ATP Masters 1000Cincinnati MastersRoger Federer

Federer Returns with Win in Cincinnati Opener

The Swiss overcame Juan Igancio Londero 6-3, 6-4 in a rain affected match

Roger Federer's bid for an 8th Western & Southern Open is up and running as the Swiss defeated Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-4 in a rain-affected match.

The Swiss came through in 61 minutes, winning 17 of 21 points at the net and facing just a single break point as he won 81% of points behind his second serve to move comfortably into Round 3.

Federer will next play Stan Wawrinka or Andrey Rublev with the two playing their second-round match later today.

Quick Match Recap

Fed Cincy Londero

Londero won the toss and elected to receive. Federer kicked off with a hold to fifteen, sealing the game with an ace for 1-0.

A double fault for 0-15 wasn't the start the Argentine wanted and at 15-40 he double-faulted again to drop serve. Roger consolidated for 3-0 and the set was soon over in just 21 minutes.

Into set two and Fed created thirty all in Londero's first service game but a tame backhand allowed this year's Cordoba Open champion to hold for 1-0. The Swiss levelled to love and after another exchange of holds, play was suspended after the rain started falling.

Play resumed just over an hour later with the score at 2-2, 15-15 and Roger started quickly, holding a breakpoint at 30-40 which was saved but he converted his second, correctly challenging a Londero second serve to lead 3-2.

A slick two-handed half volley pick up then saw Roger save a breakpoint of his own to lead 4-2 and in game ten the Swiss held match point. Londero saved it but Fed served it out 6-4, hitting a slick run around forehand at thirty all and then firing in a body serve to take it.

Match Stats

  Roger Federer Juan Ignacio Londero
Aces 9 3
Double Faults 0 3
1st Serve 66% (35/53) 63% (31/49)
1st Serve Points Won 77% (27/35) 77% (24/31)
2nd Serve Points Won 83% (15/18) 50% (9/18)
Break Points Saved 100%(1/1) 50% (2/4)
Service Games Played 10 9
1st Serve Return Points Won 23% (7/31) 23% (8/35)
2nd Serve Return Points Won 50% (9/18) 17% (3/18)
Break Points Converted 50% (2/4) 0% (0/1)
Return Games Played 9 10
Winners 26 10
Unforced Errors 19 13
Net Points Won 81% (17/21) 50% (2/4)
Service Points Won 79% (42/53) 67% (33/49)
Return Points Won 33% (16/49) 21% (11/53)
Total Points Won 57% (58/102) 43% (44/102)


Thoughts on the Match

Federer Cincy 2R 19

I'm very happy. I thought it was tricky with the rain delay and everything, but I’m happy to be back on the courts. It’s totally different from the grass courts and the clay courts we have seen, so this is the beginning of a long, long hard-court swing. So it’s nice to start off with a win. Conditions are fast. We barely had any rallies in the first set. It was just bang-bang tennis. He had a good forehand. He hides it well with the grip, and because I have never played him before, it's hard to see the release happening. I think he actually can play very well on the faster hard court. He moves well, can take the ball early. He has the option to go back, but maybe here it's just a tad too fast. Federer on his win over Londero

A solid win here for Roger in his first match back post-Wimbledon and I liked what I saw. Londero had a good win against Berrettini in the first round and is having a decent season but Roger prevented him from playing his style of tennis and with double faults gifting both breaks of serve it was a routine win.

There was just one point over 9 shots in the match and Fed won 42 points under five shots to stop Londero from getting into a nice rhythm and extending points. Roger's first couple of shots were always doing damage and in what he said were fast conditions he was able to use that 1 + 2 punch combo to stay in control throughout.

The other big positive was his success coming forward, winning 17 of 21 at net, including a two-handed shovelled half volley 😆 so I like his chances to make the latter stages if he keeps that explosiveness and is able to ghost in whenever he spots the higher lofted ball off his opponent's strings. 

Predictions vs Rublev

Next up is Andrey Rublev after he defeated Stan Wawrinka in straight sets.

The Russian came through qualifying and beat Basilashvili in the first round so is on a solid run here in Cincy.

