A tough test for Federer here as he overcame Dmitry Tursunov 7-5 6-7(7) 6-2 6-4 to book his spot in the fourth round for the 12th time in his career. It was far from plain sailing and up until the start of the third set looked like it could have gone either way.
After Tursunov started struggling with a groin injury momentum soon changed and Fed was able to play smart tennis and prevent Tursunov from playing the brand of aggressive tennis that had seen him reel off the second tie break with a succession of powerfully struck winners.
By reaching the last 16 Fed has once again set another record this time bettering the record set by Guillermo Vilas who reached the Last 16 on 11 occasions. Fed is now at 12 and I guess he could make about 14 / 15 depending on if he can maintain this kind of level. Anyway let's take a look at the match:
Quick Match Recap
With overcast conditions I knew before a ball had even been struck this was going to be a tricky one. Tursunov is a huge ball striker on his day and when it's damp in the air players like him can still generate a ton of pace and go through the court.
Both players started confidently but by the 5th game a few errors had started to creep into Roger's game, mainly because he was constantly on the defensive. At 3 all Tursunov had a break point but Roger's first served bailed him out.
The Federer first serve was up at around 80% in the first set and ultimately was the difference between the 2 as the Swiss held firm at 6-5 and then seized the deciding break on his 3rd break point.
I thought Fed was pretty lucky to win the first set as he'd been second best for most of it. Into the second and it looked like the second was going to be a mirror image of the first. Roger saved a break point early and after exhanging great shots and service holds the Swiss created 3 set points at 6-5 but failed to convert any of them.
Into the tie break and Federer soon found himself with a 4-1 lead however Tursunov hit back to level at 4 all. The Russian then had set point at 6-5 but a fantastic swinging second serve up the T from Federer saw him level at 6 all.
Fed then had a set point of his own but more crisp hitting from Tursunov won him both points on serve before he fired an unstoppable winner down the line to take the breaker 9-7.
The third set saw Roger break immediately and Tursunov then took a medical timeout for a groin injury. When the Russian returned Fed immediately tested his fitness with 2 exquisite dropshots before breaking again en route to taking the set 6-2.
The fourth set had a feeling of inevitability about it and although Roger could only convert 1 of 9 break points he was looking the much stronger player as Tursunov struggle to return serve and he finally closed it out 6-4 in 3 hours and 7 minutes.
|Stats||Dmitry Tursunov||Roger Federer|
|1st Serves In||98/159 (62 %)||81/120 (68 %)|
|1st Serve Points Won||67/98 (68 %)||65/81 (80 %)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||31/61 (51 %)||27/39 (69 %)|
|Fastest Serve||218 Kmh||204 Kmh|
|Average 1st Serve Speed||194 Kmh||183 Kmh|
|Average 2nd Serve Speed||148 Kmh||154 Kmh|
|Net Points Won||18/27 (67 %)||12/19 (63 %)|
|Break Points Won||0/2 (0 %)||4/21 (19 %)|
|Receiving Points Won||28/120 (23 %)||61/159 (38 %)|
|Total Points Won||126||153|
Thoughts on the Match
A tough day at the office here but another match where Fed has got the job despite not really dominating proceedings. He was never the one bossing the rallies and most of his best plays were courtesy of defense rather than offense which isn't ideal but he's the guy heading into the fourth round whilst Tursunov is on a flight home.
Throughout the first set I was a little disappointed with Roger's level but the more I saw the more I realised that Tursunov is an incredibly tricky customer. This guy whacks a huge ball and it made things extremely difficult for Fed to really get on the front foot. Any sort of half court ball was spanked deep into the corners. The second set tie break just showcases that and even though Fed should have converted one of the 3 break points at 6-5 there was nothing he could really do in the breaker as Tursunov hit some huge winners to take it.
I'm pleased to be through. Like expected, it was not a straightforward, easy match. I knew that Dmitry was going to try different things, play aggressive, serve well and then take big cuts at the ball. That's kind of how it went. I think he was doing a very nice job with my slice, dictating play, and I tried to get out of it. I was trying to defend as much as I could, but I wish at times I could have played a bit more offensive and come to the net. But today was difficult because I think Dmitry keeps [you] on the back foot automatically by his big shots.
After the break and medical timeout the momentum of the match changed and Roger started to play at a slightly higher level and once that happened the result was never really in doubt. Although Tursunov was still slapping the ball when he could Roger just had a better court position and more time to manoeuvre his opponent around. It's slightly disappointing to see him waste so many break points with hesitant and timid play but it's nothing new really so I'm hardly shocked and overall the win is the most important thing. Job done.
Predictions vs. Gulbis
Gublis is on a hot run right now winning the title in Nice last week and won comfortably today serving a high number of aces which is impressive. He of course has a win against Roger on clay from Rome in 2010 and he's a very dangerous opponent.
I think if Fed dictates play then he wins easily but if he get's into the sort of match he played today things get difficult again. Gulbis is another big ball striker with a better serve than Tursunov so the break points might not be as easy to come by. If you give him time from the back of the court and let him take advantage of shortballs you're going to have a very bad day.
If Fed can play aggressive, mix it up and just out think Gulbis I'm confident he wins in 3. Gulbis is the sort of player you can wind up mentally by playing clever points. He's going to try dropshot frequently so if Fed can win the majority of those exchanges I think he runs out of ideas and Fed can get into a nice scenario where the Latvian lacks belief.
I'll pick Fed in 3 or 4. 6-4 7-5 6-4.
peRFect Tennis Turns 3 Years Old
Finally today is the blogs third birthday as my first blog post went live on 30th of May 2011 when Fed beat Stan in straight sets at the French. I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to this blog be it via just reading, sending me content to post, commenting, joining in on live chat or sharing Twitter / Facebook since it's inception.
I won't pick out any individuals but without you guys I'd have struggled to keep the motivation to keep this site going and knowing people across the globe are part of the community here is pretty cool so thanks 😀
Most of you will know I usually do a dedicated post with a giveaway on my blogs birthday but this year things will be slightly different – I have something launching later in the year which hopefully will be pretty cool. It won't necessarily be on this site itself and you might not even know it's me behind it 😉 but I think it is something a lot of you will enjoy. That's as far as my clues go!
I will also be doing a giveaway too, but that's going to be related to the first commenter leaderboard and will be at the end of the season in November. Remember you've gotta be in it to win it 🙂