1st Set Federer 6-1
“Sublime Federer too hot to handle for Simon.”
Federer, the17-time Grand Slam champion bidding to reach his 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final, looked in great touch with some incredible free flowing tennis in the first set. The Swiss continually put pressure on Simon with his aggressive style of play and letting him settle and play his natural game. Simon had to up his game and had to strike the ball harder to stay in pace with vicious forehand. Fed got the first beak point @ 1-1 and was able to break on account of the Frenchman double fault to take a 2-1 lead. Simon started to hit with more confidence and adapted to more aggressive style but was broken again on the very next service game. Federer consolidated the lead and wrapped up the set in a very comfortable fashion 6-1. Overall, the Swiss showed the French crowd a great mix of shot making with the occasional drop shot thrown in. Federer 1st serve % was 72% and his ground strokes were a lot more penetrating, the stats can only confirm this statement – 11 winners as against Simon’s 4.
2ndSet: Simon 6-4
“Simon Fights back to take Federer head on. Simon grows in confidence with some great shot making with great accuracy.”
Federer came out attacking Simon’s serve at the start of the second set. The Frenchman survived the initial barrage and clawed his way back into the game with some tight service holds. Lack of concentration on Federer @ 1-1 saw Simon going up 0-30 on the Swiss’ serve. As more often than not Federer came back with some strong first serves, winning the next four points to eventually hold the serve for a 2-1 lead. The 2009 Roland Garros champion continued to dominate when serving and managed to exhibit some pressure on his opponent in the 6th game. At 3 games all, Simon went up 30-0 and threatened to break Roger for the first time in the set. Despite the Fedex coming back strongly with some big serves and forehand combinations, he commits a few uncharacteristic unforced errors to drop his serve for the first time in the match. This 7th game turned out to be a real turning point for the Frenchman, who successfully consolidated the break to go 5-3 up. Federer was able to hold his next service game but Simon was now hitting with more power and accuracy. Momentum had definitely shifted in Simon’s favour. Simon takes the 2nd set @ 6-4.
3rd Set: Simon 6-2
“Simon all set to cause a Major upset to prevent the champion to role onto his 900 tour level win milestone.”
1st service had clearly dipped from 72% in first set to 57% on the 3rd set. Also 1st serve % hold had also decreased drastically for Federer. 3rd Set was all about the Frenchman, with incredible 93% 1st serve % won. Gilles started putting more pressure on the Swiss superstar and it eventually paid dividend @ 2-2 as he got his first break point of the 3rd set and converted it for a 3-2 lead. The Fed was continually missing the first serve which was probably the key weakness in this set. Simon was winning most of the rallies and drastically cutting down on unforced errors. After going up a double break (5-2), he then consolidated the lead with his service hold to take the 3rd set 6-2.
4th Set: Federer 6-2
“The Swiss restored order with double break win over Simon. Federer from first set started reappearing.”
4th set started with a tightly contested 1st game which Federer was eventually able to bag. After a tough service hold for both contenders for the next 2 games, the score was set at at 2-1 in the 7 time Wimbledon champion’s favour. One one hand, Simon was still playing with high accuracy and was able to keep the unforced errors down, on the other hand, Federer was able to gain some sensibility to his otherwise erratic 3rd set. Finally @ 3-2, the Swiss lifted up his game and got the much needed break of serve for a 4-2 lead. What followed from there was a Federer show, with the maestro taking his opponent’s serve for the second time in the set. Nothing could stop the Fed from wrapping this one up and forcing a deciding 5th set, which was to determine Tsonga’s opponent in the QFs.
5thSet: Federer 6-3
“Early break for Federer sets the pace for the win without much ado except for the last game drama. Federer gets to his 900 match win milestone and ready for next French Tsonga.”
Federer starts the fifth set with a sharp service game, mainly based on solid 1st serves. On the other side of the net, the Frenchman showed some struggle at the very beginning of the decider, with Roger taking advantage of it (2-0). Visually, Federer started to gain more positive body language with Simon trying desperately to stay in the match. Simon serve came under pressure once more in the 4th game [3-0 Fed]. The tightly contested 4th game saw the Frenchman finally being able to hold serve and keep his chances for a victory alive. Unfortunately for Gilles, Roger’s 1st serve was back on track and helped the Swiss to comfortably take the set to a 5-3. It was only then that the 17 time Grand Slam champ showed some signs of nervousness. However, despite Simon earning himself a break point and 30-40, a couple of big serves came to Federer’s rescue. Simon was hell bent on throwing the towel in the last game. Federer’s 2 of 9 aces came in the last game. The Swiss player finally booked his quarter-final place when Simon’s backhand sailed wide on the very first match point.
Next up for Roger will be the Frenchman Tsonga.