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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spanish stroll for Federer

Photo Titled Federer fires back
Roger Federer fires back a serve from Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in their second round match.

Roger Federer's Wimbledon stroll continues. Having conceded a mere seven games in the first round, the second seed and five-time champion permitted Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain just eight games as he forced his way into the last 32 of the men's singles.

His display in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 win in the Centre Court sunshine was another masterclass of tennis. It is already becoming very clear that the Swiss will take some stopping at the 2009 Championships.

Garcia-Lopez did not make his Centre Court debut without hope of making an impact. He is currently enjoying his highest-ever ranking (42), having won the first title of his career at Kitzbuhel last month. But that was on clay, and here he was up against a grass court maestro.

Even so, his ground strokes, propelled by an extravagant backswing, were often enough to get Federer scurrying in pursuit. However, when it came to consistency, he was found wanting at this, the highest level.

Having elected to serve first, Garcia-Lopez opened with a double fault, but promptly redeemed himself with an ace, though his composure was rapidly punctured when his serve was broken in the third game, a fate which he went on to suffer in the two subsequent sets.

Here was an indication of how Federer conducted the progress of the match, establishing early superiority and then working on the various aspects of his style from the comfort of a leading position.

Federer was impregnable on serve, dropping just five points in a 27-minute first set - one of which was that eye-opening rarity, a double fault from the Swiss - and he faced only two break points in the entire match.

Virtually the only time the number two seed's composure was shaken was when Garcia-Lopez arrowed some breathtaking backhands down the line.

But Federer possesses the full set of weaponry and the course of the match was inevitable, given those three early service breaks. In the second set, which lasted 32 minutes, the Swiss reached set point before delivering a huge serve. It was called out by a line judge but umpire Jake Garner immediately overruled that decision. This set-concluding act met with no complaint from Garcia-Lopez, who already knew well enough which way the tide was flowing.

After softening up the Spaniard with successive aces in the second game of what was the final set, Federer's almost casual purloining of the Garcia-Lopez serve simply emphasised the sheer genius of the man.

A determined Garcia-Lopez managed to cling onto his serve four times in the last set, but when it came to Federer serving for a place in the third round the Spaniard was a virtual spectator. Two more aces, taking his match total to 11, and a searing service winner took him to victory in a minute under an hour and a half.

Sportingly, Garcia-Lopez raised a smile as he warmly congratulated the winner at the net. As for Federer, his celebration with both arms raised high like a prizefighter was indication enough of his chances at The Championships this year.

Centre Court - Gentlemen's Singles - 2nd Round
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez ESP 224
Roger Federer SUI (2)Winner666

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