PostHeaderIcon Federer Relieved To Get By The Big Guy Karlovic

Playing in his 998th tournament match, Roger Federer got by Ivo Karlovic in straight sets (7-6(6) 7-5 6-3) at the Aussie Open in their 3rd round match. I figured this might be the match-up for this round, and also knew it would be a difficult one for Roger.

He won the match in straights, yes. But matches like this against a player with a monster serve are a crap-shoot… and Roger knows it.

Andre Agassi wrote about a similar scenario to this in his book “Open” every time he played Pete Sampras. He knew that his matches against Pete hinged on Pete’s serve. That if he wasn’t allowed to get a good look at a return, the pressure on his own serve was going to be immense. And with a couple of good returns from Pete he could be broken and lose the match.

Similarly, Roger realizes that beating a guy like Ivo comes down to a point here or there. Usually in the tiebreak. On the subject of Karlovic, Roger said this about his opponent afterwards in the post-match press conference: “[He] keeps you on your heels the whole time. You’re not quite sure what’s going to happen.”

The first set was key. Ivo had a set point in the tiebreak but ultimately lost the breaker to Roger. And as tennis matches go, this allowed Roger to relax a bit and play his game. Ivo maybe pressed a bit too much on his serve and his shots knowing that the longer the match goes on, it plays to Roger’s advantage. That’s pretty much how it played out into the third set.

Fed’s next match is against Bernard Tomic. He has had only cursory complimentary comments for the Aussie teen with all of the hype. Roger is a “put up or shut up” kind of guy. Tomic is going to have to play his best to come close to beating Roger. There will be no 5th set heroics in this one, IMHO. Better yet, Tomic better hope for another Fed back spasm on the day of the match…

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