Hey all, very solid match for the GOAT here as he opened his US Open campaign with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7/4) win over loud mouth Aussie Marinko Matosevic. Not quite the return of Darth Federer we were expecting as Fed took to the court in some white Michael Jordan inspired tennis shoes as part of a Nike PR drive but it was still a very clinical performance and a great start to the tournament.
It certainly wasn't the quickest 1st round match at a slam Fed has played but he was extremely comfortable from start to finish and in fairness it could have have been even more of a one sided scoreline had Fed not dropped his serve at the end of the third set. A slight lapse in that game but he didn't flinch winning the tie break from 1-3 behind was good stuff. He also managed to finish it with a hang time smash 😀
Quick Match Recap
Matosevic won the toss and elected to receive. No way he was confident enough to kick off the match with a very pro Federer crowd and Michael Jordan onlooking so he decided to give the honour to his slightly more experience opponent 😛
Roger started in cruise control on serve, placing it well on both sides of the court and generally looking untroubled. Matosevic on the other hand was having to work that bit harder and Fed had several half chances early doors with a number of 30 alls. ‘Mad Dog', as he's know back in Australia, however held his end up well until 3-4 where Roger reeled off an awesome lob and a sweet backhand winner to bring up his first break point. Matosevic saved that one with a jamming serve but when Fed got the 2nd he double faulted to fall 3-5 behind. Roger then served it out to love to take the first set.
Dropping the first set was never going to be a good thing for Marinko and by this point he'd already started talking to himself whenever he lost a point. ‘You gotta be fucking kidding me' ‘I feel rushed, he plays too fast' to name but a few of his remarks on the baseline or at the changeover.
Despite his antics between points Matosevic's level stayed pretty consistent in the 2nd set and he again held firm until the business end of things where he was broken at 3-3. A love hold then gave Roger a 5-3 lead and he should have broken to seal the set, getting to 0-40 with a genius lob and then a beautifully controlled backhand but slack returning allowed Matosevic to hold. No big deal though as Fed again served it out with ease 6-4.
Into the third and with Matosevic's hopes fading he began to swing that bit more freely. He actually has a big game and Roger had to save break points early in the set to keep parity. Missing those early chances looked to spell the end for Matosevic though when he played a very poor service game at 3-3 to get broken. This time around though there was no quickfire consolidation from Fed as he dropped serve right back and ended up having to take the set into a tie break.
Matosevic got the upper hand in this one for a 3-1 lead but some weak errors let Fed get his nose back in front and he finally sealed the deal 7 points to 4 with a sweet Jordan-esque jump smash. Made up for the one he tried earlier in the match which went about 20 feet long 😆
|Stats||Marinko Matosevic||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||71/120 (59 %)||60/87 (69 %)|
|1st serve points won||44/71 (62 %)||53/60 (88 %)|
|2nd serve points won||26/49 (53 %)||15/27 (56 %)|
|Fastest serve||123 MPH||128 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||113 MPH||116 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||93 MPH||96 MPH|
|Net points won||27/57 (47 %)||22/30 (73 %)|
|Break points won||1/3 (33 %)||3/14 (21 %)|
|Receiving points won||19/87 (22 %)||50/120 (42 %)|
|Total points won||89||118|
Thoughts on the Match
I'm happy I came through. It was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be in the third set when I had a break. But it's always good to win tie-breaks.
A very solid win for Roger and for the 1st round of a slam this was a pretty testing encounter. Matosevic is probably better than his ranking suggests and he's been able to go toe to toe with decent players before so I think Fed did well to get this one done in straights, especially in the third set tie breaker when he fell 3-1 behind.
Matosevic's problem is that he's far too reactive to things on court and wastes too much energy talking to his box or himself in between points. This costs him when it really comes to the crunch as he never quite played to his best level on the bigger points. Had he zoned in then he could have probably got a set as his tactic of serve / volley worked pretty well in the third set. He wasn't forcing the issue as such but he was definitely in the mix for quite a few of the rallies, Fed just moves too well and has too much guile for him.
As for Roger he did a good of managing his own game and never allowed Marinko's antics to disrupt his own rhythm or play. It was pretty obvious Matosevic was trying to slow down points on his own service games but it didn't really work. The Federer forehand wasn't at it's best on the night but the serve, backhand and all round court craft were pretty much bang on. I mean we got a tweener albeit off a dead ball, some ridiculously good lobs and at least 4 or 5 awesomely struck backhand winners. Some real crowd pleasing stuff there for the night session ticket buyers and for Michael Jordan who had spot reserved in Fed's box thanks to Nike and some footwear marketing campaign they're working on.
Predictions vs. Groth
Tough to really predict how this one will pan out as they've never played but Groth is just a very big server with little else. This is his best ever result at a slam and he has no real results of note on his CV. In fact he's more of a doubles guy in terms of results and he's only ever been inside the top 100 in singles once for a few weeks earlier this year. The fact he can serve at 163MPH is clearly going to be his main weapon but a big serve doesn't mean a smart serve so I figure Fed will be all over it. He's conquered all comers in that department from Phillipousis back in the day to Raonic last week so Groth is likely to be another one on the list.
So looks like Fed will cruise this one from start to finish as there's now way Groth can hurt him on his own service games. Maybe a tie break will happen in one set but playing against Fed on Ashe (or Armstrong) is easily going to be Groth's biggest match of his career so I think Fed will be able to use that to his advantage and break when he needs to. Fed in 3: 6-2 6-4 6-2. Allez!