Wimbledon: Federer d. Fognini

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 /by

RFRRThe presence of Prince Charles, sporting a silk suit in his first royal box appearance since 1970, and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, prompted Roger Federer and Fabio Fognini to bring the bow back to Centre Court today. That was about the only time all day the theatrical Italian stayed in step with the six-time Wimbledon champion.

Issuing his own version of a royal performance, an imperious Federer raised his Grand Slam second-round record to 47-0 with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-2, dismissal that he dominated on serve. Federer is not the fastest server in tennis, but he is one of the most accurate. Mixing his spins and speeds masterfully and stretching the 5'10" Italian to all areas of the box, he blitzed through service games as if they were sprints. The third seed slammed 13 aces, won 37 of 41 points played on his first serve, and did not face a break point in the match, snuffing out any hopes the 68th-ranked Fognini had of challenging Federer's serve.

When he's on his game, the unpredictable Fognini can be a fascinating character to watch. The 2011 French Open quarterfinalist sometimes strikes shots so leisurely he appears to have the casual indifference of a man warming up a junior, but he can suddenly drop the slacker shtick, turn it on, and flatten out his shots. Fresh off an Eastbourne quarterfinal effort where he pushed eventual-champion Andy Roddick to a 7-5 third set, Fognini didn't exactly fret his appearance before the royal audience, but looked resigned to his fate early on as Federer broke for a 5-1 lead. The Swiss' forehand winner to seal the 23-minute first set had barely landed and Fognini, unable to make a stand, was already walking to his court-side seat.

Federer has been working with coach Paul Annacone to employ his net game more frequently in the early rounds of tournaments—as he did en route to his fourth title of the year in Madrid in May—and he was effective in the front court today, winning 21 of 23 trips to the net, concluding many of those ventures with one-volley winners against an overmatched opponent.

His lone real misstep came in the second set with Fognini serving at 3-5, when Federer slipped on the slick grass chasing a forehand and seemed to grab at his left leg when he arose. Federer shook off the tumble—"I'm fine, no pain," he said afterward—and took a two-set lead when Fognini buried a forehand into the bottom of the net, a transgression he commemorated by bouncing his Babolat stick off the turf.

Federer, who has dropped just nine games in two wins and can regain the top spot if he captures his seventh Wimbledon crown, never let control slip from his grip in wrapping up a one-hour and 14-minute romp.

"I'm very pleased with my performance," Federer told the BBC afterward. "I'm just happy overall with how I'm playing. I feel I'm serving well, when I have to, and moving well."

He moves into a third-round match with either American veteran Michael Russell or 29th-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

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