Well guys Roger's one step closer to defending his Dubai crown after a 6-1 victory against Richard Gasquet who had to retire with back troubles immediately after dropping the first set.
Not much else to say to be honest as it was a blink and you'll miss it type affair. Roger dominated the early exchanges breaking serve easily and with Gasquet looking hobbled towards the end of the set it was over in a flash. Not much to lean or assess but the Swiss came out and did what he had to do – served well and played aggressive whenever the moment presented itself. He's also now only 8 aces shy of the 9,000 club which I think he has a shot of reaching tomorrow, hopefully the crowd are keeping count and give a standing ovation if it does happen 🙂
Quick Match Recap
Roger won the toss and like yesterday's match chose to receive. This time the decision paid off nicely as Gasquet dropped serve tamely, barely putting a ball in play before Roger consolidated to love.
A quick hold for the Frenchman followed in the next game to get his side of the scoreboard working but after another lightning service game from Fed he was again broken to fall 1-4 behind. Some real sweet volleys and inside out forehands to get the job done and Gasquet already look resigned to an inevitable defeat.
The double break was quickly consolidated for 5-1 and in what was to be Gasquet's final service game he appeared to tweak some form of back injury. Not sure if it was something he was carrying that he aggravated or it just happened when he got into a bit of an awkward position when hitting a backhand. Either way his serve lost all pace and he basically checked out the match, serving a double fault at deuce before Fed took his second set point and then came the handshake at the net. Game over in just 20 minutes.
|R. Gasquet||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||64%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||9/16 (56%)||8/8 (100%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||2/9 (22%)||4/4 (100%)|
|Break Points Saved||1/4 (25%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||4||3|
|1st Return Points Won||0/8 (0%)||7/16 (44%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||0/4 (0%)||7/9 (78%)|
|Break Points Won||0/0 (0%)||3/4 (75%)|
|Return Games Played||3||4|
|Total Service Points Won||11/25 (44%)||12/12 (100%)|
|Total Return Points Won||0/12 (0%)||14/25 (56%)|
|Total Points Won||11/37 (30%)||26/37 (70%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Not much at all to garner from this match as it was done in just 20 minutes. For the short period of time Fed was on court I thought he looked pretty sharp and bossed every point from start to finish. Gasquet looked a-ok for the first few games physically but got completely outplayed as Fed held all the aces; keeping up to the baseline and taking the ball early to hit clean winners or force Gasquet into error.
He also put in some really nice net forays where one, two or three volleys were sometimes needed to win the point. Always a good sign when you can back up the first volley with another one if required without panicking or failing to position yourself right.
As for Gasquet well he was probably tired after a long-ish 3 setter against Bautista-Agut and it looked like he didn't have much of a plan to get the job done. Obviously the injury halted things prematurely but I think Roger was eyeing up more bakery products had it gone into a 2nd set. Like I said above I'm not sure if Gasquet was carrying a niggle coming into it which could have hampered him from the off or he just tweaked something at the end of the set. He didn't look to be struggling physically in the first few games but then just all of a sudden stiffened up and knew he had to call it a day. No request for the trainer either so I'm guessing he knew the issue wasn't fixable.
Predictions vs. Coric
Next up is 18 year old lucky loser Bjorna Coric who scored another big win, following his defeat of Nadal last year in Basel, taking out Murray in straight sets. A very impressive performance that belies his age and experience but for Murray to only win 5 points on the return against an opponent who made just 49% of first serve points is ridiculous. I didn't see any of the match but clearly Murray summoned his Simon-Rotterdam level to make things all the more easier for the Croatian. 55 unforced errors in a match that ended 6-3 6-1. It's not good reading at all. Anyone got Lendl's number?
The match tomorrow will be a first time meeting between the pair and I think Fed will handle it pretty easily. I'll be surprised if Coric makes it competitive to be honest but we'll see, he's not got much to lose and should have confidence in his game but if Fed uses his variety and stays on the top of the baseline there can only be one winner for me.
I'm personally hoping for a close-ish match where Fed gets some nice rhythm at the back of the court and if sufficiently tested. Coric can certainly put a lot of balls into play and goes for his shots so it should be quite fast paced. So hopefully we get some exciting stuff but we'll see.
The schedule is for 5pm local which is a bit earlier than Fed has played this week so conditions could be slightly different than he's used to but surely he's played enough in Dubai to know what to expect. I'll pick Fed in straights. 6-2 6-4. See you guys in live chat.