Roger Federer's campaign for an 8th title in Basel is off to a flying start as he cruised past Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-3 in 61 minutes. It was Roger's first match at the Swiss Indoors since the final in 2015 but it looked as though he'd never been away as he won all 21 points behind his first serve and didn't face a single break point en route to victory.
His next match will be on Thursday against Benoit Paire who overcame Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6(4). The Swiss leads the head to head 4-0 with his most recent victory coming at this years Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where Federer won 6-1, 6-3.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and after reading Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert last night, elected to receive. The Swiss won the opening point and then a lucky net cord on a retun gave him 0-30. That was soon 15-40 and although Tiafoe saved two break points he couldn't stave off the third as Roger broke for 1-0.
A hold to 30, despite landing zero first serves put the Swiss up 2-0 and Tiafoe was now on the ropes. In game three Roger hit a dream of a stop volley off his shoelaces, peRFect technique to setup 15-30 and he broke again by successfully challenging a stretch volley that landed on the line.
Tiafoe then had to hold off a third break point at 0-4 and although he finally got on the board Roger held to love for 5-1 and broke for the third time in convincing style to take the opener 6-1.
With the American sweating like he'd just played 5 sets in the midday sun he needed a better start to the second set and he was able to keep parity early with some smart body serving. At 2-3, Tiafoe showed some character by saving break point in a lengthy game but after Roger held quickly for 4-3 he piled on the pressure to break for 5-3 and served it out to 15 to move into the second round.
|Roger Federer||Frances Tiafoe|
|1st Serve||53% (21/40)||56% (34/61)|
|1st Serve Points Won||100% (21/21)||62% (21/34)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||58% (11/19)||37% (10/27)|
|Break Points Saved||0% (0/0)||60% (6/10)|
|Service Games Played||8||8|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||38% (13/34)||0% (0/21)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||63% (17/27)||42% (8/19)|
|Break Points Converted||40% (4/10)||0% (0/0)|
|Return Games Played||8||8|
|Net Points Won||73% (8/11)||50% (2/4)|
|Service Points Won||80% (32/40)||51% (31/61)|
|Return Points Won||49% (30/61)||20% (8/40)|
|Return Points Won||61% (62/101)||39% (39/101)|
Thoughts on the Match
So no repeat of the US Open drama here as a fit and free flowing Roger dismantled Tiafoe from the word go. The Swiss got off to the peRFect start with a break in the opening game and considering he's the best front runner of all time it was one way traffic after that.
That one game cushion let him take big cuts at the ball so it was either winner or error which gave Tiafoe no energy or rthythm to feed off. Tiafoe is the kind of guy who needs to hit a few forehands to get himself nicely into points but Roger was just relentless with his aggression and picked off the American's weaker backhand wing to win 62 points to 39. A real mauling and my advice is scroll back up and just enjoy the highlights. Check that stomp stop volley in game three. I tweeted after the point, can anyone else in the top 50 play that shot? Serious question!
Other than that in terms of the stats, they all make decent reading, the winners to unforced errors count are miles apart and despite only landing 53% of first serves, he made them all count, winning 21 of 21 points behind it. A clean kill and what better way to spend an otherwise dull Tuesday evening watching Fed play some timeless tennis 🙂
Predictions vs. Paire
Next up is Paire who defeated Steve Johnson in straight sets. That's a good win for him as he was 2-4 down in the second set but hit back to take it in a tiebreaker. I had a feeling Paire would come through and when his game clicks he can be a handful but he's a.) French b.) a loose cannon and c.) playing Federer at his hometown tournament so I can't see too many problems for Roger here given how he played tonight.
It's unlikely he will play as well as he did against Tiafoe of course but if he serves well and hits his spots I think he'll come through in straight sets. After all, he won comfortably in Dubai against Paire despite not being in the greatest form losing to Donskoy in the next round.
What did you guys think of tonight's performance? And your predictions against Paire? Let me know in the comments.