Well well well, wasn't that a joy to watch as Federer fans? The Swiss Maestro put on an amazing performance in his blockbuster 4th round clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, winning 63, 7-5, 6-4 in very convincing fashion. In my estimation, it was the best match he has played since the Cincinnati final in 2012 against Djokovic.
Right from the start Roger was on point and broke in his first return game to take a 3-0 lead. He played some magnificent tennis throughout the whole set, and against Jo, he was 9-1 when winning the opening set in their head-to-head.
In the second set Tsonga started to raise his level on his own service games but could not make any dents on Federer's. In the 11th game Tsonga made some errors and Fed capitalized and rode to a smooth two set lead. With the early break in the 3rd he was in full control, and though Jo fought hard in the set to get back, garnering his only break point (which he missed a return) and Roger closed out comfortably to get a statement-making win.
I don't know what to say, really. Federer came to play and he was better than he's been in a very long time, especially against a player the calibre of Tsonga. His serving wasn't great, but his forehand and backhand were on fire, his movement was sharp, and perhaps most importantly of all, his gameplan was perfect. Any short to medium ball he received was attacked and followed to the net, which were decisive and crisp. The stats look amazing: 43 winners, 21 errors, 34/41 at the net, 88% first serves won and 69% second serves won.
A match like this definitely shows that the old guy still has what it takes to compete at the highest of levels. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: if he's healthy, he's still the best attacker in the game and capable of hurting anyone (including Nadal).
The addition of Stefan Edberg looks like it has worked wonders for his net game. Maybe not in the actual volley technique (which doesn't have to be worked on), but the tactics behind coming in; namely being decisive, and coming in behind a solid approach. These days passing is simpler than it ever has been before, but coming in behind a strong approach makes it a lot easier for the volleyer (as evidenced by this match).
In the quarterfinal awaits Andy Murray, who dropped a set to lucky loser Stephane Robert. Andy has only played a handful of matches since his surgery last fall but at the end of the day he is still Andy Murray and should be a very tough test.
Murray is a better mover, returner, passer, and defender than Tsonga, that is well known. But if Roger can employ his aggressive game once again, Andy could very well struggle with it. I don't think it's a must win match for Roger and I sort of feel about this one the same way I did about the match against Nadal two years ago here in Melbourne. Fed has shown us all that he still has the game to be a force, and even if he does lose a tight match to the Scot, the signs are still good for the rest of this year so long as he remains healthy.
Until the quarters,
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!