Federer Overcomes Melzer in Melbourne
A winning return to competitive play for Roger Federer as he overcame qualifier Jurgen Melzer 7-5 3-6 6-2 6-2 at the Australian Open.
Not the simplest of matches for the four-time champion but he fought off the ring rust to book his spot in the second round after 2 hours and 5 minutes on the Rod Laver Arena court.
He’ll next face another qualifier, Noah Rubin, who beat his fellow American, Bjorn Fratangelo, in 5 sets earlier in the day.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Melzer held to love with Roger managing four shanks to kick things off.
The Swiss quickly levelled and love service games became the norm as Melzer fired down another to hold for 2-1.
At 3-2 the Austrian fashioned the first break point of the encounter and converted to lead 4-2. The World Number 300 then had a game point for 5-3, but Roger saved it and broke back on his second break point. Roger then held to love for 4-4. At 4-5, Roger again held to love and reeled off 12 points in a row to break and serve out the set 7-5. A speedy turnaround.
Into set 2 and Federer’s streak continued, breaking to love for a 1 -0 lead. The break was consolidated but at 2-3 Melzer came up with the goods to break back. That saw momentum swing in his favour and he won the next three games to take the set 6-3.
The match was now finely poised, but Federer’s serving helped him get onto the front foot as he broke to lead 3-1, and despite some Melzer pressure later in the set Roger held for 5-2 and secured the second break to take a two sets to one lead.
Set 4 started with a Federer special: 3 aces and a 1 minute and 1-second hold. A further two aces in game three put the Swiss 2-1 up, and he broke through to lead 3-1. That gave Roger the breathing room he needed, and he began to play more confidently, stepping in on the second serve return and he was able to break again at 5-2 to book his spot in Round 2.
|Match Statistics||J. Melzer||R. Federer|
|First Serve % In||83/111 (75%)||66/103 (64%)|
|Win % On 1st Serve||47/83 (57%)||51/66 (77%)|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||15/28 (54%)||20/37 (54%)|
|Net Points Won||11/19 (58%)||16/24 (67%)|
|Break Points Won||3/4 (75%)||7/9 (78%)|
|Receiving Points Won||32/103 (31%)||49/111 (44%)|
|Total Points Won||94||120|
|Distance Covered (M)||1757.5||1688|
|Distance Covered/pt. (M)||8.2||7.9|
Thoughts on the Match
An interesting match this one. I expected Fed to win in straights but Melzer, battle hardened from qualifying, came up with some sweet ball striking to make it competitive and at one set all the match was wide open.
Roger was able to make his first serve and forehand count, though, and despite not playing in his usual free-flowing style he was the most consistent player over the course of the four sets, and it was enough to get the job done.
Melzer has always been able to crack flashy winners but he looked a bit tired after the first couple of sets and midway through the third I thought Roger was able to take control and play a lot better. He looked quite tentative early on; he later said he was a bit nervous, and you could tell in his movement and the way the ball was coming off his strings.
Overall I’d say the win is a big positive, not entirely convincing but it’s easy to forget this is his first competitive match since Wimbledon! We got patches of Federer brilliance mixed in with a few losses of concentration, but on a day when Wawrinka, Nishikori, and Cilic all got pushed to five sets, it’s hard to have too many complaints.
And like Roger said, even if he’d have lost it wouldn’t have been the worst result in the world as at least he’s back on the court. It’s too easy as a fan to let expectations spiral out of control when we’re accustomed to seeing this guy win 99% of his matches. Winning in style is what most fans want but after six months out it’s all about finding his feet, playing solidly for 4-5 months and getting himself back into form. Based on today I think he’ll be a contender in any match he plays in Melbourne, but it’s going to depend on his fitness and consistency over the course of five sets at to how far he makes it into the draw.
Predictions vs. Noah Rubin
Next up is Noah Rubin who defeated Bjorn Fratangelo in 5 sets. I’ve never seen the American play but having just watched a few highlights on YouTube I think Federer will have an easy day at the office.
