Roger Federer scored the 24th straight victory at Wimbledon in the third round in 2006, beating Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and five minutes. Following commanding triumphs over Richard Gasquet and Tim Henman in the previous rounds, Federer had the upper hand against the Frenchman, too, suffering one break of serve and taking three return games that carried him through. Playing well on both the first and second serve, Roger controlled the pace in his service games and from the baseline overall, doing enough damage on the return to notch the seventh consecutive Wimbledon victory in straight sets.
The Swiss made a strong start before Mahut found the rhythm in set number two, reaching the tie break that Federer claimed 7-2 with a forehand crosscourt winner that gave him a massive boost. At 4-3 in the third set, Mahut got broken at 15 after a forced error at the net, allowing Roger to serve for victory. Barely putting a foot wrong in his service games up to that point, Federer couldn’t control a volley at the net to suffer a break and keep Mahut in contention, with the second tie break becoming almost inevitable. Instead of that, Federer grabbed the second straight break with a backhand down the line winner in the tenth game to move over the top and remain on the title course.
Roger Federer advanced into the last 16 at Wimbledon 2006 over Nicolas Mahut.
“Mahut goes to the net on both the first and second serve; I don’t have that power in my serve to follow that. I would rather hit constant forehand winners from the baseline instead; I enjoy that. I wanted to have the upper hand from the baseline and control all the more extended exchanges. I tried to stay behind a bit, and it worked; it was a tricky and challenging match. I expected strong serves from him, but not after missing the first. It wasn’t easy to find momentum with so many quick points around. There were no too many chances on the return on each side, and I took a couple of mines. I was relaxed all the way, showing no signs of frustration and waiting for my opportunities. I don’t know what happened while serving for the win, but that mistake could have been costly had I failed to break him again a few minutes later. It was unthinkable to have a roof here, and now they are doing that. You could play sleeveless as well.
The event evolves, and it’s less strict than in the past. It’s not easy to speak about your level in matches like this; you have to stay focused on your serve and do damage on the return. Once you move in front, big servers find it difficult to follow that pace and stay positive. I won the junior title here at Wimbledon playing from the baseline. In 2000 and 2001, I tried to come to the net more, and from 2002 I’m staying more on the baseline. The indoor events and those on hard courts are slower than in the past. Boris Becker was my idol growing up, and I would love to play a match against him; he got me into tennis in some way. I enjoy watching other games at Wimbledon, but nothing too crazy; you can’t stay focused on tennis all the time. My draw is not easy, and the next encounter is against Tommy Haas or Tomas Berdych,” Roger Federer said.