World #3, Roger Federer had his first round match against Colombian Santiago Giraldo at the 2011 US Open. Federer said in his pre-match interview with Pam Shriver that “I’ve practiced against him [Giraldo] many times, so I know his game very well.” Pretty confident I’d say.
Santiago Giraldo came out swinging for the fences, there were a few exchanges in the second set that were very impressive, flat and hard groudstrkes that had the McEnroe brothers impressed. Unfortunately, Giraldo’s firepower was not nearly enough to fend off Federer’s barrage of angles and volleys; Roger took the match 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
While I watched Federer play his match, I saw that he was moving much better and swinging like somebody who has nothing to worry about. He wasn’t worried about playing perfect, which he did comment on in his on court post match interview, “A win is a win, sometimes it’s not pretty but it’s still a win.”. Roger had moments of greatness and moments where I scratched my head thinking he was being a little overambitious. He didn’t serve as well as he usually does, allowing Giraldo to break him 3 out of 4 times.
There were a few approach shots that were alright but Roger was passed easily, I’m sure he was just trying something different and fun – after all he’s one of the greatest players that has walked on a tennis court, right? Over all, technically, Federer played a sound match, nothing extraordinary and nothing extremely poor.
What difference does his current style of play make at this years US Open? No pressure. My opinion is that if he’s having fun and going for his shots, not worrying about hitting a winner or making errors, he’s more likely to out play the competition. He’s got the tennis game that can take him to the finals, but it’s what’s in his heart and head that will win him the 2011 US Open title. If Federer continues to play freely and not thinking too much about playing perfect, he could very well be a strong contender for the 2011 title (which would totally screw up my bracket). I would like to see him play more like he played in his first round match.