ATP Masters 1000Monte-Carlo MastersRoger Federer

Federer Makes Blistering Start in Monte Carlo

We're underway in Monte Carlo and Roger got off to a blistering start defeating Radek Stepanek 6-1 6-2 in just 51 minutes.

It was cold, breezy and Federer's first match on clay since Gstaad last year but he was in fine fettle from the first point right through to the last. The Swiss converted all 4 of his break points and won 88% of points behind his first serve in a clinical performance, his first at the Monte Carlo Country Club since 2011.

For one reason or another Stepanek couldn't get his game going out there and Roger just took advantage by moving well and playing smart tennis. He never had to push hard to find the lines and going up an early break in each set was the peRFect buffer to relax and play freely. Cruise control.

Quick Match Recap

Federer Mickey Carlo

Unlike the meeting in Dubai against Stepanek where Roger got broken first game in each of the 3 sets, he was the one who got off to the flying start – breaking in the 2nd game to lead 2-0.

Stepanek found himself 40-0 up in his next service game but was pegged back to deuce after some erratic play before being broken for 4-0 after hitting a horrific double fault.

4-0 soon became 5 and all Stepanek could do was prevent the bagel before Roger served it out to take it 6-1.

It was an absolute clinic really, just 22 minutes and Roger made 90% of his first serves. I don't think Stepanek played particularly badly he was just forced into errors.

The second set was almost identical with Federer breaking in the opening game before holding to lead 2-1. The early break was always going to be enough and despite Stepanek having 2 break point back chances at 3-2 Roger saved them both with aplomb reeling off 4 straight points to hold. Another Federer break soon followed before he served it out 6-2 to make serene progress into the third round.

Match Stats

  R. Stepanek R. Federer
Aces 0 2
Double Faults 5 1
1st Serve % 61% 79%
1st Serve Points Won 14/25 (56%) 29/33 (88%)
2nd Serve Points Won 7/16 (44%) 4/9 (44%)
Break Points Saved 0/4 (0%) 2/2 (100%)
Service Games Played 7 8
1st Return Points Won 4/33 (12%) 11/25 (44%)
Winners 6 14
Unforced Errors 22 9
Net Point Won 5/9 (56%) 08/11 (73%)
2nd Return Points Won 5/9 (56%) 9/16 (56%)
Break Points Won 0/2 (0%) 4/4 (100%)
Return Games Played 8 7
Total Service Points Won 21/41 (51%) 33/42 (79%)
Total Return Points Won 9/42 (21%) 20/41 (49%)
Total Points Won 30/83 (36%) 53/83 (64%)

Federer Post Match Interview

Thoughts on the Match

Federer after defeating Monte Carlo

Not a whole lot to say on this one, just a clinic from Roger; never troubled and never tested against a former top 10 opponent.

Fed did a great job of nullifying the type of game the Czech likes to play and he dominated in all 4 areas – serve, return, baseline and at the net.

I don't believe Stepanek played poorly either, sometimes you can only play as well as your opponent allows you to play and that's the case here. The Czech just crushed Karlovic 6-1 6-2 in the 1st round so wasn't exactly out of form but here he never got a look in and that's primarily due to how Roger approached the game.

Fed was patient in all the rallies, played aggressive when he needed to, didn't give up too much ground on the baseline and used his offensive weapons in the right moments.

The stats paint the picture rather well with 4 out of 4 break points converted and his return game on song. The serve was again blemish free and it was the sort of efficient match we saw week in week out from 2004 to 2007.

Getting the job done in 51 minutes is a great way to ease into the tournament and keeps the confidence high for later rounds. His form has been very consistent this year so far and it looks set to continue here. Hopefully he can do deep at a tournament that he's historically underperformed at.

Predictions vs. Rosol

Federer Rosol

Next up is Stepanek's Davis Cup partner from last weekend, Lukas Rosol, who defeated Llodra in straight sets which is an impressive victory.

