Roger Federer kicked off his 60th consecutive Grand Slam campaign with a Round 1 win over Matosevic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(7-4). The match was tougher than it should have been even though Roger looked to be in control for most of the 2 hours and 6 minutes it took for him to emerge as the winner.
Marinko did well for parts of the match except at crucial points where Roger broke him in each set. In the third set, right after he got broken however, Roger lost his concentration and Marinko broke him back immediately to get to 4 all. It was the only time in the match Roger was broken. The Swiss was then understandably annoyed and held to love two subsequent games. But Marinko held on as well, leading to a tie-break. In the tie-break, Roger got a mini-break, then gave it back and then got it back again before serving it out.
Roger did very well with his serves. He hit 10 aces, got 69%of his first serves in and won 88% of those points. He also won 22 of the 30 times he went to the net. Matosevic did a lot of serving and volleying which in-turn allowed Roger to hit some fabulous passing shots. The Maestro returned very nicely throughout the match with his backhand being particularly lethal. What he didn’t do as well was on breakpoints, which we Fed fans are now quite used to. He converted 3 out of 14 opportunities. He also had quite a few unforced errors – it seemed like he hit the most difficult shots only to follow them up with missed easy ones. Here are the match stats:It wasn’t the smoothest or cleanest of matches. But I do feel there were several factors at play for that. This was his first match which can always cause some wobbles, getting used to playing matches again. It was quite windy too at times. Then there was also MJ – as in Michael Jordan, our champ’s childhood hero. Nike had gotten these two superstars together to develop a new shoe for Roger which the Maestro debuted on court that evening. You could clearly tell Roger was showing off a bit at certain points in the match for his idol including a failed smash (awwww) and this unnecessary-but-oh-so-awesome tweener. In the post-match on-court interview he was quite flustered and dare I say, blushing(!) when asked about MJ. In fact he was lost for words for a few seconds before replying how wonderful it was to have Michael Jordan visit the world of tennis. The last time Roger was at a loss for words was when he played vs. Rod Laver in the RF & Friends night at the Australian Open so you know that’s how much MJ being there affected him 🙂 Here’s a bonus clip of what the great MJ said about our champ and also a link to the press conference transcript and video.
Overall it was a good night. We got to see his divine US Open night kit – Darth Federer is back! Nike did a good job with it though I DO wish the shorts were the same shade of black as the shirt. Plus, don’t hate me but I would rather he wear his black shoes and socks than the Jordan shoes. As for the match itself, it was intense but I think that will only help him be match-tough, especially for his next opponent, Sam Groth who also serves and volleys quite a bit similar to Matosevic. Groth has the fastest serve on record which is pretty scary indeed, especially given that Roger has never played him before. It will be another night match though so maybe that will help the Swiss if it can make those serves slower even by the tiniest bit.
The match is scheduled to start at 7pm NYC time. But before I go, here are some records our champ achieved with this first round win.
- He has now participated in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam which is of course a record.
- He has now participated in his 62nd Grand Slam in total, sharing 2nd place with Lleyton Hewitt. They have both overtaken Andre Agassi with 61 Grand Slams and are only behind Fabrice Santoro with 70.
- This was Roger’s 275th Grand Slam match win.
- This was Roger’s 68th US Open match win and his 23rd US Open night match win out of 24 night matches.
- This was also his 1,197th career match and 973rd career match win.
- This was his 50th match win this year. He’s 50-9 in the win-loss ratio thus far this year.
Less than 10 hours to go, here’s hoping we get a win! Allez Roger!
***Photos and stats from the usopen.com site***