A milestone victory for Roger here as he record his 50th career win at the BNP Paribas Open with a comprehensive defeat of American Jack Sock 6-3 6-2. This was a much cleaner performance than the match against Seppi and Roger did a top job on serve dropping only 7 points in the entire match, facing zero break points and breaking his opponent 3 times in an encounter that lasted 1 hour and 9 minutes.
The win sees Fed progress into the quarter finals where he'll face Tomas Berdych who defeated fellow countryman Lukas Rosol in 3 sets earlier in the day. It's the first time the two will have met in Indian Wells and it should be an interesting match. Roger has 2 titles to his name already this year and Berdych has 2 finals and 2 semi finals in the 4 events he has played so they are definitely 2 of the form guys so far this year on tour.
Quick Match Recap
Sock won the toss and elected to receive. Roger held to 30 before Sock levelled. At 2-1, we got the longest game of the match which saw Roger miss 2 break point chances and had 9 deuces before Sock finally held.
Roger then held to love to put the pressure straight back on Sock who faltered as Fed broke for 4-2. The break was quickly consolidated for 5-2 and after Sock held his next service game Roger served out the set to love to take it 6-3. A hugely impressive set from Roger who used that extended game to really takes Sock's legs away (he's played 3 x 3 setters and doubles so far this tournament right after hip surgery).
Set 2 was never going to be close and Roger went up a double break quickly to lead 4-0. Aided by back to back double faults from the American in game 3 as the pressure on his serve began to tell. Bakery products were looking a real possibility at this point as Roger had 4 more break points in Sock's next service game but the 22 year old fired down some timely first serves to sneak out the hold for 4-1.
The scoreboard quickly ticked over to 5-2 and Roger had the job of serving it out which he did easily, firing down two aces in a row from 30 all to seal the deal and move into the Quarter Finals.
|J. Sock||R. Federer|
|1st Serve %||53%||67%|
|1st Serve Points Won||24/38 (63%)||25/29 (86%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||14/34 (41%)||11/14 (79%)|
|Break Points Saved||8/11 (73%)||0/0 (0%)|
|Service Games Played||8||9|
|1st Return Points Won||4/29 (14%)||14/38 (37%)|
|2nd Return Points Won||3/14 (21%)||20/34 (59%)|
|Break Points Won||0/0 (0%)||3/11 (27%)|
|Return Games Played||9||8|
|Net Points Won||0/9||13/15|
|Total Service Points Won||38/72 (53%)||36/43 (84%)|
|Total Return Points Won||7/43 (16%)||34/72 (47%)|
|Total Points Won||45/115 (39%)||70/115 (61%)|
Thoughts on the Match
I played a very clean match, I think I served great. I was also actually returning very well. That gave me the opportunity to stay in the match.
Pretty much as I expected this one with Federer showing he is a class above the level Sock can play at. Like I said in my prediction Sock is very similar to Roddick – big serve + forehand but a weak backhand and not the greatest mover. He's too reliant on running around the backhand to really trouble the top guys and Roger was able to exploit that pretty well.
Like Roddick Sock can be dangerous when he gets his forehand into play after a decent serve but Fed neutralises that type of play nicely with some good returns and his own forehand which he hit very well all night, especially cross court which dragged Sock into the tramlines numerous times and got him out of position. I think Sock's legs went pretty early too after the 10 minute game and he's played three 3 setters on the bounce this week as well as doubles with Pospisil; that's a lot of tennis in his first tournament back post injury so clearly didn't help his cause. When you play against Roger you need to be right on the money physically to even compete never mind cross the finishing line as the winner.
From Fed's side it was definitely a cleaner match than the one against Seppi, perhaps the day conditions are more conducive to higher quality play but he served exceptionally well, was solid off the ground and returned very well too despite the conditions been pretty windy. Looked to me like he knew going in he had the measure of Sock and if he committed to playing the aggressive brand of tennis that has worked so well for him over the years then there would only ever be one outcome. Good stuff.
Predictions vs. Berdych
Next up is old adversary Tomas Berdych who defeated Lukas Rosol in three sets. Looked to be a fairly close match until Rosol dropped serve at 4-5 in the decider, bit of mental weakness there from him by the looks of things as he had chances in the set to break but Berdych has been in decent form this year making the latter stages at most events he's played at.
The Head to Head is 12-6 in favour of Federer but Berdych is definitely capable of causing problems and has scored 2 big wins against him Slams in the last 4 years. When Berdych goes up against Nadal and Djokovic he loses before he gets on court but with Fed he always seems to come in with the confidence of knowing he can cause Fed problems with his heavy hitting. It's just a much more suitable matchup for him as they both like to play attacking and hug the baseline.
Roger hasn't played Berdych since last years Dubai final where he won in 3 sets and I think his level has been on the up curve since that match as the new racquet has become way more familiar so I fancy his chances of getting it done. If he can prevent Berdych from getting on the front foot then it should be a 2 close sets. This court in Indian Wells definitely responds well to spin and slice when used which Roger has in abundance so I think he can mix it up to really throw Berdych out of sync. 7-5 6-4 for me.
What do you guys think?