Rosol looks like he's adding a bit more consistency into his game lately so I think he will put up a better showing than he managed against Roger in Dubai where he only 4 games.

I fail to see how gets the W though but in 3 sets I suppose anything is possible with how he strikes the ball. Roger has too much though I think and will be able to mix it up plenty to throw Rosol out of sync. I'll pick Fed in straights 6-4 6-2.

Elsewhere most results have gone to the script and Fognini will likely face Roger in the Quarter Final. The Italian has been his usual self in terms of dropping serve from nowhere but he's winning matches he used to lose which is a big improvement for him.

Wawrinka surprised me a little today when he crushed Cilic 6-0 6-2 but this is one of his best surfaces and he always does well here so I hope he can be a factor at the weekend. The only other surprise was Monfils crashing to Carreno Busta but he's always been on my radar ever since Fed played him at the French.

Finally – Court level view with some crisp hitting, always fun to watch.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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  1. First! I think Federer played well in his first match on clay. Also the press needs to stop floating lies on whether or not Federer will miss a tournament when Mirka gives birth. This time they claim Federer is missing the FO. Everything on their part is pure speculation. Also reporting the story as if Federer would have a hard choice whether to be with Mirka or miss a tournament like a GS.

    1. Or second πŸ™‚

      Yeah I agree, journalism is dead. Every paper has run headlines like “Federer could miss French Open”. It is the pageview economy, headline is now the most important aspect of the article as it’s the one that generates the click. Speculation is king!

    2. Lies, like the “twins due in July” one, eh? πŸ™‚ It’s just a rehash of things he said weeks ago in the USA, so I guess it must be a slow (tennis, at any rate) news day. There’s been barely any change in the tennis headlines on the BBC Red Button for the last week now.

  2. Couldn’t see the match… Nice review Jonathan. Let’s hope for a good result here. Dimitrov vs. Ferrrer is going to be interesting…

  3. Yes, I read somewhere else that he’ll be missing the FO because of the birth. And as always, speculation has now become fact and he said it himself in his presser. He did not. He said they didn’t know when the birth would be (though obviously they do). He doesn’t like to talk about it. It’s private.

    Good to see him playing so freely and easily today. It looks like last year’s nail-biting days are well and truly over. Seems to be getting better and better all the time.

    I’ve fallen in love with that outfit – sleeves and all πŸ™

    1. He said missing a slam wouldn’t be an issue and he’d be willing to miss the FO. Now the headlines are “Federer could miss French Open”. Typical modern day media writing trash for more website traffic.

      Fed cruised, never in doubt even though Crapanek usually gives him trouble.

    2. Hey Rita , I like the outfit too, although the husband says it looks like pjs!!!he looked good today didn’t he. Love him!

      1. Are the shorts getting shorter do you think? I’ve noticed Rafa’s are too. All of a sudden knee-lengh shorts and loose, baggy shirts are looking very old-fashioned. Trend-setter.

      2. Ah, but have you seen Rafa’s shorts? (Front page of ATP website, no need to go hunting). Clearly Nike think PJs are in this year: I wish someone would disabuse them. Roger’s look miles better than Rafa’s do, with that annoying zigzag pattern.

      3. Hey Alison, I would like to give some clothing advice πŸ™‚

        To be honest, although this pains me to say it, but I think Rafa’s outfits since the end of last year are great. At WTF he wore a very nice light kind of baby blue, which to be honest looks great on him. Rafa also looks very good in yellow. I loved his begin outfit of this year: orange with grey. Would have been better if it was orange with black.

        Ferrer also has some great outfits, not all of them. Raonic needs serious help with his clothing. Stepanek cannot be saved clothingwise…..
        Dimi had the most discusting outfit of them all, grey and blue with squares (hope it is the right word, just looked it up in the dictionary :). Now Dimi is looking very good in black.

