A winning start on the grass of SW19 for the Fed-meister as he defeated Guido Pello 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 6-3 to move into the second round. Not as routine a win as many predicted but the Swiss didn't face a single break point and found the right plays when he needed them in the tie breaks to come through unscathed.
The win sees him setup a tie with British qualifier Marcus Willis, who won his first ever tour level match in defeating Ricardis Bernakis in straight sets earlier in the day.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve holding to 15 for a 1-0 lead. Pella matched it to level and both players rolled through their next few service games with neither winning more than a single point on the return. At 4-3 Roger fashioned the first 2 break points of the encounter but Pella held and the set soon resulted in a tie break.
Roger didn't play great tie breaks in Halle but here he moved up an early mini break to open up a 6-2 lead. Pella won 3 straight points to get back to 6-5 but a forehand winner closed out the first set for the Swiss.
The start of set 2 saw Pella under immediate pressure, having to save 4 break points in a mammoth opening service game which he went onto hold. Roger held to love and was completely untroubled on serve as he rolled through his service games. In game 9 Fed had two more break points which went begging and 3 games later the sent went to another tie break. Like the first set breaker Pella slipped down an early mini break and Roger hit a stunning backhand pass to move up 4-0 before taking it 7-3.
With the light fading it was important Roger made short work of the third and his serve continued to work well for him firing down a love holds in game 5 and 7 before finally breaking serve to lead 5-3. No issues serving it out either as he did so in style to love with an Ace down the T on match point.
|Match Statistics||R. Federer||G. Pella|
|First Serve % In||60/94||75/119|
|Win % On 1st Serve||53/60||50/75|
|Win % On 2nd Serve||23/34||27/44|
|Net Points Won||34/42||13/22|
|Break Points Won||1/9||0/0|
|Receiving Points Won||42/119||18/94|
|Total Points Won||118||95|
|Distance Covered (M)||1974.3||1809.8|
|Distance Covered/pt. (M)||9.3||8.5|
Thoughts on the Match
Decent enough performance here from Roger to get his tournament underway. I was surprised at how close a match it was but that was down to Roger looking short of confidence early on and Pella playing solidly from the back of the court. The Argentine's forehand proved a dangerous shot which helped him force 2 tie breaks and keep the match close for 2 and a half sets. In fact there were no breaks of serve until the 8th game of set 3 which was disappointing from Federer's point of view. Pella has a relatively weak serve but the Swiss returned at a similar level to his last few outings on grass i.e. poorly and was a bit passive during the baseline exchanges when he had half chances. I think it probably boils down to confidence and an air of uncertainty as to where his game is at. Coupled with the fact he's probably putting more pressure on the return / breaks points as it's clearly been an issue in recent matches which he's aware of.
The one pleasing aspect and highlight of the match were the run of games from 3-3 in the third set. Fed put in 3 really high quality games and looked like he was back in the flow of things. So all in all a good day at the office and perhaps 2 hours of court time was just what he needed to get a feel for his game, body and mindset ahead of what is hopefully a run into the second week. Still question marks over his physical condition of course but the foot speeds looked good today and his serve was fairly potent so you can't ask for too much more.
Predictions vs. Willis
Next up is qualifier Marcus Willis who pulled off a big upset to defeat Berankis in straight sets. Willis is 772 odd in the world and was on the verge of giving up tennis but his girlfriend gave him a pep talk which seems to have worked. I watched most of the match and Willis was impressive, he has a wide range of shot and plays a little out of the ordinary which Berankis struggled to deal with. The Partisan crowd certainly helped too but it's good to see a Brit come through pre qualifying and qualifying then win a main draw match rather than rely on a wildcard and bomb out in round 1 like most of them do.
Naturally Fed is the big favourite and I'll pick him to come through in straights, the Swiss usually handles junk baller type players pretty well and as long as he can return the lefty serve well enough it should be routine.
What did you guys make of the match? Let me know in the comments.