Roger Federer is into the Quarter Finals at the Itau Miami Open after coming through an up and down encounter 7-6(5), 7-6(4) against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Not the cleanest performance from the Swiss who looked sluggish for some periods of the match but he was up against a gritty opponent who will make shot after shot.
The win sees him set up an encounter with Tomas Berdych who he defeated en route to his 18th Grand Slam title at this year's Australian Open.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. He held to love to kick things off before Agut saved three break points from 0-40 to level.
In the six the Swiss created 0-30 but Agut held, and at 4-4 it was he who broke to lead 5-4, converting his second break point to serve for the set.
Agut had never won more than four games in a set against Federer so he was in uncharted territory here and it showed; he was broken to love as Roger broke back and two quick games later the set moved into a tie-break.
Into the breaker and it was Federer who was able to play offensive, moving up a mini break at 3-3 and another to lead 6-3 before taking it 7-5.
At the changeover ahead of set two Bautista Agut required treatment on a blister and he got off to a terrible start, dropping his serve with a double fault and missed overhead after holding three game points.
Fortunately for him, Federer wasn't quite dialled in, and he relinquished the break instantly. Agut then saved three break points in his next service game and looked somewhat rejuvenated after that, keeping pace with Federer throughout the remainder of the set as it went into another tiebreak.
Like the first breaker, it was Federer again looking to the force the issue as he moved up a mini break and forged a 3-0 lead. Another mini-break came his way for 6-2, and although Agut saved two match points, the Swiss sealed it 7-4.
|Roger Federer||Roberto Bautista Agut|
|First Serve Percent||49% (35/72)||62% (61/98)|
|1st Serve Points Won||89% (31/35)||69% (42/61)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||65% (24/37)||49% (18/37)|
|Break Points Saved||33% (1/3)||80% (8/10)|
|Service Games Played||12||12|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||31% (19/61)||11% (4/35)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||51% (19/37)||35% (13/37)|
|Break Points Converted||20% (2/10)||67% (2/3)|
|Return Games Played||12||12|
|Total Service Points Won||76% (55/72)||61% (60/98)|
|Total Return Points Won||39% (38/98)||24% (17/72)|
|Total Points Won||55% (93/170)||45% (77/170)|
Point of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
I felt good overall. It was a different kind of match. It wasn't the big-serving match where you're only going to see so many looks, so when you miss chances, you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That's where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays. I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it's hard to chase the lines. At the end, I'm very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets.
A bit of a laboured match this one as Federer, despite being the better player throughout, wasn't able to dominate proceedings. I thought he looked a little bit tired in patches and got a bit frustrated when the unforced errors started mounting. Perhaps he wasn't feeling as good in the legs after playing yesterday vs. Del Potro which he did allude to slightly with some comments in press.
Conditions were also windy, and the sun was in the player's eye line too which didn't help the quality of tennis and his timing wasn't as precise as usual. But that's part and parcel of the sport, not every day is going to go swimmingly so to come through in straight sets is a good day at the office.
Like I said in my preview Agut will naturally make a lot of balls and that's exactly what he did, he played his usual solid baseline game and refused to break down in the face of some offensive Federer groundstrokes. Fortunately, he's not got a good backhand, and his serve isn't a weapon so Roger was able to move up a gear when it mattered in the tiebreaks to come through.
Predictions vs. Berdych
Next up is Berdych who defeated Adrian Mannarino in straight sets. Berdych has looked impressive so far in Miami, and the courts suit his game at Crandon Park having made the final here in 2010 when he beat Federer in the fourth round.
The Czech has had a bit of a shaky start to the year, and his game is very up and down of late so I'm not sure what to expect. He's probably due a good performance at some point but then his record against the best isn't that impressive; and even though he's looked good this week, his forehand looked out of sorts towards the end of the second set against Mannarino.
Roger has schooled him in their last several encounters, so I think he's the favourite going in but it will be a tighter than Melbourne as Berdych likes the slower court and has the power to still hit through it.
If it's a day match, it will be an advantage to Federer. A night match will be a more of a leveller. I would say if Roger plays scrappy like he did against RBA, then Berdych will be good enough to make him pay, but I'll pick Fed to come through as long as he's moving well on the defence.