A successful start in Miami for Roger Federer as he defeated American Qualifier Frances Tiafoe 7-6(2) 6-3 to move into the third round at Crandon Park.
In his first outing in Miami since 2014, the Swiss was able to reel off 20 consecutive service points in the first set en route to the win that sees him move to 14-1 for the season so far.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive in what looked like a bid to put pressure on Tiafoe's shoulders. The American had other ideas though as he held nicely for 1-0.
Roger lost the opening point of his service game but responded to hold, and serve dominated the set after that. In fact, Roger didn't lose another point until the 12th game where he held to force the tie-break, and neither player faced a break point in the opener.
Into the breaker and Roger went up a mini-break instantly with a sweet backhand and volley finish. Two more mini breaks followed at 5-2 as he took the set 7-2 with his level rising at just the right time.
With Roger looking dominant in the tie-break it looked like set two would go all his way but a lapse of concentration saw him lose serve in the opening game.
Fortunately, he was able to hit straight back with Tiafoe likely not believing his luck to find himself up 1-0. At 3-2 Roger broke again for 4-2 with Tiafoe throwing in a horror volley miss on break point. That was enough for all she wrote and Federer went on to serve out the match 6-3 with zero fuss.
|Roger Federer||Frances Tiafoe|
|First Serve Percent||57% (32/56)||58% (36/62)|
|1st Serve Points Won||84% (27/32)||64% (23/36)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||75% (18/24)||58% (15/26)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/1)||67% (4/6)|
|Service Games Played||11||10|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||36% (13/36)||16% (5/32)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||42% (11/26)||25% (6/24)|
|Break Points Converted||33% (2/6)||100% (1/1)|
|Return Games Played||10||11|
|Total Service Points Won||80% (45/56)||61% (38/62)|
|Total Return Points Won||39% (24/62)||20% (11/56)|
|Total Points Won||58% (69/118)||42% (49/118)|
Thoughts on the Match
Nice start here from Roger who played a relatively decent match. He looked very relaxed in the first set, with an almost languid demeanour in the return games but he held serve so quickly and came good when it mattered in the breaker.
A slight lapse in set 2 when he was broken, but going on a crazy run as we saw in Indian Wells without dropping serve was never on the cards in Miami, and he hit back immediately which was good to see.
Other than that not much to discuss, some slick ghosting into the net, a point winning SABR late in the day thanks to a net cord and he looked to be moving well when having to defend so no signs yet of any fatigue creeping in from Indian Wells.
As for Tiafoe, he's a big hope for American tennis, and he has a powerful serve/forehand and an athletic game to boot. I can't get excited about his playing style at all as a viewer but like Fed said at the net ‘keep working hard', and we'll probably see a lot more of him in the next year or two.
Predictions vs. Del Potro / Haase
Next up is Del Potro who defeated Robin Haase in straight sets. I didn't see any of the match but from the stats it looked like Del Potro had a very good serving day dropping very few points. Federer leads the H2H 15-5 and he's not played Del Potro since he came back from injury so it should be interesting. The Argentine still has his rocket powered forehand but his backhand is now primarily a slice used to keep himself in points rather than do much damage. If he has a ridiculous serving day then Del Potro can probably win but I'll pick Fed in three sets with 1 tie break.