US Open 2019: Roger Federer vs Dan Evans match preview, prediction
With a series of young players losing their first-round matches at the Flushing Meadows, the Big Three are slowly progressing to the second week of the tournament successfully. Amongst them, it is Rafael Nadal who will be looking fresh when he faces the qualifier Hyeon Chung in the third round as he had a walkover from Thanasi Kokkinakkis in his second-round match.
Novak Djokovic, on the other hand, did mention in the post-match press conference that he wanted the match to end as he had to take a time-out for his shoulder injury. But, if there's any player who can win the tournament even with an injury, it might just be the World No.1 as his spirit is indomitable.
Coming to the last one in the list of Big Three, Roger Federer's performance in this year's US Open hasn't lived up to the expectations but he did manage to win both of his matches in four sets, which in itself is a blessing in disguise. But, the main question remains: Till how far in the tournament can Federer afford to lose the first set but manage to win the match?
It doesn't mean that he is not capable of bouncing back from a set down and win the match but how many opponents will allow him to do so? The shaky starts from Federer in the first half-an-hour of a match should not be a headache to him in the early rounds if he wants to go into the second week of the tournament.
That said, the opponent he is going to face today is someone who can take advantage of his vulnerabilities. Having played Federer earlier this year in the second round of the Australian Open, he would have learned a bit or two with regards to the strategies he needs to implement to give himself a fighting chance against the all-time great. He is Dan Evans, who beat the Frenchman Lucas Pouille in four sets and is all set to meet Federer later today at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Recollecting their last encounter, Evans did manage to hold his serve firmly and pushed Federer to two tie-breakers and lost there eventually. He proved his mettle in that match and he would also love to volley as much as possible, just like his opponent. So, it would be interesting to see how the former World No.1 would approach this match as he might have to do a lot of pushing from the baseline to get Evans where he wants him to be.
Leaving the first sets in his last two matches, Federer did look good in the next three from the baseline and sometimes, he was reminiscent of the vintage Federer when he played his trademark shots, especially from the baseline. Just like last year, Federer seemed to have expressed his concerns over the pacing of the courts as he said it was a dead court and he felt like he was playing on clay after his second-round match.
The officials are yet to respond to this as some pundits are saying that the balls being used this year (Slazenger) could also be the reason for the slow pace. Irrespective of the reason, Federer was not quite happy with the way things were going on for him at the Flushing Meadows.
On the flip side, Dan Evans has got nothing to lose and he will be opening fire right from the word go. Considering the shaky starts that Federer is giving, Evans could probably hurt Federer with his game as they both seem a tad bit similar. Also, Federer's first serves haven't been at a great level in his last two matches and he will be trying hard to improve in that respect.
The serve and a solid start to the match are strengths for Federer but they had lost their direction a bit in this tournament and even though he is striking the ball perfectly well in the latter stages of the match, he really cannot afford to lose another set to Evans.
Also, Evans had to play back-to-back matches on consecutive days as his second-round match against Lucas Pouille got washed out on Wednesday. This also might be yet another interesting factor for the fate of this match. If Evans is match-fit without any fatigue and Roger manages to produce yet another tentative start to the match, we might just witness a five-set battle between the two single-handed backhanders and who knows, the tables might turn into the Brit's favour, provided Federer loses the first set.
Prediction : Roger Federer winning in four sets.Published 30 Aug 2019, 20:14 IST