How did Roger Federer finish 3 sets in only 81 minutes? He flew. Or at least floated/hovered above ground. I have provided photographic evidence so you can see for yourself. The Maestro’s feet was in the air for half the time while he spent the other half running down balls pretending he was 21 years old ;). But before I begin, just wanted to point out that this was the first time Roger wore his night kit and while I am not a fan of the blue shorts with that shirt, the shirt itself, the jacket and those awesome shoes are just perfect! Now that that’s out of the way…
Roger faced Frenchman Adrian Mannarino for the 3rd time in their careers. Roger took the first game to figure out Adrian’s game and then broke him in the next one. Right away though, while consolidating the break, Roger provided the Frenchman a break point. The Maestro quickly saved it and then took the game with some beautiful serving and it was 4-1*. It stayed on serve from then on. Neither man offered any break points but none were needed for Roger as he closed it out 6-3 in 29 minutes.
I thought set 2 would be more of the same but I was wrong. Roger had gauged Adrian’s game, picked up his own first serve % and launched an assault of shots on the hapless 25 year old. There were times when he almost stood back to admire some of the shots flying past him. Roger broke him right away and held to consolidate 2-0*. In Adrian’s next game he offered 3 more break points. He saved the first 2, one with an error from Roger and the second with a sweetly timed drop-shot. But Roger took the 3rd and the score was 3*-0. In addition to serving well Roger returned very well too and raced to a 4-0* lead. Mannarino couldn’t stop the rot as he got broken again winning only 1 point in his own service game. Roger then served out the set to love and handed Adrian a bagel in only 22 minutes. The Frenchman had no winners and 7 unforced errors in this set. Roger played with ridiculous speed and tremendous court coverage and suffocated Adrian leaving him gasping in trying to find his way out of this hole.
Into set 3 and Adrian refocused, found his serve and actually held to get on the board for the first time since the first set. He then bothered Federer in his service game pushing the Swiss to 30 all and deuce before Roger untangled himself and held. Adrian probably jolted FedEx with that game because in Adrian’s next service game it was all Roger, flying everywhere. The Swiss had 3 break points and Adrian could save only 1 before Roger snatched it away with a delicious forehand. Roger then held to love, broke Adrian again and held with ease once more to push the score to 5-1*. As Adrian served to stay in the match he provided Roger with 2 match points but as the match points slipped away even Roger had to smile a little at the collective groan that went around the stadium. The Frenchman somehow held and forced Roger to serve it out. Roger hit a double fault to give one last point to Adrian but then took the game, set and match in only 81 minutes. Here are the stats.Roger’s court coverage was marvellous. He was everywhere all the time flying across the court. His movement and speed caused all sorts of problems for Mannarino who said the following: “He was playing too good for me, that’s for sure. … I was making a lot of mistakes, but that’s because of Roger. He’s playing too fast.” He also played very good return games and came to the net often with success. Again, my only tiny complaint goes back to his serves which were erratic to say the least. He had 8 aces but also 4 double faults. When those first serves went in, he won a staggering 92% of those points, but they only went in 52% of the time. It surprised me that he only won 50% of his second serves because he is usually excellent with those as well. I know it was windy out there but I get the feeling maybe he was trying out a few things too perhaps? We’ll see.
Other than the serve he was near vintage Federer and hopefully that will be enough to overwhelm his next opponent, fellow veteran Tommy Robredo. Tommy, ranked 22 in the world, also has a single handed backhand like Roger but he has never been able to get the better of him with a H2H of 0-10 in favour of the Swiss and Tommy winning only 3 sets in total. But Tommy has nothing to lose and has shown a very good return to form and a ton of grit and experience in going deep in the past few Grand Slams so Roger would be right to be wary of him.
The Round 4 match is in the day session meaning it’s only a few hours away so I’ll stop the post here with a few links and some stats. This was his 913th win from 1,122 matches. It was also his 260th win from 300 Grand Slam matches and 67th US Open win from 75 matches. That 2nd set bagel was his 43rd Grand Slam bagel and 79th in total (excluding Davis Cup). Here are the highlights and the post-match interview. This is the link to his presser, transcript plus video and also the gem of an interview on the Tennis Channel. Hope to see Flyin’ Fed again! Allez!
@TaylorKinmondx for the screen cap!