After meeting for the first time in the 2011 Australian Open, World No. 4 Roger Federer and Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko will cross paths once again, this time in the opening round of the French Open. Federer won their only other encounter in Melbourne and will be looking to duplicate his efforts in Paris.
Federer suffered his earliest exit from a Masters 1000 event in four years, when he lost his opening round match-up at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia to Jeremy Chardy.
The Swiss star appeared to be off to a sizzling start in Rome, as he led Jeremy Chardy 6-1 in the opening set and was looking to storm through the remainder of the contest. That was simply not the case, as Chardy tightened up his game and began to produce far fewer errors, while Federer’s seemed to be increasing gradually. The remainder of the contest would be a highly competitive one but it would ultimately come down to a couple of points in a tiebreak which separated the victor from the loser.
“Playing well in Monaco [in April] was helpful in the sense that when I went to training I knew what I needed to work on,” said Federer. “I feel like I’m in good shape. I feel very strong. After Rome, it was more just staying in the rhythm and relaxing again before Paris, Halle and Wimbledon. It’s an important stretch now for me, and I don’t want to come into this tournament uninspired or tired… For me it’s really about being fresh mentally more than anything at this point.”
26-year-old Lukas Lacko is 6-8 on the ATP World Tour this season and has not taken part in anything other than Challengers events since his second round loss at the Sony Open. It also marked his best performance of the season to date on the main tour.
In their only other meeting on the professional tour, Federer lost a mere 5 games in their three set encounter, and while this contest will take place on clay, it is unlikely that Lacko will manage many more games than that.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets