Roger Federer won his Round 4 clash vs. Richard Gasquet in only 49 minutes. Now, I just started writing this post but by the time I am done with it and the formatting is complete, I know it will definitely take me longer than 49 minutes to get it done. But that’s just how the Maestro rolls so without further ado, let’s dive in.
Set 1 actually started well for the Frenchman with a quick hold. Federer countered with a good hold of his own and it was 1 all. But without any warning, Richard played a sloppy game and offered the Swiss 2 break points. Roger needed only one as another Gasquet error gave him the early break. But a break isn’t a break until you consolidate and for the first time this tournament we saw Federer struggle a bit on his own serve as he offered Gasquet a break point; Roger’s first in three matches so far. It was also to be the only one he would offer and he quickly recovered with some fantastic serving and held to go up 3-1*. I would have thought that break point opportunity Roger had offered Gasquet might have inspired the Frenchman to continue pushing the Swiss. Instead, some spectacular play from the Swiss including a sublime backhand down the line led to Roger having yet another break point. But this time he didn’t have to do anything to get the break as Gasquet double-faulted and gifted it to him. The Maestro was up 4*-1 and a quick hold to 15 increased that lead to 5-1*. By then Gasquet had all but given up and another double fault ensured a triple break for the Swiss to take the set 6-1 in 23 minutes. Here are the stats.Set 2 started with a love hold by Roger and then a love hold by Richard indicating he was up for a fresh fight in this set. This was followed by holds to 15 for both to take the score to 2 all. Another hold from the Swiss and Gasquet was serving to level the score to 3 all. But out of the blue, Gasquet fumbled while Roger simultaneously raised the bar. The Swiss had 2 break points and took the first one with a forehand winner and led the score 4*-2. This time there was no hesitation in consolidating the break; Roger was at his imperious best and held to love. This left the Frenchman to serve to stay in the match, down 2*-5. There was no fight remaining in Gasquet and some errors and a double fault gave Roger 2 match points. Gasquet saved the first but couldn’t save the second as Roger won the point and the match with a gorgeous, nonchalant, drop-shot. Game, set, match, Federer, 6-1, 6-2 in 49 minutes. Here are the match stats.The stats for Roger are excellent across the board. Good serving with 5 aces, no double-faults, and only one break point faced (and saved). He converted almost all his break points and won most of his net points and had almost double the number of winners to unforced errors. I had expected this contest to be tougher than it was. But Richard played well below par and Roger was brilliant and their opposite day-forms made their differences seem even starker. Here is the post-match presser transcript and a video clip of the post-match interview as well. Oh and a bit of trivia: this was Roger’s 945th career match win out of 1,163 career matches 🙂
Roger plays Kei Nishikori in QFs in less than 7 hours. Their H2H is 1-1, Roger won their first match in Basel, but last year lost to him in Madrid. Looking back, the signs of the brutal year Roger had in 2013 were already beginning to appear in Madrid. But this is a different Roger now and I’m sure Kei knows it. Kei had a brutal battle with Ferrer to reach the QFs but he will have over a day to recover from that match so he should be fine. This will be Roger’s first night match which doesn’t make me particularly happy as the conditions can get even slower at night. What we do know is that Roger won’t underestimate Kei and will hopefully be able to get an early lead and run away with it. In the meantime, it is nice that he only spent 49 minutes on court with Gasquet. Going forward, the journey only gets tougher. Any minute saved on court is an added benefit.