Roger Federer is through to the 2nd week at Wimbledon! He defeated Giraldo Santiago to get there in 81 minutes, with scores of 6-3, 6-1, 6-3. The Swiss’ performance wasn’t at his previous match’s god-levels of perfection but it was still pretty close and he was never in any danger throughout the match.
Federer started with a hold and quickly followed that up with a break! Up 2*-0, Roger needed to consolidate and he did just that with some fine serving that included an ace. Down 0*-3, Santiago got in trouble again offering the Maestro a break point but he saved it. He was pushed to deuce 2 more times before finally getting on the board, 1-3*. In Roger’s next service game he was up 40-0 before 3 straight errors brought up deuce. But our champ was alert and hit two great serves to hold his serve. He pushed Giraldo in his next service game to deuce but the Colombian held. Roger followed that with a super fast love hold to go up 5-2*. Finally Santiago had a good service game himself as he held rather easily, forcing the Maestro to serve for the set. Roger did just that and took the set 6-3 in 30 minutes. Here are the stats for the set.Santiago started set 2 in the worst possible way by getting broken to love. Roger quickly consolidated with a service game that included 2 aces to go up 2-0*. The Colombia’s troubles continued as he offered Federer two more break points in his second service game. He save the first but couldn’t save the second and the Maestro was up a double break, 3*-0. Roger did nothing wrong in his service game and consolidated the second break of serve easily to go up 4-0*. Santiago finally refocused and got on the board with his next service game but you got the sense it was too little too late for the Colombian to try and save the set. Even though he pushed Roger to 15-30 in the Swiss’ next service game, a forehand winner and two fantastic serves saw Roger go up 5-1*. Serving to stay in the set, Giraldo was pushed to 40-30, then deuce and then a double-fault which gave a set point to the Swiss. An error led to the third break of serve in the set, with Roger taking a breadstick in 22 minutes. Here are the stats.I had a feeling Santiago would put up a last fight in the 3rd set and that’s what happened. Roger got on the board with a love hold followed by a good game from the Colombian to take it to 1-all. Another easy hold for Roger took the score to 2-1*, still on serve. Giraldo got into a bit of trouble in his next game when he double-faulted to give Roger a break point but Roger couldn’t convert and Giraldo held, 2-all. Roger was pushed to 30 all on his serve before serving two amazing serves yet again to hold the game. This set was intense and the pressure on both sides continued as the Swiss pushed Santiago to deuce but yet again, he held and it was 3-all.
Roger’s next service game was the only bad one he had in the entire match. An error from the Swiss and a winner from Giraldo took the score to 15-30 and then a rare double-fault gave Santiago 2 break points. Roger then composed himself and served a huge bomb down the T that the Colombia could barely get to. This was followed by an ace to get the scores to deuce. Another service winner followed by another ace got the Swiss out of that hole to keep holding at 4-3*. Losing those break point opportunities probably made Giraldo lose focus and all of a sudden Roger had a break point. The Colombian got it to deuce but then two errors later, the Maestro had the crucial break and went up 5*-3. By then the writing was on the wall as Roger served a love hold to take the game, set and match. Here are the match stats.Roger served very well indeed and even though his returns were slightly off in the first set, I thought they improved as the match went on. Santiago is obviously a much better returner than Muller was which led to some rallies and thus some unforced errors, 14 to be exact. But Roger still had almost double the number of winners and his net approaches were quite successful with some great volleying off both wings. However, if he starts going deep into the tournament, he might revert back more to the baseline as he will start facing opponents he can’t take too many risks against. I’ve added some links here for you so you can see/hear/read about the match and what he said about it: the post match interview, a highlights clip, the full match (non-English), the presser clip and a full transcript of the presser for your reading pleasure.
Up next is fellow veteran, Tommy Robredo from Spain. Yes, it’s that Tommy, the one who defeated Roger last year at the US Open, in the fourth round as well. Robredo generally does well on clay but he has been playing great grass court tennis the past week and defeating Jerzy Janowicz (who plays very well at Wimbledon) in Round 3, was a very good 5-setter win for him. Unlike the opponents Roger has faced thus far, going 5 sets will not be an issue for Tommy physically or mentally.
I am wary about the Spaniard but let’s keep in mind that this is grass and plus, it’s Roger on grass. The Maestro has been playing well thus far and he will need to continue that form, especially in the serving department to get a few quick points and keep the pressure on Robredo. What I feel is especially important however, is that this is not the same Roger from last year. I think Roger has left that dark period behind him and is looking forward. Besides, if he were to look at history, other than last year, Roger had defeated Robredo 10 times in a row.
Before signing off, here are a few records the Maestro achieved with this win:
- This was his 70th Wimbledon match win
- Roger is now the only player to have 70 (or more) wins at two Grand Slams – 70 wins at Wimbledon and 73 wins at the Australian Open – AND more than 60 wins in the other two, i.e. 67 wins at the US Open and 61 at Roland Garros
- This was his 960th career match win out of 1,182 matches played
- This was his 271st Grand Slam match win
- This was also his 128th win on grass
I will be nervous as usual during the Robredo match; but that’s my default match state so it will be no different than every other match 😉 Due to the rain and matches getting washed out on Saturday, Roger’s Round 4 match will take place on Tuesday instead of Monday. I don’t know the time yet. What I do know however, is no matter when it happens millions of us will be tuning in to cheer him on. Allez Roger! C’mon!!!