Hello everyone! We’re back with the 2nd Gland Slam of the year in the red clay of Roland Garros. Roger Federer featured in the 3rd match of the opening day. He was up against the Spanish qualifier, 21 year old Pablo Carreno-Busta, ranked 166 in the world. And let’s take any mystery away right now; Federer won the match in 1 hour 20 minutes, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.
Roger broke Pablo right away in the first game of the first set and then raced away to a 5-0 lead and was about to serve for the set. At that point Pablo found a second wind while Roger’s concentration mysteriously disappeared resulting in his only bad service game where he ended up getting broken. Pablo with his new found confidence, held serve to push up the score to 2-5* before Roger ultimately served it out. Despite getting in 70% of his first serves in Pablo got broken 3 times in that set. The second set started with another break of the Spaniard’s serve. It was more or less the same story as the first set except Roger never faltered. In fact he served brilliantly with 6 aces, 83% of first serves in and winning 87% of those points as well as 100% of his second serve points. It was all too much for the Spanish youngster. Into the third set and Roger started well with breaking Pablo yet again in his first game. However Roger’s first serves in dipped quite a bit to 53% only. But it didn’t matter because Pablo was busy with his own unforced errors and hardly won any points off his serves, much like the rest of the match. Regardless he somehow continued to hold until he was about to serve to stay in the match at 3*-5. Pablo opened the door for a split second and Federer burst through, clinching the win with a searing backhand down the line. The stats are given below: The maestro had the following to say:
I started all three sets well. And was able to get into the lead, and playing from the lead against a player like him is always easier. I put a lot of emphasis on that. Other than that, just focusing on playing my game and not making too many unforced errors but still playing aggressive. I felt it was a good match for me. I knew it could be tricky if I didn’t sustain a certain level of play and aggressiveness and get caught up in long rallies. Overall, I thought I did well on the serve, on the return and general movement as well. Clearly, I’m very pleased.
Pretty straight forward match with not too much energy spent. Roger will next face another qualifier who came through Round 1 today, Indian player Somdev Devvarman, ranked 188 in the world but was once ranked as high as 62. They have met once in Dubai in 2011 where Roger won in straight sets. This should not be that difficult but you never know what can happen in tennis so I shall remain quietly optimistic.
In the meantime, just want to leave you with a few career stats of our champ. With this match he has now made 56 total Grand Slam appearances of which the past 54 have been consecutive; meaning he has not skipped a single slam since the Australian Open in the year 2000, 13.5 years ago! He is tied with his hero Stefan Edberg in this streak and only retired South African player Wayne Ferreira is ahead of him with 56 consecutive Grand Slam appearances. This win was his 897th win in 1,101 matches. It was also his 253rd Grand Slam match win. This is a record he has owned for a while; it’s quite a few matches ahead of Jimmy Connors at #2 with 233 match wins. It was also his 55th match win at the French Open which puts him at 2nd place behind all time great Guillermo Vilas with 58 match wins. Federer is the only player ever to have more than 50 match wins at all four Grand Slams; in fact, other than the French Open he has over 60 match wins in the other three.
Here’s hoping the Maestro can set a few more records in the next 2 (fingers crossed) weeks. For now he gets at least a day off to relax, practice and formulate his plan for Round 2.