No tiebreaks here as Roger Federer brushed aside Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-1, 7-5 in just 1 hour and 44 minutes to book his spot in the US Open fourth round.
Heading into the encounter all their previous matches had gone to the wire with third set tie-breaks but the Swiss was in no mood for a tight encounter, recovering from 0-40 at 3-3 in the first set which proved crucial for the victory and sees him set a fourth-round tie with John Millman who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in four sets.
Quick Match Recap
Kyrgios won the toss and elected to receive, opting to SABR the first serve of the match as Roger held to 30. Kyrgios kicked off his opening game with a 136mph ace and throughout set one he was dominant on serve; firing down a 39-second hold in game four that featured a Federer serve impersonation.
In game seven Roger got in a whole world of trouble slipping to 0-40 and by that point, he was 0/9 on second serve points won. Somehow he saved all three thanks to a combination of clutchness and Kyrgios missing some makeable returns. A fourth break point was saved before the Swiss held for 4-3 in what was a 9-minute game.
Kyrgios quickly held to love for 5-4 but with Roger feeling good after that big hold he matched it and in game ten made his first inroads on the return, creating set point at 30-40. Kyyrgios saved it with a 121 mph second serve but on the second set point, Roger made a smart return off a kick serve to steal the set.
Winning set one out of nowhere put the wind in Roger's sails and he got off to a flyer in set two, playing freely and using the drop shot to great effect as he broke for 2-0. That was soon consolidated and Kyrgios was beginning to look frustrated, screaming “I need to hire a coach” as he slipped down a double break for 4-0. And although the Aussie was able to save two break points and avoid the bagel he was soon eating a breadstick as Roger took the set 6-1.
Into set three and Kyrgios needed to find something and quick. Three comfortable holds gave him signs of life for 3-2 but in game seven Roger held two break points in a multi-deuce game that featured the round the net post winner which is currently getting GIF'ed to high heaven 😆 . To his credit, Kyrgios held and took Roger to deuce in game eight but in game eleven Nick went off the boil, dropping serve from 40-15 as Roger played smart percentage tennis to draw the errors and break. The Swiss then served it out to love, sealing the deal with an ace on match point.
|N. Kyrgios||R. Federer|
|First Serve % In||57/94 (61%)||61/92 (66%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||36/57 (63%)||53/61 (87%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||22/37 (59%)||15/31 (48%)|
|Net Points Won||14/30 (47%)||21/25 (84%)|
|Break Points Won||0/4 (0%)||4/10 (40%)|
|Receiving Points Won||24/92 (26%)||36/94 (38%)|
|Total Points Won||82||104|
|Distance Covered||5472.7 Ft||5959.2 Ft|
|Distance Covered/pt.||29.4 Ft||32.0 Ft|
Thoughts on the Match
I thought Nick was inspired. He knew what he wanted to do. I didn't quite, off the baseline, get the right balance going. It was important to somehow get out of it and stay within 4-3 and probably look at a tie-break. But I was able to break earlier, which was clearly great because I had no sniff on any of his service games in the first three or four. I didn't get discouraged, and I think that was also the key today.
I think he didn't come up with the goods when he really had to, and I was good, I think, by making him hit that extra shot. Things worked well for me today.
Best match of the week so far from Roger and he played some smart tennis out there. The first set turned out to be crucial and Fed actually started poorly, missing a string of backhands; struggling to win any points on his second serve. However, he steadied the ship with that big hold in game seven and from there completely took control, dropping just eight points on his first serve in 15 games, firing down 51 winners to 24 unforced errors and not giving Kyrgios another look at a breakpoint after saving all four in game seven of set one.
Once he snatched that first set it was all about keeping his base level high and playing smart tennis, and he did just that playing with more confidence than we'd seen his first two matches. Ultimately he outclassed and outthought Kyrgios with a lot of variety to his play; opting to just keep the ball in play and make him hit that extra ball, then ramping up the aggression to really keep Krygios from producing the type of whacky shots he needs to keep himself entertained out there.
Obviously the round the net post shot was genius but I liked a lot of the drop shots he threw in there too which were executed to peRFection. I also liked that he was fully focussed throughout, never getting into silly cat and mouse games with Kyrgios and he was just all business against a tricky opponent.
As for Kyrgios, I thought he started very well with some huge serving but after failing to break he seemed to lose his way. No tanking from him here as I guess he respects Fed too much for that and he competed to the last ball but he didn't really look like a winner out there. Perhaps a match like this is a wake-up call for what he needs to work on, usually, he can fall back on the excuse of not trying or caring, this time he put in the effort but came up short against a guy who knows this game inside out.
Predictions vs. Millman
Next up is John Millman who's a bit of a surprise opponent in the fourth round. The Aussie had a decent win against Fognini in Round 2 and beat Kukushkin in four sets today which was impressive.
Millman has had an injury-plagued career to date but he's known as one of the most hard-working guys on tour and he will fight hard for every point out there. Roger leads the H2H 1-0 which was a tough three-set win in Brisbane three years ago, the two also practised together earlier this year in Switzerland before the grass court season so Fed has plenty intel on his game.
I'm predicting a tough match as Millman will try like hell from the baseline but Roger should have too much in his repertoire to come unstuck so Fed in three or four again.
What did you think of the Kyrgios win? Predictions against the Mailman? Let me know in the comments.