Stellar performance from Roger here against big serving Canadian Milos Raonic. Raonic has had some good results this year against top 10 opponents and it was the first time these two had faced each other.
The match started pretty slowly really, both players served well but there was little in the way of excitement or any real toe to toe first strike tennis.
The only real moment of note was where Roger saved a break point midway through the first set, barring that both players were extremely comfortable.
The inevitable tie break arrived and Federer missed 1 running forehand that cost him the set. That's sometimes how tie breaks can go when facing big servers like Raonic.
It was tough to predict how the second set would go, Raonic had been serving well and Roger was struggling slightly on the return. If this was over 5 sets I knew Fed would eventually come out on top, but in these 3 set shoot outs matches can slip away pretty quickly.
Luckily Roger buckled down immediately at the start of the second sat and broke Raonic in the first game. He went onto take the second set 6-2. It was really a mixture of Raonic not serving as well and Roger being able to make some better plays. There was no need for Roger to make any dramatic changes to his setup, he just had to execute a little better than he did in the first set and fortunately he was able to.
The third set was always going to go the way of Federer and he really played some nice stuff, successfully converting his only break point with a sweet backhand pass.
For me it was a difficult match,” Federer said after receiving rapturous applause from the near-capacity crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“He's probably seen me play a whole lot of times on TV which helps him out a bit. But I really did well. I hung in there and played a great second set. The third set was close and I'm happy to be moving on in the tournament.
Predictions vs. Bellucci
I really think Bellucci is a bread and butter opponent for someone like Roger. They haven't met before but I see Roger making it through with ease.
The only surface I'd give Bellucci a chance on is clay (he's my early pick to make 2nd week at this years FO). Indian Wells isn't the fastest, but it's still a hard court so I can't see him beating Roger.
I think he will go for his shots and no doubt pull off a few winners but he won't be able to do it with the level of consistency required to beat Fed.
Prediction: 6-2 6-4.