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ATP Madrid - Federer survives epic battle with Lopez

ATP Madrid - Federer survives epic battle with Lopez

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by Stephen Kelly

Photo: Federer hits a forehand during his battle royale with Lopez (Daylife) Roger Federer is through to the last 16 after edging out Feliciano Lopez in a thrilling night session encounter in Madrid 7-6(13), 6-7(1), 7-6(7).

The Spaniard had a match point at 6-5 in the third set breaker but Federer snuffed it out immediately with an ace. The key point of the match happened just moments before that when Lopez played a superb point only to miss a simple smash that would have given him a 6-2 lead and four match points.

Federer soon got back on serve and as the match got tighter the Lopez backhand that had been so superb started to cough up some errors. From the start the match was dominated by serve and in all there were 48 aces, Federer leading the way with 25.

In a marathon first set tiebreak Federer was forced to save four set points before eventually taking it 15-13 on his ninth opportunity to take the set. The second set was also decided by a breaker with Lopez producing some stunning tennis to take it for the loss of just one point.

In the third Lopez found himself trailing 2-3 and 0-40 on his own serve but somehow clawed his way back into the game before securing the hold. In a match where both players served so well it was fitting that it was decided in a tiebreak and although he played an excellent match overall Lopez will be left to rue the smash he missed at 5-2.

“I’ve had some had some really dangerous matches against him and some really one sided ones so I never know what to expect against Feliciano,” said Federer afterwards. “I’ve known him a long, long time.

At under-14s I used to see him so we go way back. I think he’s really improved his back hand in the last couple of years. “He was serving so well. He can hit easy pace and it’s just a safe serve. I got a bit lucky tonight but I had my chances earlier so it could have been a really tough loss.

“Full crowd, great atmosphere, though they were chanting his name not mine, you just want to show what you can do. “As the match went on I felt like I was getting less and less of a read on his serve which was frustrating but that’s what I’m good at - not getting frustrated.

“I stuck with what I do well which is why I was able to earn it tonight. But look, Feliciano deserved it as well and it was one of those matches where you wish there was no loser.” Results (second round): (1)Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 6-1 6-3
Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) d.

Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-3 6-0
Michael Llodra (FRA) d. (q)Flavio Cipolla (ITA) 6-4 6-2
(q)Daniel Gimeno Traver (ESP) d. (8)Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 7-6(8) 6-3
(3)Roger Federer (SUI) d. Feliciano Lopez (ESP) 7-6(13) 6-7(1) 7-6(7)
Xavier Malisse (BEL) d.

Yen Hsun Lu (TPE) 6-2 6-2
(5)Robin Soderling (SWE) d. Santiago Giraldo (COL) 6-3 6-3
(7)Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs (WC)Marcel Granollers (ESP) 6-4 6-0
Juan Monaco (ARG) d. (9)Gael Monfils (FRA) 6-2 3-0 ret.
Thomaz Bellucci (BRA) d.

Florian Mayer (GER) 6-7(5) 6-3 3-0 ret.
(4)Andy Murray (GBR) d. Gilles Simon (FRA) 6-4 3-6 6-0
(2)Novak Djokovic (SRB) d. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 6-3 6-4

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