We're underway in Paris and as I predicted this one was cruise control for Roger has he defeated Lukas Lacko 6-2 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 24 minutes to book his spot in the second round.
Lacko was a tailor made opponent for Fed as he has no real weapons, a poor clay court record and hadn't played a match on the surface for 12 months.
As for Fed himself he looked a little rusty in some areas but moved well, played aggressive with plenty forays into the net and was too good in all areas.
Quick Match Recap
The first set was uneventful and Roger got the first breakthrough at 2 all with some nice defence to convert his 1st breakpoint. 60 seconds later and he'd consolidated to lead 4-2 before breaking again to lead 5-2 and serving it out to 15 to take the first set.
Lacko had a <1% chance of winning this match before it even started so losing the first set wasn't ideal for him. It of course gave Fed a buffer and allowed him to just settle and test out some different plays. Again the Swiss went up an early break and soon led 5-3. A set point on the Lacko serve passed him by but he served it out again to 15 to take a 2 sets to love lead. Lacko knew his time was up and he pretty much checked out in the third set dropping serve with a double fault. He was physically still on court but his mind was already thinking of ways he could spend his €21,000 1st round loser pay cheque. Fed obviously sensed this and just kept playing solidly. Looking to move forward to end points quickly which is good to see and I like the fact he is trying to end matches quickly. Managing matches and court time efficiently will ensure he keeps the energy levels high for the 2nd week. Lacko soon found himself down 5-1 and facing match point but he managed to pull off the hold before Fed closed it out comfortably to move into the 2nd round.
|LUKAS LACKO||STATS||ROGER FEDERER|
|57/91 (63 %)||1ST SERVES IN||44/61 (72 %)|
|32/57 (56 %)||1ST SERVE POINTS WON||39/44 (89 %)|
|18/34 (53 %)||2ND SERVE POINTS WON||13/17 (76 %)|
|197 KMH||FASTEST SERVE||200 KMH|
|182 KMH||AVERAGE 1ST SERVE SPEED||179 KMH|
|149 KMH||AVERAGE 2ND SERVE SPEED||157 KMH|
|7/14 (50 %)||NET POINTS WON||16/20 (80 %)|
|0/0 (0 %)||BREAK POINTS WON||5/11 (45 %)|
|9/61 (15 %)||RECEIVING POINTS WON||41/91 (45 %)|
|59||TOTAL POINTS WON||93|
Thoughts on the Match
No real surprises here and the match went exactly as expected. As I pointed out in my prediction Lacko hadn't played a single clay court match in 2014 and after digging a little deeper I discovered his last match on the dirt was at last years French Open.
There's no way you are going to trouble the 2nd best clay court player of the last decade with no matches on the surface yourself. Of course the fact he has no real weapons works against him too and it was just a dream opponent for Roger.
Ignoring Lacko for a second and concentrating on Fed I thought he was pretty solid. Quite a few suspect shots into the bottom of the net from time to time but it was a relatively clean match. There's bound to be some ring rust on him with no real match play since April so losing just 8 games is a decent start.
Obviously the first round has no bearing on how he'll play over 2 weeks so the most important thing was getting the job done which he did with aplomb. Onto the next match.
Predictions vs. Schwartzman / Gestao
Roger's next opponent is either Elias Gestao of Portugal or Diego Sebastian Schwartzman of Argentina. I think Schwartzman will come through that one in 3 or 4 sets in what is his first ever match at Slam level.
Roger hasn't played either of these guys before but I expect him to school whoever comes through. No real prediction necessary other than straight sets.
Nadal played Schwartzman in Acapulco last year winning 6-2 6-2 so that's the only real intel I have on him and I'd expect a similar score for Federer on the red clay of Paris.
Argentines have been known to give Fed some trouble before on clay, Jose Acasuso most notably in 2009 right here at Roland Garros, so maybe Schwartzman can put in an inspired performance but I highly doubt it. Fed in 3 regardless of opponent – 6-2 6-2 6-1.