Roger Federer fell behind early in his third-round match against Lukas Rosol before fighting back to reach the quarterfinals of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Masters with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
Rosol, who made mainstream headlines back in 2012 when he shocked Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, was aiming for another gigantic upset. He got off to a terrific start, too. He scored an early break and held that advantage for most of the first set.
When the talented Czech veteran is playing his best he's extremely dangerous because he combines power with placement and forces his opponent deep in the court. The reason he's failed to climb the rankings is a lack of consistency, not a lack of talent.
As Andrew Burton of Tennis World noted, Rosol was definitely showcasing form well beyond his current No. 47 ranking early in the match:
Rosol has already forced Fed well behind the baseline - hitting lines, hitting deep. Hitting well.— Andrew Burton (@burtonad) April 17, 2014
Federer didn't seem phased by the strong play, however. He continued to hold his serve after that early hiccup and waited for his chance to break. It finally came with Rosol serving at 4-3 and he made no mistake, converting his first break point of the set to level the score.
From that point forward fans witnessed the difference between a 17-time Grand Slam singles champion and a player who's still trying to capitalize on his potential.
Rosol's level of play dropped after failing to take advantage of that early lead and letting Federer back into the set. The Swiss sensation, perhaps expecting that to happen given his counterpart's track record, took his play to another level.
The result was a hold followed by a second straight break, turning that 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 set victory in the blink of an eye. Just like that, Rosol's upset bid had lost all its steam.
TennisTV noted the quick turnaround, which Federer made look easy:
Federer maintained that level of play into the second set and Rosol simply couldn't match it. The fourth seed earned an early break—he converted all four of his break points in the match—and was never challenged as he raced to the finish line.
How far will Federer advance?
He took the second set by a 6-1 score and advanced in just under an hour, which was a welcome result after it looked like he may be in for a long match during the early going.
Ultimately, the match further reinforced the view of both players. Federer was steady throughout, didn't lose his cool after falling behind early and picked up his play on the key points late in the first set. Rosol flashed brilliance but couldn't maintain it.
The win for Federer comes one day after he made headlines for comments about the upcoming French Open. The Associated Press (via ESPN) passed along those remarks, in which the tennis superstar said he would consider skipping the next major depending on the birth of his third child:
So we're just waiting. It's a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife. I've played enough tennis matches. Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn't change anything for me.
If Federer ended up missing one of the biggest tournaments of the season it would obviously be a major loss for tennis as a whole. The Grand Slam events just don't have the same vibe when one of the top players is missing from the draw.
As for the current tournament, Federer stands just three victories away from the clay-court title. The sledding is going to get much more difficult starting in the quarterfinals, however, as he's set to face off with 12th-ranked Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Clashes with Novak Djokovic and Nadal would likely be on the horizon should he continue to advance, which is a very difficult road to say the least. That said, if Federer plays as well as he did after scoring that first break of Rosol, it's impossible to count him out.