Whoop, half decent match from Roger as he beat Denis Istomin 7-5 6-3 to move into the Quarter finals. Although the scoreline looks comfortable enough it was actually quite a tricky match. I thought Istomin would put in a solid showing as he knows how to win matches on grass and that was the case today as he played some good stuff to cause Roger quite a few problems.
First Set: Quick start but pegged back
Roger started swiftly and was soon up a break at 3-0, it was more a combination of Roger striking clean and Istomin making too many errors. In the 4th game though Istomin finally managed to find his feet and started using his serve and ground strokes to peg Roger back behind the baseline, he then broke back and leveled the match up at 3-3.
I wasn’t too surprised really as even though I haven’t seen Istomin play very much, he’s done well on grass before and has some nice simple strokes. He also strikes me as a calm character and not someone who starts beating themselves up after going down a break which I think helped him once he familiarised himself with court 1 and started to get a better read on Roger’s serve.
At 5-5 Roger got into a spot of bother losing two points to slip to 0-30. He won the next point but then the heavens opened and play was suspended for about 20 minutes.
I think it was a stroke of luck winning the point before the rain delay as coming out at 0-30 or 40 down would have been very tough to get out of. On the first point after the delay Roger shanked a forehand into the crowd to face 2 BP and give Istomin virtually a set point. Fortunately he saved them both with clutch play, Roger faced one more but saved that too and managed to get out of the game to lead 6-5.
I predicted after the Benneteau match the first set today would end in a tie break but Roger had other ideas taking the set 7-5 on his second set point. The hold from 0-30 and a rain delay clearly was a big game and with Istomin serving to stay in the set Roger could relax a little and swing freely knowing at worst the set was going into a breaker. It paid off as he was able to take the set and put himself fully in the driving seat.
Second Set; Roger Stamps His Authority
I think after Istomin wasted 3 break point chances at such a key moment threw him a little and in his opening service game of the second set Roger broke to lead 3-0.
This time around though there was no blip and Fed didn’t allow Istomin a chance to break and eventually served out the match comfortably to take it 7-5 6-3.
I thought I played a pretty good match,” said Federer. “He did really well to come back into the first set because I didn’t play a poor game to get broken in the first set. So things got a bit complicated. He played well. Then obviously the rain delay made it a bit more nerve‑wracking.
Overall I think Fed did well to get through this in straights, he could have easily lost the first set and extended his time on court by another hour or two, but he served well and didn’t falter under any pressure. The good thing was he was able to dictate a lot of points and even though Istomin was staying in a lot of rallies and coming back with his own shots Roger was able to finish the points off without making any stupid errors.
I actually quite like Istomins game too, he’s nothing fancy but he has something, hard to pin point exactly but he did often manouvre Roger around on the baseline and it was only because Fed has excellent defense and can transition into attack at the blink of an eye that he didn’t at least get a set.
Predictions vs. Isner
Next up for Roger is Isner in the Quarters after he beat Janko Tipsarevic in straight sets. I didn’t watch but looking at the stats it was a pretty boring match, not many winners and only 1 break point which Isner converted in the second set.
A lot of Fed fans think Isner will cause Roger a lot of problems but I’m not too worried, I think he’s getting the job done tomorrow in straights. Isner will struggle to break serve and I think Fed will be able to create enough chances on the return to get the all important break. Of course if the sets result in tie breaks it makes it a little more of a lottery but I’m sure Roger will cross that bridge when it comes to it. If he’s able to get into rallies with Isner then he’s a huge favourite.
I’ll go for a 6-4 6-2 victory.