Well, Roger Federer was within a point of being booted out of Madrid today, down match point to Feliciano Lopez in the final set tiebreak. But he pulled it out in a wild: 7-6 (13), 6-7(1), 7-6(7) nail-biter. I thought this one would be a danger match, Feliciano being on a roll with his finalist appearance in the Serbia Open this past weekend. (Nowadays losing 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 to Novak Djokovic is a more than respectable result.) And I guess I was right. But I love that Roger found a way to win it – we’ve given him a hard time lately for being a bit jaded when it comes to tight matches. (Especially after, say, losing a second-set tie break 1-7!!!!)
“It’s nice to play those sorts of matches,” Federer said afterwards. Good for you, Rog – any idea how traumatic it is for us to watch these kinds of matches???
I prefer this Federer quote, from the handsome mouth of Carlos Moya (Marca via Tennis.com):
“Federer’s case reminds me of [Pete] Sampras, when everyone thought he should retire and in his last tournament, he won the U.S. Open. The greatest player in history can never be counted out. I hope Federer keeps playing his best because it is a pleasure to watch him play. I hope he can extend his career to its fullest and don’t rule out him winning another Grand Slam. Wimbledon is the one where he’ll have the most chances. When he retires, we will realize how big it is and we will miss him.”
Amen, hermano. Roger faces Xavier Malisse next.
In other action, Novak Djokovic has extended his jaw dropping winning streak with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson of South Africa, putting himself within one win of Ivan Lendl‘s 29 match winning streak for a season.
Rafael Nadal decimated Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday, to set up an absolutely MOUTH WATERING match against the resurgent giant, Juan Martin Del Potro, who beat the puzzling Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-0.
Soderling and Berdych are also through. Andy Roddick was upset yesterday by qualifier Flavio “who???” Cipolla. Fish lost to Isner and Monfils retired again Juan Monaco after taking out Karlovic in the first round. (Monfils, another puzzling character of late.)
Thursday sees all of the men playing the round of 16 in an absolutely jam packed day. So many of my favorite players are in the mix! Too bad I can’t take a sick day:
Nadal vs. Del Potro, Llodra vs. Gimeno-Traver, Federer vs. Malisse, Tsonga vs. Soderling, Berdych vs. Monaco, Bellucci vs. Murray, Ferrer vs. Stakhovsky, Garcia-Lopez vs. Djokovic. Nole’s playing a Spaniard and he isn’t even on center court – that’s how busy the day is tomorrow.
On the women’s side, Petra Kvitova upset Vera Zvonareva and Dominika Cibulkova took out Maria Sharapova on Wednesday to be the first into the quarterfinals. Schiavone, Stosur, Wozniacki and Azarenka are still alive in the Round of 16.