It’s Rubin’s best slam based on results after he defeated Benoit Paire here in the first round last year but other than being a solid player he doesn’t look like he’ll have the skillset to take on Federer. I’ll pick Fed in 3: 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
One win under the belt… more to come 😉
(secretly hoping for his devices to break)
Third. That T-shirt should be made illegal!
I don’t mind it all, looks good with black.
Does Roger need to get his outfits green lit by GQ now?
Oh, c’mon Alison. I like this zebra crossing design on him. Still not sure of the shoes, though.
Yea, and unshaved he looks having another and somewhat relieving dimension about him – a swarthy cheeky roguish side 🙂
The shoes, yes – maybe a bit too dominating – they run around with him more than opposite
It was its epileptic-fit-inducing properties I was worried about 🙂 Makes my eyes go squiffy.
Nah, shirt looked OK. Fed always makes bad shirts into OK shirts, when he wears them.
If pushed to make a prediction I’d have said Roger in 4 – allowing for rust and possible nerviness after so long away – which turned out to be right. I could guess from the livescores that he was having a bit of difficulty with the rust, so was very pleased when I saw he’d zipped through that service game in double-quick time. Some messy drops of serve, but overall all right, I think?
BTW, what’s with your tweet about Swiss guys and GBH?
Just trolling after Stan hit Klizan at the net.
Great to see those GOATERER 1 minute service holds after 6 months. Good win all things considered. Melzer has beaten Fed before so was never going to be that easy.
True but first time he’s dropped a set in a slam.
What?? Jon, the dude just won like what seems an hour ago and you already made the post?? You’re quick 🙂 Turbospeed. I couldn’t watch the match, just the livescores, wow, even that is like nerve wrecking.
One down… six to go. Go Goat 🙂
Ps: Yep, Roger DOES make anything look good, even what he is wearing. Like he said, all the time black, blue and red gets boring. But… he needs to stop shaving 🙂
Stop or start shaving?
I had 2 choices for my post, either do it immediately or leave it until tonight. Considering Fed already took up my entire morning productivity was already out the window so just boxed it off 🙂
Roger looked tentative during the first 2 sets but played a little better as match progress. It’s a good first round match, lots of info for him and his team to analyse. Hope he will be ready for his round 2.
I can’t see Rubin being too much of a danger, he’s a solid baseliner. Fed would have to play terribly to lose.
Good win nice fast write up Jonathan. Wish Fed would shave or go back to less patterns the combination looked a bit dishevelled but congrats Fed & full marks Melzer for the test. As Venus said the oldies do know how to play.
It really is great seeing Fed back on court, healthy and advancing.
I thought outfit was good. He looked a bit flustered though after second set, combined with the heat not a great look overall.
Melzer looked a bit out of shape; I saw him gasping after faster paced games early in the match.
Roger had some concentration lapses and a few sloppy balls, especially after breaking Melzer.
He also looked unpleased with himself more often than usual, but let’s concede that to being day #1 after a long ice age.
Yeah I think he did tire in the 3rd and 4th set. Gotta save energy for the doubles…
Did you have money on 4 sets? 😉
No, but I was happy to see Fed win his first competitive tournament since Wimby. ?
I missed the match but I was impressed how Fed played most of the big points. As you say Jonathan it’s about him finding his feet here, and I think if he can get a few wins under his belt here I’d be happy to call it a successful tournament.
Yeah he hit some clutch serves I thought, just a bit in and out on the points in between.
Agree with all u say! Loved the first 4 shanks! ?? yes, I too thought Melzer wld test him! Hasd played 3 matches, leftie, takes big swings. Fed was clearly nervous and for me it was a mental test, which he passed! And the serve held up! I expect R2 to be more straightforward but taking it one game at a time! Quite liked the kit!
