Been a while since we saw the GOAT in action but he's straight back to winning ways crushing Peter Polansky 6-2 6-0 to make swift progress into the third round at the Roger's Cup.
Perfect start to the tournament really and although this was a big mismatch it was good to see Fed striking the ball sweetly off both wings and never giving his opponent a look in. Fully expected of course but he still had to get out there and do what he needed to. One match under his belt so now it's time to try put together a run to the business end of things.
Quick Match Recap
Fed kicked this one off with a break to love after Polansky failed to make a single first serve. Not surprising considering this was one of the biggest matches of his career to date and the added home crowd pressure. What was surprising though was that Fed handed the break straight back and allowed the Canadian to level at 1-1.
That was the last time he'd see parity however as Fed broke again en route to taking the first set 6-2; hitting some crunching forehands in the process along with some very sharp volleys. Good to see.
Winning the first set in double quick time pretty much put the match to bed and ended any hopes Polansky had of making it competitive. With no real weapons the World Number 129 had no way of causing Federer any damage and his only real hope was to wait for mistakes, and sadly from his perspective they didn't come.
An immediate break at the start of the second gave Fed license to play ultra aggressive and he was soon up 4-0. Polansky at least put up some resistance in his final service game but it proved futile and Roger broke again for 5-0 before serving it out to 15. 6-2 6-0, done and dusted in just in 52 minutes. Routine.
|P. Polansky||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||51%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||9/25 (36%)||24/29 (83%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||10/24 (42%)||5/14 (36%)|
|Break Points Saved||0/6 (0%)||1/2 (50%)|
|Service Games Played||7||7|
|1st Return Points Won||5/29 (17%)||16/25 (64%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||9/14 (64%)||14/24 (58%)|
|Break Points Won||1/2 (50%)||6/6 (100%)|
|Return Games Played||7||7|
|Total Service Points Won||19/49 (39%)||29/43 (67%)|
|Total Return Points Won||14/43 (33%)||30/49 (61%)|
|Total Points Won||33/92 (36%)||59/92 (64%)|
Thoughts on the Match
I was happy, I started well and that's always helpful to play more freely. I think I could have served better at times but other than that, already in practice I felt I was moving well.
Didn't feel so good hitting the ball yet. Wasn't quite getting used to the surface and now the last few days have been much better and I'm happy that in the match it kind of all worked really well.
For the start of a tournament it's never clear if that's going to be the case. I'm very relieved and just really pleased.
Nothing much to learn other about Roger here other than a very solid start and he looked to be striking the ball pretty cleanly which is always good to see early in a tournament.
Obviously Polansky isn't really a good barometer for how well Fed is playing but he was able to hit some sweet winners especially off the forehand side that even the likes of Djokovic and Murray would struggle to contain.
There was a lot of aggressive intent from him too, utilising the chip and charge when he saw Polansky out of position which worked pretty well. I'm guessing he will be a little unhappy to miss some pretty easy volleys (9 out of 16 at net) but it's still early days on that front and he has plenty time to fine tune the net game ahead of New York. Pretty much all the stats make good reading, especially the 6 out of 6 on break points, not often we get that luxury 😀
Aside from Fed's perforamnce, we also had a first in live chat – a live chatter watching the match courtside. Nambi dropped by during the second set and had courtside seats. Check out the pic below:
Predictions vs. Cilic / Jaziri
Next up is either Marin Cilic or lucky loser Malek Jaziri. They play later today and I expect Cilic to come through that one as Jaziri isn't really quality opposition.
So can the Croat cause Fed problems? I think some, depends if he can hold it together mentally. Cilic has been improving this year under the tutelage of Goran Ivanisevic and he took Djokovic to 5 sets at Wimbledon however he's still a bit of a choker and I'm not sure what areas he can give Fed difficulty.
I think he'd have to play a Del Potro USO 2009 type match to stand a chance and really crunch the ball whenever he gets the opportunity to step into the court. Maybe he can do it, he's had good results on hard courts before but my money is firmly on Fed in 2. 6-4 6-4.
Should Jaziri cause the upset then I expect a similar result but probably more one sided. Jaziri can strike the ball well as we saw when Fed played him in Dubai in 2013 but he couldn't overcome a below par and back pain riddled Fed on a quick hard court back then so I doubt he can manage it on a slower surface against a fully fit one.
See you guys on Thursday.