Fans around the globe were overjoyed to welcome 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer back to the court on Tuesday after ten weeks away from the tour. The 34-year old Swiss defeated world number 38 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4, in the second round of the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
This victory is very important for Federer, as he was able to play well without any lingering issues from his knee surgery in January. The Swiss number one played clean and efficient tennis. Despite a minor hiccup in the final few games, the superstar held on to win in one hour and 14 minutes.
Federer takes first set in quick 34 minutes
The Swiss number one had perhaps never faced a more important second round match before. Federer needed to start strong and play well, while more importantly ensuring that there were no lingering issues with his knee. He answered all of those questions about his health in the first set. The third seed came out strong, but Garcia-Lopez did as well. Both players held to begin the match. Federer saw the first break point chance of the match in the sixth game, and he took advantage, breaking Garcia-Lopez for a 4-2 lead.
However, in the very next game, the Spaniard forced two break chances of his own, amassing a 15-40 lead on the Federer serve. Nonetheless, the Swiss number one saved both break point chances, smashing his first ace of the match instead for a 5-2 lead. Garcia-Lopez held before Federer served the set out at love, taking it 6-3 in 34 minutes. The Swiss number one was very effective on his serve, winning 78% of first serve points as well as an impressive 70% of second serve points. Garcia-Lopez was equally effective on first serve points, winning 75% of them, but won a mediocre 50% on his second serve points.
Despite pressure at the end, Federer closes out the match
The Swiss Maestro carried all of his momentum over from the first set into the second. The 17-time Grand Slam champion produced a break point immediately in the first game of the set. However, despite getting a second serve, Federer was unable to convert. Garcia-Lopez later held for a 1-0 advantage early on. After failing to break early on, Federer was determined not to make that mistake again. The Swiss superstar caught fire, breaking the world number 38 two times, and all of the sudden, Federer was up 5-1. Just when it seemed that the 34-year old was ready to close the match out easily, Garcia-Lopez made one last push.
After holding serve, he still faced a 2-5 deficit. Federer had a chance to serve the match out at 2-5, but Garcia-Lopez was not ready to leave the beautiful courts in Monte Carlo. Despite the fact that Federer usually never has trouble closing a match out, the Spaniard gave him everything he had, breaking the Swiss number one to earn one break back. He consolidated that break to get the score to 4-5. Federer now had one more chance to serve for a spot in the third round, and there was no way he would let that opportunity go to waste. On his first match point opportunity, the world number three and 17-time Grand Slam champion closed out the match, earning his first victory in ten weeks.