Federer has never played him before and I'm not sure if they have practiced together either so he's a bit of an unknown for the Swiss.

However I'm sure he will have seen Rublev play when he made the Quarter finals in New York two years ago and have some idea of how he plays, which is to throw the kitchen sink at his groundstrokes especially the forehand.

It's an extremely dangerous shot when on, but it can leak errors which is why you see his results fluctuate wildly and he's lost in qualifying in five of his last ten tournaments. However, he made the final in Hamburg beating Thiem along the way and was closing in on the top 20 before his back injury in 2018.

With Rublev's style I'm expecting a tricky match for Roger but if he's explosive and able to get the Russian rushing his shots then I like his chances.

What did you guys think of the win against Londero? Predictions against Rublev? Let me know in the comments.


Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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    1. Sorry to have missed his match last night but was not going to miss the recap!
      What happened to Andrey? Stan already got through?

  1. 2nd!!
    Great serving match, poor returning game. Hopefully that improves….very tricky and quick conditions, yes,
    Stan has to play Rublev first, Jon. And I am picking Ruby to win 😊

    Ps I liked the kit!

      1. Yes, but I’m assuming those are sweat patches rather than rain? If so, the fabric still seems problematic.

    1. Yeah just realised, thought Stan was already in 3R for some reason. I hope Stan wins, then I can just paste in the predictions vs Stan text I just removed 😆

  2. Good start missed second set but think he looks solid. A minor correction on your post Stan still needs to beat Rublev before he faces Roger.

  3. I am on holiday and only have just enough network for checking websites; watching live streams is out of the question until Sunday. Judging from the statistics it looks like a good start and that’s the best we could expect now in all fairness.
    I think that Roger can and will build up from here.
    Nice outfit! (If memory serves me well, I think that he wore a similar one from Nike. Could it have been in 2016?)

    1. Staycation in Portugal or further afield?

      The colour of this one is very Nike-ish. He wore a similar colour here in 2009, but was more turquoise.

      1. Inside borders. We have a small house in the countryside. Lots of mountains for cycling and hiking and a tennis court 7 km away that no one uses. It’s great for a mental reset.

  4. I couldn’t watch either but the fast conditions will be to his liking perhaps.
    Very smart outfit,better than the Darth Vader look😀.
    I think that Stan will beat Rublev and then unfortunately will have to meet his nemesis-again.
    He really is unlucky with draws since his injury.

    1. I think Stan could be tired after the Dimi match, was a long battle in the end. Rublev USO QF not long back, qualified here too so go some matches.

    1. Me as well, and I thought Stan was already the next opponent while he only played one match. Confusing as hell.

  5. Thanks Jon! And the full-bodied highlights still go strong – very nice indeed. I think Roger’ll soon get used to the balls so that his return improves. A lot of wonderful footwork and moving. Looking very superior and easy-going – and fast running when useful – vers. Londero who didn’t play badly. All judged from highlights.

  6. And away we go! Roger back on court. The outfit is the best one yet BUT I still say the material sucks. I love the colours, wondering if this is his day session USO one?
    It seems like Fed’s serving and net game is so strong. Who do you know that serves so consistently well and has that many winners at the net. Too bad he didn’t get in more rallies for the rust.
    He is so good at analysing the match. It always makes sense, no?
    Fed has a lot of guts to get back on the horse with a smile and carry on. Another life lesson for us to notice. Thanks again for the write up, Jonathan.

  7. Thanks for the recap, Jonathan, and the highlights. A very focussed and fit Fed gliding as an elegant giraffe in a Kenyan park …

    I absolutely love the emerald outfit.
    It reminds me of the Indian Wells / Miami 2017 one.

    1. The green zebra follow on outfit? I don’t think it’s a similar colour tbh, this is like very dark cyan or a turquoise. Reminds me more of Stan’s outfit that he wore against Fed in the final in IW 17.

  8. Just so happy to see him back with a smile fingers crossed he can go on and beat the’ black widow spider’ or Yukovic as my 3 year old Grand daughter calls him. FYI Roger is Woger ! She yelled toss woven at the tv during Wimbledon! True her parents trying to watch and Saskia aged 3 kisses the tv !
    His youngest fan

      1. My son saw that. The general comments here at home were along the idea “silly rude fan kids” followed by a few shoulder shrugs and “let’s set the table outside for dinner as it’s cooler now”.

