It appears that Novak Djokovic was not the only top seed to struggle with his opening match at the Western & Southern Open, as the Swiss Roger Federer needed three sets to work his way into a third round encounter with an inspired Gael Monfils. Not only did the Frenchman beat him in their last encounter in 2013, but he is playing well enough to threaten the Swiss star here again on Wednesday afternoon. Check out the Federer vs Monfils Head to Head.
While he closed out the match in dominant fashion, Federer will not be pleased with his performance, as he needed three sets to dispatch Canada’s Vasek Pospisil 7-6, 5-7, 6-2. While the two competitors remained on serve through 23 games, it was Federer’s final service game in the second set that was a sloppy one and he allowed the Canadian to capitalize and convert his only break point opportunity.
“I think we both sort of struggled throughout the match,” Federer said after the match. “Ball flies quite a bit here, historically has always been the case. I tried to make him play as much as I could but when he served well and I served well there weren’t many rallies, and when there were rallies, there wasn’t rhythm. We both struggled.”
Seemingly frustrated with himself, Federer stormed to a 4-1 lead in the final set and only dropped one point on serve before closing out the set 6-2 less than half an hour later. He is now still on track to earn his sixth title in Cincinnati and his 300 Masters 1000 win.
“In the third set I sensed that he was getting a bit tired. He was injured as well last week so maybe he wasn’t in the best of shape right now physically and I was able to take advantage of that and close it out. I’m happy that things finished more positive at the end.”
While Federer had a tough three set battle on his hands, the night match on Stadium Court featured a far more straightforward encounter between Monfils and Roberto Bautista Agut. The Frenchman demolished his Spanish opponent 6-4, 6-1 in less than an hour, hitting 18 winners and winning 81% of his first service points to secure the victory.
This will mark the ninth time these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Federer leading the series 6-2. Monfils has won two of their last three meetings on the tour dating back to 2010 and is in a prime position to pick up another victory over a shaky Federer. The Swiss star did not appear comfortable with the conditions on court and if Monfils plays a strong match he can certainly hand Federer an early loss at the tournament.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets