Hey all, long time no match report but thankfully it's as if Roger has never been away as he recorded a routine 6-3 6-4 win over Guillermo Garcia Lopez in his first match on the tour since his loss to Djokovic at the Australian Open.
It certainly felt like a lifetime since he last stepped on court (a pre cursor for when he finally hangs up the racket? 😮 ) but he showed no real rust on his least favourite surface to win in just 75 minutes and set up a tie with Royal Bank of Agut in the third round.
Quick Match Recap
Garcia Lopez won the toss and elected to receive. Federer held his first competitive service game in 9 weeks to 30 for a 1-0 lead. The Spaniard then held to love to level. At 2-1 Roger made deuce on the Garcia Lopez serve but couldn't fashion a break point but at 2-3 Garcia Lopez threw in a real gift of a game with 2 double faults to fall 4-2 behind. Roger then saved two break points to hold for 5-2 and served out the set to love 6-3.
Set 2 saw Roger immediately have another break point on the Garcia Lopez serve but it was snuffed out as the current world number 38 held for 1-0. Roger then held to 15 and got the breakthrough he was looking for after Garcia Lopez dropped serve from 30-0 up. The break was consolidated to 15 for 3-1 and Garcia Lopez dropped serve again, this time to love to fall 1-4 behind. A hold to love put Federer 5-1 in front before Garcia Lopez held to force Roger to serve it out.
It was always going to be a big ask to serve it out first time of asking in the comeback match as the nerves would have been there and Roger faltered, dropping serve to love. Fortunately the cushion of the double break was just enough as he finished the job second time of asking, holding to 30 to win through 6-3 6-4.
|R. Federer||G. Garcia-Lopez|
|1st Serve %||64%||46%|
|1st Serve Points Won||25/34 (74%)||18/27 (67%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||12/19 (63%)||15/32 (47%)|
|Break Points Saved||2/3 (67%)||1/4 (25%)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Return Points Won||9/27 (33%)||9/34 (26%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||17/32 (53%)||7/19 (37%)|
|Break Points Won||3/4 (75%)||1/3 (33%)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Net Points Won||13/24||3/6|
|Total Service Points Won||37/53 (70%)||33/59 (56%)|
|Total Return Points Won||26/59 (44%)||16/53 (30%)|
|Total Points Won||63/112 (56%)||49/112 (44%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Good match here from Federer and he looked match sharp to say he hasn't played a competitive set in 12 weeks. He got an even bigger than usual reception from the crowd as they know he's a huge asset to the sport which no doubt helped get the blood pumping and once he settled into the match he was pretty much in full control from the middle of the first set.
A slight falter when serving for it at 5-2 but it's tough to serve out matches even when you're flying high a la Djokovic so there were bound to be a few nerves for him on what is really one of the first ‘comeback' matches of his career as he's rarely been injured. The main thing I was watching out for was his movement around the court and he looked to be in great nick, hustling a number of points courtesy of slick defence and when on the front foot he played with a ton of attacking intent by coming forward and throwing in the odd serve and volley play to good effect just like Henman at the French back in 04.
As for GGL it was an error strewn performance and he dropped his serve tamely in both sets gifting Fed games at key junctures in the match. Fed obviously did a good job of pressuring him by staying on top of the baseline and using his forehand to good effect but I would have thought Garcia Lopez's play should really have been to test out Fed's legs instead he played a lot of low percentage shots which helped Roger get off to what can only be considered the best possible start; winning by hook or by crook was surely the goal but he did so handily and should take confidence into his next match.
Predictions vs. Bautista Agut
Next up is Royal Bank of Agut who saw off Chardy in a tough 3 setter. I'm glad this match up is on the cards as Agut is a tough guy to put away. No weapons of note but he will chase down a lot of balls and I think he will give Fed a good work out which is what's needed and it'll much tougher than Garcia Lopez today.
I could see it going three actually but I think Fed is going to have so many chances to break serve that it's going leave Agut with a bit too much to do. Chardy broke him 4 times today and had 18 break point chances so I think Roger will be able to fashion something similar, just hopefully convert a little better. Should be a good one.