Jan/19

19

Federer Frustrates Fritz

By Louise Belcourt

Roger Federer’s scintillating Australian Open defence continued in glorious fashion with a straight sets 3rd round victory over young American Taylor Fritz 6-2 7-5 6-2. In just under 1 hour 30 minutes the world number 3 frustrated and outfoxed the 21 year old. Fritz fresh off a great 4 set win over the 30th seed Gael Monfils was given a tennis lesson by the 37 year old defending champion.

The match started under a closed roof due to the Melbourne rain, and it took only 20 minutes for Federer to dominate the first set 6-2. With Nick Kyrgios a surprise commentator for the tv network, saying it was the “best set of tennis” he’d ever watched. He continued “Federer’s timing is scary good. He almost hits everything on the half-volley.”

The second set was a closer affair, but with Federer up 6-5 he put the pressure on the Fritz serve with his trademark outstanding return game off the big server to break and win the set 7-5.

The third went like the first with the 20-time grand slam champion hitting balls right in the sweet spot off both wings, closing off points quickly at the net, and losing only 3 points when his first serve went in (winning 93%). Fritz looked rattled by the precision, court movement, and constant pressure. The match highlighted not only a gap in age (16 years), a gap in titles (99 for Federer to 0 for Fritz), but also a gap in ability.

This match reminded me of Federer’s 3rd round win over Thomas Berdych in 2017, the year he surprised the tennis world by winning the Australian Open after his injury comeback.

Federer is on the right track to defend his title, but his next matchup is another promising youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas. These 2 played a couple of weeks ago in Perth at the Hopman Cup with Federer beating the Greek 2 sets to 0. Of playing Federer, Tsitsipas said “I learned a lot since my last match with him. I know the patterns that he’s using a bit better now”.

Tsitsipas heaped praise on Federer, “He’s a legend of our sport. It will be a great day facing him in one of the best arenas, Rod Laver. I’m really excited for that match.”

Federer also directed praise to his upcoming opponent “He’s playing so well, and I’m looking forward to the matchup with him. I think it’s going to be a good one. I like how he mixes up his game and also comes to the net. So will I. I think we will see some athletic attacking tennis being played.”

I think this will be closer affair but I believe Federer’s 20 year experience playing at the Australian Open will be too much for the 14th seed.

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1 comment

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 19, 2019 at 8:57 am

    Roger looks as good as ever to my eyes. The Fed vs Tsip match could be that changing of the guard moment, like when young Roger beat Sampras at Wimbledon. Problem is Tsitsipas will have to play the match of his life to beat Roger. I think he can do it, he’s capable of it. But the guess is Roger will be up to the task and prevent Tsitsipas from stealing his glory. Fed in four. One thing is for sure, Tsitsipas will do everything in his power to slay the Fedragon, he’s not here to worship or salute anyone, this kid has big ambitions. he has the talents and the drive but it takes more than that to beat Roger Federer.

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