Twenty-four months after the defeat with Rafa Nadal in Paris, Roger Federer returns to kick the red brick. Against Pablo Andujar the result does not change. The very Swiss champion - better with the backhand than with the forehand, negative in response, fluctuating with the available serve - goes out one step away from the finish line.
At 4-2 during the deciding set. Andujar, who does not even need to resort to overtime to build the comeback, at the threshold of two hours of play grabs the victory of life thanks to a very rocky 6-4 4-6 6-4. Federer, who had chosen the '250' in Geneva as a test, should try again in Paris.
The conditional, however, is mandatory. In the first half, Federer does what he can. Little, in the vast majority of cases. The very Swiss champion - who does not find good support even from the first serve - is present without too much conviction even in the response rounds.
Andujar, who at the same time interprets the challenge perfectly, condenses the vast majority of the attention of the tenth game. With the score recomposed to 30-30, the Spanish player survived a robust exchange on the right diagonal after a splendid response and secured a set point.
The rest? Easy to imagine. Federer tries to make some improvements to the tactical plan. A rather easy task in theory. After an immaculate serving time, the Swiss champion (while maintaining an extremely defensive position in response) manages to secure the first break point of the match.
Thanks also to the contribution of the ribbon, the twenty-time Grand Slam champion gives the first push to the set and above all gets rid of the accumulated tension. Needless to say, he finds some automatism - at least on short exchanges - and keeps the last two rounds with great authority.
Federer, while not brilliant, manages to considerably limit the number of unforced errors and above all to acquire a certain awareness from the baseline. Needless to say, the third game proves once again indigestible for Andujar: good, yes, to cancel the first two break points, not to subvert the fate of the most spectacular exchange of the match in the third case.
Called to strengthen the advantage over 4-3, Federer pays a rather gross error with the backhand in the setting phase and above all two excellent responses from the Spaniard. End. The Swiss champion completely loses the key to the problem, struggling to find support and above all the measures of the field.
The finish is a completely necessary side dish. Andujar takes advantage of it in the best way and on the third useful opportunity - obviously in the tenth game - he closes the practice. The most prestigious in her career.
Roger Federer would have been ranked outside the top 300
Roger Federer recently gave his thoughts on the COVID-affected ranking system that was implemented last year by the ATP.
"Everybody is playing completely now," Roger Federer said. "The only help I might have had is the ranking. I should be 800th because I didn’t play, I'm still top 8. Okay, that’s good for being seeded.
But it doesn’t change anything for me: if my knee isn't 100 percent, if I'm not 100 percent physically, I know I won’t be good enough." While Roger Federer suggested off-hand he would be ranked 800th in the world without the revised system, he would've actually been ranked around 315th in the world at this point in the season.
"But I know that if I'm 100 percent, I'm far better than 800th," the Swiss said. "Let’s see how the two next months will happen. Happy to see that [coronavirus protocols] will start to relax again this week in Geneva."