It was just one of those days for Roger Federer. You know, those days; when Federer is untouchable. Throughout his career the Maestro has had plenty of those days and it’s safe to say most of them came on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. And so it was yesterday evening, when you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a match circa 2005-2007. Now you don’t need to burst my bubble by reminding me of the actual year, I know what year it is. I know how things have been for our champ but that’s what makes this performance that much sweeter. It was wonderful to watch from start to finish — unless you were Gilles Muller of course 😉 I could’ve sworn there was a little something extra in Roger. There was an aura of utter confidence and sheer dominance and I really feel bad for those who weren’t able to see the match. Even if you were only following scores I feel sorry for you. You missed out on a special brand of Federer Swag.
The first set was over in just 23 minutes. Roger’s serve was imperious from the start. He broke Muller in the 5th game of the set to go up 4*-2, taking the break at the first opportunity and then held quickly to consolidate to go up 5-3*. Serving to stay in the set, Muller went down 15-40 to give Roger 2 set points. He saved the first one with an ace but an error in the second point gave our champ the set. Here are the stats. Roger served 6 aces, won 100% of his first serve points, 100% of his net points and committed only 1 unforced error.The second set was very tight indeed and it came down to a serving contest. Both players won many points off their serves but the Maestro was frankly playing at a whole other level. Roger had 3 holds to 15 and 3 holds to love. Muller had a couple of love holds as well but was pushed a bit more by the Swiss. At 4-3* with Muller to serve, it started to rain leading to the players to go off-court while they closed the roof. Once they were back, the story didn’t change however as Roger continued his onslaught indoors. At 5 all, Roger served one of his love holds and it was up to Muller to take it to a tie-break. He was nearly there but at 40-15, a short rally led to an error from Gilles. The following point played out similarly and it was now deuce. The next point gave us one of the most vicious cross-court backhands I have seen Roger hit as it went past Muller like a bullet with intent to kill. At set-point for Roger, Muller netted a forehand and boom! The Swiss took the second set 7-5 in 39 minutes. Here are the stats. Roger served 10(!) aces in this set. He had 3 unforced errors but 17 winners too.Onto the third set and I *think* Roger might have served 4 aces in a row for the love hold to get on the board. It was such a blur that I don’t remember if I miscounted! Serving to go up to 1 all, Muller offered Roger a break point but saved it and held. At 1-all, Roger took a rare tumble at the net but he seemed to be ok after it and held his serve. In his next game Gilles was in trouble again, getting pushed to deuce 3 times before giving Roger a break point. Roger however had to do nothing as Muller double-faulted, giving the Maestro the break. Serving to consolidate, Roger was pushed by Muller to 40-30 but Roger held to go up 4-1*. Both players held their next three games without facing any break points and soon it was time for Roger to serve for the match. 2 aces, a service winner and a Muller error gave Roger game, set, match in 94 minutes. Here are the match stats.Muller was poor in his returns but that doesn’t take away anything from the fact that Roger served very well indeed with 25 aces and winning 91% of his first serve points. Roger was also good with break points and played well at the net today too. He hit 44 winners and committed only 5 unforced errors. It was magic from start to finish and I never stopped smiling 😀 I know the next match will be probably be different but for the moment, more than 24 hours later, I am still happy from having seen Vintage Federer once again.
Up next is the Colombian player Santiago Giraldo. He is 26 years old and ranked 35 in the world. He won a 2-day 5-setter to get to the 3rd round. He has played Roger only once way back at the US Open in 2011 which he lost in straight sets. He has primarily had his best results on clay but has played well at this Wimbledon thus far. The match will be the last match on Centre Court. Here is the Order of Play.
Before I end the post, here’s the clip of his presser which was enlightening as usual, and a very short highlights clip that doesn’t do justice to the match at all. If you can find the match somewhere, please watch it! 94 minutes of PeRFection! 😀 Allez Roger!