Roger Federer made his debut on the controversial blue clay in Madrid 2012 against Milos Raonic. The Swiss survived all the challenges to prevail in the decisive tie-break and set the third round meeting with Richard Gasquet.
In the previous 11 meetings, the Swiss managed nine victories over the French. The tenth was never in doubt as he outclassed Gasquet 6-3 6-2 in 58 minutes to find himself in the quarter-finals. Federer lost 15 points in nine service games and rejected both break chances to keep his serve intact and mount the pressure on his opponent.
Gasquet couldn't match those numbers as he was broken three times to push Roger into the Round of 16. Federer fired 31 winners and 18 unforced errors, holding the match strings firmly in his hands and outscoring the opponent in every segment.
It was important for Roger to get such a commanding victory in less than an hour after losing a lot of energy in the first match. Also, he picked up momentum heading into the next hurdle. Roger got off to a great start and closed out the opening game with a game-winning forehand.
He had another solid serve in game three and stole Gasquet's serve with a return winner to open a 3-1 lead. Another forehand bullet from him put Federer even further in front before he experienced the first problems with the serve in the seventh game.
The Swiss fended off a break chance to hold serve and open a 5-2 gap. In game nine, Roger hit four service winners in 27 minutes, so he looked good on court and expected more of the same in the second set.
Sinner speaks about King Roger
During an interaction with Eurosport, young Italian player Jannik Sinner professed his admiration for Roger Federer.
"If I could wake up and be another tennis player for a day, I would like to be Roger Federer. He can do everything. He has all the solutions in the world on the court," Sinner said. Jannik Sinner has never locked horns with Federer.
However, he recently professed a desire to do so, having faced off against the Swiss' Big 3 peers Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Saying that he would savor the moment for posterity, the 20-year-old said: "I would like to face him before he retires; he is the only one of the Big Three that I miss; with Nadal and Djokovic I played.
It would be wonderful: I will tell my grandchildren in the mountains, in front of the fireplace," the Italian said.