A quick turnaround from Stuttgart with just one day's rest but it didn't take long for Roger Federer progress into Round 2 at the Gerry Weber Open on Tuesday, defeating Slovenia's Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4 in just 71 minutes.
The Swiss came into the match having secured title number 98 plus a return to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings at the weekend and carried on from where he left off, picking apart his opponent with relative ease as he set up a tie with Benoit Paire on Thursday.
Quick Match Recap
Bedene won the toss and elected to receive. Federer kicked off with an impressive hold to fifteen to put the pressure straight onto the Slovenian. Some nervous opening shots saw Bedene slip to love forty but Roger wasn't in a ruthless mood, allowing Bedene to make deuce and hold multiple game points before he finally broke his serve in an 8-minute game.
A sub-1-minute hold consolidated the break for 3-0 and from there the Swiss cruised to the first set holding his last two service games to love to take it 6-3. The only close call being in game five where he held from 0-30 after ballsing up a challenge after deciding to start calling his own lines 😀
Into set two and a Bedene double fault on the opening point meant things didn't look too promising for the current world number 72 but he dug in to hold and from there began to find a bit more oomph to his game. Roger's serve was still yet to be tested though and although his return game seemed to drop a notch he moved through the gears again in game nine to break, using his slice to great effect before serving it out to fifteen, hitting an inside-out forehand winner on match point.
|Roger Federer||Alijaz Bedene|
|1st Serve||69% (34/49)||66% (46/70)|
|1st Serve Points Won||88% (30/34)||63% (29/46)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||73% (11/15)||50% (12/24)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||71% (5/7)|
|Service Games Played||10||9|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||37% (17/46)||12% (4/34)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||50% (12/24)||27% (4/15)|
|Break Points Converted||29% (2/7)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||9||10|
|Net Points Won||67% (6/9)||33% (2/6)|
|Service Points Won||84% (41/49)||59% (41/70)|
|Return Points Won||41% (29/70)||16% (8/49)|
|Total Points Won||59% (70/119)||41% (49/119)|
Thoughts on the Match
I think I got out of the blocks well. I felt good right away. You know, it’s a bit of an easier court to play here in Halle than last week in Stuttgart. It’ a bit harder, so the ball bounces up a bit more. So, I felt like it was nicely in my strike zone and I was connecting well on the return right away and being able to also read maybe better the serve quite well and then after a while that kind of went away. But I had a solid first set and then I was just trying to figure out how to break him and after the one break, the crucial one, I was able to hold serve all the way. So, I think I’m very happy on my serving side and from the baseline for a first round having had hardly any play on these courts I'm very happy actually. And Benoit Paire, I played him a couple of times.
Solid start here from Roger against an opponent who you always feel he'll have the measure of but will still make him work for the win. I thought he picked up from where he left off in Stuttgart really and although things got a bit scrappy in the middle of set two, his serve was again watertight not facing a single break point and winning 88% of points behind his first delivery.
It was pretty much a cruis control match as he was never in any real danger and his slice was his best shot today, skidding through the court and Bedene struggled to do much with it. Nice to see him put his foot down and get the instant response too in that game to break where he'd looked rather lackadaisical on the return in the two or three games before it. So ideal start: bag the win, day off Wednesday and then come out fresh for Round Two on Thursday.
As for Bedene, I think he's a somewhat underrated player; a decent mover and hits a pretty big ball off both wings but just a bit too inconsistent as shown by his results this season. No pressure at Wimbledon now he's no longer British though 😆
Predictions vs. Paire
Speaking of lackadaisical, next up is the enigma Benoit Paire who defeated Steve Johnson in two sets. A decent win for him there and when he's feeling it he can play some quality tennis. But he's wildly inconsistent which is why he's yet to win a set in five meetings against Roger, hard to see that changing on probably his worst surface but at least for him on grass, you can bag a set by stringing a handful of decent backhands together…
What did you guys think of the win? Which court do you prefer Halle or Stuttgart? Let me know in the comments.