Exhibition stuff from the GOAT here as he dismantled Gilles Muller 6-2 6-1 to make swift progress into the last 16 in Basel. To be honest there's not much to say other than it was a demolition job from Fed somewhat aided and abetted by his Luxembourgian opponent who played slow, predictable Tennis and looked like he was wearing lead boots for most of it.
In dropping just 3 games Fed got the job done in just 46 minutes which is his fastest every victory at the Swiss Indoors. Although a blink and you'll miss it type encounter there was still enough time for the maestro to piece together some impressive points finished with some exquisite shot making. Perfectly placed passing shots, acute volleys and chip charges gave the crowd plenty to cheer and left Muller looking out of ideas. Even though fans didn't get much of a match I'm guessing many of them were just pleased to see Fed step on court after he revealed he was playing without a contract and considered only playing Doubles this week. Looks like the possibility of ending the year number #1 swayed his decision 🙂
Quick Match Recap
Roger won the toss and elected to serve; slippin to 0-30 before reeling off 4 straight points to hold. Muller soon levelled but from that point on is was all about Roger, holding serve in extremely comfortable fashion and breaking Muller to lead 4-2. More serene play from Fed saw him break again at 5-2 to take the set 6-2. A very weak display from Muller who didn't look he had any intensity in his game, Roger just made some sweet returns and the left hander had no answer.
The second set didn't get any more competitive with Fed firing down a love hold to kick things off before breaking Muller for the third time to lead 2-0. That lead soon progressed to 5-0 in what felt like seconds and although Muller send down a love hold to avoid the bagel Roger closed it out with consummate ease.
|R. Federer||G. Muller|
|1st Serve %||58%||53%|
|1st Serve Points Won||20/21 (95%)||11/20 (55%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||12/15 (80%)||8/18 (44%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/0 (0%)||1/5 (20%)|
|Service Games Played||8||7|
|1st Return Points Won||9/20 (45%)||1/21 (5%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||10/18 (56%)||3/15 (20%)|
|Break Points Won||4/5 (80%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||7||8|
|Net Points Won||9/10||4/10|
|Total Service Points Won||32/36 (89%)||19/38 (50%)|
|Total Return Points Won||19/38 (50%)||4/36 (11%)|
|Total Points Won||51/74 (69%)||23/74 (31%)|
Thoughts on the Match
peRFect start to the tournament for Roger and he looked to be in great form. He was able to return well and served big when he needed too; precision stuff to all 4 corners coupled with plenty of variety. The serve was backed up with aggressive groundstrokes and volleys behind it which meants points were over in an instant. Muller isn't going to hang with Fed from the back of the court so unless he can get the first strike in he has no chance, the fact he's never won a set against Roger tells you all you need to know. So all in all a very pleasing start and what more can you ask for? He's picked up where he left off in Shanghai and the indoor clay practice clearly hasn't effected his hard court game.
As for Muller, he was never in it. I think he played a very low intensity match and was basically a passenger throughout. Granted Fed was playing some crisp Tennis but he was just plodding along; ambling into the net behind his big but poorly placed first serve and making things very easy. Flat footed and just no real urgency in his game. Check the stats, Fed won 69% of the total points in the match and didn't face a single break point despite only serving at 58%. Barely had to break a sweat to be honest so Muller's level or lack of definitely made this one a walk in the park.
Predictions vs. Istomin
Next up is Denis Istomin who took out Jerzy Janowicz 6-1 6-1. A good win for him and he's meeting Roger in Basel last 16 for the second year running. The Uzbekistani managed to win a set for the first time against Fed last year but went onto lose in 3 which means the H2H currently stands at 5-0.
Fed was very much out of form at this stage last year coming in off the back of the US Open loss to Robredo and then the disappointing match vs. Monfils in Shanghai. This year is a complete reverse so that doesn't bode too well for Istomin, he couldn't see off a low on confidence Federer so he's going to struggle against a resurgent one.
Istomin hit's a heavy ball but he's not really a guy who can trouble Fed in many areas. If he can hit big consistently off both wings then he obviously has a chance but there are very few guys capable of doing that – Del Potro, Cilic and Wawrinka are the only ones who really spring to mind. Fed in straights 6-4 6-2.