Roger's Federer back in action after his Melbourne triumph and he made serene progress into the Second Round of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Benoit Paire.
It was a bit of the unknown going after Roger said he's only practised at 100% for the last three days, but he made light work of the Frenchman to come through in just 53 minutes. The Swiss was rarely troubled, winning points freely behind his serve, breaking his opponents serve 4 times and saving all 3 break points again hist own delivery to move comfortably into Round Three.
Quick Match Recap
Paire won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to 15 to kick things off. Paire levelled but found himself in trouble in game 4, dropping serve to love for 1-3.
Roger was able to consolidate the break for 4-1 but had to save three break points in the process. The Swiss then secured a double break aided by some loose play from Paire he served out the set 6-1.
During the changeover, Paire received a medical timeout for an ankle injury. You could see he'd tweaked something in the second game and after having it taped he held serve for a 1-0 lead. Roger levelled with a 57-second hold and in game five broke for 3-2.
That was soon 4-2 and at 3-5 Paire dropped serve again in tame fashion to hand Roger the win.
|Roger Federer||Benoit Paire|
|First Serve Percent||60% (33/55)||43% (21/49)|
|1st Serve Points Won||70% (23/33)||71% (15/21)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||68% (15/22)||29% (8/28)|
|Break Points Saved||100% (3/3)||33% (2/6)|
|Service Games Played||8||8|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||29% (6/21)||30% (10/33)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||71% (20/28)||32% (7/22)|
|Break Points Converted||67% (4/6)||0% (0/3)|
|Return Games Played||8||8|
|Total Service Points Won||69% (38/55)||47% (23/49)|
|Total Return Points Won||53% (26/49)||31% (17/55)|
|Total Points Won||62% (64/104)||38% (40/104)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
I think I returned very well for a first round. I was able to get my second serves in deep, was able to go on the offensive quickly, Didn't have to move that much. It was very quick rallies. So we'll see how that's going to turn out. But obviously couldn't be a better first round for me here in Dubai.
A routine win here for Roger and probably one of the easiest matches he'll play all year.
Having not played since the Australian Open Final and being relatively short on practice, it was the ideal time for someone to take it to him. But Paire didn't come to play, he tweaked his ankle early and from there on looked disinterested, throwing his racquet around multiple times and switching off for too many points to ever make a fist of it. Disappointing for the neutral but ideal for Federer fans 🙂
As for Roger, you don't learn much from a match like this. He served ok, returned pretty well and was easily the better player so from that side of things it's a peRFect start. Not really tested but he saved the break points nicely and hit some decent volleys when coming forward. The court looks to be playing fast too which is going to be good for Fed but also dangerous depending on who he runs into in the draw.
Predictions vs. Youzhny / Donskoy
Next up is either Mikhail Youzhny or Evgeny Donskoy. Those two meet in an all-Russian affair tomorrow, and I think it's a 50 – 50 match.
Youzhny, as we know, has a nice game and a few years ago could hang with anyone. He's not quite the player he was though, and he's yet to beat Federer in 16 attempts. It's hard to see him managing it here either.
Donskoy is a bit more of an unknown. I remember his match against Murray in Indian Wells where he had the Scot on the ropes but couldn't get the job done. That's probably one of his best matches, and he's a very streaky player. He hits fairly flat, has made the third round at a couple of slams so on a quick surface he'll probably be able to win points quickly, but again it's tough to see him upsetting the apple cart if he plays Roger.
What did you think of his first match back? Let me know in the comments.