After a 6 week wait we finally got to see Roger back on court doing what he does best. Pretty comfortable opening match for him despite showing quite a lot of rust early on. The match started as no doubt most people expected, slow early on with both players holding serve comfortably and little in the way of break points.
Roger started the match pretty well holding his first service game without too much trouble. I've never really seen Starace play for an extended period so I wasn't sure what to expect, I guess the best way to describe him is steady away. He has a fairly good first and second serve but no real stand out shots.
Roger was definitely struggling early on for timing and on the return of serve, frequently shanking his forhand and hitting the returns wide and long. The important thing is though he was serving well, so whilst not creating break point opportunities, he wasn't giving his opponent anything either. The biggest surprise of the set was Roger facing break point at 5-5, he played a couple of decent ish points to hold though and lead 6-5. I figured he would break but Starace held and took the set into a tie break which I wasn't expecting.
Roger won the all important first point on the breaker and then secured a mini break to lead 2-1, from there on he didn't really look back and finished the breaker of with 2 nice big forehands.
Second Set – It got easier…
The second set was a much easier affair for Roger and he actually found some form. He luckily setup breakpoint in the first game with a net cord and converted it after Starace missed a forehand down the line, it was a low margin for error shot and he should have hit into the open court but ended up missing it by a good foot.
A couple of double faults saw Roger slip to 0-30 at 2-1 but he hit back to hold hitting a classic drop volley in the process. Despite a couple of awesome backhand smashes the second set was pretty dull. Starace showed little resistance or fight to get the break back and Roger served it out comfortably to win in straight sets.
1st serve %
Winning % on 1st Serve
Winning % on 2nd Serve Serve
Break Points Converted
38 of 43 = 88%
12 of 22 = 55%
1 of 3 = 33%
Overall a pretty comfortable display from Roger, the only criticism is that he served 5 double faults, which is quite a lot in only 2 sets. But considering he hasn't played a competitive match for weeks things like that are to be expected.
In the next round he'll play either Jarkko Nieminen or Thomaz Bellucci. I reckon he'll play Nieminen, and it will probably be a very similar match to the Starace one.
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