Grand SlamsRoger FedererUS Open

Federer Makes Winning Start at US Open 2013

After having his match cancelled on Monday evening due to inclement weather Roger finally got on court yesterday afternoon and made a winning start defeating Grega Zemlja 6-3 6-2 7-5 to setup a second round tie against Argentinian Carlos Berlocq.

It was the first time we’ve seen Fed since his Quarter Final loss to Nadal in Cincinnati but as expected this was a routine match that he was able to cruise through without ever facing any sort of danger.

Quick Match Analysis

New Shoes for the USO 2013

Roger went into this match with a 2-0 lead in the H2H, including a win at Rotterdam earlier in the year when he was clearly nowhere near his best, so this was always going to be an easy encounter and it pretty much followed the script.

As usual Fed wasted break points in Žemlja’s opening service game which was a little disappointing but Roger’s own service games were taking care of themselves allowing him to play freely on the return. Žemlja eventually handed him the break at 4-3 making some weak errors and Roger served it out 6-3.

The second set was more of the same however this time around it was some nice returning from Roger that got him the early break to lead 2-0 and then back to back double faults from Žemlja gave him a double break to lead 5-2.

The third set was always going to be a formality and in live chat (sign up it’s real good fun) many fans were predicting bakery products.

It didn’t quite pan out like that as by the looks of things Roger had gotten extremely bored due to the lack of rallies / matchplay and handed back his break of serve with a string of errors. Fortunately though he came back to life straight away at 5-5 to get back the advantage before closing it out comfortably to move into the second round.

Match Stats

Stats Roger Federer Grega Zemlja
Aces 12 9
Double faults 2 9
1st serves in 48/80 (60 %) 43/88 (49 %)
1st serve points won 41/48 (85 %) 29/43 (67 %)
2nd serve points won 21/32 (66 %) 18/45 (40 %)
Fastest serve 125 MPH 131 MPH
Average 1st serve speed 113 MPH 119 MPH
Average 2nd serve speed 92 MPH 94 MPH
Net points won 20/21 (95 %) 5/13 (38 %)
Break points won 5/11 (45 %) 1/3 (33 %)
Receiving points won 41/88 (47 %) 18/80 (23 %)
Winners 35 23
Unforced errors 16 33
Total points won 103 65

A very solid match from Fed, winners comfortably outnumbering unforced errors and some strong net play winning him plenty of points. Nice to see.

Thoughts on the Match

Federer Forehand US Open 2013

Overall this was a pleasing start to the tournament and Roger just played a solid match. The stats rarely lie and that’s the definitely the case here as they prove he was by far the better player.

Žemlja on the other hand was very poor, serving 9 double faults and really looking clueless out there. With his poor play he kinda had a negative impact on Roger too as he almost sent him to sleep towards the end of the match.

Sometimes when you’re playing an opponent who is really having a bad day you’re not really able to test your own game or feel like you’re being pushed; errors creep in and you almost feel a little sluggish on court like you’ll be winning this no matter what happens.

It almost frustrates you in a way and you spend more time thinking I wish this guy could play a little better so we can rally and the fact Fed went straight to the practice courts after suggests this was definitely the case.

That’s probably the sole reason he dropped serve in the 3rd set, he just wanted the match over and done with ASAP and dropped serve. It wasn’t confidence related just a lack of focus and the main thing was he hit back pretty quickly and didn’t get into any kind of trouble.

Where can improvements be made? I’d say Roger can make improvements in all areas of his game but that’s not really a criticism or concern right now as I think he will get better the more matches he plays.

For a first round he looked solid, served well and took the initiative when he needed too. Still not quite clinical on break points or as aggressive on the return as he could be but we’ll assess that as the tournament progresses.

Quick side note, as I said above Roger went straight to the practice courts after his match which was good to see, it proves Žemlja didn’t give him the necessary work out he felt he needed (no rallies of any length) but it also shows he’s committed to doing well at the USO and will put in the effort to make sure he’s in the best possible shape / form to achieve that which I like.

Hopefully this is a sign he’s not going to leave the tournament wondering and can’t have any regrets in the form of “what if I’d practiced a little more” etc etc.

Predictions vs. Berlocq

Predictions vs Berlocq

Next up for Fed is clay court specialist Carlos Berlocq who I think will find it impossible to impose any area of his game on the match. They’ve only met once before, last year in Rome with Roger winning 6-3 6-4, so everything points to a comfortable straight sets Federer win.

This is only the second time Berlocq has made it past the 1st round at the US Open so he clearly struggles on quicker surfaces, he’s lost in the 1st round of Wimbledon 6 times too so how can he do any damage? The answer is I don’t think he can, he’s just a solid player but will struggle to find any holes in Federer’s game.

I suppose the fact he’s matched his best performance at the USO at the age of 30 shows he might be slowly improving on hard courts and he’ll have some confidence after winning his first career title this year in Bastad but I’m predicting Roger win this one in for the loss of just 5 games, you do the math 😀 6-2 6-2 6-1. Allez!

