Sat, Oct 21, 2006 - Page 18 News List

Hawk-eye Federer triumphs in Spain, while Henman and Murray crash out

AFP , MADRID

Roger Federer's belief in his own accuracy paid dividends on a pair of late instant replay challenges as the sharp-eyed world No. 1 swept into the Madrid Masters quarter-finals on Thursday.

The top seed's 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8) third-round victory over Sweden's Robin Soderling turned on a pair of perfect challenges upheld by the Hawk-eye linecalling system.

The Swiss was joined in the last eight by title holder Rafael Nadal, who faced and saved only one break point to dispatch German Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3.

"I'm very happy with my serve, it went well today," said the Spaniard. "I'm confident with it. I'm pleased with all the aspects of my game."

Federer called decisions into question in a tight second-set tiebreaker, and emerged spot-on with the dramatic final over-rule bringing a smile to the Federer face as it validated his match point.

The win lifted Federer the 79-5 this season as he aims for a first title here and tenth of the season.

Despite the rule in his favor, Federer remains a traditionalist.

"I don't know if it's going to make a difference on the score in the end. Without Hawk-eye I would have broken him in the first set because [a previous] call would have stood," said the Swiss.

"I would have won the first set probably easier. It turned out to be a crazy end. I thought it was really funny, especially waiting like this for the match point."

Federer now faces America's Robby Ginepri in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick's bid for a place in the season-ending Masters Cup stalled when Czech Tomas Berdych handed the American a 7-6 (9/7), 6-3 defeat.

The sixth-seeded Roddick aggravated an old ankle injury as he joined Tommy Robredo in failing to make progress, the Spaniard losing to 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

Roddick re-aggravated the right ankle injury on Thursday which hampered his clay season.

Roddick later on Thursday pulled out of the Lyon tournament next week.

The race for the season-ending tournament in Shanghai is growing ever tighter.

The only two men who have qualified so far are Federer and Nadal.

Croatian Ivan Ljubicic threw away his chance to gain points this week in a second-round loss to British teenager Andy Murray on Wednesday.

Shanghai hopeful Fernando Gonzalez got a free ride as Swede Joachim Johansson pulled out before their match with a sore throat.

He plays Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who turned around a losing situation down a set and a break at 4-3 to overwhelm Murray 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 as his confidence oozed away.

The loss was the second on the day for Britain after Tim Henman went out to fourth seed David Nalbandian 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

That match was marred by some minor slanging over controversial service calls.

A steaming Nalbandian characterized Henman's gentleman image as "rubbish," while the Briton, who served for victory leading 5-4, hit back.

"He questioned my sportsmanship, but if we go down that road there is only going to be one winner," said Henman.

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