Following a complicated initial match at the Sony Ericsson Open, Roger Federer was again rattled in his third round match. The world number one was seriously pressed by Florent Serra. Still, Federer came away unscathed with a 7-6,7-6 win.
Subsequent to neither competitor having issues on serve, Serra had a double fault on game point. Federer took the next two points to break. Then, with a love service game, Federer consolidated for a 5-2 lead. However, as Federer served for the first set at 5-3, he made two costly errors allowing Serra two chances to break. With a forehand down the line return winner, Serra put the first set back on serve. Still, Federer arrived at double set point on Serra’s service. But, the Frenchman did not cave in. With the two men holding at love the next two games, a tiebreaker was initiated. With Federer’s backhand down the line pass landing out of bounds, Serra opened with a mini-break. Then, with a forehand down the line winner of his own and with Serra flubbing an overhead, Federer got a mini-break for 2-1. Federer went on to comfortably carry the breaker.
In the second set, by enticing errors from Serra, Federer obtained a double break lead for 4-1. Yet, Serra climbed back. With a backhand overhead winner and a forehand down the line winner, Serra decreased the deficit to 4-2. Then, Serra survived double break point to stay in touch at 3-4. With Federer serving for the match at 5-4, a double fault gave Serra double break point. The Frenchman converted with a forehand up the line winner. Eventually, a second tiebreaker was called upon. Again, after Serra got the early mini-break, Federer rebounded to easily capture the second set.
In the post match interview, Federer responded as such to the questions from MiamiTennisNews.com:
Q. Do you have a preference. . . A match like this [where] you are tested . . . as opposed to having a quick match in the earlier rounds?
FEDERER: Well, I mean, most important is to come through the rounds, you know. So I don’t have a preference how it’s done. I always like to come out with confidence, that’s for sure. So it’s nice . . . having won two breakers, because that doesn’t happen every match you play. Sure, I still have to tidy up my game a bit, you know, having had one break up in the first and two breaks up in the second, it’s normally something that doesn’t get away from me. But I thought he came up with some good stuff, and that made it difficult for me, you know, to close it out. That’s why I’m happy to still be through.
Q. Were you surprised being down a double break that he was still mentally pretty strong and still fighting?
FEDERER: Well. . . I didn’t have the feeling he was playing the score too much. He was just playing his style, which is aggressive, you know, taking chances. Sometimes missing by many feet. Sometimes, you know, hitting it right in the corners. So I knew that was going to happen kind of thing, but it’s still impressive to see when it does happen against you. You know, that he hits the spots three, four, five, six points in a row, and there’s not much you can do sometimes. I wish I would have maybe served better, you know, at the crucial stages of the match, which I wasn’t able to do. But then he took advantage of that and was able to come up with some amazing stuff. Then you can only hope that, you know, he’s going to cool off again and that . . . you’re going to get your act together so you don’t allow him maybe to play that way.