Boom, the US Open is underway and Roger got off to a pretty good start against American Donald Young beating him 6-3 6-2, 6-4 in the night match on Arthur Ashe.
I managed to watch all the match thanks to a strategic nap beforehand and woke up at bang on 2am so I had 30 minutes preparation time (watching Clijsters, I nearly fell back asleep ;)) before the match started at 2.30am.
In terms of the match there's not actually a whole lot to talk about as it was really just a routine match. Roger didn't have to play that well to cross the finish line and it was more a case of serving well and taking his chances when they presented themselves.
I don't think the conditions lent themselves to top class tennis either which probably didn't help either player as it was both windy yet very very humid. I mean Fed was sweating buckets after the first set which he never normally does so you know for certain it was hot out there.
I figured beforehand that one set might be quite close until Fed figured out Young's game but that didn't really happen. It was quite close early on as both men held serve until 3-3 but Roger then went and won 10 straight points to take the first 6-3. It was a total blink and you'll miss it type moment, to be honest it had been pretty dull up until 3-3 and then within what felt like 30 seconds both players were sat down toweling off ready to start the second set.
The second set was again pretty similar, Fed broke to lead 2-0 before Young managed to break back, much to the delight of the crowd, to level at 2-2. It was short-lived however as Roger broke immediately and then took the set 6-2.
By this point the third set was a formality and if I'm honest I was hoping Fed would serve up Donald a bakery product so I could go to bed!
I thought it was good, considering I played a very talented player who I didn’t know much, I haven’t played against him,” said the Swiss. “First round at the US Open can always bring a lot of pressure with it. It was very windy out there and extremely humid, so I’m just happy I was able to weather the conditions and a dangerous opponent.
Thoughts on the match
Not a lot really other than I was pretty disappointed with Donald Young, he's always described as a “rising star” or a “talent” but I wasn't that impressed. Maybe after losing 17 straight matches he's had his confidence zapped but from my angle he didn't play that smart. Prime example was on a break point on his second serve where Roger moved into the tramlines on the ad court to basically say “I'm moving round this and slapping back a forehand” and Young just served straight into the hitting zone to drop serve.
He showed glimpses of his shot making capability in parts and he can move quite well but I don't think he will ever be more than a top 20 player and he can tell his Grandkids he beat Andy Murray at Indian Wells, although not that you'd want to as it's hardly a unique club 😉
As for Roger I was suitably impressed, he played well enough and he was dominant on serve, winning 83% of points behind his first serve. Solid stats. I imagine once he knew Young wasn't capable of causing too much damage he just slipped into a comfortable gear and cruised through.
Federer Press Conference
Predictions vs. Phau
This one should be a routine match for Roger but I expect it to be quite exciting to watch. These two have history and usually when they meet they both play well. Phau has a consistent serve and hits well off the ground off both wings so he can definitely test Roger and I think he will have to up his level just a little from the Young match, which is a good thing.
Phau won their first meeting easily 6-2, 6-3 way back in 1999 in Washington. Safe to say I didn't watch that match but I did watch their second meeting at the 1st round of the 2007 Australian Open. For some reason I remember that match quite well and Phau blew a first set 5-3 lead. Both players were constantly exchanging breaks before Roger pulled away to take it 7-5, 6-0, 6-4. The two met again in Estoril in 2010 and Roger took that one in straight sets, I don't remember that match as well but I know Federer was stinking up the joint in Estoril that year (losing to Montanes WTF?) so by this point Phau was clearly over the best of his career.
Phau also tested Nadal in the first round of the US Open back in 2008 and it took Nadal two tie breaks before he saw him off. I guess we can say Phau ups his level against the better players so like I said it might be a good match.
Still, Fed has been playing too well to drop a set I think he will take it 6-4 6-2 6-2. I'm hoping it's a day match so I can a.) watch at a sensible time and b.) the courts might be pretty fast.
Oh and I just heard stat that Roger is 22-0 in night matches at the US Open. Pretty cool stat!