Sunday, 19 January 2014

Federer with too many options

Roger Federer has been giving tennis lessons on Rod Laver Arena during Australian Opens over a number of years now.  So it poses the question - exactly how effective has he been in this area? He is still having to show his pupils the same areas of the game in which they are deficient and in which he is highly proficient so I ask you "Where is the relative improvement in your students Professor Federer?".

I guess he can claim star pupils that have gone on to tertiary education and to eminent positions in the industry such as Nadal and Djokovic, but there are others that still are struggling with the basics of the game that Roger has been teaching them for years.

In his third round match this year, aka hard court tutorial, the student requiring summer schooling was Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili. (Tey-G, I imagine, to his homies in the hood) Gabasvili was ranked 79 in the world and prior to this year had never made it past the first round.
Roger would ensure that as well as the lesson, he would not reach the fourth round in 2014.

Roger served first and explained how to deal with break points, the only reason of course why he would be in the position of defending them.  The next four games went easily to serve, and not until Gabashvili fell victim to his own inefficiency did Federer cash in on a break in the sixth game and lead 4-2.  Serve and backhand assisted Roger from break point territory once more in the next game before nothing could save Teymuraz from that danger zone in the final (8th) game of the set.
Federer won the set 6-2 and the people were happy.

As per the first set ritual, Roger awaited the sixth game before achieving the service break, in the meantime taking time from the stresses of the match to do some serve volleying as homage to his new coach - it worked in that the points were won, but it still looks a way from being natural, and under the pressure cooker of quarters, semis and finals, something that would only be used if forced upon him.

Again as per the first set script, Federer consolidated the break before running out the set, signing off with an off forehand to delight his fans, inside and out.  Leading now 6-2 6-2.

In the third set, Federer managed to survive three break points in his first service game, and while wasting other break chances off the Gabashvili serve throughout the set, the only break occurred in the fourth game when Federer opened up a 3-1 lead.

The match had some good tennis at various points but it didn't really give us much indication of Federer's form relative to others whom he may meet later in the tournament.  The win was solid enough 6-2 6-2 6-3

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