Whoooooooop! Seriously awesome performance from Roger today as he defeated Spaniard Albert Ramos in a mere 79 minutes.
I was expecting a total cruise match from Roger, come out, win the first set and then just coast on through without seemingly trying but he really stamped his authority on this one. He broke his opponent 8 times in a 6-1 6-1 6-1 demolition job and played with relentless aggression from start to finish.
The key to the match was simply the fact Roger was the better player, he won 73% of points behind his first serve and won 74% of points he contested at the net. Ramos however only won 46% of points behind his first serve was restricted to hitting only 11 winners.
To say this was Rogers first match on the fresh grass he was out of the blocks very quickly and it’s always a good sign when he has timing on his ground strokes from the get go. Perhaps Ramos isn’t the toughest test on grass but I still enjoyed the way Roger went about his task. 1st round matches don’t win you tournaments but you can certainly lose them and by winning quickly with no blemishes he saves energy for the later stages and gives himself confidence for the next round knowing his grass game is as smooth as ever.
I was able to do that a bit more than I thought I could,” Federer mused. “I was happy with the way things progressed during the match. I was able to return well, almost break him every single time. It was a good match for me, obviously. I felt very good out there today. Obviously being up a double break very often, or at least a break, up 30‑Love on your serve, you don’t feel any pressure doing it. It’s rare to be up in the scoreline like today on a regular basis. It is maybe why it is a good time to try it out. Then you can use it in tougher moments, difficult moments, to throw your opponents off. Who knows if I’ll need it down the stretch. We’ll see.
Really you can’t ask for more so early in a tournament, it was dominant, effective and clinical. I was impressed with Roger’s variety and his willingness to finish off points at the net, hopefully he maintains that approach throughout the tournament rather than just using it against the lesser players because he feels there is less risk involved. All areas of his game were functioning well and he looked like he really meant business which is nice to see.
Of course it’s silly to read too much into first round matches especially against a player who has only every played 1 competitive match on grass (a loss) and won only 1 match at Grand Slam level (on clay) but I think getting the job done in under 80 minutes with ruthless efficiency surely bodes well for the rest of the tournament.
Elsewhere in the Draw
As expected Djokovic made light work of Ferrero winning in straight sets, he didn’t play particularly well but it was more than enough to get the job done and he now meets Ryan Harrison in the second round who beat Lu Yen-Hsun today.
Sadly my predictions weren’t too good as Muller lost to Benneteau, Stepanek beat Stahkovsky and Monaco beat Mayer but perhaps the my biggest call of all came off as Colombian Alejandro Fall beat John Isner in 5 sets. I had a funny feeling Falla would be able to pull of the win, he hits the ball very flat and I’m sure grass his is favourite surface. I’ve always thought Isner is over rated, exceptionally one dimensional and today just proved that to me even more.
The other big shock was Gulbis beating 6th seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets, I watched quite abit of this match and was surprised to say the least. Gublis has often been touted as a future top 10 player but always failed to deliver yet today he was firing on all cylinders, serving huge and holding it together mentally very well so it was hugely impressive.
Predictions vs. Fognini
Well we all expected Llodra to be Roger’s second round opponent but as I said in my Wimbledon draw analysis draws never go to plan and this one is no exception as Roger now meets Italian Fabio Fognini.
I think this one should be another relatively easy match for Roger, Fognini will be able to test him in parts because he can transition well from defense into attack and has a decent touch at the net but I think Roger’s variety and grass court prowess will be far too much for him to handle. Fognini hasn’t got a great record on this surface, his best making the third round here in 2010 (although he did beat Verdasco in the 1st round that year) and he only won 2 games in his only meeting with Roger way back in 2007 at the Rogers Cup. I think he will fair slightly better on Wednesday but I see Roger winning in straight sets 6-4 6-2 6-4 to make serene progress into the third round.