Federer Made To Earn Fourth-Round Berth
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Two time Miami champion Roger Federer moved into the fourth round of the Sony Ericsson Open Monday afternoon, but was required to increase his level of play by an inspired Juan Monaco. Federer defeated the Argentine 7-6(4), 6-4 in one hour and 44 minutes to advance.
“It was tough playing against him. I thought he played well in the later stages of the first set and then also in the second,” Federer said at his post-match press conference. I was able to come through with a crucial first set, which allowed me to have a [come-from-behind] sort of feeling."
The two each broke serve once in the first set, eventually sending it into a tie-break. Like he often does, Federer stepped up on the critical points to win the set. The hot and humid weather, creating slow conditions, favored the game style of Monaco, enabling him to stay with the No. 3 seed. “This is as slow as it gets out on the hard court. It's a bit of clay almost except that you can't slide,” gauged Federer. “And all the clay court specialists have adapted very well to the hard courts nowadays.”
In the fourth round, he’ll face unseeded Olivier Rochus, who pulled another upset, defeating No. 13 seed Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a third round clash. The win over Youzhny gives the Belgian his second straight victory against a Top 25 player, after he defeated 24th ranked (the No. 22 seed) Marcos Baghdatis in the previous round.
Rochus, currently ranked 89 in the world, is coming off a title at Le Gosier on the ATP Challenger Tour and improves upon his third round result here last year, when he surprised Novak Djokovic in the second round.
Watch Highlights | Federer Interview | Monday's Hot Shot
“I think I’ve been playing really good. I have a lot of confidence with the win at the challenger. It keeps going and everything has gone my way the last two weeks,” said Rochus.
A win against Federer would place Rochus into the quarter-finals of an ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event for the first time since Hamburg in 2003. It’s a tall order, considering the Belgian has never defeated the 16-time Grand Slam champion in seven career meetings.
“Like everybody, I need to serve well… try to be aggressive. Play my game to be in the court, not too far from the baseline,” evaluated Rochus. “It’s important for me to put in a lot of first serves, otherwise there will be a lot of pressure on my second serve, especially against one of the best players in the world.”
Federer and Rochus have been friends since they were 12, and the Swiss expects Rochus to leave everything out on the court. “He has an amazing touch and feel out on the court, great playing sense, when to play which shot,” Federer said.
“Even though he's a small guy out there, he knows how to use his weapons and his feel. He's a great tactician. I enjoy playing against him. It's a different kind of playing style. I'm looking forward to the match against him… it's going to be a nice match, I'm sure.”
Get the VIP treatment and go behind the scenes with the 2013 Priceless Experiences Program Presented by MasterCard. Go
This exclusive venue features an upscale restaurant, trendy bar and lounge area which allow guests the opportunity to escape the heat.Go