Hey all, Roger's Paris campaign is underway and he kicked things off with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 6-4 victory over lucky loser Alejandro Falla. This was Roger's 62nd straight Grand Slam and he recorded the win in just one hour and 49 minutes, firing down 42 winners and breaking the Colombian's serve 4 times to book his spot in the second round.
Quick Match Recap
Roger opened up the first set with a hold to 15 before Falla quickly levelled. The Colombian is known for coming out the blocks quickly and he had the first chance of a break in game 3, missing a makeable forehand return on break point before Roger held.
Both players traded holds and Falla was impressing with solid groundstrokes and some delicate touches at the net to make it very comeptitive. In game 8 with Roger leading 4-3 Roger had his first chance to break; Falla saved two break points but couldn't survive the third as Fed broke for 5-3 before holding to 30 to take it 6-3.
Into set two and Roger got himself the early break, coming up with a genius lob to find deuce before converting his 5th break point of the game to lead 2-1. That was quickly consolidated for 3-1 and with Falla serving at 2-4 the Swiss had a chance to get the double break but failed to convert. At 3-5 though he secured the set when Falla slipped to 15-40 and Roger broke to take it 6-3.
Set three was more of the same and although Falla saved some early break points before having a chance of his own he couldn't find a way through and after a medical timeout for a thigh injury the World Number 111's resistance ended when he was broken serving to stay in the match at 4-5. Game Set Match Federer 6-3 6-3 6-4.
|Stats||Alejandro Falla||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||74/109 (68 %)||58/81 (72 %)|
|1st serve points won||48/74 (65 %)||45/58 (78 %)|
|2nd serve points won||16/35 (46 %)||15/23 (65 %)|
|Net points won||17/25 (68 %)||14/21 (67 %)|
|Break points won||0/2 (0 %)||4/16 (25 %)|
|Receiving points won||21/81 (26 %)||45/109 (41 %)|
|Total points won||85||105|
Thoughts on the Match
An impressive victory here from Roger I think and he played at a high level from start to finish to get it done. Falla came out the blocks pretty sharpish and looked to end points quickly but Fed did a stellar job of reeling him and then keeping him at arms length in sets 2 and 3.
Had Falla gone up a break in the first then the dynamic of the match could have been slightly different but he missed the forehand return and then Roger just came into his own. Defending well when he had to and taking up an aggressive court position whenever Falla couldn't find the power & depth to push Fed back.
Hitting 42 winners is impressive stuff from Fed and he managed his game throughout the match very well I thought. All the numbers in Fed's column are solid too especially the serve stats. 4 of 16 break points doesn't look great however but Falla did come up with goods on several break points so it does skew the number somewhat. The forehand was pleasing too and looked to have a bit more venom in it than we saw in Madrid and Rome; obviously it's hard to really hit through the court here but Fed used it well to move up the court and put away the short replies into the open space.
Any other talking points? Well the court does look to be pretty slow which probably isn't ideal and Roger has said that the balls are dead / unresponsive. Quite strange that they don't use the same balls across all lead up clay events as in theory it should lead to better quality tennis and reduce the chance of injury but as always commercial reasons come into play.
The only other incident of note was the fan invasion where a teenager ran onto the court to get a selfie with Fed. Luckily it wasn't anything more than just a stupid fan but it does raise questions over on court security and protection of the players. Roger said the same thing happened in practice yesterday, and there was of course the fan invasion during the 2009 final and last year where a man holding a flare got onto the court.
9 times out of 10 it's not going to be anything sinister but the French Open need to get a bit more proactive on the security front and make sure that if anyone does set foot on court they're confronted quickly and removed before they even get close to the players. If you're reading Mr Garros I would probably advise bringing in security guards from outside France given your history of retreating and defences being bypassed 😆
Well, I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm happy about it. It happened yesterday in the practice, too. It's just a kid, but then three more kids came. And today on center court where you would think this is a place where nobody can come on, just wanders on and nothing happens. Happened during the finals in '09 as well for me. So I definitely think this is something that something needs to happen quickly. Basically yesterday already. Not now, you know. But obviously want this to happen immediately. Normally I only speak on behalf of myself, but in this situation I think I can speak on behalf of all the players, that that's where you do your job, that's where you want to feel safe. And so clearly I'm not happy about it. But nothing happened, so I'm relieved. But clearly it wasn't a nice situation to be in.
Predictions vs. Granollers
Next up is Marcel Granollers who took out qualifier Matthias Bachinger in straight sets. Roger leads the H2H between the two 3-0 but struggled in their last encounter at the US Open in 2014.
Granollers is another quick starter who seems to come out all guns blazing then fade as the match wears on and that's exactly what happened on the hard courts of New York last year. The Spaniard is definitely an accomplished clay courter who can cause Fed some trouble if his game clicks but I think Fed should be able to handle him in straights if he plays at a similar level to today's – serve well, play up the court and hit the forehand with penetration. I think pretty much every one of Roger's matches this French Open hinge on those three things so hopefully he can put it all together and progress through the tournament.
The match will be played on Wednesday and I'll pick Fed to get it done 6-4 6-2 6-2 and move into the third round where he'll play either Marcos Baghdatis or Damir Dzumhur who took out Ivo Karlovic and Mikhail Youzhny respectively.