Roger Federer is through to the Third Round in Melbourne after he dispatched Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 6-4 7-6 (7/4) under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.
The Swiss, playing his 350th night match in a row in Melbourne, broke once in each of the first two sets to look untroubled to take a two set let. However, a late rally from the 55th Ranked German saw him come within a whisker of a 4-1 lead in the third, only for Roger to regain the initiative to break back and take the tie-break, winning through in one hour and 55 minutes. He will face Richard Gasquet in the last 32 who defeated Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to receive. Struff started confidently with some 200km/h+ serves which saw him hold for 1-0. Roger levelled to 15 and in game five he produced a sweet forehand pass at 30-40 to break for 3-2. That was consolidated to love and Roger took the set 6-4 without facing breakpoint.
Into set two and Struff again started confidently to hold for 1-0. In game three the German then produced some quality shots to hold for 2-1 from 15-40 down, playing one of the rallies of the tournament so far to make deuce and leave Roger with a wry smile on his face. Roger's next chance to break came in game seven and this time he was up to the task, threading a backhand pass up the line to break for 4-3 and rolling through his next two service games to take it 6-4.
A sixty-three-second hold in his opening service game gave the impression Fed would be soon off the court but Struff had other ideas; saving three break points at 1-1 and then breaking Roger's serve for the first time in the match to lead 3-1. The German came within a whisker of consolidating for 4-1 holding a game point but Fed was able to hit straight back and save another break point on his own serve to level at three games all.
After a ragged couple of games, Fed got back to business in game eleven to hold two break points but couldn't convert as Struff held for 6-5. Three aces in a row then helped Roger level in 54 seconds the set went into a tie-break.
The Swiss had won their only previous breaker back in Halle two years ago and it started poorly for Struff who double-faulted on the opening point. A poor forehand miss from Fed handed it straight back but Struff wasn't able to capitalise, dumping a routine volley into the net for 1-3 and after he sent a forehand wide at 3-5 Roger converted his second match point to take it 7-4.
|J. STRUFF||R. FEDERER|
|First Serve % in||50%||58%|
|Win % on 1st Serve||76% (41/54)||83% (44/53)|
|Win % on 2nd Serve||51% (27/53)||67% (26/39)|
|Break Points Won %||33% (1/3)||27% (3/11)|
|Net Points Won %||58% (30/52)||80% (16/20)|
|Total Points Won||90||109|
*Successful SABR attempt at 0-40 game nine, set two but made off a let serve.
Thoughts on the Match
I’ve practiced with him, played doubles against him and singles too … you know he can serve 215, 220 (kilometres an hour) no problem for five hours, I guess. So that’s what you are ready for. I knew he was going to go for his shots, so it’s a question of me focusing on my own serve, protecting that as well as I can, and try to somehow get a break by good defence, or maybe he helps me out a little bit. And I think it was a little bit of both.
A decent performance here from Fed and he was solid enough for the most part. The first two sets were pretty much flawless as he broke decisively in each of them and was never in any trouble behind his own serve. The third got a little ragged in parts and he was fortunate that Struff missed a few first serves and gave away some key points that would have seen it go to a fourth set. But to his credit Fed made enough balls, soaked up plenty pressure from the baseline and took care of his own service games after getting back on level terms midway through the set.
Overall I'd say he's playing pretty well. Movement wise not quite tip-top and I get the feeling he hasn't figured out quite how he wants to play yet but he's faced two guys with not much to lose and has come through unscathed.
As for Struff he played some big hitting tennis, he's got a huge first serve when it lands and he showed a lot of attacking intent which forced Fed into more of a defensive gameplan. Plenty serving and volleying which was good to see and his go for broke gameplan nearly bagged him a set. Top 50 awaits for him if he keeps up his recent form.
Predictions vs. Gasquet
Next up is Gasquet who had a very comfortable win against Lorenzo Songego in straight sets. I only caught the highlights but Gasquet looked to be in form, playing aggressively and mixing it up nicely with some drop shots. His opponent is only 204 the world so you expect things to be routine but he didn't drop serve in the match which is unusual for him and should be a confidence boost ahead of the third round.
Roger obviously dominates the H2H 16-2 but Gasquet played well against him in Shanghai and I think he will get a set on Saturday if he plays the attacking style we saw during that Asian swing.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments.