Another straight sets win for Federer here as he defeated big serving Sam Groth 6-4 6-4 6-4 in one hour and 48 minutes. Not the greatest match from the Swiss but he was comfortably the better player out there, winning 84% of points behind his first serve, out acing his opponent and converting 5 of his 11 break point chances. A good day at the office really and he's into the last 32 where he'll play Marcel Granollers.
I completely wrote Groth's chances off before the match saying he was just a serve but having watched some of his matches from Brisbane earlier in the year I realised he is a pretty tough competitor and it wouldn't be completely routine for Roger out there. Yes he has a big serve as we all knew but he backs that up with decent volleys and high intensity which is rare to see in the men's game these days.
Fortunately Fed played him very well, returning well and using his experience to put him under too much pressure on serve. With the win Fed is now 24-1 in night sessions in New York. Imperious stuff.
Quick Match Recap
Groth won the toss and elected to serve, confident approach as most guys who are overawed by the occasion on a show court will definitely choose to receive. He backed up that decision with a love hold. Good start.
Fed quickly levelled and then had 2 break points in Groth's next service game which he failed to convert. At 1-2 the Swiss got into a little trouble on his own serve with a double fault at 15-15 and got lucky when Groth missed a bit of a sitter to give himself 2 break points.
At 3-3 Fed struck first blood playing a smart return game, the chip return doing the damage just like it's done to Roddick and now Raonic. Groth didn't think it was coming over, stopped in his tracks and then had to wait for it to bounce. Not a good spot to be in and he made the critical error. Fed then held to 15 for 5-3, pulled off a stunning return off a 142MPH serve in Groth's next service game and then served out the set 6-4 after Groth held for 4-5.
With Groth serving first at the start of the second he needed a good start to keep his head above water but he was broken easily to fall behind. However Fed threw in a casual service game to get broken back instantly, tamely dumping a volley into the net then badly mistiming a forehand to give the Aussie a reprieve.
The set then went with serve until 4-4 where again Fed got the breakthrough, forcing Groth to overcook a volley on break point before serving it out 6-4, hitting a majestic slice lob in the process. Check it out below.
I figured the third would be a procession but Groth didn't fade in the slightest and in fact he was playing pretty well, hitting some athletic volleys and keeping Fed on his toes. He got his just rewards too as after saving a break point at 1-1, he broke Fed to lead 4-2. Big lapse in concentration from the GOAT but credit to Groth who took full advantage with some clean hitting.
I thought with Groth on the ascendency he'd close the set out thanks to his serve clicking but like Fed in set 2, he failed to consolidate handing the break straight back. He then double faulted on break point at 4-4 which ended his night as Roger served it out 6-4 to move into the last 32.
|S. Groth||R. Federer|
|Net Points Won||26/59 (44%)||18/27 (67%)|
|1st Serves In||63%||62%|
|1st Serve Points Won||41/69 (59%)||41/49 (84%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||20/40 (50%)||15/30 (50%)|
|Break Points Saved||6/11 (55%)||0/2 (0%)|
|Break Points Won||2/2 (100%)||5/11 (45%)|
|Total Service Pts Won||61/109 (56%)||56/79 (71%)|
|Total Return Pts Won||23/79 (29%)||48/109 (44%)|
|Total Points Won||84/188 (45%)||104/188 (55%)|
|Avg. 1st Serve Speed||190kph||184kph|
|Avg. 2nd Serve Speed||163kph||152 kph|
|Fastest Serve||237kph||201 kph|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
Well, I mean, what I like about these kind of matchups is there's always going to be something unusual that's going to happen, unusual shot-making. You have to react rather than just always play percentage tennis. You just hope to get the other odd ball back, and then all of a sudden it drops short; you've got to run up to it. Whenever somebody is at the net or you're at the net, there's always something of the unknown that's going to happen a little bit more.
Another solid match from Fed here and so far so good. Hard to really judge his level to the nth degree as it was pretty windy and he played a huge server which makes rhythm or extended rallies hard to come by. As usual though Fed adapted to the conditions and his opponent well, using the short slice return to make the first volley difficult for Groth and aside from the third set taking care of his own service games when he had the all important break.
It's hard to really pick out any key shots or what is working well as thanks to Groth's style most of the points are reactionary rather than being constructed piece by piece like they are against a player like Murray where it's tactical. With this guy serving at 140MPH it's about getting the racquet on the ball, getting it in play then going from there. Block a return in that creeps over the net then come up with the right passing shot, point over. Rinse and repeat.
Probably the one area you can say Fed did really well is that he retrieved exceptionally; coming up with 3 or 4 genius sliced lobs when on full stretch to leave Groth planted at the net. Always good to see him winning points from those sort of positions when he's behind in the point but comes up with the goods to turn it around. Finger Wag 3.0 even made an appearance.
As for Groth, he played well and wasn't a passenger like I thought he might be. Like Fed said after, he has huge amounts of power on serve and off the ground which makes him tricky to play. Even his volleys get thumped into the court and he's certainly a typical Aussie type competitor. I would guess he will be able to stay in the top 100 if he maintains this kind of level. His problem will clearly be fitness as at 98KG he is a complete unit, no way he's holding up well after 5 sets carrying that kind of weight around.
Predictions vs. Granollers
Next up is Granollers who I predicted would come through in my US Open draw post. He defeated Karlovic 7-6(6), 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 in a tough battle, only breaking Ivo once the entire match.
Fed leads the H2H 2-0 vs. the Spaniard, both wins coming in Dubai and I'm definitely glad he's his opponent in the third round. There'd be no benefit what so ever to facing another big server like Karlovic after Groth as it'd be another rhythm-less match. Granollers is a typical grinder type player with little power so he's going to pose Fed a different type of challenge. He's also a fairly solid at the net as he plays a fair bit of doubles so I think this should be a good match.
I'd expect Granollers to keep it tight for a set but after that Fed should cruise through. Granollers record on hard courts is poor compared to his preferred clay too; he lost in the first round of both US Open Series Masters 1000's in the lead up to the USO so not great signs for him. He's also likely not the freshest after a five setter.
I'll pick Fed in 3: 6-4 6-2 6-2.