Roger Federer, sporting shoes with pink laces (because real men wear pink, right?) set up a 3rd round meeting with Bernard Tomic on Thursday night with a comfortable if not spectacular 62 62 64 win over his longtime rival Nikolay Davydenko to safely send 17 of the top 20 seeds on the men's side into the 3rd round.
It was an overall solid performance by the Fed, even though he racked up 41 unforced errors to 35 winners. He served magnificently and did not face a break point the entire match. Granted, the Russian made for a pretty tame opponent, but the conditions were quick and after all, it was Roger's second match of the young season.
As far as I'm concerned, the groundstrokes will be there in the business end of the tournament. Right now, what matters most is that the serve is clicking, because as we all know, when the serve is working, the rest of Roger's game falls into place. Another thing worth mentioning is, like Djokovic the night before, Fed was taking huge rips at his forehand and was going big a lot, which is why he hit so many unforced errors.
Next up is Tomic, who needed 4 tight sets and two tiebreak wins to get by big-serving German Daniel Brands. A few thoughts on Bernie before his big anticipated match with Roger: he will likely try to use all his guile to mix Roger up, just as he did last year. The bad news is, that play doesn't work, because even with all the tricks Tomic has, he doesn't have as many as Roger.
Tomic is a really good match up for Fed in a few ways. He hits the ball flat and clean, but not too hard, which Fed likes in his opponents (hence the solid numbers against the likes of Davydenko, Roddick, Nalbandian, Hewitt, etc). In front of an excited home crowd, you get the feeling like the Aussie will try everything in his power to try to impress his fan base and try to embarrass Fed with some coy shotmaking. Roger, on the other hand, will be all business, and honestly, I see him having a Masterclass performance just as he did 12 months ago.
I won't go into the details of the other matches (you can read about them on my piece for SportPulse, link below). But I will give some short thoughts. Murray and Delpo look to be headed right towards each other in the quarters and both are on a roll. Tsonga looks very good. Serena is not human, I swear. As an athlete, there aren't many, if any, better than her.
Looking forward to the Venus/Sharapova showdown tomorrow, as well as Kerber vs Keys, Ferrer vs Baghdatis, Watson vs Radwanska, Verdasco vs Anderson, and Ivanovic vs Jankovic. Should be an all round good day of tennis.
PS, Gael Monfils is the shiz. At the end of his 5-set win over Yen-Tsun Lu, when he was serving for the match at 7-6, he held match point four times and double faulted all four times before finally acing it on the fifth attempt. He double faulted 23 times in the match overall. What a fun match, what a fun man. Only Gael.