        You can see that Andy’s clothing company is trying. But Novak’s clothing company just does not get the picture. Grey and black, yin and yang??? Seriously??

        And then there is of course our Goat. Five words: WOW. Handsome, handsome, handsome… Damn…
        When you see a picture and think, no Roger please don’t wear that and he does… wow, the dude REALLY can carry it all off πŸ™‚

        But this is just my take on clothes, hope “Alysha Wintour” can give a better clothing sense πŸ™‚

    3. I reckon he’s maybe doing a little bit of winding-up of his own – and who could blame him? I’ll keep my own speculation on due dates to myself, but he’s right in saying they don’t know when the birth will be (I think he said last time round that babies will arrive in their own good time), although obviously they’ll have a better idea than anyone else. But I can’t be the only one to assume that they would probably have tried to make sure that the timing would be not too inconvenient.

      Roger sounded perfectly convincing when he said in the interview that he was feeling fit and well after the US and DC, and he knew he could get into MC at the last minute if he wanted to, though.

  4. What a difference from the last time we saw him on clay! He got in 90% of first serves in the first set, just phenomenal, and the overall match stats are great too. As he has said himself, when the serve works and he’s moving well, the rest just kind of flows from that, & I think that’s what we’re seeing. Provided the same guy keeps showing up, there’s no reason he can’t make semis if not the final. I like what he expresses in the interview about getting well started on his clay season.

    Isn’t the Monte Carlo setting just gorgeous though?

    I still say we’ll have a baby next week, possibly the week after πŸ˜€
    He said something like, hopefully it won’t work out like that (needing to take off FO), which I took to mean, you numbskulls, the baby will be born WELL before Roland Garros.

    Rita, too funny about the outfit – because for me, having seen it on, I officially hate it. Don’t like the way it hangs or moves AT ALL, and I think the shirt is too short. Bleah. It does look ok from a distance. However I’ve seen some comments from people who must be much younger than me saying they like it, it’s more youthful. Nike, I’m sure, wants to put him in whatever will sell the most.

  5. Thanks Jonathan for the review!

    Impressive stats on serve really!

    Do you know who he is playing against in the video?

    Cannot wait to see the semi against Djoko, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves πŸ˜‰

    1. That’s what I wants to know, and also, what’s with the stripey shirt!!!!! Great vid Jonathan! 3rd match on tomorrow, around 2pm UK time. Good win by GL today v the Dog!

    2. No idea, I believe it will be a young hitting partner, he plays like Robredo a bit but it’s not him according to the comments in the Video from the Uploader.

  6. Good performance from Fed, but itΒ΄s fair to say Stepanek never really showed up today but Fed took fully advantage of that. And great he finished it of quickly in that cold weather, no need to stay out there risking sickness and injuries.
    I agree with you Jon Rosol should not do much damage to Fed unless the ruthless Wimby Rosol shows, anything could happend then πŸ™‚

    I just love that video from court level of Roger practising. His footwork is just phenomonel and the sound from the clean strikes at the ball is the sweetest music πŸ˜‰

    1. Yeah his ground strokes are immense. I just watched one of Nadal, just nowhere in comparison and I switched off after a few shots, Fed is poetry in motion. I guess that is testimony to Dull though in a way, he has incredible results from brute strength and power of will.

  7. Hi Jonathan

    Fed looks so relaxed these days on court, lovely to see that he made all his break points as well – he also seems to be more vocal out there, lovely to be able to watch him play and actually be relaxed and not feel like anyone could beat him (which was the case last year) long may this great form continue – Wimbledon numbr 8 – oh I hope so

  8. Great match! Was nice to watch.

    But the match that impressed me was Stan’s. He looked ROCK solid today, and if he can maintain that level, I honestly believe he’s in for a great clay court swing, and that Nadal might have to mind his ass come saturday! πŸ˜€

    1. Yes, I was really astounded by Stan’s result, although, not having seen the match, I couldn’t be sure whether it was down to him or to bad play by Marin.