Roddick interviews Federer

Unrelated to the match but I thought this was a cool interview and worth a watch.

Roger also made some interesting comments in his post match presser about how he just plays for the love of the sport and many players are just in it for a means to an end. That comment is both true and can be interpreted in many ways especially by his rivals which I like 😀

Q. Is your passion as high as it’s ever been?

Yeah, I think so. Clearly when you win everything, it’s fun. That doesn’t necessarily mean you love the game more. You just like winning, being on the front page, lifting trophies, doing comfortable press conferences. It’s nice. But that doesn’t mean you really actually love it, love it. That maybe shines through maybe more in times when you don’t play that well. For me, I knew it, winning or losing, practice court or match court, that I love it. So I’ve been around for too long. Clearly when I had, you know, my two girls, I also wasn’t sure right off the bat how it was going to be after that. Was I going to be able to play the same schedule? Was my love for the game as big? Were we going to be able to cope with the whole thing, having twins or not? Managed it totally fine. They were at the court today. I’m so happy to see them before and after the match. I’m in a good spot right now. I want to enjoy it as long as it lasts, yeah.

Final note– I launched live chat for the first time during the Žemlja match and it proved to be a great success, it was lots of fun chatting with other Fed fans throughout the match, sharing thoughts on Fed’s level, how he’s playing and also discussing other results / upsets at the USO so far.

If you want to be a part of that just sign up here and I will send you a login.

I am also aware that some people have signed up and didn’t receive a login – first of all, please check your junk mail and if that proves fruitless just sign up again using the link above and I will send you one over.

Also your login also works for comments too, meaning you don’ have to type Name, Email or Website when making one if you have a login.


Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. One solid match or it is better to say practice for Roger. Žemlja is not good enough opponent and we don’t see any really actions or excellent points, but this was just a first round of tournament.

    P.S. Congrats on letter “Ž” in surname of Slovenian player this is not usually to see on the site and blogs in English. 🙂

    1. Hey Ana,

      Ah yes the Ž, well if you do a job you gotta do it right huh 😛

      And agreed, Žemlja was pretty poor, Fed just too good though.


    1. Funny, I was thinking the same thing 😉

      This match was so, ŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽŽ………………………………………. *snore*

      1. Agree, the presser was much more interesting as I commented on earlier in other post! Berlocq cld be tougher but think he may be tired after his 5 setter!
        On another note, the US Open continues to be the poorest run tourney, slaves to TV, still the first round being played over 3 days!!!! Utterly ridiculous! Give me the job!!! At this rate Andy will be playing his first round Thursday and Fed/Nadal their second round Friday, and the whole tourny will go on til 3rd Tuesday! The whole day/Night thing needs reviewing as all that happens is long periods of empty courts dictated by TV coverage! Who are these organisers? Presumably USTA! Which says it all!

      2. @Sahil good question, hoping live chat hasn’t killed comment engagement!

        @Sid Ah to be expected man, did you want a 5 setter? lol I thought he played some decent stuff.

        @Susie Yeah presser was good, so was interview avec Andy Roddique.

        USO is worst slam, terrible scheduling, no roof. Aussie Open best slam in terms of how it’s run I think!


      3. Jonathan, too bad he couldn’t give his fans more chat time. I hate the AO for moving away from Rebound Ace though. Other than that, they are the best in terms of taking care of the players. I’d really like the women to play five setters down under for equal prize money. Just saying! 🙂

        Susie, the USTA is a joke, and so is that tournament. Every decision they take is about making money. No wonder they keep slowing down the courts to protect the grunters and baseline bashers.

        This one belongs to Nadal. The weak have no hope, and the strong do dope 🙂

      4. Actually, Alison, you are trying to say something funny but it’s true. Slowing down play does affect Roger. Someone mentioned in a comment a few articles ago how Toni Nadal revealed slowing down degrades Roger’s performance and rhythm and that his nephew used it to great effect at Wimby 2008.

        From what I researched a few months ago, Nadal took an average of eight seconds more on his serves. Or was it ten? Either ways, it was significant.

  2. agree to the poor schedule , esp im in asian time, either early morning or a real morning.
    one thing to add to this game, his red shoes indeed a good match to his blue outfit

    1. 2am for me, the time difference can’t be helped. I’m saying it more about how they run the tournament, very unorganised and not good for the players.

  3. Yes that was definitely a good start from Roger. Still not in his best shape but I think this will come as he moves deeper in the tournament.
    And btw it was really fun to live chat with you guys during the match 🙂 I’m the only Fed fan at home, so it changes from my usual loneliness ^^
    Can’t wait till next round. And as much as I enjoy watching Fed play, I hope he just gets it done dominantly.

  4. Thank you John excellent job as always, I think the match doesn’t left us with nothing special except that Roger did what he was sopoused to do.

    Anyway lets see what happen is second round as I am not as confident as you are.

    However I think Roger will win

    Congratz for the chat it is an excellent idea please keep up the good work Jonathan.

    1. Cheers Mike.

      Well Berlocq is similar caliber to Stakhovsky but I can’t see that happening here. Roger is sharper I believe but we’ll see.


