A Roger Federer drop shot has left fans arguing over whether it was one of his best or simply lucky after he cruised into the Wimbledon third round.
The Swiss defending champion was at his breathtaking best as he crafted 48 exquisite winners during a 90-minute 6-4 6-4 6-1 victory over Lukas Lacko that seemed more an exhibition of his shot-making than a charge towards a record ninth Wimbledon title.
And it was one winner early in the second set that caused a stir.
At the end of a long rally, Federer lined up a drop shot that went so high even the chair umpire had to look up to watch the ball cross the net.
By the time it landed halfway down the service box, Lacko was nowhere to be seen after being fooled by the change of play.
But was it really that good?
Some fans immediately denied it was ‘Federer brilliance’ and said better players than Lacko would have shot it back for a clean winner.
Lazy Lacko didn't chase it so the dropshot ended up being a winner. Any other top guy would have chased it and hit it for a crosscourt dropshot winner.
— Ashish (@Ashish_1603) July 4, 2018
Too much height on the ball and is easily gettable and a top 10 would create a winner. So certainly not a fine drop shot. He has had many crisp ones before
— Ashvin Kalyanaraman (@ashkalyan) July 4, 2018
Plenty of time for the opponent to reach and smash it. But lacks movement from Lacko. Its amazing Federer winning against heavy, strong field in the top half. wow
— John Kramer T (@JonKramerT) July 4, 2018
The ball had so much air the opponent could easily have reached and made a winner. You guys are an advertising platform for RF or what.
— Anurag (@anuragaqua) July 4, 2018
I might be a harsh judge but it bounce 2/3 of the way into the service box. Not a very good drop shot, just surprised his opponent.
— steve harris (@harrisstringing) July 4, 2018
That was a complete moon ball. Top guys would have gotten to that ball and put it away.
— Tennis fan (@ATP22) July 4, 2018
Of course, with anything related to Federer many more fans thought it was more than a lucky break.
The commentators certainly agreed.
“Poor old Lacko. Thought about chasing it but he remained rooted to the baseline,” one said.
The truth is perhaps somewhere in the middle.
The No.1 seed did fool Lacko, so it didn’t matter how high the ball soared or where it landed – by the time the Slovak realised a drop shot was on, it was too late to move.
But fitter and quicker players chase and reach better drop shots, so one as inviting as that might have been pounced on.
In any case, the gulf in talent was wide and one looped shot wasn’t changing the result.
Lacko, who is ranked 73rd in the world, saved two set points at 5-3 in the first but couldn’t prevent Federer from taking an early lead on a rapid service game.
Another effortless topspin-loaded swing from Federer, which claimed the opening break of the second set, was followed by a 60-second service game to pull away with a 4-2 lead.
And Federer was relentless as he lost just nine of 61 total points behind his intimidating service and he closed out the second set with three straight aces.
The third set was one-way traffic as Federer killed the contest with a ferocious forehand after 90 minutes of brilliance.
“I played very well again, I felt good out there, less nerves than in the first round, which is normal,” said Federer after racking up his 93rd Wimbledon win.
“I am happy with how I am hitting the ball and concentration on my own service games and I am able to mix it up on return. I needed to put him away and I was able to do that and I am very happy.”
The top seed, who belted down 16 aces, hit the target with 70 per cent of his first serves, dropped only three points on his first serve and did not even come close to facing a break point, will next face Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff for a place in the fourth round.