Another win for the GOAT here as he overcame a difficult start to defeat Simone Bolelli 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to move into Round 3 at the Australian Open. After looking out of sorts in the loss of first set, even calling on the trainer for a finger problem he hit back to switch momentum back in his favour to level at a set apiece. Bolelli soon faded after his lightening start and that allowed Roger to take command of things from the back of the court; cruising home for the loss of just 4 games in the last two sets.
Quick Match Recap
Bolelli got things under way in this one, getting pegged to deuce before holding for 1-0. Roger's serve has been on song after last years US Open and he levelled with a love hold. However at 1-2, he ran into a guy who wasn't afraid to red line his game and Bolelli broke to lead 3-1. A sloppy-ish game from Fed to drop serve from 40-30 but credit to Bolelli for hitting big whenever he got chance.
The one break of serve proved decisive for the Italian and although Roger did create a deuce game at 4-2 Bolelli came through untroubled to serve out the set 6-3.
Earlier in the set it was clear Roger had some kind of issue with his little finger on the right hand. From what I remember it happened when he was retrieving a backhand from way outside the court and was flexing it in between points and during changeovers from that moment on. The Doctor and Trainer arrived on court at the end of a set for a quick discussion but no treatment was given. The cameraman even tried to listen in but Roger asked him “Do you need to be this close?” before he hastily retreated. What was clear however was it wasn't a blister and there were no visible marks on the skin so it was a mystery as to what the issue really was.
The loss of the first set and the finger problem put a few question marks in the air over Fed's game but he responded well in set 2, breaking at 4-3 hitting a sublime open stance guided backhand half volley down the line in the process. He then served it out to level the match at 6-3.
Bolelli's record against top 10 players is abysmal and he proved why in sets 3 and 4; his serve began to falter and the pop on his groundstrokes evident in set 1 had all but disappeared. That allowed Roger to start playing the rallies how he wanted and at 2-0 in the third he was even confident to throw in another ridiculous dropshot. Another break soon followed as he stormed the set 6-2.
With the sun fading over Rod Laver, Bolelli's resistance soon followed suit and set 4 was all but a procession with Fed breaking in the opening game and again at 3-1 before he held a match point at 5-1. It looked like the breadstick was nailed on when Bolelli seemingly hit a groundstroke long on match point but he rightly challenged to get the call overturned before he held for 2-5. That only extended his stay on court by a matter of minutes though as Roger served out the match to love to cap off another solid performance and move into Round 3.
|Simone Bolelli||Stats||Roger Federer|
|56/109 (51 %)||1st serves in||62/92 (67 %)|
|35/56 (63 %)||1st serve points won||49/62 (79 %)|
|29/53 (55 %)||2nd serve points won||21/30 (70 %)|
|211 KMH||Fastest serve||205 KMH|
|196 KMH||Average 1st serve speed||188 KMH|
|157 KMH||Average 2nd serve speed||159 KMH|
|11/15 (73 %)||Net points won||21/36 (58 %)|
|1/1 (100 %)||Break points won||5/11 (45 %)|
|22/92 (24 %)||Receiving points won||45/109 (41 %)|
|86||Total points won||115|
Thoughts on the Match
Happy I'm still in the tournament, because there for a while today it wasn't looking very good because Bolelli was playing very well. But it's always a good feeling fighting your way out of a match, like now, and winning the last three sets convincingly and actually playing really positive tennis. I served very well. So, you know, important is that you play the right way early because it's not always that easy. Today I had to do some adjustments because he was doing things very well. By figuring things out, it's a great feeling to have once you've got it. Then you're able to play consistently well, because actually he didn't have many opportunities on my serve. You always expect yourself to create opportunities, which I was finally able to do. Conditions were playing fast, and it's not so easy if you serve well to break.
A tough-ish match here for Federer that featured a sluggish / flat start, a bit of drama with a finger injury before ending how most of us expected – at a canter. The first set was wasn't a complete surprise though; as I said in my prediction the Bolelli forehand is a dangerous shot when he gets it into play and he used it to blow Roger off court during the opening exchanges.
Not exactly fun viewing for Fed fans at the time but it was always going to be difficult for Bolelli to keep that momentum up over 5 sets and once his level inevitably dropped Roger capitalised. Pretty much to the script in that regard and I thought he played a pretty solid match from start to finish. One bad service game is the only real blemish; that and some of his suicide approaches which didn't really pay off. Chip charging is of course a high risk play but I think Fed rushed a few of them early was begging to get passed.
The other facets of his game were all working nicely though; the serve was again ultra reliable, only giving Bolelli the one break point and his ground game – 36 winners to 23 errors is another tidy stat. The only real question mark is the little finger which gave him some hassle in the first set and clearly effected some control / feel on the racquet.
I don't know if it's a blister. I don't know what that thing is. It's the weirdest thing. I don't know. I feel it on the tip of my finger. Just felt really odd starting after the break, and for three, four games, it was the funniest feeling I have. I feel like it's numb and swollen. I just wanted to have a chat with the physio just see what we can do. I know there is nothing we could do. I knew we couldn't tape it up because then it would be even bigger and more weird. I just said, I hope it doesn't get worse or stay like this. Actually it went away, but now I feel again. I don't know what the feeling is.
Predictions vs. Seppi
Next up is Andreas Seppi who defeated Jeremy Chardy in 4 sets. peRFect for Roger here I feel as Seppi doesn't have any stand out shots or real weapons to hurt him with. Chardy would have been a much tougher proposition based on previous meetings especially during a day session when the courts are flying that bit quicker. Seppi however is just a solid baseliner who is good on both wings but nothing more; he does everything well but doesn't have a pressuring shot to force the issue with which is why he's only one 6 matches vs. Top 10 in his career.
Fed leads the H2H 10-0 vs the Italian and it's hard to really see it not being 11-0 sometime on Friday. I think Fed can really take the initiative against this guy unlike Bolelli who kept him honest so it should be routine barring something freak happening 🙂