Belly flip time, Fed fans! Roger Federer needed four sets to beat Jose Acasuso today in the second round of the French Open: 7-6 (10/8), 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2. Federer went into the match with a 3-0 record over Acasuso, but the two had never met on clay. The cold, rainy weather made for molasses slow court conditions – just the kind the Argentine dirtballer needed to test Roger.
Acasuso had four set points in the first set tiebreaker and another chance in the third. Considering Jose won the second set, it’s not too harsh to say Roger “should have” lost in three.
“He did deserve a few sets,” Roger admitted in his post-match presser, though he was generally positive about his own performance.
“Well, I like easy matches,” he said, “but it’s also nice to fight on these difficult matches, especially when you win. Then it’s nice to talk about this match, but I have good experience here in Roland Garros on the center court.”
“Physically speaking, I was fine. I was fit. I can’t forecast any problem for the future, and the work I did over the last month pays off.”
“It was sort of a fun match to be part of, you know, with so many ups and downs.”
Fun for Roger, maybe, but agony for his fans! Especially in the third set, when Roger had to fight back from a 1-5 deficit.
Q: Were you a bit worried at 5‑1 in the third set?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes, a bit. But I was not afraid to die, so everything was okay.
Come on Roger, don’t be so selfish! Did you ever think about the trauma you put us through? Not to mention Mirka:
Roger did mention how important the support of the notoriously fickle French crowd was to his confidence:
“I had a standing ovation at the end, and that’s very moving each time. I have a feeling I’m the grand favorite here in Paris, and that’s very nice.”
“I’m not trying to seduce the crowd. I just try and play beautiful tennis. If they like it, great. If they don’t like it, nothing I can do. I also think being a fair player with regards to your opponent, with regards to the game, with regards to the people there, it’s very important to me, and this is something people seem to like.”
So what do we make of this, Fed fans? Was this just a detour on “the grand favorite’s” march to the finals or a sign of very bad things to come?
Roger will face either Paul-Henri Mathieu or Pablo Andujar of Spain in the next round.