Bonjour! Another sweet day for Fed fans in Paris as Roger cruised past Julien Benneteau in straight sets to book his place in the fourth round where he will meet another Frenchman, Gilles Simon.
I knew a few of you were worried about this one after the match at Wimbledon and the loss in Rotterdam but as I predicted Benneteau offered little resistance and Roger was a class above as he eased to a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win.
It was another very pleasing display that featured some real nice shot making from Roger and Benneteau also came up with some great anticipation at the net which made it a very entertaining match for the crowd. Let's take a look:
Quick Match Analysis
The match didn't start well for Fed as he got broken in his opening service game with some really sloppy errors but Benneteau's lead didn't last long as Roger broke back to level at 2-2 and then really started to find a nice groove.
Benneteau was looking extremely sluggish once he lost his advantage and it was pretty clear that the marathon five setter he played a round earlier was effecting him physically so once Roger got his nose in front I knew it was going to be plain sailing.
As soon as Roger started striking cleanly he was able to break again and take the first set 6-3 yet again hitting a sweet backhand to take his break point which is becoming a recurring theme.
Even though he dropped his serve early it was a very routine set and Roger didn't really even have to break into a sweat. I actually thought for a moment Benneteau was on the brink of retiring as he looked pretty disinterested but to his credit he carried out without requiring the trainer or medical timeout.
The second set looked like it was going to be another cake walk as Roger created love 30 on the opening Bennteau service game but the Frenchman dug himself out of a hole and that re-energised him somewhat and at 2-1 he had a break point of his own but Roger held firm.
At 4-4 Roger created love 40 on the Benneteau serve and then came up with an insane backhand slice flicked passing shot that he made at full stretch with the ball behind him. Pure genius and Roger went onto to serve out the second 6-4.
In the third it was Benneteau's turn to come up with something special as he made an unbelievable behind the back volley which was pretty special and I think even Roger just had to nod at that one. Shots like this delight the French crowd, well any crowd really, and when both guys are coming up with something out of the ordinary it makes it well worth the admission fee.
Unfortunately for Benneteau though his moment of rapturous applause was shortlives as Roger was just easing through his service games and then upped his level to break him at 5-5 before serving it out to love again hitting an insane winner to seal it 6-3, 6-4, 7-5.
|Stats||Roger Federer||Julien Benneteau|
|1st Serves In||65%||82%|
|1st Serve points Won||42/51 (82%)||41/68 (60%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||22/28 (79%)||8/15 (53%)|
|Fastest Serve||199 KMH||198 KMH|
|Average 1st Serve Speed||182 KMH||169 KMH|
|Average 2nd Serve Speed||157 KMH||143 KMH|
|Net Points Won||8/11 (73 %)||9/15 (60 %)|
|Break Points Won||4/4 (100%)||1/3 (33%)|
|Receiving Points Won||34/83 (41%)||15/79 (19%)|
|Total Points Won||98||64|
100% BP conversion rate. Boom!
Thoughts on the Match
I'm happy because I have not used much of my energy so far,” said Federer, who is yet to drop a set. “I'm still there in the tournament, and therefore, I think I can perhaps go deep in the tournament. I feel totally relaxed. Mentally I'm okay. I'm quite confident. I can feel it, which is what you need to be if you want to go deep and have good results here at Roland Garros.
Like Roger's first two matches this was another pleasing display and as he went out there and got the job done with a minimum of fuss and expended very little energy whilst doing so.
It was obvious today Benneteau wasn't at his best physically so it might have been a little trickier for Roger had he been but I think he would have still got this done in straights. I'm liking what I'm seeing from Roger so far here, he seems very in control of what's happening out there on court and the matches are on his racquet.
Today for instance even though he started poorly it wasn't long before he started asserting his dominance on the court and by the end it looked like he was just going to break Benneteau when he wanted to. Very confident.
The stats again made nice reading, 100% on break point conversion is always nice to see and overall they just prove Roger was very solid in this match and clearly had plenty left in the tank should he have needed it. If you can have one gripe you'd like to see a slightly higher first serve percentage but really that's nit picking right now, he only dropped serve once in the very first game and from that point on he was very very secure.
The one thing I noticed more than ever today was how much Roger enjoys just been on court and playing his brand of tennis, you can tell he genuinely enjoys it. This was probably exacerbated by the fact I'd just seen Nadal beat Klizan and look completely disinterested and unenthusiastic about it. This just makes me realise even more that tennis is just a chore for someone like Nadal. Almost like weekly food shopping or cutting the grass, it's just a means to an end for him and I'm pretty sure once he retires he won't be one of the guys that misses the game.
Predictions vs. Gilles Simon
Next up for Roger is another Frenchman in the shape of Gilles Simon who came through in 5 sets against Sam Querrey. Roger completely schooled Simon in Rome a couple of weeks ago dropping just 3 games and I expect something similar here.
Simon has historically given Roger problems but I can't see it happening here because Roger has almost learnt how to play guys like him better in the last couple of years, probably because Murray is quite similar in style and it was necessary he crafted a gameplan to beat that type of opponent.
Simon has already played two 5 set matches this tournament so I doubt he will be feeling fresh physically. He of course has a day off but I think Roger can take advantage again here and just use his forehand to push Simon around and keep him firmly behind the baseline.
Simon is a nice ball striker but lacks any real weapons or power so whilst he can be dangerous due to consistency I think Fed will be able step inside the court often and mix up his play to create angles and plenty of open court to put away the winners when the opportunity arises.
I'll go for a 6-2 7-6 6-4 victory. Allez!