The Round 2 match was 1 hour 22 minutes of very pretty tennis. Roger Federer defeated 188th ranked Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 and is through to Round 3. And through it all Roger made us ‘ooh’ and ‘ahhhh’ (with a few ‘unfffs’) with his brilliant shot making. The match had everything a complete Federer match has: quick, aggressive points, well within the baseline; that ‘liquid whip’ of a forehand from impossible angles; those beautiful butterfly backhands down the line that kept landing perfectly nestled in the corner; and that gorgeous serve doing what it does best, winning a ton of service points with pinpoint accuracy.
Somdev started the first set by getting broken at love and it was a sign of things to come. Though he ultimately managed to win 2 games, it was the FedExpress all the way. Roger had 17 winners in this set with 13 of them coming off the forehand. His first serve % was 74% and he won 71% of those points and 100% points off his second serve. Somdev did have 2 break point opportunities in the 4th game but he couldn’t convert them. Before he could blink the score raced away to 5-1 till Somdev finally held once more to force Roger to serve for the set, which he did and closed it out in 23 minutes.
The second set started with Somdev holding serve very well and Federer making some errors. Unfortunately that’s as good as it got for him. Roger moved him all over the court and I got the sense he was trying out some high risk shots of his own. The only alarming element was Roger’s first serve which practically disappeared. From 74% in the first set it dropped to just 39% in the second. Either he was trying something new with his serves, or he lost his focus there. It didn’t have any impact on the score-line in this match but hopefully Roger won’t let it dip so quickly against more formidable opponents that are coming his way. Yet despite his serves, he was never broken and converted 3 out of the 8 break point opportunities he received. Roger was quite creative in this set but poor Somdev had to bear the brunt of the Maestro’s genius.
Onto the third set and Roger had no problems racing to a 3-0 lead. Somdev tried his absolute best to hold serve to make the score 1-3 but Federer kept producing winners of both wings and ultimately broke the Indian’s serve to go up 4-0. In the 5th game a moment of hilarity ensued when a VERY late fault call on Roger’s serve rang out in Suzanne Lenglen. Roger burst out laughing, as did the umpire, Somdev and the crowd; and Roger promptly lost that point. After that it was back to business as Roger ensured his service hold to push the set to 5-0. A bagel looked very likely but Somdev served a clean game to get himself on the board. His effort was rewarded with loud applause and he smiled in return. Roger then served it out with minimum fuss to win the set and the match with a sublime backhand down the line. Here are the stats.Federer was swift, creative, elegant and aggressive all at once. He had 33 unforced errors but I think some of them were due to him trying to experiment a bit. Besides, he did have 54 winners (compared to Somdev’s 12) so I think when looking at that error count we should take that into consideration. He next faces Benneteau in Round 3 who we know can give him trouble. But with best of 5 set matches, well, like I said in my last post, I will be quietly optimistic.
With this match win he inched closer to tying the record for most match wins at the French Open; he now has 56 and trails by 2. This was also his 254th Grand Slam match win and his 898th career match win. These days records are broken and new ones are set almost every time he steps on court; what is more amazing is how quite a few of those records he breaks are his own. All in a day’s work for the Maestro.