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Wimbledon: Roger Federer-Jurgen Melzer as it happened

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By Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport at Wimbledon

Roger Federer tells BBC TV: "It was always going to be a tough match against Jurgen. The start of the match was vital. I got the early break but he broke back but I was in my rhythm. It was great to have two days off but that doesn't make the difference if you are going to win the tournament. I think my form is good enough and obviously the opponents are going to get more and more difficult but my game is good. I know how to win here which is a great advantage for me but there are so many great players left in the draw so it is still a very difficult tournament to win. I will try to give myself a chance and see where it goes.

Federer 6-3 6-2 6-3 Melzer
Lovely dipping passer from Fed for 0-15. Forehand long, 15-15. Oh, vicious power on either side, backhand blistering, forehand frightening - 15-30. Missed drop-shot from Melz, and we're at match point - saved with a forehand to the corner after a decent serve takes Rog out wide. We'll have another now though, as a forehand cross-court sizzles away - and when Melz flays a defeated backhand long, the contest is complete. One hour 24 minutes. Impressive...

Federer 6-3 6-2 5-3 Melzer *
Fed, white socks mid-calf, bandanna untouched by sweat, ruffled shirt unblemished - strolling hold, and he's on the brink.

* Federer 6-3 6-2 4-3 Melzer
Oh, wonderful backhand dipper over the highest part of the net from Fed out on the run, and you can almost hear the hiss of Melz's will expiring. That's in the net, and a woman in the crowd celebrates the break with a wave of her RogFed scard - white, with misshapen printed images of Roger on either end. Home-made? Probably, but you never know what you can find in the street markets of Nyon.

Federer 6-3 6-2 3-3 Melzer *
Bang, drill, crash, thump - hold to love, and Melz starting to labour. Game gone in a minute, break scented in the next.

* Federer 6-3 6-2 2-3 Melzer
Another battle to hold. Federer rips a dipping forehand cross court, and Melz doesn't even bother giving chase. Maybe his hamstring is causing issues. Better serving, and he escapes from 30-30. Umbrellas up over the players' chairs as they glug down refrescos at the intermission.

Tim Henman
Tim Henman on BBC TV: "Melzer has got to do the basics better than he has done already."

Federer 6-3 6-2 2-2 Melzer *
Federer slices with high elbow, again and again - ooof, Melz has slipped and hit the deck. Think he's alright, although he's grabbing a little gingerly at his hamstring. Too good again from Fed - if Melz was at his best he'd be a challenge, but he's making unforced errors all over the shop.

* Federer 6-3 6-2 1-2 Melzer
Pressure again on the Melzer serve, and he's not helping himself here - forehand to be put away, but the drive lacks ruthlessness and allows the great champ back in. Better forehand, opening up his body to cream one cross-court - and another! Ace down the middle, and he's got away with it. Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue, watches on behind her trademark Edna Mole sunglasses. It's not the New Den, is it?

LionelHutz on 606: "Its not vintage Federer, that will only come out against opponents playing great tennis. He's into his stride and he will win Wimbledon."

Federer 6-3 6-2 1-1 Melzer *
Lovely raking forehands from Fed, and he'ss mixing it up cleverly on his serve - direction, pace, spin. Glimpse there of Fed's part-time Grand Slam coach. Swiss Davis Cup captain Severin Luthi. All anagrams of the skipper welcome to my Twitter via that cheeky link at the top of the page.

* Federer 6-3 6-2 0-1 Melzer
Melz looking heavy of leg and heavier of heart, but he gets the third set underway with an anxious hold. Good volley on him, the Austrian. All around, fans are being fashioned from newspapers, orders of play and Tupperware picnic box lids.

SECOND SET

Federer 6-3 6-2 Melzer *
Just 49 minutes gone, and Federer utterly in charge - volley at the net for 15-0, another stop-dropper with heavenly touch, big serve and set taken. Remarkable stats for you: in that set, Fed won 100% of points on his first serve. Melz winning just 25 % of points on his second serve. It's all there for you.

* Federer 6-3 5-2 Melzer
Lovely passer from Fed, and the luxuriating spectators purr their appreciation. Chance for a break - yup, all too easy, and Melz has been unable to cope with either opponent or occasion. Hello - you knew he'd turn up - Sir Clifford of Richard, blazered and looking extremely pleased with himself.

Tim Henman
Tim Henman on BBC TV: "You get the impression that Federer is starting to go through the gears and his service percentage is starting to go up and he is starting to hold comfortably."

Federer 6-3 4-2 Melzer *
Blink-and-you'll-miss-it hold from Fed. Sweltering out there now, although Sir Trevor McDonald looks utterly untroubled by it. When you grew up in Trini, a June day in London is a mere trifle.

* Federer 6-3 3-2 Melzer
Mirka, inscrutable behind bug-eye shades - crisp volleying from Melz, and he finally holds. He has been in form, the 29-year-old, currently at a career-high ranking of 16 and fresh off that semi-final appearance at Roland Garros.

Federer 6-3 3-1 Melzer *
The worry here for Melz is that he's not getting a sniff, even though Roger's first serve percentage is right down in the 50%ers. Not his favourite surface either, grass - his career record is currently at 27 wins to 24 defeats. Roger's? 95-13. Ouch.

* Federer 6-3 2-1 Melzer
A brace of young ladies in the crowd, one in white-rimmed shades and busy with a concertina fan, the other with a black trilby which would be rather P Doherty if it wasn't for the red carnation jammed in the hat-band. And recently-shampooed blonde hair cascading out underneath. Trouble for Melz again, canting at 15-30 and slipping to two break points as Fed scents blood - yup, taken. Fed cruising in the manner of three/four years ago.

