The 2014 Wimbledon Championships may have only just started, but Roger Federer must already be on upset alert during his second-round matchup against Gilles Muller.
Federer made quick work of his opponent in the first round, beating Paolo Lorenzi in straight sets 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 without having much of a problem. He's had plenty of success at Wimbledon over his career, winning the Grand Slam event seven times, including five straight from 2003 to 2007.
Before the tournament, Federer felt confident about his chances to win at Wimbledon according to ATPWorldTour.com, saying:
I feel like I'm a contender for the tournament. I feel like if things click here, I should be able to win the tournament; whereas at Roland Garros I feel like I'm slightly more dependent on (Rafael Nadal). ... (When I play at Wimbledon) it's more on my racket. As soon as that's the case, you are more confident in your chances.
While his second-round opponent didn't have a nearly as convincing win, Muller was able to also win in straight sets against Julien Benneteau. Muller looked solid, hitting 28 aces while recording just 17 unforced errors.
With the two paired to face off, this is a match that Federer needs to be ready for, as this could be a potential early upset.
As Ben Rothenberg from The New York Times points out, Muller is going to be a much harder opponent for Federer.
Roger Federer easily past clay-loving Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 6-1, 6-3. Next round, especially if against Gilles Muller, MUCH harder. #Wimbledon— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 24, 2014
This isn't the first time the two have met, but it is the first time in six years. Muller and Federer have met three other times, with the superstar winning all three. However, Muller is playing well right now, as he's gone 24-2 in his past 26 matches, according to Nick Nemeroff from Tennis View Magazine.
Roger Federer's second round opponent, Gilles Muller, has won 24 of his last 26 matches overall.— Nick Nemeroff (@NNemeroff) June 25, 2014
After making it to the quarterfinals in 36 straight Grand Slam events, Federer has started to struggle recently, not making it past the fourth round in three of the last four tournaments. In last year's Wimbledon, he lost in just the second round to Sergiy Stakhovsky after coming in as the defending champion.
Still, it won't be easy for Muller to take Federer down, as the 32-year-old tends to do quite well on grass. During ATP events, he's gone 125-18 over his career on grass, winning 14 titles. Federer is also considering playing the net-rushing game, according to Simon Cambers from The Guardian, saying:
I think it could be that little extra piece to the puzzle that could bring me through, to have that extra option. I think it is helpful. I’m going to still see against who I can do it and who I can’t. If I can’t, I’ll have to rely more on my baseline game, on the first shots; serve, returns, first strike, which almost everybody plays nowadays.
Overall, Federer is still the favorite, but with how well Muller has been playing recently, the seven-time Wimbledon champ can't overlook his second-round opponent—or else he could be exiting after just his second match for the second straight year.