Roger Federer will look to punch his ticket to the third round of the Australian Open for the 15th consecutive year on Day 4 when he squares off against world No. 99 Blaz Kavcic in Round 2 at Melbourne Park.
The two players have never met before, but the sixth-seeded Federer will enter as a heavy favorite.
Still, upset defeats in each of his past two Grand Slam appearances have reminded us that the Swiss legend is human after all.
Let's take a closer look at Federer's keys to victory against Kavcic.
Continue to Dominate on Serve
Federer's serve was sublime in his opening-round win over James Duckworth and will be critical to his chances of avoiding a major upset in Round 2.
Of course, Federer won't need to win 89 percent of his first-serve points again in order to prevail. However, if he can remain solid on his second serve, continuing to win more than 50 percent of those points, he'll be on his way to another win Down Under.
As his convincing first-round victory proved, he doesn't need to be flashy and blast two dozen aces over the course of the match to break his opponent's will. A methodical approach will do for Federer in the second round against Kavcic.
Zero in on Break-Point Opportunities
If there's a frightening trend for Federer to watch out for against Kavcic, it's his inability to convert break-point chances of late.
Federer converted just 4 of 17 break-point opportunities against Duckworth in Round 1 and was only 2 of 16 in his previous major appearance in the fourth round at the 2013 U.S. Open, a straight-sets loss to Tommy Robredo.
While Federer wan't too worried about his missed opportunities after his first-round match, you can bet he'll be searching for a way to capitalize moving forward, per ATPWorldTour.com:
It was not much rhythm out there. It was a matter of getting the job done and not getting broken. So it was a solid match from start to finish. Could have maybe won a few more break points here and there, but who cares now?
Against Kavcic, Federer must lock in on his early chances to break in order to keep the pressure on his opponent and build some much-needed confidence as he progresses through the draw. It's a simple key and one that applies to every professional player, but the importance of it can't be overstated.
How many sets will Federer need to get past Kavcic?
Federer's patience in his first-round win over Duckworth was overlooked as a result of his gaudy service numbers. However, his ability to remain calm in the heat and only commit 17 unforced errors was crucial to his success.
Remember, Federer made 43 unforced errors in his upset loss to Robredo at the U.S. Open last summer, looking rushed and unfocused in key moments.
But by keeping that count down against Kavcic, the pressure will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Slovenian underdog to hit winners. While he's sure to make his fair share of plays, it's almost inevitable that he'll fade over the course of the match.
When you factor in Federer's exceptional service play and his wealth of experience, it's clear that he's poised to advance on Day 4 if he can zero in on his break-point chances and maintain his patience.
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