Fourth-seeded Roger Federer once again put on a show Saturday at All England Club, as the seven-time Wimbledon champion advanced to the fourth round with an exquisite 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 win over Colombia's Santiago Giraldo.
Federer is arguably the greatest grass-court player of all time, and Giraldo experienced that firsthand in a match that was never in doubt, according to SI Tennis:
Although Federer dominated Giraldo in most areas, perhaps the biggest key to his success was his serve. That was also the case in the second round against Gilles Muller, but Fed wasn't necessarily counting on that to carry over, per ESPN UK.
"It's nice for the confidence, but on a different day it's a different opponent," Federer said following the win over Muller. "Maybe next round I might not serve that many first serves or aces, so it is nice to get those aces and those wins like that, but I've got to keep working hard and trying to be consistent."
Consistency has always been one of Federer's greatest assets, and it was on full display in a complete performance against Giraldo.
It isn't as if Federer needed much help on Saturday, but he is a beloved figure in London due to his long track record of success at Wimbledon. The fans were firmly behind Federer during the third-round encounter, and that was apparent immediately, according to Chiara Gambuzza of Tennis World Italia:
The Swiss superstar raced out to an early lead against his Colombian counterpart and never really looked back from there, particularly in the first set. Federer held a 3-0 advantage by virtue of two holds and a break of Giraldo's serve.
The underdog was never able to recover, as Federer won 21 of 29 points off serves and came up with some excellent returns during Giraldo's service games. Federer took the set 6-3 and did it in tidy fashion, per Wimbledon on Twitter:
With rain falling throughout the day, Federer and Giraldo played under the roof on Centre Court. Federer thrived in those conditions against Muller and proved to be comfortable indoors once again in this particular match, according to Craig O'Shannessy of The New York Times:
As good as Federer looked in the first set, he was even more locked in during the second. Fed was immediately able to break Giraldo in the first game of the second set, as his vintage form was on full display:
Federer didn't stop there, as he followed it up with a pair of holds and a second break before Giraldo finally stopped the bleeding with a hold of his own. The damage had already been done, though, and Giraldo was totally lacking for confidence, per Live Tennis:
Giraldo did get on the board, but it didn't deter Federer whatsoever. With another hold and an emphatic break of Giraldo's serve, Federer took the third set 6-1 and pushed his opponent to within one set of elimination.
The scoreline highlighted just how tremendous Federer was in the first two sets, as did the fact that he was able to finish them in less than an hour:
Giraldo deserves some credit for continuing to fight, as he kept things close for much of the third set. With his back against the wall, Giraldo was in position to potentially break Federer's serve and take a 4-3 lead. Fed fought back from a 40-15 deficit, though, and was able to seize the 4-3 advantage for himself.
That push promised to be Giraldo's last gasp, as Federer then broke Giraldo and closed the match out in emphatic fashion by holding at love.
It is true that Federer hasn't necessarily faced a dangerous opponent yet, but he was upset in the second round by Sergiy Stakhovsky at All England Club last year, so breezing through to the fourth has to be fairly significant for Federer from a confidence standpoint.
He is a seven-time Wimbledon champion, and this may be his best opportunity to win another Grand Slam. Federer is 32 years of age, so he may not have many more chances to do so moving forward. If that is the case, then Federer couldn't ask to be in much better form than he is right now.
If Federer continues to play like this, then he is definitely capable of beating anyone. That is hugely important since the level of competition is only going to increase. If Fed can get past the winner of the Jerzy Janowicz vs. Tommy Robredo match in the fourth round, then he has to brace for a gauntlet of Grand Slam champions.
It is entirely possible that Federer will have to beat Stanislas Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and either Novak Djokovic or Andy Murray in succession to taste his first Grand Slam title in two years. That is a tall task for anyone, but Federer may be up to it.
Few would argue against the notion that Federer has been the most impressive among the Big Four to this point, and that certainly bodes well for his chances in London.
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