On the face of it, a match between a 20-time Grand Slam champion and a journeyman who has never been in the top 100 of the ATP rankings may seem like a pretty one-sided affair. That may well be the case when world number three Roger Federer meets the German qualifier Oscar Otte, who is currently ranked 144 in the world.
However, Otte has been playing sublime tennis at Roland Garros this year. He has already played four matches, including three in the qualifying rounds. He won two of those matches quite easily. However, he lost his final qualifying match against Guillermo Garcia Lopez and was even bageled by the Spanish player in the deciding set.
However, he entered the main draw as a lucky loser and has made the most of this second chance, putting on a stupendous display against the accomplished Tunisian Malek Jaziri. He defeated Jaziri in four sets, bageling him in the final set of the match.
The German will now play the biggest match of his career in the second round of the French Open, where he meets his idol, Roger Federer. Does he have it in him to pull off a major upset, or at least make the match competitive? Only time will tell. Much of that depends not on him, but what happens on the other side of the court.
In recent times, Federer has had his fair share of off days and matches such as these can prove to be quite tricky. If he takes things a bit too lightly or throws caution to the wind and plays an all-out aggressive game, the unforced errors may pile up.
That may be Otte’s best chance to spring a surprise. However, Federer has begun the tournament well, securing a facile win over Lorenzo Sonego in the first round, and it is unlikely he will take his pedal off the gas against Otte.
Prediction: Federer to win in Straight SetsPublished 29 May 2019, 13:28 IST