  5. Nice start for Roger! Very pleased 😀
    The Roddick interview was really nice as well. I watched the ATP Heritage no. 1 celebration, and they both kept talking to each other. Bros! The story of what Roger did at Wimby 09 was so classy. I’m proud to be his fannnnn! 😛

    1. We all know how arrogant Roddick can be. But the great attitude he has towards Roger only shows how affable Roger really is 🙂

      Sounds like Žemlja has really put all Roger fans to sleep. Where the heck is everybody?!?!?

      1. Roddick would make a great commentator. As much as I hate him for his on court behavior, you’ve got to love him for his post match comments. That man is in the wrong profession. He should’ve been a comedian 🙂

  6. Thanks Jonathan for putting up the Roddick interview. So many of Roger’s generation now retiring. Yes, the USO scheduling is a joke. I notice all the players praise the fans after the match and say how much they love N.Y. If they don’t…they might get thrown to the lions in the next match. Quite a zoo there. Yes, I do love N.Y. too.

    1. Yup, they will be put on a subway and a couple of transits will put them in the Bronx Zoo. Or perhaps Central Park, where Alex the lion will be waiting? Except, the poor animal will get doped. And no, I’m not talking about Rodriguez 🙂

  7. Hi Jonathan,
    As I saw the first two sets only then went on asleep 🙂 zzzzzzzz The match wasn’t really high quality and Roger just had to play his below routine game to win it. Yet, it’s a “W” and this what all maters to Roger at this stage.
    Roger’s serve wasn’t really clicking and this is something he need to focus on for the coming rounds.
    Wish him all the best

  8. Thanks for the match report and highlights, Jonathan.

    A good start from Fed judge by the stats. He looks great in the blue shirts 🙂 still not sure about the shoes, though it’s acceptable.

    I was there too in the chat room, desperately trying to get to see him at the same time. All I could get were either naughty smile of bikini girls or movie lists. Could’t register for, because I was in France. I don’t know why… It’s due to Mac thing or usual bizarre French regulation? Or just my machine…I’m in Italy now so fingers cross for the next match. Allez!

      1. Was no France in the scroll down menu for country of residence. Tried pretending to be in UK but was refused so I Fed up and gave up. There’s no such thing as free lunch…..I guess?

  9. Gosh missed out live chat coz only registered myself today. Too early to assess Roger’s form since Zemlja keep missing his shots and shanking he made Roger looked like he is playing well. Then Roger went on game closing snooze just like the rest of us fan too. Heck he even continue to match practice after his match, awesome!! Berlocq will an interesting match

  10. Hi All, I missed the match, but I guess I didn’t miss much, from the description. Looking at the highlights posted above, Roger wan’t playing great at all, far from his level vs Nadal at Cincinnati. I know this is is first round, so it’s good for him to just get started, but Nadal, Murray and Djokovic are looking sharp already. Hope Berlocq doesn’t bore him too much in the next match. But chances are, he will, so I’m going to miss this one too. The match will be way past midnight in my time zone anyway, not staying up for that. Have fun watching everyone! Hope to join you all in the live chat soon!!

    1. Hey Johan,

      Yeah you didn’t miss a whole lot. The thing is Johan, sometimes you can only play as well as your opponent lets you. Zemlja was poor so he gave no real rally’s to even look sharp. Nadal’s and Djoker opponents have played a little better and are clean ball strikers.


      1. Hey Jonathan, I can’t see live chat. After logging in, I am taken to a dashboard page but don’t see the chat window anywhere. Will you be able to see what’s going on? 🙂

  11. One word for Federer’s match vs the Warlocq (apparently one of his nicknames):


    That was three sets of some of the greatest tennis I have seen Roger play in a long time. IF, IF he can keep this up, and that’s a big if, I think Nadal would struggle. Then if he manages to pull it off, he would have the easy semi against either Gasquet or Ferrer, so it wouldn’t matter if Federer vs Nadal went to five sets, he would still be fresh for the final. Then the final would almost certainly be vs either Murray, Del Potro or Djokovic. And with any of those matchups, could you really bet against Roger, if he had got to the final and beaten Nadal along the way? Just my £0.02 guys.

  12. Andrew Castle in today’s Metro article “Nadal, a player who will one day be considered the greatest of all time”

    It must be the string of year end, Aussie and US Open titles he’s won.

    Sometimes sorry is not enough pal.

    1. When Castle is commentating alongside fellow legends Macca, Boris, Goran and co, the achievement caption underneath his name which appears on the TV screen should display “Best slam 1987 US open, won 2 matches. World ranking high of #80. Danced with Ola Jordan for a few weeks to envy of every bloke in Britain”.

      Instead it will say “Former British no.1”

      A stat which Alex Bogdanovic could claim too if Murray had chosen football instead, and I could beat Bogdanovic.

      1. [A stat which Alex Bogdanovic could claim too if Murray had chosen football instead, and I could beat Bogdanovic.]

        Nuked! 🙂

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