FEDERER PUTS ON A SHOW AS HE RETURNS TO CLAY
Roger Federer fulfilled the expectations that had been generated around his return to a clay tournament after a three-year absence. The Swiss put on a masterclass against Frenchman Richard Gasquet, beating him 6-2, 6-3 in just fifty-three minutes of play.
Federer took to the court at 20:00, dressed all in white, to a standing ovation from the fans that packed the stands in the Manolo Santana Stadium. After the warm-up, the Swiss came flying out of the blocks. In less than ten minutes he had already broken Gasquet’s serve and had a 3-0 lead.
Gasquet then managed to hold his serve despite the exhibition of shots fired at him by the ex-world number one. At 5-2 ahead, Federer broke the French player’s serve once more to end the first set 6-2 in just twenty-three minutes.
Richard Gasquet stepped up a gear in the second. He earned himself some important points as he began to find his one-handed backhand. But his efforts were futile. When the Caja Mágica scoreboard showed 4-3, Federer decided it was time to go in for the kill. He broke Gasquet’s serve with a huge repertoire of winning shots and ended his misery in the following game by serving his way to victory.
The result means that Federer’s head-to-head with Gasquet is now 18-2 and he has won the last twenty-two sets they have played. The Swiss is now in the last sixteen, where he awaits the winner of the clash between another Frenchman, Gael Monfils, and the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, which will be played tomorrow.