Hugely impressing serving display from Federer here as he out aced Gilles Muller 6-3 7-5 6-3 to make swift progress into the Third Round. Going into this one it was the Muller serve that was expected to force the issue but Roger hit precision serves from the word go, only dropping 9 points on it throughout the whole match, firing 25 aces and putting 77% of first serves in play to run away with it in 1 hour and 34 minutes.
A serving master class really and he looked in great shape throughout despite having to cope with a short rain delay and the roof coming on. It was a much better returning day too against a 6ft 4″ lefty which is again a good sign for later in the tournament should he continue to progress through the rounds.
Quick Match Recap
Muller kicked this one off with a double fault but held to lead 1-0 and make a somewhat confident start. Not to be outdone Roger then stepped up to the line and fired down what was to be the first of many love holds to level.
At 2 all Fed then had his first break point chance which he converted at the first attempt before holding to take a 4-2 lead.
4-2 was soon 5-3 and the Swiss converted another break point to take the set 6-3. Dropping just one point on serve and serving at 71%. Impressive stuff.
The Luxembourgian started the second set confidently with some big first serves and Roger was unable to get a racquet on them. Muller's first serve was always going to be key if he was to make an impression and he reeled off consecutive love holds to level at 3 all.
With Federer leading 4-3 the heavens opened and that meant a brief rain delay. The Wimbledon Committee decided to put the roof on almost instantly and 30 minutes later and the players returned to court. Indoor conditions favour Federer but it also makes it easier for big servers like Muller as there are no elements at play so really it was an even trade off. Fed lost a little momentum but the rain didn't really come at a critical juncture in the match so neither player really benefited or lost out a great deal.
When play resumed Muller held comfortably and the score was soon 5 all. But then at 6-5 Roger finally made the breakthrough, hitting a sweet backhand cross court to setup set point. Here a Muller approach shot was called wide but Federer hit a delicious lob that landed flush on the line which would have been a clean winner. Muller of course challenged and the ball was in. The point was replayed which was unfortunate for Roger but a short return drew the error from Muller and he was 2 sets to the good.
Into the third set and there was zero chance Muller was coming back from a 2 set deficit. In fact the only drama in this set was when Roger slipped over badly at 1-1. It looked nasty but he was soon back up and there didn't appear to be any ill effects as he broke in the very next game to lead 3-1.
More imperious serving followed and Fed served it out to love 6-3 in the third. Clinical on serve, better on the return and disposes of a solid grass courter in straights. Allez!
|Gilles Muller (LUX)||Roger Federer (SUI)|
|1st serves in||62 of 92 = 67 %||53 of 69 = 77 %|
|1st serve points won||46 of 62 = 74 %||48 of 53 = 91 %|
|2nd serve points won||11 of 30 = 37 %||12 of 16 = 75 %|
|Fastest serve||125 MPH||127 MPH|
|Average 1st serve speed||112 MPH||113 MPH|
|Average 2nd serve speed||97 MPH||97 MPH|
|Net points won||21 of 38 = 55 %||7 of 9 = 78 %|
|Break points won||0 of 0 = 0 %||4 of 6 = 67 %|
|Receiving points won||9 of 69 = 13 %||35 of 92 = 38 %|
|Total points won||66||95|
Thoughts on the Match
An impressive victory here. Not one for the fans who want to see extended rallies as it really boiled down to who could serve better. The answer here was Federer who had great rhythm serving 25 aces in a 3 set match which is top drawer serving.
He never gave his opponent a chance to break serve and that translated to more pressure on Muller's own service games, a couple of double faults at key moments showed the pressure was too much for him to handle.
As you can see above all the stats make good reading and I thought Roger did a good job on the return today too. Muller served and volleyed a fair bit but Fed put in some tricky low returns right at his feet which drew the immediate error or left him with an easy passing shot.
Obviously there's no real way to assess how Fed can handle the extended rallies on grass yet as this one was all about short points. But those matches are in the pipeline and every match is different so it's all about beating what's in front of you. No drama today and I think when you see Fed serve like this you have to fancy his chances on grass even at age 32. Once he gets into a lead and can pick off all 4 corners of the service box he's hard to stop.
Predictions vs. Granollers / Giraldo
Next up is either Marcel Granollers or Santiago Granollers who are locked in a fifth set battle which resumes later today. Roger has a winning record against both those guys and neither of them have a good record on grass.
In fact both of them are far more suited to clay and whoever wins will have their best ever showing at SW19. I'll pick Granollers to go through as he can be pretty gritty in matches but it will be close.
Either way Fed should dispose of either of them comfortably. It will be a very different match to the Muller one and we'll probably see some longer rallies as both guys like to stay back. Giraldo is the more attacking of the two whereas Granollers is more consistent. There's probably a small physical advantage for Fed too seen as though their match is a 5 setter spanning over 2 days which means they won't have a days rest.
Fed in 3. 6-2 6-4 6-2.