No rest for the wicked and Fed is already back in action on the hardcourts, defeating Vasek Pospisil 7-6(4) 5-7 6-2 in the 2nd round of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
Not the most convincing match from the Swiss but he got the job done and can hopefully pick up some form which seems to have left him after the early stages of the Roger's Cup.
It's slightly annoying he's played another 3 setter after going the distance twice last week vs Ferrer and Cilic and isn't ideal considering he admitted feeling tired in his post Tsonga loss press conference last Sunday.
Quick Match Recap
Roger won the toss, elected to serve and was soon on the scoreboard with a confident love hold.
Pospisil is known for having a fairly big serve but he looked shaky in the early stages, firing down a couple of double faults and Roger had a chance to break at 2-1 but failed to convert. 2 more break points came his way in Pospisil's next service game but again the Canadian held.
The tables then turned and Pospisil had his own chance to break at 3 all but he too couldn't take advantage and Fed held for 4-3. At 5-5, Fed again found himself in a bit of a hole down 0-30 but he stood firm to hold before Pospisil held to force the tie break.
The breaker started well for Fed as he got up an early mini break, handed it back but played a very well anticipated net point to regain the advantage before closing it out 7 points to 4.
After a closely fought first set I expected Pospisil to fade but it was Roger who slacked off. As usual he was holding with ease but failed to make any impression on the Pospisil serve. There was only one half chance at 0-30 in the 7th game but other than that it was a fruitless set and the returning was less than stellar.
At 5-6 I expected Roger to continue with the trend of holding his own serve easily but he got himself in trouble at 0-30 and Pospisil broke to take the set 7-5. Bit of a steal as he'd not really done a whole lot either but he was the first to 6 games and then took full advantage when he needed to.
Into the third set and the stat of the day was that Roger hadn't broken an opponents serve in over 25 return game, he'd also failed to hit a single backhand winner in 2 matches which is probably the first time that has happened.
After expecting Pospisil to fade after the losing the 1st set I had no idea what he had in store after winning the 2nd; fortunately he ran out of gas as Fed broke him early to lead 3-1 before claiming the all important insurance break to lead 5-1. Normal service resumed.
The Canadian managed to avoid the bakery products but Fed closed it out 6-2 with a sweet serve and volley play on match point to record his 300th match win at Masters 1000 level.
|V. Pospisil||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||58%||69%|
|1st Serve Points Won||45/57 (79%)||46/61 (75%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||20/42 (48%)||22/27 (81%)|
|Break Points Saved||4/6 (67%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|1st Return Points Won||15/61 (25%)||12/57 (21%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||5/27 (19%)||22/42 (52%)|
|Break Points Won||1/2 (50%)||2/6 (33%)|
|Net Points Won||11/19||15/25|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Total Service Points Won||65/99 (66%)||68/88 (77%)|
|Total Return Points Won||20/88 (23%)||34/99 (34%)|
|Total Points Won||85/187 (45%)||102/187 (55%)|
Federer On Court Interview
Thoughts on the Match
Tough match but not much to really learn as getting the win was the most important thing. As we saw with Tsonga, Dimitrov and Lopez, playing well in back to back Masters 1000 tournaments is extremely difficult. Although Fed didn't play well, his name is still in the draw, whilst those 3 guys are all checking out of their hotel rooms.
Fed's level wasn't special in the slightest, but if the adage you're only as good as your second serve is true then he's pretty damn good as he won 81% of points behind it. Which was more than his first serve at 75%. Without really doing anything spectacular he basically just waited till Pospisil's level dropped and took full advantage. The Canadian had a tough 3 set win over Stepanek a day earlier and also played doubles too so he clearly wasn't the freshest. Just good enough is probably the best way to describe it from Fed's point of view.
From the last couple of matches it looks like Roger is still struggling for timing and rhythm from the baseline which is a bit of a concern. It's still early in the hard court swing but he looked good early in Toronto but has since faded in recent matches. Not quite trusting his groundstrokes appears to be the main problem and his backhand has been a source of many unforced errors. Hard to really figure out why but it's bound to be a combination of things.
The only other real negative is the time on court, another 3 setter isn't ideal considering Fed said he was tired after the gruelling schedule in Toronto where he played 4 night matches on the bounce. I feel like he could have done with getting this one done in straights because he will be playing every single day from now on if he were to make the final. Guess we'll see, he might just get a second wind when he needs it.
Predictions vs. Monfils
Next up is Clownfils who comfortably defeated the Royal Bank of Agut 6-4 6-1. Some unfinished business here for Fed as Monfils won their last encounter in Shanghai when Fed was at a very low point in the season.
Tough to call this one as Monfils is a mercurial talent, one minute he can be unstoppable, the next he looks like he'd rather be break dancing on a street in Paris. Some days he hits the ball huge, other's he just pushes it in play. I think a lot depends on which Monfils shows up on the day as to whether he can win.
Interestingly Monfils has won 2 of the last 3 encounters, and he's one of the few players who can say they beat Federer from being match point down. He clearly knows how to get the job done vs Fed but whether he can execute it is debatable. One thing you know for certain when playing Monfils is you're not going to be facing a set game plan, it's just whatever shot he decides to hit the second before he makes contact with the ball. In Fed's victories over Gael he's always done a good job of moving him around the court so I guess that's something he will look to do tonight. Clean up any short balls too and try finish at the net.
I'll pick Fed but he'll need to play better off the ground than he did vs. Pospisil. He just needs to find a base level and never dip below it, if he can make Monfils have to earn every point plus stick with his net attacking intent I can't really see the Frenchman getting it done. Fed in two: 7-6 6-2. Allez!