Roger Federer showed he could pose a threat at this year’s French Open with a stunning performance to beat Janko Tipsarevic 6-1 6-4 6-3 in the third round on Friday.
With Novak Djokovic taking over the fight for world number one with Rafael Nadal, Federer has found himself playing third wheel at the top of the men’s game this season.
But, if his form against Tipsarevic is anything to go by, then being out of the limelight has certainly not done the 29-year-old any harm. The Serb is a talented player who always raises his game against the best, as Federer knew only too well from an epic third-round encounter they had at the Australian Open in 2008. Many pundits predicted a tough test for the Swiss on Friday but Federer was having none of it and promptly blazed his way through the first set in 19 minutes.
Everything was working perfectly for the third seed, who looked completely at ease on the clay, and he was playing so well that is was a surprise when he missed a few backhands in the second set. He broke in the fifth game, though, and allowed Tipsarevic only one break point, which he saved with a big serve.
Another break of serve at the start of the third set meant the game was almost up for Tipsarevic, who had lost only 11 games in the first two rounds. Federer feels he is in a better place than he was 12 months ago, when he lost in the quarter-finals to Robin Soderling, and he has not had anything approaching a test thus far.
He said: “I’m at peace with my game right now. Physically I feel better. My body is in better shape. I’ve had more practice, more matches, because between Australia and Roland Garros last year I didn’t play much, and when I played it was a bit difficult. “It’s still early in the tournament but at the same time it’s really nice to be moving in the draw so well and so quickly.” Tipsarevic was disappointed he allowed Federer to make such a good start but was left in awe of the accuracy of the world number three’s serving.
He said: “I was honestly expecting more from myself today but he was just too good. Where I made a mistake was that I gave him the first break of my serve as a present. “Something I don’t think I could do anything about was returning his serve. Did anyone ever hit more lines from first serves than he did today? And I’m not saying that it had anything to do with luck.”
Federer’s form has been even more impressive considering he has not had what could be described as an easy draw, and it is about to get even tougher. Either Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of Federer’s compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka await in the next round, and if Federer manages to negotiate past that test, he is likely to face David Ferrer in the last eight.
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