Let's see if my match reports as are rusty as Roger after a 3-month break 😀 . The Swiss certainly showed signs of it having to come from a set down to win his opening match at the Mercedes Cup 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 against Mischa Zverev.
The win sees him make a successful return to action having taken a break after the loss in Miami but he's still very much in the reckoning at the top of men's tennis, with a run to the final in Stuttgart ensuring he'll retake the Number 1 ranking from Nadal.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive, immediately hitting a nice return en route to fashioning two break points only to see Zverev erase them both.
The Swiss then held to 30 and in game five held two more break points but couldn't convert. That proved costly as despite easing through his service games prior, he was broken to love at 3-5 as Zverev found the right shots at just the right time. The German served out the set routinely to take it 6-3.
Into set two and a disgruntled Federer had to fend off two break points to hold serve. Clearly a crucial moment in the match and it allowed Roger to up his level as the set got going; eventually breaking for 4-2. That looked like it would be set over but the Swiss failed to consolidate and Zverev soon levelled for 4-4. Fortunately, Roger was able to bounce back quickly, holding for 5-4 and then breaking to love to take things into a decider.
With the wind now somewhat in his sails Fed started to find his range in the third, breaking to love for 3-1. And although Zverev had a chance to break back at 2-4 he couldn't take it as Roger broke again to take the third 6-2.
|Roger Federer||Mischa Zverev|
|1st Serve Points Won||75%(36/48)||65%(34/52)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||57%(13/23)||53%(19/36)|
|Break Points Saved||60%(3/5)||60%(6/10)|
|Service Games Played||13||14|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||35%(18/52)||25%(12/48)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||47%(17/36)||43%(10/23)|
|Break Points Converted||40%(4/10)||40%(2/5)|
|Return Games Played||14||13|
|Service Points Won||69%(49/71)||60%(53/88)|
|Return Points Won||40%(35/88)||31%(22/71)|
|Total Points Won||53%(84/159)||47%(75/159)|
Thoughts on the Match
Three months is a long time, it's longer than the year-end break. So I'm very happy returning on good terms onto the Tour. It was difficult, missed some chances maybe in the first set… He connected well at the right times. And then I found a way, I found my rhythm… I'm very happy with how I played. I'm super happy to be back on Tour. It's been a great start.
Finally, the grass court season is here! Dull weather in Stuttgart but a fun match, a quick court and some slick tennis from both players.
Roger started brightly creating four break points but after failing to convert and a small exchange with Lahyani about something that was bothering him he lost focus allowing Zverev to nip in and steal the opener. That was fairly disappointing and when Zverev head break points at the start of the second it looked like another short-stay in Stuttgart but Fed held on, found a little bit extra and eventually finished in style to move into the Quarter Finals.
So a good match here that sees Fed hit the ground running and I thought he played well. Some crisp returns, serving a little patchy but the footwork looked precise skipping round some backhands and by the third set he seemed to have the measure of Zverev's hard to read forehand and tricky game style. Coming through a tough early encounter will give him a boost of confidence after Indian Wells and Miami too so job done I think!
The outfit is looking decent too and I think the colour looks great (better than the pics as usual). Obviously, all the gossip is about Nike and Uniqlo but I've not bothered posting about it here as it's all just speculation right now. I don't really care what happens either way as I'll continue to post the outfits regardless of who makes them 🙂 . Fed did say today in the press conference: “As long as I don't have a new contract with a clothing sponsor, I will continue wearing Nike, which has been a good partner for 20 years.”
Predictions vs. Pella or Gunneswaran
Predictions coming soon. A surprise opponent here potentially as Prajnesh Gunneswaran shocked Shapovalov in three sets.