Regular match reports will now resume and Roger has just seen off the challenge of Sam Groth to move into the second week. The big serving Aussie put up some solid resistance before eventually succumbing to a 6-4, 6-4 6-7(5), 6-2 loss as Roger booked his spot in the fourth round.
Having played Groth before at last years US Open we knew what to expect in terms of serve but the Aussie has improved his game this year and he was able to come up with some solid volleys and groundstrokes once he'd finally settled in the match. Roger however had more than enough in the tank to handle it; coming up with some great returns and not facing a single break point on his own serve in the entire match.
Quick Match Recap
Groth won the toss and elected to serve, firing down an 142mph ace en route to holding for 1-0. Roger responded with a love hold before Groth held for 2-1, hitting an 147mph ace which is the quickest serve on the tour this year!
At 2-2, Roger came up with some inspired play to force deuce and eventually converted his third break point to move 3-2 in front. The break was quickly consolidated for 4-2 and one break proved enough as Roger took the set 6-4.
Into set 2 and Groth dropped his serve immediately, hitting a double fault at 30 all before Roger got lucky with a return. Again the one break proved decisive and Roger took the second set 6-4 at a canter with Groth struggling to get any foothold in the return games.
I expected the third set to be an exact replica of the first 2 but Groth began to finally find his feet; hitting higher quality volleys and starting to return the Federer serve better to make inroads in return games. The Aussie still had to save 2 break points at 1-1 and 4-4 but he did so with bold plays and even had Roger in trouble at 6-5 30-30. The set eventually went into a tie break and Roger lost concentration at 3-3 hitting a double fault which allowed Groth to to edge in front and take the set 7-5 in the breaker.
In set 3 though normality resumed as Roger broke Groth in his opening service game to lead 2-0. The Swiss was pegged back to deuce in trying to consolidate but he did so to lead 3-0. That lead quickly became 5-2 as both players exchanged holds and with Groth serving to stay in the match he slipped to 15-40 before Roger sealed it to book his spot in the fourth round.
|MATCH STATISTICS||Sam Groth||Roger Federer|
|1ST SERVES IN||84/130 (65 %)||67/108 (62 %)|
|1ST SERVE POINTS WON||61/84 (73 %)||60/67 (90 %)|
|2ND SERVE POINTS WON||24/46 (52 %)||28/41 (68 %)|
|NET POINTS WON||35/71 (49 %)||24/31 (77 %)|
|BREAK POINTS WON||0/0 (0 %)||4/8 (50 %)|
|RECEIVING POINTS WON||20/108 (19 %)||45/130 (35 %)|
|TOTAL POINTS WON||105||133|
|DISTANCE COVERED (METRES)||1767.8||1614.1|
|DIST. COVERED/PT. (METRES)||7.4||6.8|
Thoughts on the Match
Another fairly routine win here against a huge server with only one way to play the game. Groth showed what he can do in the first few games bombing down a 147mph ace but with no real return game to speak of he never had chances to break the dominant Federer serve.
Roger did a great job of making returns too that Groth couldn't handle and in the first 2 sets he was able to fashion the break just when he needed to. Couple that with never looking troubled on his own serve and it was all very comfortable.
Groth's serve is huge but when the ball is going down to the other end that quick, if the opponent gets a racquet on it then its coming back just as fast which makes that first volley very tough; often having to play it just inside the baseline. Groth struggled with that early missing a lot of volleys but in the third set he began to piece his game together that bit more to force the tie break before taking full advantage of a Fed-lapse and deservedly taking the match to a 4th set.
As for Fed I think he was again pretty sharp, returned well in patches and his movement was awesome in the first two sets; in the third and fourth he seemed a little less intense but breaking early in the fourth allowed him to cruise home. Set dropped but no break points faced and the fact it went 4 meant we even got to see some longer rallys which Fed handled nicely.
Predictions vs. Bautista-Agut
Next up is Bautista-Agut who defeated Qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili. Agut had a tough five setter against Benoit Paire in Round 3 but as I mention in my draw post he was my pick as Feds fourth round opponent due to his solidity in the best of 5 format. After winning the first set on a tie break today he went onto win the next 2 sets for just the loss of 1 game.
Roger has played RBA twice, both on hardcourts, both with wins in straight sets and I think we'll be seeing a similar story on Monday. RBA is solid but he has no weapons which Murray exploited easily at last years Wimbledon and I think Federer's aggression will be too much for him to handle. Fed in 3: 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.