Federer eases past Lajovic into third round

Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer admitted to feeling a few nerves at the start of his second-round match on Thursday against Serbian Dusan Lajovic. The butterflies affected his play as well, as Federer was broken in his first service game and fell behind 2-0 in the first set.

But the Swiss right-hander quickly resumed regular proceedings and dazzled a packed Centre Court crowd en route to reaching the third round at the All England Club for the 15th time. Federer advanced 7-6 (0), 6-3, 6-2 against Lajovic, who was looking to make the third round for the first time.

“I struggled early on,” Federer explained. “I couldn’t get rid of the nerves. It was a pity I couldn’t hold my serve. Even though I got back into the game after that because I broke him, I just struggled in that first set. After that I was happy to get rid of the nerves, just to play some free tennis, more inspired and at the end it was actually pretty good.”

Federer said he usually doesn't feel nervous before a match, even at Wimbledon. For instance, he felt fine before his first-round contest. But for whatever reason, the unsettling feelings came back on Thursday.

“I think in the third round I will feel better again. It's weird how sometimes you can be way more nervous for a second round than, say, for a final, believe it or not,” Federer said. “I'm happy I got through this one feeling the way I did, because in a way it's strange playing this way when you're so tense. Yet you have nothing to lose or in a way, that's what I'm telling myself, just play freely. It's not just that simple once you get out there.”

Federer will face a familiar foe as he attempts to make the second week of the grass-court Grand Slam: 27th seed Mischa Zverev of Germany, who beat Kazakhstani Mikhail Kukushkin 6-1, 6-2, 2-6, 3-6, 6-4 in three hours and five minutes.

The 35 year old leads their ATP Head to Head series 4-0, including two wins earlier this season. Last month, Federer beat Zverev on the grass at the Gerry Weber Open 7-6 (4), 6-4 en route to his eighth Halle title.

“I have played him on several occasions now, and he's played me different every time. In Australia, he played me really close on the second serve and would try to attack me, everything that he saw that was short he would come in on. Whereas in Halle when I played him, he played from way back, which is highly unusual on the grass,” Federer said.

“I guess I don't know quite what to expect in the match on Saturday. But because he serves and volleys, points are played differently. Tomorrow and the next day I will train and warm up with left-handed players. I think that's always the biggest switch when you play against an opponent who is left-handed, that whole swinging serve, kicking serve, especially getting used to the returning is most important.”

Zverev has already matched his best Wimbledon result by reaching the third round. He plans to go all out against Federer during their fifth match-up.

“How am I going to approach that match? How do you approach matches against Federer at Wimbledon?” Zverev said, smiling. “I don't know. I think this time I will try to go all or nothing, maybe even more than before. First of all, I'm going to try to recover, feel 100 per cent, at least in the beginning of the match, then see how it goes. Hopefully he's going to have not his best day, 'cause if he has one of those days, it's really tough to beat him. It's very tough, believe me.”

Federer was broken only once against Lajovic. From there, the Swiss star was in control, winning 11 of the 12 final points in the first set to take the opener. He'd break Lajovic four times in the match and finish with 31 winners to only 15 unforced errors.

All facets of Federer's game were on point. He kept Lajovic uncomfortable with deep, flat groundstrokes and attacked the net just as well, winning 23 of his 31 net trips (74 per cent).

Zverev was glad to hear about one part of Federer's second-round match - the fact that the seven-time champion felt nervous. “Good, he's human,” Zverev said before laughing.

Date: 6 July 2017, Source: ATP and Wimbledon


Post a Comment