It took the world number 2 five sets against the former world no.6 this morning/evening/afternoon (depends where you are), but Roger Federer finally got an very stubborn and persistent opponent out of his way after dropping a two set lead only to get his groove back in the fifth and finish the match with style, delivering an Ace on the match point.
Federer seemed too much for Simon during the first two sets, taking them 6-2, 6-3 in just over an hour. Simon broke Federer twice in the beginning of the third and Roger, as always in recent years when suddenly facing a tougher opposition than expected, took a step back and seemed confused for about an hour. Simon played like he knew where every Federer shot will land and frustrated the 2010 champion. Eventually, the quality and skill Federer has in tons was enough to get the crucial break in the fifth set and cement his 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3. Federer leaves with a ticket to the third round, Simon left with the crowd sympathy and probably a confident feeling 2011 just might be a good year.
Federer should be happy about being able to beat the Frenchman (34th in the world) for the first time in his career, losing the previous two matchups. If it’s due to Federer finding new ways that allow him to win or just Simon not being as good as he used to be remains to be seen.