Federer battles past Acasuso
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:31
The Swiss completed a 7-6 (10/8) 5-7 7-6 (7/2) 6-2 victory on Philippe Chatrier court to set up a last-32 date with either Paul-Henri Mathieu or Pablo Andujar.
But the second seed could feasibly have lost in straight sets, with Acasuso – the world number 45 – having great opportunities to grab the first and third sets.
Federer, bidding to claim the only Major to so far elude him, won the first set but even then there were signs all was not well.
He saved three break points in the fourth game but was eventually broken, on Acasuso’s sixth attempt, to go 4-2 down. The Swiss broke back straightaway but fell 4-1 then 6-3 down in the tie-break. He went on to save four set points before turning things around, clinching the 66-minute set when Acasuso could not retrieve a drop-shot.
The pair traded early breaks in the second set but at its business end, Federer sent a forehand wide to go 6-5 down, giving Acasuso the chance to serve out the set. Federer saved a first set point but on the second, Acasuso powered over a deep, punishing forehand that the second seed could not return.
The 26-year-old Argentinian, who had lost all three of his previous matches against Federer, capitalised on a host of errors by his opponent to break twice early on in the third set, going 4-0 then 5-1 ahead.
To his credit, Federer managed to stay calm when all around him were reaching for the record books to find out when he last went out this early in a major.
He saved a set point when Acasuso was serving at 5-2 up and after winning five games on the bounce, he had no problems claiming the tie-break as the Argentinian started to lose hope.
The match was running a similar course to third seed Andy Murray’s tussle against Potito Starace and like in that encounter, there was no stopping the favourite once his head was cleared. Federer would end up winning 12 of the last 15 games – and in the fourth set, the 27-year-old who has made the semi-finals in his last 19 grand slams, broke in the third and fifth games to ultimately canter to victory.