Five-time champion Roger Federer is into the fourth round in Melbourne after defeating Richard Gasquet 6-2 7-5 6-4 in one hour and 59 minutes.
The Swiss, who now holds a 17-2 record in the H2H against Gasquet put in a solid performance throughout, winning 80% of points behind his first serve. As a result the Frenchman was only able to muster his first break point late in the third set when he made a mini-revival to level from a break down at 4-4. However, Federer soon halted any notion of a comeback, playing a smart return game to break at 4-5 to win through. He'll face World Number 80 Marton Fuscovics in the fourth round.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and selected to serve. The first point was a belter with Fed guessing correctly at the net after a lengthy rally and he went on to hold to love for 1-0.
Gasquet quickly matched him but in game four Roger strung together a quality point at 30-30 and
although Gasquet saved the first break point, he wasn't able to save another as a short second serve was dispatched for 3-1.
With Gasquet only having broken Roger once in their last five meetings his options for getting back into the set looked limited and at 2-5 down Roger reeled off some sweet backhands for 0-40 and a Gasquet double fault gave him the set 6-2.
Into set two and a Djokosmash saw Fed lose the opening point but he was able to keep momentum on his side as he held for 1-0. Gasquet needed to up his intensity after dropping the opening set and he did so by playing further up the court; hitting some swashbuckling backhands as the scoreboard ticked along to 3-3. That was soon 6-5 for Roger and a tie-break looked the likely outcome but Gasquet let the pressure get to him as he was broken to 30 with Fed hitting a sweet pass to set up break point.
Losing the second set having had a huge hand in it must have been demoralising for Gasquet and he soon found himself down a break in the third as Roger moved 3-0 in front. That was soon 4-1 but with the finish line in sight, Roger faltered as Gasquet hit some big groundstrokes to break back and win three games in a row for 4-4.
With Fed's footwork looking a little sloppy he steadied the ship with a love hold for 5-4 and Gasquet's resistance came to an end as Federer took his game up a notch, leaning into some backhands to break and take the match 6-4 in the third.
|R. GASQUET||R. FEDERER|
|First serve % in||68%||65%|
|Win % on 1st serve||67% (41/61)||80% (49/61)|
|Win % on 2nd serve||41% (12/29)||42% (14/33)|
|Break points won %||50% (1/2)||63% (5/8)|
|Net Points Won||59% (10/17)||70% (26/37)|
|Total points won||84||100|
|Avg Serve Speed||181kmh||189kmh|
Shot of the Match
Awesome angle 🙂
Thoughts on the Match
My head’s still spinning from the match point where I got so lucky so I’m just trying to get over that one. I think I was able to maybe stay a little bit more on the offensive than he was and maybe I was protecting my own serve a little bit better than him, I don’t know. But the second set was tight, the match was close.
Another solid performance from Roger here and the match turned out a little easier than I had expected. Based on how Gasquet played in Shanghai last year, winning the Davis Cup and his form so far in the tournament I thought he'd bag a set but Roger had other ideas. Like he said on the court, he was able to serve well and take advantage of some Gasquet lapses to come through without too much trouble.
The first set was the simplest with Roger really capitalising on anything short to break twice, the second was more about staying with Gasquet who upped his level/ball striking quite significantly only to flop at 5-6 and the third managing to shake off the loss of the break to get another at just the right time.
I still think his footwork is looking a bit sloppy overall (check the run around forehand he tries at 4-3 deuce 3rd set; he's so late the ball is 10 feet outside the tramline) but it was extremely humid on the court which does take it out of you and both guys looked a bit drained. Fed also seemed a little frustrated by some of his misses too but he's yet to drop a set and is working his way nicely into the tournament as we head into week two Down Under
Predictions vs. Fucsovics
Next up is Marton Fuscovics as he defeated Nicolas Kicker in straight sets. This will be Fuscovic's biggest match of his career, so he'll be Hungary for success when he faces Fed on Monday. I've not seen a lot of him and his results are nothing to write home about. He does have 4 challenger titles to his name but this tournament was his first ever win at Slam level. He was fairly solid as a Junior though so perhaps he's on the rise now despite being almost the same age as Dimitrov who seems to have been around forever.
The two have never played before but fortunately, Roger has some intel as he practised with him in Switzerland and also at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last year. From what I've seen he's a solid baseliner with a decent forehand and he moves well. Seppi beat him a few weeks ago on this surface in a Challenger Final in Canberra and he's not played anybody of note so far aside from a sub-par Querrey so I think Fed wins in three sets.
What do you guys think of his Fourth Round opponent? Let me know in the comments.