Federer Makes Swift Progress In Late-Night Match
by Matt Fitzgerald|
Roger Federer moved swiftly into the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open, easing past Olivier Rochus 6-3, 6-1 in a match that started at 12:37 a.m. EST Wednesday morning.
The late start was not uncharted territory for the 16-time Grand Slam champion. “It's happened a few times in my career where we waited around forever and I was able to play one of those clean, quick matches,” said Federer after defeating Rochus. “But, still, I prefer it not to happen every night.”
A two-time Sony Ericsson Open champion, Federer was pleased with his overall performance against the Belgian, whom he now owns an 8-0 record against.
“I really was able to hit freely tonight and play with great variation, and I think that really kept him guessing... Today I just didn't allow him to play because I was playing too offensive[ly],” Federer said.
“Everything worked the way I wanted it or hoped it to work, because I've played tough matches against him. I should have lost maybe two out of those eight now we've played. So I knew the danger of Olivier, and we know each other so well. He can find a way into the match and then make you doubt and find your weakness and so forth.”
Despite the delayed start, a number of fans hung around to support the World No. 3 and Federer certainly made note of it during the match.
“It's nice to see fans actually stuck around. It's a big thank you to them, because I really expected them to leave after the first set or just not be around at all anymore when we came out.”
The win combined with top seeded Rafael Nadal’s victory against Alexandr Dolgopolov earlier in the evening means the two superstars are one match away from meeting in the semi-finals. It’s been six years since Nadal and Federer played in the semi-final stage of a tournament, with the 2005 French Open being the last occasion.
Federer will not be looking ahead to the possible blockbuster, as his next opponent, Gilles Simon, has defeated the Swiss twice in their three matches. The Frenchman rallied from a set down for the second consecutive day, outlasting Serbian Janko Tipsarevic 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in a fourth round battle. Both players won 95 points apiece in a match that lasted two hours and 33 minutes.
All three head-to-head meetings between Federer and Simon have come on hard-courts. The No. 25 seed won their first two encounters in 2008, coming back from a set down both times. The two didn’t meet again until this year’s Australian Open, a second round match Federer won in five sets. If their quarter-final match on Thursday is anything like their previous clashes, it promises to be one of the most exciting match-ups of the tournament.
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