Yeah not the best start, least he responded with a love hold of his own. Getting broken after that would have been pretty bad.
Rubin looks like a solid baseliner a la most Americans off the productiion line so no real threat you would think…
The pace of the match was fast. I actually thought that Jurgen played very well with his big loopy out-wide serve. Indeed, in the first two sets, nerve might have made Roger’s arm a bit stiff so that Roger sprayed a few FHs. Completely agree that as this was his first match in 6 months, it was a super performance, very pleasing to see 🙂 🙂 .
Yeah I think after Hopman Cup you can almost think he has played lots of tennis lately but clearly not the case.
Melzer was pretty good in parts, can hit some flashy winners. Dunno what his plan is, wonder if he can get back in Top 100?
Let’s hope Rusterer can get Betterer in each round. Interesting first round/first day. When Fed is versing people like Berdych in the round 3, it’s welcome to get an unexpected test straight up. It was mostly a lot of momentum shifts until he steadied the ship towards the end of the third set. 19 aces and positive Winners-UFE ratio is very positive start so as you said, has the game to be a contender should he keep improving. Also, has any one heard Jim Courier commentating this year? Missing his on-court interviews already!
Great to see Roger back at a slam. Seems like he was pretty nervous which is understandable. Glad the first one is done and the second looks to be a formality. Not so sure about the Berdych match in the third round now. Hope he can pull that off and the next against Kei. If he gets that far, that would be awesome for the first tournament back after what feels like ever.
One good take away from this match is that it looks like his movement is great and when he raises his game, he can handle most of them.
Good preparation for Roger as the match was not a cake-walk.
Berdych is waiting. I remember the 2009 Aus Open match where Berdych was leading 2 sets to love and with couple of break points in the third and then a stirring come-back by Fed to win in 5.
That was 8 years ago. Berdych hasn’t done great shakes after that except taking out Rafa in Aus Open 2015 quarters. But of course Fed is making a injury-comeback so no doubt Berdych will be a big threat.
Hi Murli, great to see you on the blog 🙂
The Berdych match (if it happens) will indeed be interesting. Berdych’s level and consistency have dropped considerably lately, but on a good day he can be really dangerous. He may not have had much success in Melbourne, but remember that it was Berdych who took Federer out of the US Open in 2012 (and thereby put an end to Fed’s last reign as #1 – No hard feelings. 😉
Not to mention whichever Wimbledon it was … And I think he’s playing a bit better than he was, isn’t he?
Mind you, must stop getting ahead of ourselves.
Super quick recap, a good job as always, Jonathan. No rusty in you!
Skittish to start the match but unsurprising and totally positive outcome, considering Melzer played really well. Just so so happy to have Fed back in life!
Oh, agree, agree, Wanda!
Fed was nervous in sets 1&2. Said somewhere he was overwhelmed thinking about his first real match backs.
Confidence is such a huge thing for him – or at least relaxing.
He looked very solid in sets 3&4. Varied his play to the net. Some nice body serves. Kind of like – that is what the whole match should have been – 6-2, 6-2 kind of thing.
He continues to look to me like he is going for the backhand more.
I don’t see him getting past Kei if he gets there. But of course I hope he does.
His outfit looks so awful!! I love it!! Those PINK shoes!! He has no shame!
But what do I know?? – do I know better than GQ’s man of the year? When I first saw “skinny” jeans on a guy I threw up in my mouth.
Feds back so I am back too Wanda.
Better a Fedless life ( for a while, of course ) than a lifeless Fed ( which is thankfully not the case as he is back and firing )
He should only get better as the tournament progresses
Horrible third set. No forehand.
He’ll be bird food if he doesn’t clean that up.
But the tie-break was perfect. Wasn’t it?
Fed seemed tired. The youg gun had gigantic flyswatterish shooting. He will be very dangerous player soon. Hopefully Fed gets good massage and rest before quittering the bird.