Big win for the GOAT here as he overcame Gael Monfils in their weather effected match 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to make his 11th Quarter Final at Roland Garros. After dropping the second set in disappointing fashion on Sunday evening Roger came out in fine form, taking the third set with some solid play and then wrapping up the fourth 6-1 spending just 63 minutes on court in a total match time of 2 hours 17 minutes.
With Roger's quarter final scheduled for Tuesday it was imperative he got the job done as quickly as possible and he broke early in the third, came close to a 4-1 lead, weathered a Monfils fightback and then won 10 points in a row in the fourth set to pull away and put the match to bed.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose the side he wanted, Monfils then elected to receive. Roger opened things up with a hold to 15 before breaking Monfils for a 2-0 lead. The break was quickly consolidated and Roger had another break for 5-1 but couldn't capitalise. The double break wasn't required however as Roger served out the set to love for 6-3.
Into set 2 and Monfils found an immediate response, holding and then breaking to lead 2-0. Roger almost hit back immediately, botching a volley at 30-30 before Monfils consolidated. It was a real slacking off from Federer to lose momentum and Monfils quickly moved into a 5-3 lead to serve for the second set. Here Roger came up with his best return game of the match, creating 2 break points and converting the first to get back on serve at 4-5. 5-5 looked a certainty but at 40-30 he missed a routine volley and dropped serve and the set 6-4. Play was then suspended for the evening due to bad light.
The stoppage in play meant the match was now a 3 set shootout and it was imperative Roger won the first set to give himself any sort of chance to come through. Fortunately he did just that, taking advantage of a sluggish Monfils to break from 0-40 down and then consolidate for 2-0.
The Swiss then had three break point in game 5 but couldn't consolidate, Monfils played 3 disaster points for 0-40, got lucky on the first break point but then delivered 2 clutch plays before holding for 3-2. Both players then exchanged holds at at 4-3 serving Roger faced his first break point at 30-40; he saved it in style with an ace before holding and he the then on to take the set 6-3.
With the wind taken out of Monfils's sails Roger broken in game 1 of set 4 and quickly consolidated for 2-0. Monfils got himself on the scoreboard in the next game but couldn't prevent the double break as he slipped 1-4 down. Roger then held to love for 5-1 and converted his second match point on the Monfils serve to take it 6-1.
|Stats||Gael Monfils||Roger Federer|
|1st serves in||76/122 (62 %)||61/100 (61 %)|
|1st serve points won||47/76 (62 %)||45/61 (74 %)|
|2nd serve points won||21/46 (46 %)||25/39 (64 %)|
|Net points won||11/25 (44 %)||25/39 (64 %)|
|Break points won||2/4 (50 %)||6/13 (46 %)|
|Receiving points won||30/100 (30 %)||54/122 (44 %)|
|Total points won||98||124|
Thoughts on the Match
I definitely think maybe the volleys cost me the set yesterday because I was actually — I thought I was the better player for the two sets. Of course he could have also snuck out this set because he had the break first. But I had a lot of opportunities, and if I wouldn't have missed the volleys I missed, I would have created a lot of opportunities that maybe put me in the lead or got me back on even terms earlier. It was tough to do that in some ways, but at the same time it gave me the belief that I was doing the right things if only I can knock off those higher, easier volleys, because they are never that easy because Gaël is on the other side and you come in from far back usually, and you come across the net, across the court, and it's high and you can't put it away short so you have to go deep and you know he's going to be there. So it's a different type of volleying against him. Today I was just really focused on my concentration to really not miss them, and everything worked out very well. I was able to mix up my game, serve big when I had to. Clearly the ace was big on the break point. Other than that I was solid today. It was exactly what I wanted to do today.
A very good win for Roger here in a weather effected match and considering the scoreline I don't think it could have gone any better. First up last night's play – I thought Fed started really well; played solid in very tough conditions and got the all important first set. Then in the second set he just slacked off; missed a ton of first serves and botched some routine volleys that let Monfils back into it despite him not playing the better tennis overall.
In hindsight the delay came at the right time as it basically meant a 3 set shootout on Monday with no player getting a distinct advantage; Roger had the benefit of Monfils not being able to ride the crest of a wave and Monfils had the benefit of extra rest after his back to back 5 setters.
When play resumed the winner of the first set was going to be firmly in the driving seat and Roger was the player who came out with the right intensity and gameplan to get it done. Monfils is known for massive ups and downs in his matches and Roger was on hand to take advantage of his lows in the third set to move in front. He was also solid enough to weather the mini fightback from Monfils at 4-3 to get the important hold for 5-3 saving break point with an ace. Once the third was secure, Monfils looked deflated, had the trainer on court for appeared to be cold / flu and Roger began to deliver big plays behind his first serve to get it done.
Predictions vs. Wawrinka
Next up is Stan the man who thrashed Gilles Simon in straight sets on Sunday. Stan has looked in fantastic form so far in Paris and is backing up the claim he made to his agent that he'd “have a big French Open” after his early exit in Miami. Based on results so far this looks like it's going to be very close and could potentially go either way.
The match is scheduled second on Lenglen which is apparently slower than Chatrier and I think favours Stan slightly as he's played most of his matches on there; the slowness helps him take huge cuts at the ball which allow him to hit winners off both wings from virtually anywhere in the court. Roger of course leads the H2H 16-2 but both Stan's win have come on clay albeit only ever over the best of three.
Roger showed the blueprint to handle Stan in Rome which was get the advantage by stepping into the court and not giving up ground on the baseline. Roger did a fantastic job in Rome of returning Stan's second serve aggressively by taking the ball up the court and as a result Stan only managed to win 6/18 (33%) of 2nd serve points, Roger on the other hand won 8/13 (62%) en route to a 6-4 6-2 victory.
I think that's probably where the match will be won and lost for Roger – if he can exploit Stan's second serve, stay on the offensive in the majority of exchanges and win a high number of points behind his own second serve then I like his chances. Stan can only hurt Roger if he's the player consistently delivering the first big strike – he doesn't defend as well as some of his contemporaries so if Fed forces the issue I make him the favourite.
The Simon win was hugely impressive, but so was his victory against Nadal in Rome yet he wasn't able to replicate that level against Roger so it will be interesting to see what he brings to the court tomorrow. Will he blaze winners from way behind the baseline and slam down ~75% of first serves? Or will Roger keep him on a leash? Styles make fights and if Roger plays the right brand of tennis then I think he can come through in four sets. May the best Swiss win. Allez!