  9. A spry hard courts debut! I agree with your excellent review, Jonathan, I thought Roger was moving well, hitting well, chipper, a somewhat utilitarian win.

    Now to the Uniqlo. This green and blue kit was flattering, and I know it was a hot and humid night out there in Cincinnati. But … I was really aware how mottled and sweaty the shirt looked from the start. I was a bit distracted with nightmares about last year’s maroon outing with John Millman 🙁 P l e a s e let the fabric breathe better, as advertised!

    Round 3 – go Fed!!

  10. Solid start for our man. These are probably the fastest outdoor hardcourts on the tour and he’s occasionally had trouble adjusting in the past, but he did pretty well making the transition this time. Most importantly, he avoided a draining three-setter and rebounded well from his loss at Wimbledon.

    This tournament is the most conducive to his first-strike game and when he’s moving as well as he is at the moment, he can really be super-aggressive and play a lot of all-court tennis. Hope he can keep it going.

      1. And having since read Roger’s comments in context, I realise he wasn’t even directly talking about himself: he was talking about Top 100 players being criticised for not winning things people thought they should. What a trash site.

  11. Didn’t watch the match or highlights (on holiday). I like your analysis, which gives a good vibe. Fingers crossed Roger will go all the way.
    Allez Rog!

  12. Good grief,
    Just seen Sascha give away nearly a sets worth of double faults-20 in all .Quite shocking.
    Really needs a good coach or sports psychologist or something.
    Disappointed to see Stan go out to Rublev.
    However if Rublev serves like that when he plays Fed(he hardly seemed to get a first serve in during the final set)
    I think he will get blown off the court.

      1. Shocking to hear, yes. Could be that the balls, court or whatever is far from what he’s used to. And then nerves accelerating. Maybe more players have similar difficulties. Roger said something about the switch-over from grass and maybe clay. That he still played so well (- just a bit about the returning – and first serves -) shows his great form (and Djoko’s too I have to admit)

    1. It seems that the service is where the nerves have a major impact. One one hand it’s the only stroke you have full control on. On the other, it’s also the one where you give your mind more room and time to play tricks on you “what if I miss? What if this, that, those, where, why, how, when, if, however, the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”

  13. What is with this epidemic of double faults? Seems to be contagious. Anyone see the NK match? His behaviour was atrocious.
    The worst I’ve ever seen. At first it was funny but then way ott. Khachanov did a good job of focussing on his game and pulled out the win.

    1. Didn’t see it but did see a clip of his infamous visit to the toilet and the breaking of two rackets which the
      official who was standing right by him claimed not to have noticed😀
      They absolutely have to get really tough with this sort of nonsense.
      Serena was bad enough with her mother rant,but spitting at the umpire is disgraceful.
      Of course what really gets him going is Nadal taking for ever to serve and not getting penalised for it.
      Which is fair enough,but you can raise that issue without being obnoxious.And he is extremely obnoxious.

      1. Well, NK is correct in how Nadal gets away with murder. And Nick is one of the fastest on the tour.
        He should have been penalized a game but think the ump didn’t want to enrage him any further.
        And yes, Serena gets away with murder. Her behaviour is the worst ever.
        Didn’t Fed have a run in with Murphy?

  14. Thought Roger looked good. tennis was ok as well. I’m not
    surprised his shirt is showing sweat, everyone looks as though
    they are feeling the heat. Everyone except NK, maybe that’s
    why he erupts so easily, the only thing missing was a ‘luggy
    bunnet’, but I’m sure if he could find it it’s in the bag somewhere.
    Having watched tennis for many years I never thought I would,
    see anyone more rude and worse than McEnroe I WAS WRONG,
    easy to see how Nick is a follower of Andy loves the foul language!
    Nearly forgot C’mon Rogerx

  15. @Sue and Elizabeth,
    He has just been given a large fine(what does that matter to millionaires?)
    Entirely predictable commentators like Mark Petchey(who else) coming out with unfairly penalised ,etc.
    So they won’t do anything.Bloody disgrace and empowers even more bad behaviour.

