Very good performance from Roger to dispose of Karlovic here in straight sets, my only complaint is that I had to set my alarm for 2.30am, then be up for 7.30am for work. Ouch.
In my prediction I said that the set scorelines might be close due to the strength of the Karlovic serve, that turned out to be very true as the first set resulted in a tie break.
Tie breakers usually favour the big servers but I didn't see Karlovic winning it for a minute so naturally I was surprised when at 5-5 Karlovic brought up a set point, on his serve, with some good play that resulted in Fed hitting a forehand long. The point at 6-5 was pretty crazy, rather than me explaining it – just watch the video below and you'll see what I mean…
After that first set tie break I knew the match would be Roger's, it pretty much broke Karlovic mentally and gave him a huge uphill task. He was 9-1 in the H2H prior and in those 10 meetings had only broken Roger's serve once. Falling a set behind is the last thing he needed to happen.
Thank God he gave me a second serve and a slight chance. He might have had a lucky volley but he has quick reflexes so that can happen. Then running up there I didn't know what to do so I tried the lob even though that's not what you are supposed to do against him.
‘I got the angle right and was able to surprise him. It kind of worked and then I had a great return after that and was almost home.
Karlovic still carried on serving well throughout the match, but Roger broke in the second to take it 7-5, and then broke early in the third to seal the match 7-6 7-5 6-3. Ultimately the match was won purely and simply because Roger has a better all round game. He's better off the ground, has better movement and has a bigger repertoire of shots. Karlovic has too many limitations, but to his credit, he knows what he can do, and does it well – i.e. serve big and accurate, slice and chip and charge at any opportunity. He makes it difficult, but as Roger proved today, if you serve well yourself, play the percentages and get the ball back into play, eventually you can break him down.
He's a tough man to play against. I am happy I found a way today and I am happy to be through.
Predictions vs. Tomic
As we later found out Federer will now play Tomic in the last 16, I for one hope JesusFed shows up and gives Tomic a severe beatdown. I never had a problem with Tomic but after seeing his bratty face on TV consistently for a week, and listening to him chat utter bollocks in press conferences I've gone right off him. “I pretended a little bit in the first few games in that third set to not be there as mentally, but in a way to still be there.” Righttttt sure ya did.
Tomic is on the up, and plays a pretty weird style, but I think Roger has too much, a tired Roger beat him in the Davis Cup on grass in 4 sets so I'm confident he can beat him on the hard courts of Melbourne with relative ease. It may be testing early on, but I think Roger needs a match with some longish rallies – so far his 2 matches have been very weird and haven't really given us an indication into how he's playing when the points get over 2/3 shots. Hopefully this match gets him into a solid rhythm.