Following a less-than-stellar week in Madrid, 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer will look to reverse his recent misfortunes and complete his French Open warm-up in successful fashion. He will begin his 2015 Rome Masters 1000 event campaign against Pablo Cuevas, whom he met in the final of the Istanbul final just two weeks ago. This is just the second time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, with Federer leading the head-to-head series 1-0.
Just days after he won his 85th title on the tour, the former four-time champion in Madrid suffered a tight three-set loss to rising Aussie star Nick Kyrgios. In what turned out to be an enthralling encounter on the tour, Kyrgios was able to save several match points to eventually snatch the deciding points in the third set tiebreak. He won the contest 6-7(2), 7-6(5), 7-6(12).
Although Federer was far from his worst, he admitted that he was simply unable to return Nick’s monster first serves.
“My problem was I couldn’t return his first serve,” said Federer, who won 18 of 85 first serve return points. [It] was just a horrible performance on the return. “As the match went on it got so bad that I just couldn’t get into decent positions on the return, so it made it very difficult to get any sort of rhythm after that.”
Federer will next come up against Pablo Cuevas, who secured his spot in the second round of the tournament with a straight sets win against Paolo Lorenzi. He struck five aces, won 81% of his first service points and faced no break points en route to the 6-3, 6-2 win in one hour and 17 minutes.
This is the second t time that these two competitors will meet on the professional tour, yet it is still one that will likely favour the vastly more experienced Federer. He was able to deny Cuevas a fourth ATP World Tour title by handing him his first defeat in a tournament final and will be keen to add to that en route to the third round in Rome.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Straight Sets