Mon, Oct 25, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Federer flies into Stockholm final

AFP, STOCKHOLM

Roger Federer of Switzerland returns to Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia in their ATP Stockholm Open semi-final match in Stockholm on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Top seed Roger Federer was to carry a 35-match win streak against Germans into yesterday’s final at the Stockholm Open when he faced what was surely to be a nervous challenge from Florian Mayer.

The powerful Swiss No. 2 put himself into position for a 64th trophy as he defeated longtime rival Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 in their semi-final. Mayer, ranked 47th and without a title, was to play his third career final after a fighting 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) defeat of Finn Jarkko Nieminen. The Swiss--German Federer last lost to a German player when Nicolas Kiefer beat him in Halle in June 2002. Federer was trying to lift a trophy in an 18th different country as he played in Scandinavia for the first time in a decade.

“I’d love to win, I’ve never won a title in Sweden, that would be something special. But it’s good to win one in any case. It’s a good feeling to walk off court as a winner,” he said.

Federer, who has won only two of six finals this year, would love to start lifting that average as he enters the final stretch of the current campaign.

“It would be nice a to win a third title, another would be great. I’ve had an amazing run in the past winning 24 straight finals. Maybe this can be the start of another streak,” he said.

Challenger Mayer was seeking a huge upset when he faced Federer standing 0-2 in their series.

“The confidence is obviously in my favor,” Federer said. “But he has nothing to lose. He will come out aggressive. I’ve played him a few times and managed to beat him.”

Federer improved his record against Ljubicic, his good friend from Croatia, to 13-3 and has won their last ten meetings.

“It’s been good all week,” Federer said. “I started with a first win in under an hour and they just got tougher since that. I’ve only had three matches so far and there’s not been a lot of tennis played.”

Ljubicic admitted there was little he could do once the Swiss got up a head of steam.

“I played OK, but trying to come back in the second set was tough. He relaxed once he won the first set and just played better, it got a lot tougher for me,” Ljubicic said.

Mayer admits he faces a huge deficit in the final.

“I have nothing to lose. I was a little tired today, physically and mentally,” Mayer said. “But I fought hard, I played for the line on match point and had a bit of luck. After losing the second set I was able to come back in the third.”

SAMSUNG CUP

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA, SEOUL

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun won the Samsung Securities Cup in Seoul, South Korea yesterday by trouncing Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-3, 6-4 in the final.

After defeating Florent Serra of France 6-3, 6-4 in the semi-finals the previous day, Lu, currently ranked No. 39 in the world, downed Anderson in straight sets. Anderson is the world No. 66.

The 27-year-old Lu climbed to No. 39 in the world — the highest ranking of his career — after picking up valuable points in the Shanghai Masters in China earlier this month.

The Samsung Securities Cup is on the Challenger Tour of the ATP and is played on outdoor hard courts. The tournament has been held annually in Seoul since 2000.

KREMLIN CUP

AFP, MOSCOW

Fourth seed Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus performed a dramatic comeback in the third set to oust unheralded Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/2) on his way to the final of the Kremlin Cup on Saturday.

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