An important win for Roger here as he kept alive his hopes of reaching the knockout stages in London with a straight sets victory of Richard Gasquet. After the disappointment of losing to Djokovic on Tuesday it was important that Roger hit back and although this wasn't a particularly thrilling encounter he deserved to win and now has to do the same against Del Potro in his final round robin match.
I said in my prediction that I thought Fed would win in straights fairly comfortably and despite dropping his own serve in the first set and wasting quite a few match points his aggressive nature was enough to prevent Gasquet from doing much damage as he won 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 21 minutes.
Quick Match Recap
Like most matches other the past month or so Roger started well, digging himself out of love 30 early and then breaking serve to take a commanding 3-1 lead. That unfortunately didn't last long as a tentative game at 4-3 let Gasquet back into it to level things up.
Pleasingly Roger hit straight back himself to lead 5-4 before serving it out hitting a nice ace down the T to set things up. Good that he responded but he should never have gotten broken at 4-3 in the first place.
The second set turned into a pretty scrappy affair after Roger broke Gasquet in his opening service games, there were a few nice points from the Federer racquet but overall both guys had difficulty keeping the ball in play.
Gasquet had break point chances in the fourth and sixth games but made weak errors and Roger fended them both off. At 4-3 Gasquet had another break point but again failed to convert and that forced him to serve to stay in the match.
Roger had pressured the Frenchman's serve all afternoon and despite wasting five match points all with unforced errors of his own he finally closed it out when Gasquet netted a simple forehand.
|Stats||Roger Federer||Richard Gasquet|
|1st Serve %||75%||59%|
|1st Serve Points Won||33/48 (68%)||21/40 (52%)|
|2nd Serve Points||9/16 (56%)||15/27 (55%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/6 (83%)||7/11 (63%)|
|Service Games Played||9||10|
|1st Return Points Won||19/40 (47%)||15/48 (31%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||12/27 (44%)||7/16 (43%)|
|Break Points Won||4/11 (36%)||1/6 (16%)|
|Return Games Played||10||9|
|Total Service Points Won||42/64 (65%)||36/67 (53%)|
|Total Return Points Won||31/67 (46%)||22/64 (34%)|
|Total Points Won||73/131 (55%)||58/131 (44%)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Scrappy is probably the best way to describe this one, both guys made a lot of errors but the fact Gasquet chooses to take up position 3 feet behind the baseline making it 10 times harder for himself to win a point probably made Roger's job a little easier.
I don't think Fed played badly, still looked quite hesitant on a few points but he did come up with some nice plays and I think tactically he played astutely. A couple of times he hit some wild shots but they didn't really cost him a whole lot and when he did get in trouble the kick serve to open up the court + forehand combo worked pretty well.
The backhand held up pretty well and his slice is always effective on these courts, the inside in forehand wasn't firing, usually a sign of lack of confidence and just overall shot selection weren't spot on are my two main criticisms.
Things like silly sliced forehands and trying to over think points etc are a little worrying but fortunately Gasquet isn't a clutch player who can take advantage. Like Fed said in his post match interview (see below) he got lucky on one of the break points because a great volleyer (Gasquet is only a good volleyer in his opinion) would have made him pay yet Gasquet was unable to.
I think Gasquet will be disappointed to convert only 1 of his 6 break points but to be honest he plays pretty daft tennis when he needs to focus. He has all the shots in the world but in terms of actually playing solid when he needs to then he goes missing. That's why he's top 8 and not top 4 I guess.
Back to Roger and the main thing is of course the win, sometimes a scrappy win can lead to bigger things and he'll definitely need some inspiration when he faces Del Potro in the next round.
Predictions vs. Del Potro
Make no doubts about it Roger is going to have to up his level for this one to make the semi finals as Del Potro is a much tougher opponent than Gasquet. The one thing in Roger's favour is that Del Potro looked pretty tired in his first match and he's playing Djokovic tonight too which could be another drain on his resources.
Fed should be pretty confident after he beat him in Bercy too so if he can replicate that kind of match I think he can win, court slowness doesn't really make him an under dog vs. Del Potro as the Argentine doesn't use defense to win his matches so I think point construction will be the main thing.
If Roger makes it athletic, does a good job of moving Del Potro around and serves well he should come out on the right side of things and stand a good chance of qualifying for the semi finals.
I'll pick Roger in straight sets. 6-4 7-5. Interestingly this week no player has managed to hit more winners than unforced errors in a match, can Fed do it vs. Del Potro?