Normal service here as Federer booked his spot in the fourth round with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 win over Marcel Granollers in a rain affected match on Arthur Ashe.
A very strange first set from the Swiss but things changed instantly upon resumption and after dropping the first set he hit back, making his 14th straight 4th round appearance for the loss of just 3 games. Bit of a clinic really after looking quite laxadaisical in the first set and another match where he's moved exceptionally well to get the job done. Clearly tennis is a game of movement and when Fed has the spring in his legs the rest of his game usually follows suit. Healthy Fed is a dangerous Fed and he has a good shot at making finals weekend here if his run of form continues.
Quick Match Recap
Granola bar won the toss and elected to serve. He reeled that game off in about 60 seconds and soon after he was leading 2-0. Winning 8 points in a row en route to breaking Fed with ease. A real bad start for the Swiss and Granollers took the game to him immediately and it paid off.
That trend continued with Granollers painting the lines with his first serves and he was soon on the brink of taking the first set with a 5-2 lead. With Fed to serve play was then stopped, a proactive measure as a thunderstorm was said to be imminent. That proved to the be right decision as minutes later the heavens opened and it poured for at least an hour.
There was some confusion about whether Fed's match would be moved to the next day but luckily his match was switched to the Ashe night session and play resumed at 6.35pm local time. Upon resumption Fed held serve and broke back for 4-5. You could sense he was a different player on court after the delay and even though he dropped serve rather meekly to lose the set 6-4 momentum was well on the way to switching.
The opening game of the second set proved that as Granollers had to save 3 break points before going onto hold. An important hold for him and he then managed to get a break point chance of his own in the next game. Roger had upped his level, looked the better player but was somehow facing the prospect of being a set and a break down. In true GOAT style though he saved it, held and then reeled off 6 straight games to level it 6-1. Exceptional set really and he was retrieving the ball expertly well whenever he wasn't bossing the rallies himself.
The third and fourth sets were virtual mirror images of the second as Granollers only manage to win 2 more games. Fed put the match to bed with some clinical play and used his backhand slice to great effect in both directions . The Spaniard didn't see another break point until the fourth game of the fourth set and by that time the match was done. Fed saved all three of them before going onto break again at 5-1 with a Edberg inspired volley to seal it! Allez, triple breadstick!
|Stats||Marcel Granollers||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||56/99 (57 %)||57/93 (61 %)|
|1st serve points won||30/56 (54 %)||41/57 (72 %)|
|2nd serve points won||18/43 (42 %)||20/36 (56 %)|
|Fastest serve||130 MPH||130 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||120 MPH||117 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||92 MPH||95 MPH|
|Net points won||22/36 (61 %)||32/51 (63 %)|
|Break points won||2/8 (25 %)||9/20 (45 %)|
|Receiving points won||32/93 (34 %)||51/99 (52 %)|
|Total points won||80||112|
Thoughts on the Match
I feel very explosive, quick. The coordination is there, as well. I feel like I've gotten used to the hard courts by now. It's really working well. I'm very pleased. Today conditions were much more humid so you could feel a little flat out there, but that wasn't the case. I was able to power through that. I'm happy I wake up every day and I'm ready to go. It's also great to see Robredo fit as a fiddle at the end last night. I thought that was impressive, too. He's my age, too. I think when you keep yourself in shape and train the right way, that's how you do it.
Another pleasing match and a top performance after a shaky start. The rain definitely came at the right time here as the first set was exceptionally flat from Fed. Almost as if he wasn't expecting the match to even start on time and then came out looking half cocked. Granollers on the other hand came out playing very aggressively, repeatedly finding the lines and hitting 70% of his first serves. That's hard to contain.
Fortunately though the heavens opened, play was stopped and when things resumed the conditions had changed from very breezy to hot and humid. That looked like it slowed things down a touch and Fed played with much more purpose plus used the backhand slice to very good effect. Granollers couldn't replicate his pre rain delay level and Fed just continued to up his game as the match wore on, breaking at will and never really looking in trouble on serve.
There was a very pleasing hold at the start of the 2nd set too where Fed was on the verge of being a set and a break down but he tightened up his game to hold and that set the tone for the rest of it. No complaints from me and the extra set hasn't made any difference in terms of time on court or loss of confidence. If anything it's a plus as he came from behind to win and changed his tactics when he needed to. He also handled the humid conditions well which is a good sign as well, not easy playing when the sweat is pouring and the energy gets zapped from you.
Predictions vs. Bautista-Agut
Next up is Bautista-Agut who took out my 4th round predicted opponent Adrian Mannarino. I haven't see the match but it was a comfortable straight sets job for the Spaniard and he's been a consistent performer at all 4 slams this year. In theory that proves he can play on all 4 surfaces, but they're all identical anyway so it's not really a valid stat 🙂
I saw him at Wimbledon where he was pulverised by Murray in straight sets. Murray just out muscled his pusher ground strokes and made him look amateur. Murray wasn't in great form either that week so the gulf in class was pretty huge that day.
However I don't think he can be bossed around as much on this court, he'll be able to defend better and his ground strokes will be more effective. He lacks power or any huge weapons but he's fast and can stay reasonably offensive from defensive positions. Let's face it he's not a world beater but he is the type of guy who takes advantage if you don't play well. With that in mind it will easily be Fed's biggest test of the tournament so far and I think he'll need to be pretty sharp to avoid any hiccups. Serving well is of course a must but he'll need to play consistent from the back of the court and not allow any of his key shots to be broken down. It should be a match that gives him plenty rhythm which is ideal at this stage so all being well this will be a very timely match in his title bid.
I'll pick Fed in 3 but dropping a set isn't impossible here. 6-2 7-6(4) 6-4.