      1. Hey Simon and Alison, I was going to miss Roger and Rafa’s match anyway because I was at work. Thought I leave half an hour earlier so I could atleast watch Stan’s match, who they all say has the most difficult draw. So I rush home (without a traffic jam) and what do I find out? Stan already won !!! Made a quick match of it. Luckily I have a long weekend (Easter) so I can watch all the days. Now lets hope I can watch Roger win Sunday πŸ™‚

      2. As Jonathan said in his post, stan only allowed him to play this well. I mean, the first set, as soon as he hit the ball, you almost knew it was going to be a winner… πŸ˜€

        And if he gets there, I honestly believe he has a decent chance against Dull. Stan’s BH drive is much more solid and has a lot more spin than Roger’s, he can really hit through the ball. Am honestly looking forward to that semi, if both of them get that far πŸ˜€

      3. I agree with all that except the spin part. Roger surely hits with far more spin than Stan on his backhand. Stan’s backhand is one of the flattest shots going which is why it goes through the court. Wawrinka flat, Gasquet spin, Fed somewhere in the middle.

      4. I feel the same as Jonathan. I think that Stan’s BH is much flatter, as he picks up balls earlier on the bounce than Roger or Gasguet. This is why Stan’s BHs seem to be pacer, whenever they are also close to lines – difficult to counter-punch. Roger did a bit of that at Dubai, some of his BH plays were beautiful.
        I also practice this on court myself. Everytime, when I hit it early, ball flies πŸ™‚ (with a single-handed BH! πŸ™‚ .

    2. No favors getting the walkover today from Almagro….. ooh, Nadal’s compatriot…. conspiracy theories anyone?

      No, I hate those actually, but it’s a pity Stan didn’t get the chance of some good match practice, especially since it looks like his form is just beginning to make a reappearance.

  9. Thanks again Jonathan for the write-up. I’m still in Australia and can’t watch any matches here. I’ll be home on Sunday so I just might be seeing Roger play!
    I don’t mind the outfit and yes….the shorts are getting shorter and shorter. They can stop now, short enough for me.
    So nice to see Roger relaxed and enjoying his career.
    I don’t feel Nadal has this in the bag this time around.

  10. Great match by Roger. Should be a routine one against Rasol. Tough matches after that, but I’m pretty sure Roger should not have any problems making the semis.

  11. Just happy that he won his 1st match easily, too bad I missed it but from the highlighted seems very clinical. Next match against Rosol will be interesting.

  12. Roger’s T-shirt, I’ve only seen it now. I am not sure that I like its style. However, Roger does look younger in that πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ . I feel that he looks great, ladies πŸ™‚ .

  13. Lool Gang, is that a tip off πŸ™‚
    Almost time for Fed’s match, i’m at work, can’t watch, but following closely the scores on the internet

  14. David Ferrer wins 1st set, do you fancy his chances against Nadal…
    What do you think of a Federer vs Tsonga qtrs

    1. No, no, he was a BREAK down, which he gave away with a double fault, but he apparently managed to take a deep breath, broke back, then broke again at love to take the first set 6-4. (I can’t watch either, following point by point at tennisearth).

      1. Typical match v Rosol who always starts with a bang, and usually ends with a whimper! Liking the 100% breakpoint conversion! Good call on the score!

  15. Well done, Roger πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ . Yet again, converted 4 BPs out of 4 :), a way to go! Allez!

    1. Something that looks like an old-fashioned, all-in-one, baby romper suit. He seems to like to elongate himself even more than nature has done by wearing one-colour outfits.

    2. Typical Uniqlo outfit. They are apparently trying to take over Nike from the Man Utd kit deal, could be interesting. Although why sponsor a mid table premiership team? πŸ˜€

  16. Decent match from the fed. Worried about stan though, if he gets past Raonic he’s gonna have no rhythm whatsoever to prepare for Dull…

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