The top seed is through to the final eight of the tournament, as 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer prepares for an intriguing match-up with local talent Marinko Matosevic. This marks the first ever professional encounter between these two athletes and should make for an entertaining affair.
The world no. 6 began his 2014 season with a relatively swift victory over Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen. Federer dropped a mere six game in the entire match and appeared confident and relaxed early on. The stats in the match tell the tale, as Federer his nine aces and fended off four break point attempts from Nieminen to secure the win in 67 minutes. The Swiss star was also using his new, larger racquet frame, which was a significant shift from a 90″ frame to 98″ frame but he appeared comfortable with the switch as he has had enough time off to prepare with it.
The 32-year-old is clearly motivated to make up for his disappointing season last year as he spent the majority of his off-season in an intense training camp in his home base of Dubai and has made several significant changes to his camp, including hiring Stefan Edberg for a ‘minimum of 10 weeks’ beginning with the Australian Open.
It has been a fantastic week for Matosevic in Brisbane. Two days after winning his first main-draw match at home in 10 attempts in Australia, a three-set victory over Julien Benneteau, Matosevic reached his first quarter-final by defeating American no. 2 Sam Querrey in another three set battle that ended 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-4. The Australian dropped the opening set and although his serve was threatened in the second frame, he managed to force a tiebreak and snatch the set 7-3. Matosevic would jump to a 3-0 lead in the the final set and while Querrey would break back in the seventh game of the set, it was far too late to alter his fate.
Anticipating his first encounter with the former world no. 1, Matosevic admit:”I feel like I’m improving every year and the sky’s the limit.”
Matosevic went from an 0-9 record in main draw contests on home soil, to picking up consecutive victories against tough opposition in his first outings of 2014. While the change is impressive and the improvements obvious, it will still likely not be enough against the 17-time Grand Slam champion. Federer will certainly be the toughest opponent that Matosevic has ever faced and unless the Swiss no. 1 comes in out of form, it will likely end in straight sets, with Federer reaching the semi-finals of his debut event in Brisbane.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets