Roger Federer survived a scare from Marcos Baghdatis on Thursday to move into the quarter-finals of the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters, which has been brutal to seeded players this week.
Federer beat Baghdatis 7-6 (5), 7-5, shortly after David Ferrer ousted defending champion Andy Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-4.
"It was a struggle out there for both of us," Federer said. "It was tough to keep the ball in play, you know, it was really quick."
Baghdatis has never beaten Federer in five matches, but pushed the Swiss ace as he did a year ago in the Australian Open, when Federer won in four sets.
"Basically, I gave the first set away," said Baghdatis, who helped Federer fight off two set points with a double-fault.
Federer then took the tiebreaker, winning the first and last points with aces.
"I couldn't imagine losing the first set, but I did," Baghdatis said. "Basically, he won the first set because of his name -- Federer. I can say that because I choked."
Only four seeds remain, including No. 9 James Blake, who beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-1, 6-4 in an evening match. Blake said he's no longer serving as tentatively as he was earlier this week, after pulling a stomach muscle a week ago.
"I think that's two matches in a row without getting broken," Blake said. "For me, that's a great thing, because I don't normally have an overpowering serve or a serve that gets me a tonne of free points."
The field for the quarter-finals includes three players from Spain, two from the US and one each from Switzerland, Russia and Australia.
The fallen seeds include No. 3 Roddick and No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who retired on Wednesday with cramps in his wrist and arm. No. 4 Novak Djokovic already lost to Carlos Moya, who stayed alive on Thursday by beating Juan Martin Del Potro 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in a match in 110oC heat on center court.
No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko beat No. 10 Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-2; Lleyton Hewitt topped Jurgen Melzer 6-3, 6-3; Nicolas Almagro defeated Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 6-2 and Sam Querry downed Juan Monaco 6-3, 7-5.
Federer, who is seeking his 50th ATP title, said despite his erratic performance on Thursday he felt he was in the flow of the tournament.
"I have to stay aggressive and probably have to play a bit better than I did today," Federer said. "Hope I can concentrate on my serve and hold on to that and create chances."
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
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