Roger Federer looks to continue his great 2017 on Saturday when he takes on one of the top young players on tour in Frances Tiafoe. The American will move back into the top 100 after this tournament but will likely go no further having to face the form player on the tour right now.
Federer was outstanding at Indian Wells, winning all of his 5 matches in straight sets. Much of this was down to being nearly unbreakable on serve. He faced just 1 break point on his way to the final and was broken just once in the entire tournament in over 40 service games. That would be by Stanislas Wawrinka in the final although Federer soon erased that deficit in the second set to secure a 6-4 7-5 win and his second title of the year.
While highly talented, Tiafoe’s inconsistency has been his main problem on his early years on the tour like many young players. Challengers aided his rise up the rankings with several finals in the second half of the year pushing him into the top 100 for the first time in his career. He showcased his potential on a bigger stage at the US Open, pushing John Isner to five sets in the opening round last year and could well have won having held a 2 set lead. Tiafoe does not have a match against a top 10 player to his name as yet but his performance against someone who often plays at a top 10 level in Juan Martin Del Potro will give him some heart that he can keep it competitive. That match in Acapulco went to a final set tiebreak that the Argentinian went on to win.
Meeting the top players on court is nearly always a big deal for the next generation and there is no exception for Tiafoe. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to play. Seeing the draw was partly probably why being up a set and 4- 1 I started rushing and thinking, Oh, my God, I’m going to play Roger.” he said.
Prediction – Roger Federer in straight sets