Roger Federer made sure not to repeat himself from the 2015 Madrid Open by defeating Pablo Cuevas in two sets in less than ninety minutes 7-6, 6-4. The Swiss maestro moves into the third round of the 2015 Rome Masters Open to face South African player Kevin Anderson. Anderson had it a little easier after Philipp Kohnschreiber retired in their second round match.
You can be sure he won’t get that easy treatment from Federer, who’s looking to get the one title he’s not won yet.
Federer started the match slowly, upping the ante as the match unfolded. Both players held their ground solidly, without any problems whatsoever and the opening set remained on serve, despite the Uruguayan facing a break point on his serve, leading to the tie-break to break the deadlock.
Both players kept hitting hard from at the back of the court, exchanging most shots to each other’s backhands, and interspersing it with occasional forays – more so, for Federer – into the net to finish the points. Cuevas matched Federer, almost point-for-point, shot-for-shot and what he didn’t, Federer’s errors saw to it that the Istanbul finalist remained an active participant in the match proceedings. In the tie-break, it was the Swiss’ experience that finally prevailed, helping him to clinch the opening set.
Cuevas found himself under pressure in the first game of the second set, with two break points on his serve. But he did well to save one with an ace and the other, by drawing out an error from Federer. The Istanbul finalist held his nerves to hold onto his serve thereafter. Cuevas wasn’t however able to save the next two break points on his serve, in the fifth game, and it gave Federer, the first break of serve for the match. One, he followed up with a quick consolidation.
Cuevas’ next game was held by him and Federer served out the match in the 10th game to reach the third round in the Italian capital.
Both players had no double faults in the match. Federer had eight aces, while Cuevas hit five. In terms of first serve points won, Federer won a high margin of points on his first serves at 92%. In comparison, Cuevas could only manage to win 66%. Federer had 31 winners to Cuevas’ 19. Both players however had the same number of unforced errors: 21. Federer won 17 points coming in at the net, from a possible 19. Cuevas, on the other hand, was able to win only six points in the 12 attempts to the net. Federer had no break points on his serve, while Cuevas saved three of the four break points on his serve.
The only two titles Federer hasn’t won in his arsenal is the Rome Masters and Monte Carlo Open. He has reached the final here in Rome three times in 2003 where he lost to Mantilla, 2006 where he lost to Rafael Nadal and 2013 where he again lost to Nadal. If he and Nadal reach the final, it will be an interesting game with one soon to retire legend going for that missing title and the other struggling to overcome himself.
Our wonderful reader Joy pointed out that as both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are on the same side of the draw, seeing the two in this final is just wishful thinking. That is a match we would all love to see as Federer would be fighting to not let Rafi get a third win from him here.