Roger Federer made serene progress into the Wimbledon Quarter Finals by crushing Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3, 7-5 in 1 hour 37 minutes. This was expected to be Roger's toughest test of the tournament so far but he made light work of the Aegon Open Nottingham Champion using his superior all round game to come through for the loss of just 10 games.
The Swiss will now face off against Marin Clic on Wednesday and will hope to reverse the result of their last meeting at the US Open in 2014 where Cilic went on to win the title.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve. The Swiss promptly held to 15 before Johnson levelled to 30. Both players then traded holds but at 2-2 it was Johnson who had the first break points of the set thanks to a couple of Federer shanks. Roger saved both of them and then broke himself to lead 4-2. The break was consolidated to 30 and the Swiss broke again with some crisp hitting to take the opener 6-2.
A love hold allowed Roger to ease into the second set and at 2-1 he was able to again break the American's serve. The break was consolidated to love for 4-1 and Johnson didn't get another look in on the return as Roger served it out to 30 to take it 6-3.
With 2 sets in the bag it looked at though the World Number 29's stay on Centre Court would be short lived. However Roger took his foot off the gas early in set 3 as he dropped serve tamely to fall 3-1 behind. Fortunately Johnson couldn't consolidate making some cheap errors to hand it straight back. At 3-3 Federer had 2 chances to break but Johnson found a way out of the game to hold. In game 11 though Roger got the key breakthrough, breaking to 15 and then serving it out to 15 with a 2nd serve ace on match point.
|MATCH STATISTICS||R. FEDERER||S. JOHNSON|
|FIRST SERVE % IN||55/83 (66%)||65/101 (64%)|
|WIN % ON 1ST SERVE||41/55 (75%)||40/65 (62%)|
|WIN % ON 2ND SERVE||20/28 (71%)||15/36 (42%)|
|NET POINTS WON||33/40 (83%)||15/26 (58%)|
|BREAK POINTS WON||5/10 (50%)||1/4 (25%)|
|RECEIVING POINTS WON||46/101 (46%)||22/83 (27%)|
|TOTAL POINTS WON||107||77|
|DISTANCE COVERED (M)||1648.3||1667.8|
|DISTANCE COVERED/PT. (M)||9||9.1|
Thoughts on the Match
Really good performance here from Roger who makes it into the Quarter Finals with ease. I was expecting a tough test from Johnson who was in form, and in some ways it was, but Fed was just too good. Johnson's serve and forehand are a good combination but his slice backhand didn't hold up against Roger who exploited it at will.
It was an even match up until Fed had to save the break points in game 5 but once he did he moved up a gear and Johnson didn't really have any answers. Fed was the one moving forward, forcing the issue and getting enough returns in play to cause Johnson trouble on serve. I don't think Roger had his best serving day but on the big points he found the right plays and aside from dropping serve in the third set with a lapse in concentration he was never really in too much trouble. Too much game for Stevie J who heads into the US hard court swing with plenty confidence after winning his first career title in Nottingham.
With the win Fed is now into the Quarters without dropping a set and he looks to be getting sharper with each round. He's pretty much exceeded my expectations with how he's played so far but I'm not going to get carried away just yet. Still plenty to do to make the last 4 and it's only going to get more difficult from here on in.
Predictions vs. Cilic
Next up is Cilic who defeated the injury riddled Nishikori after he retired mid way through the second set. Cilic has had a good Wimbledon so far dropping just the one set to Stakhovsky. The Croats game translates well to grass and this is his third straight Quarter Final appearance.
Like Roger said in his post match interview, Cilic blew him off the court at the US Open like he wasn't even there so he's going to be a very dangerous opponent on Wednesday. The H2H massively favours Federer but on the grass so far in 2016 the guys Roger has struggled with have all ones with big serves and ground games. I think the match is still very much on Federer's racquet but it will really boil down to how well he moves. If he's not bang on the money then Cilic is going to boss too many rallies, take away his time and just overpower him. If Roger can get there early he can do way more with the ball and extend the points where he needs to. Obviously he'll need to return well too.
If Cilic plays like he did at the US Open and Roger is off his game, then Cilic wins. But if Fed is on the money I back him to get it done in 3 or 4 sets.
What do you guys reckon? Let me know in the comments.