Roger Federer is through to the Quarter Finals in Melbourne after knocking out Hungary's Marton Fucsovics 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-2 in 2 hours and 1 minute.
The Swiss has yet to drop a set at this year's tournament and the win sees him reach his 14th Australian Open Quarter Final where he'll face Tomas Berdych for the third year in a row Down Under.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve. He lost the opening point but held to 30 for 1-0. Fucsovics matched that to level and the two looked comfortable on serve in the opening exchanges. At 3-2 Roger fashioned three break points as he moved to 0-40 but couldn't find a way through as Marton held for 3-3. Back to back holds put Roger up 5-4 and he timed his move perfectly to break at 30-40 with a nice injection of pace to take the set.
A love hold put Roger on the board in set two and in game four Fucsovics again had to save break points to stay within touching distance to level at 2-2. The score was soon 5-4 with the Swiss dropping only two points in three services games. Fuscovics was able to hang tough though and he dug deep to hold from 0-30 after somehow losing a point off a Federer shank that went so high it came down with snow on it. He then saved a further break point in game twelve to force a tie-break.
Into the tie-break and Federer went up an early mini-break for 2-1 but a good pass from Fuscovics helped put him back on level terms at the change of ends. However, he couldn't hang on to his serve, slipping to 3-4 before Roger hit a crisp forehand to take a 6-3 lead and broke again aided by a smart challenge off a first serve to take it 7-3.
With Fed now well out in front he was able to free himself up in the third, breaking in the opening game and quickly consolidating for a 2-0 lead. Fuscovics was still competing well but couldn't find any sort of impact on the return and succumbed to the pressure as Roger broke again to lead 4-1 and roll through the third taking it 6-2.
|First serve % in||53%||59%|
|Win % in 1st serve||67% (38/57)||83% (40/48)|
|Win % in 2nd serve||53% (27/51)||76% (25/33)|
|Break points won %||0% (0/0)||33% (3/10)|
|Net Points Won||57% (17/30)||67% (28/42)|
|Total points won||81||108|
|Average serve speed||197kmh||201kmh|
Thoughts on the Match
Well, because I practiced with him for a few days in a row in Switzerland. That helped, you know, knowing his strength and weaknesses a little bit. He was not completely the unknown opponent that maybe people thought he was. Because in practice I also play the best-of-five set practice match against him in Switzerland. So when you play, you know, multiple sets in a short period of time against somebody, you start to understand their strengths and weaknesses a little bit.
A routine win here from Roger and he never really seemed to get out of second gear. His serve was again completely untroubled facing zero break points and he won 83% of points behind his first delivery and he won 18 points in a row on serve at one point. Fuscovics, on the other hand, had to face 10 break points (saving 7 of them) and he played 27 more points on serve in the match which made the difference as the pressure finally told.
I was quite surprised the Hungarian forced a tie-break in the second set which was the closest set of the three but he played well from the baseline and showed a bit of variety when needed; ultimately though lacked the experience in to unsettle Roger or get things on his terms in the clutch. The conditions were also markedly different to the three night matches Roger has played and that seemed to take him a set and a half to get used to, but once he had that two set cushion it was all very simple.
So four matches down and it's looked fairly easy pickings so far. It was almost like he was playing within himself today and he's been winning easily so far without looking too impressive. Some fans like that under the radar stuff, others worry he's not playing well enough 🙂 . I'd say his timing has been a little off in some of the matches but he's still yet to drop a set and he's not had to step it up too much with the opposition he's faced so there can't be too many complaints. Anyway, all we can do is watch and hopefully, when that extra gear required the response is right there. I think he'll need that bit extra when he faces his in form and forgotten Laver Cup teammate in the Quarters 😛
Predictions vs. Berdych
So next up is Berdych who had very comfortable straight sets win against Fabio Fognini. I've just watched the highlights and Berdych is hitting big off both wings and trying to take it early. The Czech has had a very solid tournament so far, he also had a nice win in Tie Break Tens pre-tournament and I think he will pose a threat when the two meet on Wednesday.
Roger has won all their recent meetings handily barring Miami where he had to save two match points so he's naturally the favourite going in. The key for Fed will be to keep Berdych moving, if he sets his feet then he's dangerous, but if you keep him scrambling then Roger is playing points on his terms. We saw last year how Roger completely smothered his game with first strike tennis and that's what he'll need to do to win through on Wednesday.
What did you guys think of the match? Let me know your thoughts and predictions against Berdych.