Federer survives scare to win through to last eight


Sat, Aug 18, 2007 - Page 18

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."