17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will make his debut in Istanbul on Wednesday evening when he takes to the courts for his second round encounter against Jarkko Nieminen. Federer has played Nieminen on 14 previous occasions on the tour and is yet to drop more than a set against him. Check out the Federer vs Nieminen Head to Head.
Following a successful run to the Dubai title and the Indian Wells final, Roger Federer suffered a second round loss to Gael Monfils in Monte Carlo. It was the second time he lost to the Frenchman in such decisive fashion. With that behind him, he will prepare to prepare himself for the French Open.
“The French Open clearly is a big goal of mine, but to play well at the French Open I need confidence and I need to play well, and I hope I can pick that up here in Istanbul and really win a lot of matches, preferably win the tournament,” he said. “That’s why I’m here, at the end of the day is to win this.”
“It’s about getting used to the sliding and just wanting to decide how aggressive I want to play,” he said. “Clearly I play on hard court for 7-8 months like all the other players. It just takes some adjustments. For that, I’m trying to put up as many hours as I can on the clay and I think my game is going to get better and better as we move along.”
While the local crowd wanted to see Federer face Marsel Ilhan in the second round, it will be Jarkko Nieminen who will meet the Swiss star instead. He defeated the Turkish No. 1 in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to secure his spot in the second round.
Dating back to their first encounter in 2002, Federer has compiled a 14-0 h2h record against Nieminen and will likely extend that lead further tomorrow evening. Federer has an impeccable record against the Finish player and holds two clay court wins against him already. Wednesday evening will likely mark his third overall against Nieminen.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets