Roger's up and running in Istanbul after he defeated Jarkko Nieminen for the 15th time in a row to make swift progress into the Quarter Finals.
The 6-2 7-5 scoreline represents another routine win against the Finn and this was Roger's 200th career victory on clay. All in a day's work huh 🙂
Quick Match Recap
Nieminen won the toss and elected to serve. He was broken instantly to 15 as Fed came out the blocks at lightspeed. The break was quickly consolidated and in game 5 Roger took full advantage; securing the double break by using his variety to great effect to take a 3-1 lead. At 5-1 Nieminen held for only the second time in the set but Roger served it out to love to take it 6-2. Easy peasy.
Into set two and Nieminen held his opening service to get the scoreboard working in his favour. Both players then exchanged comfortable holds and the score stood at 3 games all.
No real chances for either but in game 7 Roger had two break point opportunities but couldn't find the killer return to get it done.
Nieminen has a poor record against Fed but he has at least pushed him to tie breaks in some of their previous encounters and at 5-5 that looked likely. However the Swiss had other ideas, finally converting on his fifth break point to lead 6-5 before serving it out to love. Routine.
|R. Federer||J. Nieminen|
|1st Serve %||63%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||29/31 (94%)||27/43 (63%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||11/18 (61%)||12/21 (57%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/0 (0%)||4/7 (57%)|
|Service Games Played||10||10|
|1st Return Points Won||16/43 (37%)||2/31 (6%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||9/21 (43%)||7/18 (39%)|
|Break Points Won||3/7 (43%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Return Games Played||10||10|
|Total Service Points Won||40/49 (82%)||39/64 (61%)|
|Total Return Points Won||25/64 (39%)||9/49 (18%)|
|Total Points Won||65/113 (58%)||48/113 (42%)|
Thoughts on the Match
Simple match that went exactly how the Istanbul tournament directors would have been hoping for. Nieminen is solid but has no big weapons and because of that he doesn't have any chance of beating Federer regardless of the surface.
As far as first matches in tournaments go I thought this was pretty decent from Roger, he won the first set in 20 minutes with some really stylish play and although the second was closer the result was never in doubt. He didn't return that well in the second set for some reason but his own serve was on the money so he was never under any pressure and that made it all look very easy.
9 aces and 63% of first serves in play are good numbers too and it's hard to ask for more from the first outing at this new tournament. Other positives are the court looks to be pretty quick and relatively low bouncing which should aid his game.
Predictions vs. Gimeno Traver
Next up is seasoned clay courter Daniel Gimeno Traver who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin earlier in the day. A pretty good win for the Spaniard and he's been in good form this year, making his first ever final on the ATP tour in Casablanca where he lost to Martin Klizan.
Federer has never played this guy but I'm expecting a routine straight sets win. I don't know a lot about Gimeno-Traver but he's never been past the third round of a slam and from the clips I've seen he's exactly what you'd expect from a Spanish clay courter which doesn't often trouble Roger. Gimeno-Traver might be playing well but I'll pick Fed in 2. 6-2 6-4.
Let me know your thoughts on this match and your predictions for the Quarters in the comments below 🙂