Did you really expect Roger Federer to stay down for long?
The world’s former No. 1 player has quickly turned the page on a disastrous 2013 campaign. In four tournaments this year, Federer has put together an impressive 19-3 singles record, captured one title and reached the final in two other events and got to the semifinals in the other.
In comparison, injuries and poor play led to a pedestrian 45-17 singles mark last season.
Needless to say, Federer—who recently moved up three spots to No. 5 in the ATP rankings—is back on track.
“I’m just happy I’m playing consistent tennis and I’m going deep in tournaments and I’m giving myself chances to win,” the 32-year-old said, per the Associated Press (h/t Fox Sports). “I’m playing really good tennis. … So many things are working.”
Among those things working well is his serve.
Thus far, Federer has been hard to beat on his serve. He is successful on his first serve 63 percent of the time, winning 78 percent of those points. Furthermore, opponents have had little success breaking Federer, as he has saved 72 percent of the 88 break points he has faced.
Not surprisingly, Federer has won 90 percent of his service games in 2014.
During his heyday, a powerful serve was one of his most dangerous assets. With that clicking once again, Federer is a threat to win anytime he steps on the court.
With a win at Dubai earlier in the month and a run to the finals during last week’s Paribas Open, Federer appears to be in top form entering the Sony Open. Given his draw, another deep run seems to be all but assured.
Federer opens against a player he’s had a ton of success against—a 10-1 career record—in Ivo Karlovic.
After that, Fernando Verdasco will be Federer’s next likely opponent, followed by either Kevin Anderson or Richard Gasquet. None of those three players should offer up too much difficulty to Federer given his current form.
The semifinals is where things could get tough, as Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray will be the likeliest opponent.
Federer has got to like his odds, as he has beaten both men already this season. In fact, he is an impressive 4-2 against top-10 opponents this season—no other player has as many wins against top-10 competition.
That should then leave a finals matchup with Federer’s nemesis Rafael Nadal.
The Spaniard hasn’t been Federer’s favorite opponent during his career—he’s just 10-23 against Nadal. Furthermore, Federer has won just one of the last seven meetings between the two dating back to early 2011.
Still, this time could be different.
“(Federer) is playing as consistently well as when he won Wimbledon in 2012,” said USTA manager of player development and ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe, via the Miami Herald's Michelle Kaufman. “Even though he’s lost a couple of matches, he’s arguably out of top guys the most consistent, even though he doesn’t have a big title to back it up.”
With the French Open a couple of months away, Federer is getting hot at the right time.
And if he keeps it up, it’ll be hard to bet against the Swiss maestro from adding an 18th Grand Slam trophy to his list of achievements.