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Roger Federer maintains perfect record in Giraldo win

Roger Federer hits a backhand volley
by Kate Battersby
Saturday 28 June 2014

Roger Federer took a brisk walk into the third round under the Centre Court roof early on Saturday evening. He utterly demolished the world No.35 Santiago Giraldo brick by brick, while somehow simultaneously conserving energy for greater battles ahead. The seven-time Wimbledon champion – who went out in the second round 12 months ago – despatched Giraldo 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 in 81 minutes, and has yet to lose a set.

“I’m pleased, absolutely,” said Federer afterwards. “It’s been a good first week for me. I’ve been playing well, feeling good. Didn’t drop any sets. Wasn’t really in danger in any of the matches. Got a lot of info from the first week on how I need to play moving forward.”

The Colombian would of course have been more at home on clay – he had never made the third round at Wimbledon before, and has reached the same stage only once in any of his 19 Grand Slam outings to date, at Roland Garros in 2012 where Andy Murray saw him off – although coincidentally Murray is the only player in the top ten Giraldo has ever defeated, in Madrid this year.

A factor in this third round may have been that the Colombian’s second round encounter with Marcel Granollers was held over from Thursday evening because of rain, meaning he finished that five-setter on Friday, thus playing on three consecutive days. But there was no escaping one key fact above all other, namely that Federer was vastly superior. Even visiting Martians would have had no difficulty identifying which of the two players has 79 career titles – including his seventh at Halle in the warm-up to Wimbledon – and which has none at all.

It was not that Giraldo’s game deserted him – for much of the match he served at 75 percent, and it got him approximately nowhere. The second set lasted a scant 22 minutes, although Giraldo stayed in the third for longer, and even held two break points thanks to a Federer double fault. The Swiss wriggled out of that little problem, of course, and will arrive in the second week satisfied, rested, and ready for what may come next. At the time of his Saturday evening press conference the match between his next potential opponents – Tommy Robredo and Jerzy Janowicz – was poised with the Spaniard leading two sets to one and, as Federer reflected, it was not yet clear if they would finish, with clear implications for his own schedule. Robredo eventually won in five sets late in the evening.

“It’s important to be ready for anything,” he said. “I didn’t know until one minute before this match if it was going to be roof open or roof closed. It could have a big impact. Now I see Robredo [and Janowicz] might not finish, so I might play Tuesday. Just have to be ready for anything, that’s the mindset you’ve got to have, really flexible. There are sections of the draw that have to play three straight days now. There could be 15 long sets, right there. These guys are all fit enough to handle it, but it can have an impact, no doubt.

“I’m sure everybody would have liked to get their match done. It was definitely good to finish and stay in a normal schedule. But I might not play on Monday now. We’ll see. You can’t always choose. It is what it is and you have to adapt.”

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