A straight sets win for Roger Federer as he bagged a 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 win over Benoit Paire to book his spot in the third round at the US Open and set up a third round encounter against Nick Kyrgios on Saturday.
It wasn't the cleanest performance from the Swiss against an unpredictable opponent in relatively high temperatures but he constructed some clever points at key moments to win through. Taking advantage of 11 double faults from Paire to break five times in the match en route to his 7th straight victory against the Frenchman.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Paire held to 15 before Roger leveled at 1 a piece. Paire had looked composed as he held again for 2-1 but in game five the wheels started to come off as he was broken to fifteen. Roger then consolidated for 4-2 and it looked like he'd run away with the set. However, an inexplicably poor game at 4-3 handed Paire the break back as he got back on level terms.
The Frenchman then held for 5-4 but in game eleven we got some Trademark Paire has played a disaster game, opting to play some cute angled volley at 30-0 only to see himself lose four points in a row to drop serve. Roger served it out to love.
Into set two and after exchanging early holds Paire again slipped up, double-faulting on break point to hand Roger the break. The break was again consolidated for 4-2 and this time it wasn't relinquished as he took the set 6-4 in fairly routine fashion.
With Paire looking frustrated and his racquet getting tossed around the court he again double-faulted on break point in game three. More erratic play saw him fall down a double break at 1-4 and although he recouped one break after another uncharacteristic game from Roger he wasn't able to find a way back as the Swiss won his next two service games to take it 6-4.
|B. Paire||R. Federer|
|First Serve % In||57/102 (56%)||55/95 (58%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||36/57 (63%)||41/55 (75%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||22/45 (49%)||25/40 (63%)|
|Net Points Won||17/37 (46%)||27/35 (77%)|
|Break Points Won||2/6 (33%)||5/9 (56%)|
|Receiving Points Won||29/95 (31%)||44/102 (43%)|
|Total Points Won||87||110|
|Distance Covered||5318.9 Ft||5279.2 Ft|
|Distance Covered/pt.||27.0 Ft||26.8 Ft|
Shit editing and point selection I know but sadly it's all that's out there. They can't even show the match in chronological order!
Thoughts on the Match
I think it was a bit sort of up and down, I think it's always tricky against Benoit, because there's a lot of tactics going on. Never quite the same point. Sometimes he plays very deep in the court, then he plays up in the court. That's maybe why you draw errors out of each other rather than winners at the end. The match maybe doesn't look that good. Plus he covers the court very well. Sometimes you have a tendency to overplay, as well. But overall I'm happy. I think it was not a bad performance by any means by me. I can be pleased, so it's all good.
A fairly routine win here for Roger and he played at an ok sort of level. He certainly has to be happy to get it done in straight sets expending very little energy in humid conditions but I don't like the way he's hitting the ball a whole lot. The court looks slow and heavy which doesn't help either but finding the middle of the racquet seems like a bit of tougher ask than usual for the Swiss Maestro.
Fortunately today he was playing a guy that isn't able to take advantage of someone who throws in 39 errors and 5 double faults. Instead, he hits 47 errors of his own and more than doubles the double fault count with 11 😆 the game at five-all in the first set just summed it up for me, cruising at 30-0, plays some ridiculous volley and gets broken. Once that first set had gone Roger's way then he was highly unlikely to ever really get back into it.
As for Fed like I say kinda just a so-so standard. Something about his body language tells me he's not entirely happy with his game but he's playing efficiently and so far that's enough to get the job done. It's not easy to look good against Paire as he's all over the shop but he was still able to conjure up some half decent ball and construct some nice points to roll on through into round 3. He'll definitely need to cut out the loose service games, fine-tune the second serve and hopefully find a way to bag some more free points once the tougher opposition rolls around but at least he's giving himself a chance to do so by winning in routine enough fashion.
Predictions vs. Kyrgios
Next up is Nick Kyrgios who came from a set and a break down to bagel Pierre Hugues Herbert in the fourth set and set up a third-round tie with Roger. The main talking point across Twitter and the media is Leyhani giving Kyrgios a ‘pep talk' when he was 2-5 down in the second set and it seems to have divided opinion in terms of an Umpire's remit. For me, it's a non-issue as all Lahyani said was along the lines of ‘I want to help you, you are good for tennis, you can do better than this”. That to me looks like a subtle way of telling a guy that can give up a match at the roll of a dice that he needs to try a bit harder or he'll be getting a warning.
Anyway onto the match and all the previous meetings between the two have gone to the wire so it will be interesting to see if this one follows that pattern. Kyrgios hasn't played great in his two matches so far and he's physically fragile over five. Roger has looked mediocre too if I'm honest, some nice moments but overall I could see someone with a bit about them taking him to the cleaners with how he's hitting the ball. Is that Kyrgios? I'm not so sure, even when Fed is playing with no great shakes he's still solid enough to beat most guys out there so I think I'll pick him in four sets.
What did you guys think of his level vs Paire? What are your predictions for the third round against Kyrgios? Let me know in the comments.