed).

      Yeah, it would have nice to lift the trophy. But another tournament will come and more nice matches to watch. Just be happy and consider yourselves fortunate to be alive during the best era of tennis, ever.

      PS: Now, finish watching Mount Charlie and send in the next one. I, for one, can’t wait for it!

  16. muser and Jonathan,

    Believe me, I see your points, I’m only speaking about recent history. And of course that’s the flip side, if he can’t win hard matches, then they all must be easy. I’m not saying that either. What I meant was, at least in 2015, he had smooth sailing most of his matches (even against top-class competition) and not many three (or four/five) setters at all. He rarely was in trouble in those matches in 2015. When a tight match occurred, he lost more often than he won, and today was precisely that. Tsonga didn’t elevate, Fed blundered repeatedly when it mattered most. That’s all. He doesn’t handle the biggest moments well when he is facing a truly dangerous opponent.

    The 2014 Wimbledon comeback was remarkable, but let’s be honest. Roger was out and it took a superhuman effort, plus a severe drop in Novak’s play and resolve, to get him that set. A clutch loss is not evidence. Now, if you tell me to list matches from 2005 through 2012 where he was clutch most of the time, that’s a fun and easy assignment.

    1. @holdco

      I tend to agree with your view that Roger has lost some of his “clutchness”. That was absolutely the case in this last match. Tsonga wavered but ultimately held his nerve while Roger folded. That’s the greatest difference between the Roger of today and the player of his peak years, when he was one of the most clutch players I had ever seen. It isn’t about determination; it’s about confidence and self-belief. It isn’t what it was. Because he’s much older.

  17. Tbh I think he was right to be pleased to make the QF, play 3 matches, one of which was tough and come thru with knee unscathed! Serve was off and I still think he has some way to go on knee bend and push up and over… I think he will play Madrid and then make a decision re Rome depending on his result there. Ppl expect too much after surgery, don’t care how simple an op it is… Scar tissue, swelling etc as well as the mental side. Took Muzz a long time! Be patient Rog will get there!
    Jonathan, will put together a fan report over weekend! Cheers! Ps did not realise I was on TV… Aaaargh!!

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