After an unexpected day off due to rain, Roger Federer won the first of what will be two matches on Friday at the Western and Southern Open in straight sets. The Swiss only needed 74 minutes to put away the hard-hitting Leonardo Mayer.
Federer dominated early on, cruising through his own service games while mounting extreme pressure on his opponent. Just when it looked as though the match might be done in under an hour, Mayer found enough of a rhythm to extend the second set. In the end, he couldn’t come up with the big points and Federer took the victory 6-1, 7-6(6).
Speedy start for the Swiss
Perhaps spurred on by the possibility of a quarterfinal later in the day, Federer came out swinging. In his first return game, he ripped two passing shot winners to set up a 15-40 opening on the Mayer serve but was unable to get a return in play. He would miss a third break point before Mayer held.
Two games later, Federer would get another 15-40 opening when Mayer sent a volley long. This time, the Swiss did not need to worry about getting a return back as his Argentinian opponent double-faulted to surrender the break. On his own serve, Federer was absolutely cruising, only dropping two points on his way to a 3-1 lead. He then consolidated to love to stretch the lead to 4-1.
The Swiss kept rolling, racing up love-40 on Mayer’s serve and took the double break when the Argentine sent a forehand wide on the second break point. Serving for the set, Federer made no mistake, taking a 40-love lead and converting his second set point to take the opener in only 24 minutes.
Mayer settles in, but can’t settle the score
Federer nearly took a stranglehold on the match in the opening game of the second set when Mayer sent a forehand long at 30-all to set up a break point, but the Swiss netted his return and Mayer held. In his next service game, the Argentine held serve without facing a break point in a service game for the first time in the match.
Mayer was now finding his rhythm and defending his serve effectively. Many Federer returns did not find the court and the ones that did were crushed by the Argentine’s free-swinging groundstrokes. However, the same could be said for the Swiss, who was still facing no opposition in his own service games. After Mayer held to 30 in the third game, the returner did not win more than one point in a service game for the rest of the set.
In the tiebreak, Mayer gave Federer the lead immediately with a double fault on the first point. The second seed added a second minibreak with a smash winner for a 4-1 lead, which he would stretch to 5-1 on his own serve. Mayer then started to claw back, reclaiming the first minibreak when Federer netted a forehand.
The Argentine would fight all the way back to level at 5-all when Federer sent a forehand long. Still, the Swiss set up a match point at 6-5 when Mayer sent a return long. The Argentine saved that match point with a deep forehand that Federer could not handle but proceeded to fire a forehand passing shot wide to give his opponent a second match point, this time on his own serve. Federer made no mistake, closing out the match with an ace.
By the numbers
Federer was imperious on serve, winning 89 percent of his first serve points, firing ten aces, and did not face a break point in the match. In fact, 57 percent of his serves were not returned. Even once the rallies got going, the Swiss dominated, striking 24 winners to Mayer’s seven. The Argentine had more errors than winners with 14. He also only won 38 percent of his second serve points.
Federer will meet compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals later Friday. It will be the first time that Federer has played two matches in a day since 2004.