Roger Federer's finally back on a tennis court and he got off to a winning start defeating Taylor Fritz 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in their rain effected 2nd Round encounter at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart. It's the first time we've seen Roger since his brief spell in Rome and he was made to work to get the win; with the 18 year old American pushing him all the way before faltering at 4-4 in the decider.
The win sees Roger draw level with Ivan Lendl on 1,071 match wins and he can move ahead of the Czech when he takes on Florian Mayer in tomorrow's quarter final. Should be a good one.
Quick Match Recap
Fritz won the toss and elected to serve holding to 30 for a 1-0 lead. Roger levelled to 15 but Fritz was red lining both his first and second serves as he held comfortably for 2-1. In game 7 Roger finally made some inroads on the return fashioning the first break point which saw Fritz double fault to drop serve. At this point the heavens opened and heavy rain suspended play for the day.
Upon resumption Roger held to love to consolidate the break, the Swiss then had 2 set points on the Fritz serve but couldn't convert. He then had to save a break point on his own serve en route to serving out the set 6-4.
Into set 2 and Fritz began to find his range on serve, holding to love in the first game and to 15 for a 2-1 lead. In game 3 Roger had to save 2 break points at 15-40 before digging out the hold. Both players then exchanged back to back holds. At 4-5 the Swiss held to love to apply some pressure but despite winning the first point on return Fritz held to guarantee at least a tie break. Roger then slipped to 0-40, slipping and falling at 0-30; he saved all 3 set points but couldn't see off a fourth as Fritz took it into a decider.
The decider saw Fritz continue to keep the momentum creating another break point in Roger's opening service game. The Swiss held but found himself in more trouble at 2-3 when he double faulted at 30-30. Again it was saved and he held firm. At 3-4 Roger found some extra energy to hold to love and then make deuce on the Fritz serve from 15-40, correctly challenging a call when he stopped play. The American held another game point but Roger forced a second deuce, fashioned his first break point of the set and converted when Fritz went long with a forehand. No trouble serving it out either as he did so to 15.
|R. Federer||T. Fritz|
|1st Serve %||64%||55%|
|1st Serve Points Won||51/61 (84%)||42/52 (81%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||17/34 (50%)||22/43 (51%)|
|Break Points Saved||8/9 (89%)||2/4 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||16||16|
|1st Return Points Won||10/52 (19%)||10/61 (16%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||21/43 (49%)||17/34 (50%)|
|Break Points Won||2/4 (50%)||1/9 (11%)|
|Return Games Played||16||16|
|Total Service Points Won||68/95 (72%)||64/95 (67%)|
|Total Return Points Won||31/95 (33%)||27/95 (28%)|
|Total Points Won||99/190 (52%)||91/190 (48%)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
So first match back after several injury setbacks and it went pretty well. I said in my prediction Fritz wouldn't be able to handle Fed on grass but he had the upper hand from the baseline during the second and third sets. He went for pretty much all his shots, didn't hold back on 2nd serves and looked like he might run away with it in the third. Luckily though he blinked at 4-4 in the decider and that made the difference so Fed can't count himself a little lucky to come through.
Overall though I think he played some good stuff, the conditions weren't exactly conducive to great tennis as it's still pretty damp which resulted in both guys slipping and falling. Never good to watch when all the latest news we've read about Federer talks about knee surgery and a bad back 😉
The only other thing you can say is Fed understandably looks a little bit rusty so it's going to take a few matches to piece together this game and get everything flowing. Timing was off, the return not great but he managed to do the all important: win and that guarantees him at least another 2 sets of competitive play tomorrow.
Predictions vs. Florian Mayer
Next up is Florian Mayer who has defeated Viktor Troicki and Michael Berrer so far this week. The German is a very tricky opponent thanks to his unorthodox style but Roger leads the H2H with him 6-0, 3 wins coming on grass all in straight sets. Mayer is going to be a little bit more accustomed the surface though having played 2 singles matches on it along with playing doubles so it could be a close one. I'd go with another 3 setter but I think Fed can come through, Fritz was a tough opponent as he redlined on serve and from the ground but Mayer won't really do that.
What did you guys think of his comeback? Predictions vs. Mayer? Let me know in the comments.