2020 in Review: Roger Federer eases past Steve Johnson in Melbourne

Tennis - In his opening match of the season, Federer defeated Johnson in 81 minutes

by Jovica Ilic
2020 in Review: Roger Federer eases past Steve Johnson in Melbourne

Competing at the record-breaking 21st Australian Open, the six-time champion Roger Federer defeated Steve Johnson 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in 81 minutes for a perfect start of the season. Federer opted to skip the ATP Cup, while Johnson claimed the Challenger title a week before Melbourne.

Steve had momentum, but that wasn't enough to challenge Roger, standing powerless against the Swiss who delivered his 98th Australian Open victory and the 358th at Majors, two decades years after making a debut in Melbourne.

Landing 80% of the first serve in, Roger fired ten aces and dropped 12 points behind the initial shot, fending off lonely break chance and mounting the pressure on the American who couldn't deal with it. Federer blasted 30 winners and 13 unforced errors, keeping everything under control with serve and forehand and mixing his game nicely with 25 net rushings.

Pushing strong on the return, Roger won almost half of the points in Johnson's games, delivering five breaks from eight opportunities to hold the strings in his hands from start to finish and march into the second round.

Forcing almost 30 errors from Johnson, Federer forged the advantage in the shortest and most advanced rallies, playing sharp and aggressive tennis to seal the deal in no time. Finding his strokes right from the start, Roger held at love in under a minute in the first game and secured a break a few minutes later with a volley winner, taking eight of the first nine points to forge the advantage.

Roger Federer needed 81 minutes to make a winning start of the season in Melbourne.

Federer fended off a break chance in game three with a forced error to confirm the lead before Johnson held after deuce to get his name on the scoreboard.

The Swiss placed a volley winner in game five for a hold at love before the rain plagued the action, forcing the players to continue with a roof above their heads. Roger delivered another comfortable hold with an ace in game seven and fired four winners at 5-3 to wrap up the opener in 27 minutes.

Carried by that momentum, Federer broke at love at the beginning of the second set and held at 15 with an ace top open a 2-0 gap. Blown away from the court, Steve suffered another break in game three following a return winner from Federer, who blasted another powerful serve for a hold at love and a 4-0 lead.

The Swiss clinched the sixth game with a backhand winner and repeated that at 5-2 to grab the set in under 25 minutes and move closer to the finish line. Unable to change the encounter's course, Steve sprayed a forehand error at the beginning of the third set and netted a backhand slice at 1-3 to suffer another break despite being 40-15 in front.

Federer secured the sixth game with a forehand winner and sprinted into the second round with an unreturned serve at 5-2.

Roger Federer Steve Johnson