Hi guys, another match under the lights in New York for the GOAT and yet another impressive display as he dispatched Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4, 6-3 6-2 to book his spot in the Quarter Finals where he'll face enigmatic Frenchman Gael Monfils.
It was the first time these two had met on tour so it wasn't obvious what to expect but the Spaniard's game was very well suited to Roger and he was able to play aggressively from the outset; never allowing Bautista-Agut to settle winning 13 of the last 18 games to comfortably progress.
After dropping a set vs Granollers this was the peRFect response and the conditions were far from easy as the wind was swirling. It's hard to determined the breeze from TV but on a couple of occasions the camera panned onto flags at mast above Ashe and they were rippling like crazy. Fed fired down 5 double faults too, stopping mid ball toss a couple of times so clearly it wasn't easy out there.
Quick Match Recap
RBA won the toss and elected to serve, steadying his nerves with a quick hold before Federer levelled despite getting taken to deuce.
Agut's next service game didn't go to plan though, and he was broken to 15 after some crisp hitting from the Swiss. That break was soon consolidated and Roger secured a double break in the next game for a 4-1 lead.
At 5-1, Fed had his first set point but Agut managed to hold serve for only the second time and then surprisingly got one of the break backs. Slack from Fed really but he served it out second time of asking to take the set 6-4. Should have been a breadstick really but no big deal.
The second set saw Roger again go up an early break, this time courtesty of a Bautista-Agut double fault which was a real gift and the lead was soon 3-1. In the 6th game Agut had his first consistent spell of the match and Roger fired down two double faults to help his cause but somehow managed to hold to lead 4-2. That was soon 5-3 and again Fed had to save break points en route to serving out the set 6-3.
Into the third and Roger by now had the match fully under control, breaking in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, saving break points again before consolidating and then breaking again at 5-2 to seal the deal and book his spot in the Quarters.
|Stats||Roberto Bautista Agut||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||66/102 (65 %)||50/87 (57 %)|
|1st serve points won||38/66 (58 %)||39/50 (78 %)|
|2nd serve points won||15/36 (42 %)||19/37 (51 %)|
|Fastest serve||126 MPH||127 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||105 MPH||115 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||91 MPH||94 MPH|
|Net points won||10/16 (63 %)||35/52 (67 %)|
|Break points won||1/7 (14 %)||6/13 (46 %)|
|Receiving points won||29/87 (33 %)||49/102 (48 %)|
|Total points won||82||107|
Thoughts on the Match
I used to serve/volley some myself when conditions were faster and my baseline game wasn’t as good. I’m happy I'm able to come forward now because coming to net requires a lot of agility and explosiveness and I have it back. I’m happy I’m feeling good at net because you’ve got to anticipate some, read some and it’s working really well. I hope I can keep it up.
Like I said above the conditions were tough out there last night and Fed comfortably defeated Bautista-Agut without ever really looking troubled. You always had the feeling he had his opponent at arms length and could tighten his game up if he needed to if the Spaniard got too close.
Agut is a dreamy sort of opponent for Fed as he has no real weapons and hits very flat, no top spin kicking up on him and it's a nice hitting exercise for him to practice his groundstrokes. The only real damage Agut can do is rush you or surprise you by getting more purchase on a ball that you didn't think he was going to get close to as he's quick over the ground. That happened a few times last night but Fed was just too aggressive in the majority of points to ever let it become an issue. Smart play and to say he's never faced RBA before he knew how to play him immediately, approaching into his backhand wing and closing the net exceptionally well if he did need to play the second volley.
Predictions vs. Monfils
Next up is Monfils who comfortably defeated Dimitrov in straight sets. I didn't see any of the match but apparently Monfils got the upper hand mentally with his antics that rattled Dimitrov and the Frenchman's rope a dope tactic of pushing the ball tempting his opponent to hit too hard worked a treat for him.
Monfils is easily ones of the biggest clowns on tour but it's essential Fed doesn't take him lightly, he's yet to drop a set and has a huge forehand / serve which on it's day is scarily good. Like Fed said, Monfils is top 10 material just injury and mental walkabouts make his ranking suffer.
In his ESPN interview after the RBA match Fed said it's crystal clear how he needs to play after they met in Cincinnati and I agree with him. No secrets to how either player will play and Monfils is coach-less so it's improbable he comes in with any sort of game plan other than to play according to his mood on the day 🙂
I know exactly how I need to play him, it's going to be more or less the same conditions. “It's very clear cut in my opinion. I know I'll be coming in; he knows he'll be defending. He'll be wanting to serve well and play big as well. So we both know what to expect going in.
Monf is very dangerous so it's another match where Fed will have to take his level up a notch to put this to bed. Winning the first set and getting off to a good start will be important and if he can make Monfils do all the running plus play catchup I fail to see how he the Frenchman can come through.
I think how close the match will be depends on which Monfils shows up as well. If the big hitting Monfils shows up wanting to win, he can make life extremely difficult for Fed, after all he's beaten him twice, once from match points down. But if Monfils who wants to just push all day long and has no interest then Fed cruises I think. Either way, this is where the real tests start to come thick and fast.
Fed in 4, 6-4 5-7 6-2 6-4.