Federer 6-3 1-1 Melzer *
Melz, aiming to be the first Austrian man to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals in the history of the world ever, gets unlucky again with another net-cord. He's standing deeper and deeper in an attempt to give himself more time on the serve, but that just allows Fed to slice out wide. Easy hold.

Tim Henman
Tim Henman on BBC TV: "In that set the not-so-good part was Roger's first serve percentage. He was winning 64% of points on his first serve and 73% on his second serve but that emphasises how good the rest of his game is. If you don't get on the offensive against Federer and get the first strike in he really is so difficult to play against. I just think he hasn't played to the standards he expects of himself and we expect of him and it really emphasises how good he has been for so long to produce this sort of consistency. The other players sense there is a little vulnerability there and he has lost a few matches that perhaps he could have won."

* Federer 6-3 0-1 Melzer
Better from Melz, racing to 40-0 with a nerveless overhead. Fed thunks a backhand service return into the net, and the game is sealed. Is that Ian Hislop in the Royal Box? Loves his tennis, the diminutive satirist.

FIRST SET

Federer 6-3 Melzer *
Shocker from Roger, running in for an easy mid-court put-away and thrashing his forehand into the net for a miss so bad that people in the crowd clutch their heads. Melz still foxed by this serve though, and he can barely get anything back with spice or spit - two set points. Ooof, lucky with a net-cord that trips the ball up but allows it to drop Melzwards, and Fed is on his way.

* Federer 5-3 Melzer
Tony Bennett there in the Royal Box, youthful in a lemon sports jacket and bright blue tie. Remarkable amount of hair on his head. Melz switches tactics and comes to the net behind serves out wide - punchy volleys backhand cross court, and he's kept his set alive.

Federer 5-2 Melzer *
Federer well off with another line-call challenge, but it's the only hint of strife - the first serve clicking, the stern-faced Melz signally failing to get his retuning game firing back. 38 degrees C air temperature I'm told, although the beads of perspiration racing each other between my shoulderblades could have told me that.

* Federer 4-2 Melzer
Roger riled now, albeit with minimal facial evidence - he climbs straight back into the Melz serve, slicing off the backhand and then dipping a fizzing top-spinner down the line. Two break points - pressurised backhand into the net from the Austrian, and he's lost that break straight back. Ding follows dong follows ding.

Federer 3-2 Melzer *
Suddenly, and without warning, the Fed serve starts to wobble. The champ gets lucky with a dicey volley which gets called good only on the Hawk-Eye challenge, but that's long - break point. Fed to the net, he should put that away - no, Melz can chase down and flick up a lob - a delightful one, right onto the baseline... Federer sprints and flails desperately, but that's never going in - break taken back!

* Federer 3-1 Melzer
There's someone a few rows back wearing one of those conical straw hats worn by Vietnamese peasants. I can't actually see the face underneath, but my money's on someone just back from a backpacking trip to Hanoi. If a Vietnamese peasant has actually made it in, that's a splendid effort. Ah, at last some touch from Melz, killing two volleys stone-dead like a man stunning a rabbit.

* Federer 3-0 Melzer
These two did once play doubles at the junior Orange Bowl, but Melz doesn't seem to have remembered too much - don't feed the Fed forehand, don't let him dictate points. Trouble.

* Federer 2-0 Melzer
Roger's not always enjoying coming up against lefties (we all know who the other one left in the draw is) but he's prepared for this match by practising against Alex Bogdanovic. Confidence-boosting, surely, although it's like warming up for the World Cup with a kickabout with the local pub team. Trouble here for the Austrian, passed down his forehand side and then double-faulting to toss away the break.

Federer 1-0 Melzer *
A woman in the crowd there with a red hat so wide-brimmed she must have applied for planning permission. Solid first service game from the champ, Melz sending one backhand return long and another into the tape. Roger flicks a dangling curl back off his forehead and paces back to his towel like a sleepy panther.

* denotes next server

1304: Some opening stats for you: remarkably, these two men have never met in pro tennis. Stranger still when you consider that they came up together - Rog the Wimbledon boys' champ in 1998, Jurgen in '99.

1300: Here come the players - still no sign of Roger's cardie making a comeback, although you can hardly blame him. Melzer in a back-to-front baseball cap. Reassuring to know that, in one small corner of Austria, it will always be 1989.

1257: Not a cloud visible in the rectangle of sky visible through the gap left by the roof. The court's starting to look a little worn around the baselines, but the volleying slots up close to the net still look pretty pristine. Draw your own tactical conclusions from that.

1253: Sue B and Tim H down there on the edge of Centre Court, Sue in a creme jacket with scallop-neck lapels, Tim in grey suit with open-neck blue shirt. Smart-casual.

1248: Fed v Melz up first, which is rather appropriate in this baking weather. It's so hot out there that anyone foolish enough to wear nylon - perhaps as a tribute to 1979-era Jimbo Connors - may well spontaneously combust.

1244: Football schmootball. When you've got a Centre Court line-up of Fed vs Melzer, Serena v Shara and Muzzington v Sam Querrey 'cross the Mersey, what's there not to feel chirpy about?



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see also
Live - Wimbledon 2010
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Champion Federer in dominant form
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Federer v Clement as it happened
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Wimbledon day three as it happened
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Federer escapes first-round shock
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Federer v Falla as it happened
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Henman on Federer's fightback
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Men's singles latest
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Women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis


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