  16. I suppose what I really dislike about people who ignore the rules,act badly is that they are bullies.
    They are trading on their status,whatever ,to push other people around.Total disrespect for the game and everyone
    else who plays by the rules.

  17. Spoke too soon. Just got blown off the court by a zoning opponent, and he had an off-day. On such a fast court, it’s hard to reverse the momentum when things aren’t going your way.

    Everyone always plays the match of their lives against Federer. The price of being the champion of champions, everyone always wants a piece of you. Even if they never win another match in their careers, they can always say that they once beat the great Roger Federer.

    Two HC matches is not a lot of prep for USO, but we’ll just have to see how it shakes out.

    1. Yep, this is the trouble with the USO swing. You either go to Canada and risk getting fatigued, or you skip it and risk being rusty.

      Take your time on this one, Jon – we’ve plenty of time to kill 🙁

    2. @Steve
      The theory of everyone playing their matches of life when playing Federer may have something in it. But not a good news for Fed.
      There are many able to play like Rublev today. Need to have this game, which harms Federer the way he usually does to his opponents (taking them time and controlling points) and a lot of courage.
      Who has such a game but didn’t have courage so far, will watch this match twice and add courage next time.
      “Audentes fortuna iuvat”.
      Somehow good, these are young ones – Tsitsipas, Thiem, Rublev. Losing to another oldies would hurt more.

  18. Dear God,why on earth did Fed choose to receive having won the toss.Cant ever see the point of that.
    And now that squirt will get knocked out in the next round.
    So annoying.Too many unforced errors against a fired up opponent.

    1. Federer always chooses to receive and most of others do the same. You talk, like Fed was usually choosing to serve. The coin toss has some specific psychology (I have an article about that on my blog). There are really few, choosing to serve, for whatever the reason (having big serve, but you can serve big in the second game and try to return wildly in the first, when the serving opponent usually makes more errors).
      This has actually no effect on the outcome of the match. Or you know it first after the match is over. The best from psychological point of view is to lose the toss and have the opponent to be under pressure (whatever he chooses, can have negative effect.

      “Tioo many UE’s against fired opponent”. Do you actually understand tennis? Against fired opponents everyone makes more errors, which are classified UE’s but are in fact forced.

      Not a bad play from Fed. No chance to play his game given him by the opponent. That’s why you lose matches.

      1. Oh just shut up .Please do not respond to any of my posts in future you patronising
        So and so.

      2. I can respond every post. I don’t care what you think about my responses. I respond THE POST, not you. Of course you may ignore my responses, bu you need to say something about person, when you have nothing to say about the content.
        If you don’t like people to react to your posts, simply don’t post
        BTW – I don’t see my answer to be unkind or offending. Meanwhile your’s is.
        I have commented your content. My fault. There was no content. Only negative emotions.
        Next time you react to my post, try to bring in some content (if you are able to).

      3. “Always chooses to receive and most of the others do the same” FAKE NEWS.

        However, if you look at his coin toss wins this season, then receiving is winning by quite a margin… he thought Rublev would be a little nervous, try get the early break. Instead, Rublev slammed down 5 first serves and broke himself. It wasn’t a mistake or the reason he lost. He lost because Rublev hit the felt off the ball and he wasn’t able to move well enough to counter it.

      4. PRF, when you are responding to a post you are responding to a person – the person who offered their views. To disparage those views also disparages that person. Most people would understand that. Apart from the “tennis content”, your own personality comes through loud and clear in your posts – unfortunately.

  19. Roger looked like me playing after a barbecue, he didn’t even moved a finger. It’s better to give a walkover instead of gifting a pointless defeat (and a negative H2H).

  20. Hmm that was pretty bad. Rublev was playing high risk tennis and it paid off . Damn it I think he managed to make almost every shot a forehand and Federer had no answers (and made quite a few errors). Rublev reminds me of Igor Andreev, who always gave Federer a hard time in Slams with his huge forehand and swagger. Not good for preparation and confidence.

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