Hey guys, Roger is finally back in action and got his Basel campaign underway with a win defeating Adrian Mannarino 6-4 6-2 in 1 hour and 11 minutes.
In a relatively one sided affair Fed didn't really have to do much to get the win and despite a couple of shaky moments I thought he played pretty well. Still evidently far from his confident best but he moved well enough and broke his opponents serve 4 times to make a quickfire job of things in his hometown.
Of course Mannarino was never going to offer the toughest form of resistance but based on recent matches it wasn't impossible he'd cause a few problems so I'm happy Roger wasn't too slow out of the blocks and got the job done.
Quick Match Recap
As is often the case Roger started soundly breaking the Mannarino serve and then holding easily to move into a 2-0 lead, as we've become accustomed to though he relinquished his advantage quickly as Mannarino reeled off 3 straight games to lead 3-2.
It was a very poor service game from Roger to drop serve, again something that's been a pattern all year, a solid hold is followed up by a sloppy game with too many errors. Against Mannarino it's not a big deal but it needs snuffing out as it will cost him.
At 3-3 it was Mannarino's turn to throw in a ropey service game as he slipped to 15-40, the first break point ended with an awful shanked pass from Roger and it looked like we were going to get more wastefulness but on his second he ran around a backhand on the return to blast a forehand winner. It was nice to see and certainly full of intent.
No more hiccups from the Federer racquet after that point onwards in the first set and he took it 6-4 despite only making 46% of his first serves.
The second set was always going to be a foregone conclusion against someone like Mannarino as he's not the type of player to fight his way out of a hole and it felt like he was just happy to be there after he dropped the first set.
Roger wasted a break point in Mannarino's first service game and then another 2 passed him by at 1-1 which was a little disappointing. The points to setup the break points were awesome just again he was lacking execution on the ones that matter most.
At 2-2 another break point came his way and he finally capitalised to take the upper hand, 3-2 soon became 4-2 and by this point Mannarino had all but given up. Another break soon followed and Fed served it out comfortably to take the match 6-2 6-4.
|Stats||R. Federer||A. Mannarino|
|1st Serve %||51%||49%|
|1st Serve Points Won||22/25 (88%)||22/31 (71%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/24 (58%)||11/32 (34%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/1 (0%)||9/13 (69%)|
|Service Games Played||9||9|
|1st Return Points Won||9/31 (29%)||3/25 (12%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||21/32 (66%)||10/24 (42%)|
|Break Points Won||4/13 (31%)||1/1 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||9||9|
|Total Service Points Won||36/49 (73%)||33/63 (52%)|
|Total Return Points Won||30/63 (48%)||13/49 (27%)|
|Total Points Won||66/112 (59%)||46/112 (41%|
Still not winning enough cheap points on serve but early days.
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Overall a fairly solid performance from Roger, in some ways the match was pointless as Mannarino offered little resistance so it was hard to gauge where Roger is at right now. He's still clearly low on confidence as we saw when he dropped serve and made some poor shot selections on a few points but he got the win and that's all that really matters.
Whether Mannarino is any good or not doesn't matter really as Roger had to come out and play the match regardless, he couldn't just refuse and say he wanted a tougher test 😀 so getting the win is the best he possibly could have done.
I personally would like to have seen some more free points on serve as they were lacking, Roger's serve is usually even more reliable indoors due to the conditions but it still wasn't quite firing.
But like I said you can't draw too many conclusions from a match like this because it's too early, Roger schooled Mannarino at the US Open but then got straight setted by a clay court mug like Robredo so there's no point getting ahead of ourselves.
On the plus side the forehand looked pretty solid and powerful throughout, we saw a sweet backhand smash winner which is always fun and he returned quite aggressively.
As for Mannarino unfortunately he has no real power in his game to do any lasting damage and he also plays pretty casually, that's not always a bad thing but I get the feeling he isn't going to really tough it out should he need to.
Predictions vs. Zeballos / Istomin
Next up is either Denis Istomin or Horacio Zeballos and I believe the match will be on Thursday. Zeballos has won as many ATP titles as Roger this year so he can't be underestimated but he's primarily a clay court specialist. Because of that I'd probably pick Istomin to come through as he has a decent hard court game and played well at this years US Open.
Istomin will be a tricky opponent indoors if he does get through because his big-ish serve and groundstrokes can do damage on a quicker court. I make Federer favourite as he beat him comfortably earlier this year in Indian Wells 6-2 6-3 but it won't be as easy as the Mannarino match that's for sure.
I think Roger will have to sharpen up a little and I'd like to see him just play a much cleaner match, I don't care if there's no special shots or ridiculous volleys I'd like a match where he doesn't drop serve and just closes it out comfortably.
This one is just another stepping stone to something bigger though in my eyes, he is still very much expected to win against either of those guys and I feel he really needs a match against a Top 10 player where the bookies are making it a coin flip or even putting Roger in as the underdog.
Berdych is the ideal opponent here in Basel strangely enough, as he currently has a bit of an edge in the last few meetings (wins at the USO 2012 and Dubai 2013) so it'd be a huge confidence boost if Roger were to win if they did play. Of course that's a big ask as Berdych causes him a ton of problems but I feel like he might just be that bit over tennised this year giving Fed a good shot of taking him out.
PS. I've brought back match reviews, you can now also rate Roger's matches out of 5 stars, get voting and let me know what you thought of his performance in the comments.