Two-time Sony Open champion Roger Federer is through to the third round in Miami, where he will meet Dutchman Thiemo De Bakker for the third time on the professional tour. The former world No. 1 is up 2-0 in the head-to-head series, with victories in Rotterdam last year and the Davis Cup in 2012.
Federer played some marvellous tennis in his Miami opener on Friday afternoon, outpointing towering Croat Ivo Karlovic for the majority of the contest to win 6-4, 7-6(4). The first set lasted 29 minutes, with Federer losing only one point on serve. While the second set was nearly twice as long and slightly more competitive, Federer maintained his service clinic to once again lose only one point on his serve until the tiebreaker.
“I quite like it,” said Federer. “It’s just uncomfortable at times when it comes to the crunch of the sets and you know this is probably your only chance in the set [to see a break point]. So it can be quite difficult or overwhelming. But if you’re in the right mindset mentally, it can also be enjoyable. That’s how I approach the match, anyway.”
World No. 162 Thiemo De Bakker surprised many fans and pundits when he upset Spain’s Fernando Verdasco 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 6-2 to reach the third round in Miami. Prior to that, he defeated Viktor Hanescu in straight sets, making this his best showing so far this season. Prior to arriving in Miami, de Bakker was 0-3 on the ATP World Tour and had only managed to qualify for Dubai and Rotterdam. His match-up against Federer marks his first against a Top 5 opponent this season.
This is the third time that Federer and de Bakker meet in professional competition. While one of those encounters took place in a Davis Cup tie on clay, Federer holds an even more recent victory over the Dutchman at the 2013 Rotterdam Open. If the current No. 5 continues to perform at his current standard, this will be a thoroughly one-sided encounter.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets