Roger started off his clay court season in style today against Andreas Seppi after having a bye in the first round. With the beautiful backdrop of the French Riviera there was only going to be one winner today, with Roger winning 6-4, 6-4. As I thought it was a new start on the red clay for the Swiss. With Seppi already a win to the good over Jurgen Melzer and it being Roger’s first match, the start was always going to be tight. Seppi was holding serve easier then Roger at the start so I was relieved to see Roger break serve at 4-4. The best point of the match came on break point for Roger in the first game of the second set. It was a long base line rally after which Roger hit a pin point accurate backhand drive down the line to break the Seppi serve.
Again at 5-3 on Seppi’s serve he had match points but could not convert. After that it was a bit wobbly for Roger when serving for match when Seppi had a chance to break back but Roger shut the door and finally held serve to progress to the third round. So like I said all in all it was a nice start for Roger to the clay season. I liked the way he was looking to attack the Seppi second serve and play attacking tennis in general. Looking at the match stats I can’t see the unforced errors and winners but I would have thought the number would be pretty decent. He looked to be giving his ground strokes more height over the net which is of course necessary on clay. Therefor he looked more consistent from the ground, both the backhand and forehand looked solid which was good to see.
The only thing that was not so good was the first serve percentage which was 47%, but I’m sure he’ll get that back up again. He needs to because next he plays against his compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka who staged a big comeback against Martin Vassallo Arguello after being at set and a break down. I’m happy to see Wawrinka winning as I not only like him but he will all make a nice match up with Roger. They have met twice before on tour with Roger winning pretty comfortably both times. They’ve never met on clay though. I expect Roger to take care of business but nevertheless Wawrinka will be a test. Elsewhere in the draw of the top four who was in action Murray won his first match 6-3, 6-2 against Victor Hanescu and Djokovic was impressive in beating Oscar Hernandez 6-1, 6-2.
Earlier today Verdasco also looked impressive in disposing of Philip Kohlchreiber 6-3, 6-4. Certainly Verdasco is a player who can do well on clay this year and actually that was his first win ever at Monte Carlo having lost in the first round there on five previous occasions. Already I’m looking forward to a possible third round match between Verdasco and David Ferrer. Interestingly the other two seeds in Roger’s quarter of the draw both lost. They are Tommy Robredo who was upset by Juan Monaco and Gilles Simon who lost to Andreas Beck. That’s good news for Roger as he will have a potentially easier match should he get past Wawrinka. OK that’s all for now, I’ll talk to you again after Roger’s match tomorrow against Wawrinka.To a new start for Roger!