In yet another night match, dressed in black, Roger Federer defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to reach the QFs of the US Open. It took a bit of time for Roger to figure out Roberto’s game, especially given the windy conditions. Roger initially had a tough hold to get on the board but then broke Roberto quickly in just the third game to go up 2*-1. Then the Maestro held, broke and held again to quickly go up 5-1*. Roberto had to serve to stay in the set but almost gave it away when Roger had a set point. He saved it and held which must have given him some confidence because wouldn’t you know it, when Roger stepped up to serve for the set, Roberto suddenly had break points. Roger was able to save 2 but not the 3rd as Roberto got one of his two breaks back. The Spaniard then held his own service game to push the score to 4-5* and Roger had to serve for the set a second time. This time however the Swiss made no mistakes and took the set 6-4 in 43 minutes.
Set 2 started off with Roberto still feeling quite confident due to his surge in momentum towards the end of set 1. He got on the board with an easy service hold to 15. Roger countered that with a love hold of his own to level the score at 1 all. Roberto couldn’t sustain his level though and was again broken in the third game of the set. Roger consolidated the break with another love hold to go up 3-1*. Bautista Agut held with some difficulty and saved a break point to keep the score to just one break down. But then, the Swiss got into a bit of trouble on his own serve, also facing and saving a break point before he finally held to go up 4-2*. Both players held their next games and soon it was time for Roberto to serve to stay in the set at 3*-5. The pressure got to him and he provided Roger 3 set points. He saved the first one but then double-faulted to gift the set to the Swiss, 6-3 in 34 minutes.
Two sets to love down and you would think that Bautista Agut would be feeling the pressure. Instead, Roger lost his concentration and almost got broken at the start of the third set but steadied the ship with some good serves to get the hold. Roberto on the other hand held quite comfortably indeed to get the scores level at 1 all. In the next game Roger struggled to get his first serves in but held nonetheless to go up 2-1*. And then, just like the previous sets, Roger went up a gear and put immense pressure on the Spaniard as he tried to hold to level to 2 all. Some brilliant net play led to Roger having two break points but needing only one as the Swiss broke Roberto right when he wanted to and went into the lead at 3*-2.
It wasn’t all easy for Roger however, he had great difficulty consolidating the break in his own service game which had 4 deuces, one break point and a double fault but ultimately the Maestro held to go up 4-2*. In the next game Bautista Agut had a much easier hold but was still a break down at 3-4*. Meanwhile Federer continued to struggle with his first serves but was never in any real danger as he served to go up 5-2*. Roberto was left to serve to stay in the match. It was an intense game with Roberto saving the first match point. Unfortunately for him he couldn’t save the second and Roger took the set, 6-2 in 39 minutes.
Here is the link for the press conference interview and transcript. Here is the link to the ESPN post match interview which is a MUST-watch and of course, here are the match stats.Despite the straight sets win Roger had some trouble with his performance. His first serves went missing in patches and he double faulted 5 times which is a bit high considering the match was only 3 sets. The conditions were windy however so perhaps that had an impact. He was also facing a brand-new and in-form opponent so that probably needed some adjustment on his part I’m sure. What did work well were his net points; he came to the net no less than 52 times and won 35 of those points. He also returned quite well, he never let his unforced errors count go above his winners and his movement has been sublime throughout the whole tournament actually. Pretty good day of work and more importantly he saved energy by keeping it to a straight sets win.
Speaking of energy, his next opponent has tremendous amount of energy… provided he’s in the mood for it. Roger will face Frenchman Gael Monfils in the QFs and if you remember, these two faced off very recently in Cincinnati only 3 weeks ago. It was a fast and furious match full of creative shot-making and momentum swings to keep us on the edge of our seats till the very last point. The good news is that memory is still fresh in Roger’s mind so hopefully he knows exactly what game plan will work as opposed to his R4 match with Roberto, a player he had never played before.
Roger’s H2H with Monfils is 7-2 but that really means nothing because Monfils is highly unpredictable. He won his R4 match in straight sets but at times looked so annoyed and angry that you could have been forgiven for thinking he was down 0-5* in the 5th. I am quite worried about this match and at this point, I just need to get it over with. Gael loves the big stage but I’m hoping maybe that will be his downfall. And besides, Arthur Ashe at night is Darth Federer’s domain. As long as Gael remembers he’s the guest, I will be fine 😉
The match will be held at 8pm local time so get ready for another sleepless night. However, before you go off, let us pause to take a step back and be in awe of some records our Maestro set with this R4 match win.
- This was Roger’s 1,200th career match!
- This was Roger’s 71st US Open match win, tying him with Sampras for 4th place in the all-time list.
- This was his 25th night match win at the US Open.
- He has now reached his 43rd Grand Slam QF; he extended his own all-time record with this one.
- He has now tied Agassi with most number of hardcourt match wins with 598 wins on this surface.
- Roberto Bautista Agut was the 290th player Roger has faced in his career.
Hoping for a drama free win Roger! Allez!