Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Wimbledon: Federer through in straight sets

Roger Federer beat Michael Mancienne in straight sets at Wimbledon

Roger Federer enjoyed an easy afternoon at Wimbledon as he swatted aside the weak challenge of Jurgen Melzer to reach the quarter-finals.

After struggling through his opening two matches at this year's Championships, the defending champion posted his second straight-sets win in succession as he outclassed Melzer 6-3 6-2 6-3.

The one-sided victory in just one hour and 24 minutes secures Federer his 25th consecutive grand slam quarter-final appearance.

Federer wobbled briefly when conceding a break in the opening set but otherwise was always in control of the Centre Court clash.

"This is a very good win for me," said Federer.

"I think the start to the match was vital and I got the early break.

"He was able to break back but I had already found my range and I was playing well so I was very happy with the way I played.

"Obviously opponents are now getting more and more difficult but I think my game's following it up."

Nerves hampered Melzer during the early exchanges, with the Austrian contesting the fourth round here for the first time.

In an encounter that pitted two junior Wimbledon champions of the late 1990s against each other for the first time on the men's tour, it was predictably Federer who assumed control with a break of the Melzer serve at the first time of asking.

But the 16th seed settled to his task as he held his next service game before breaking back for 3-2 with a cute lob which had Federer scurrying back to little avail.

Melzer failed to build from that point, however, with Federer breaking straight back to seize the initiative.

Melzer, bidding to become the first Austrian to reach the last eight at Wimbledon, gave his confidence a boost at the start of the second set as he held to love.

But the frailties that were apparent earlier returned on the left-hander's next service game as Federer again unlocked his opponent.

Melzer was impressive in defeating Feliciano Lopez in the last round but he was finding Federer altogether a different beast.

While the 16-time grand slam title winner was far from imperious on his own serve, his all-round game was just too strong and when he moved two breaks up the outcome of the second set was inevitable.

Melzer saved another break point at the start of the third set with a precise forehand winner before holding with an ace.

The 29-year-old looked a touch thoughtful after over-stretching for a shot at the start of the fourth game but was quickly back on his feet.

Two aces in the fifth game ensured Melzer remained on serve, but another service game to love for the Swiss in the next underlined the singular lack of threat the Austrian was posing.

A tame forehand into the net saw Melzer gift three break points to Federer in the seventh game, and a tired-looking backhand on the second of those fell short again as the six-time champion moved to the brink.

Melzer saved a match point on his next service game with a forehand winner, but Federer turned the screw to force another which he converted as Melzer fired wide.

"I feel great," Federer said. "It was always going to be a tough match against Jurgen.

"We've know each other for 14 years but never played on tour so I knew it could be a tricky match."

After being taken to five sets by Alejandro Falla in the first round and prevailing in four sets against Ilija Bozoljac in the second, Federer has recharged his batteries with two routine wins.

His victory over Arnaud Clement in the third round on Friday was arguably more straightforward than his demolition of Melzer today, and the Swiss is feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the tournament.

He said: "It was great to have two days off - coming in as defending champion has a slight advantage, you know you're always going to start on Monday, then [play] Wednesday and Friday if you keep on winning so you have a longer weekend off."

He added: "If you're going to win the tournament you have to progress and that's what I've been able to do.

"My form's good now, and that's what I care about."

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