Roger Federer advanced to the semifinals in Hamburg with a 76(4), 3-6, 7-5 victory over German Florian Mayer in a competitive, high quality match in which Federer was pushed to his limits by a man playing very good tennis.
The first set was about as even as it could be as both Federer and Mayer held their serves all the way through and it was decided by a tiebreak, which the Swiss Maestro took seven points to four. In the second set Roger had chances to break in the first game but was stilted, and the tricky German started gaining confidence and played some great ball to go up 5-1. Roger broke back but was unable to hold his serve at 3-5 to stay in it.
In the third, Roger went up a break twice, but Mayer kept fighting and earned each of the breaks back. Fed raised his level at the end of the match and broke in the tenth game and served it out comfortably.
It is worth noting that in the second set Federer was wearing a sweater over his shirt. Whether it was due to the cool weather or it was just a precaution for a stiff back, we don't know. Of course it was the set Roger went down 5-1 in so some are speculating his back was hurting him, but I personally didn't see it - Mayer just played better in that set.
Overall though, this was certainly the most comfortable Federer has looked with his new racquet thus far - yes, only three matches, but still. He was getting more pop off his backhands and even more zing to the backhand slices. He seemed more assured and authoritative from the ground, which was vital to his success because he wasn't serving up to his usual standards.
Some quotes from RF:
“It was extremely difficult,” said Federer. “I started
really well. I thought we were both hitting the ball well in the first
set and not giving each other that many chances. It went down to the
wire. I’m happy I played a good tie-break. I should have been up early
with a break in the second set; he got me there. It was a bit of a
rollercoaster till the very end of the match. Just had to tough it out.”
“The conditions were cold and heavy, the clay was heavy. So, it
was different than we had expected at the beginning of the day when we
thought we would play at 5:15pm. I have to say that I really enjoyed the
match. It was a tough match and Florian fought hard.”
Next up is Frederico Delbonis, who surprisingly took out Wimbledon quarterfinalist Fernando Verdasco in three sets after saving a match point in the second set. He is a big left-hander with a big serve and a big forehand, so Roger will have to be wary of that and use his variety to move the big man around.
This is my tennis blog, Lefty Advantage. Tennis is my biggest passion in life and I started this site to discuss the great game. I mainly follow the career of Roger Federer, but I truly love watching all tennis, whether it be the final of a Grand Slam or a junior tournament on the other side of the world.
I have played tennis for 13 years. If you ever met me, I could talk your head off about all things tennis for hours on end if you would let me. Welcome, and enjoy the writing!