Friday, June 29, 2012

2012 Wimbledon Day 5: Federer Passes 5-Set Test

The day after the earth-shattering upset by World #100 Lukas Rosol from Czech Republic upsetting World #2 Rafael Nadal in the 2nd round everybody was wondering whether "upset fever" would be contagious among any of the other seeds. Encouraged by Rosol's success Julian Benneteau(29) and Radek Stepanek(28) nearly gave the Top 2 seeds as much as they could handle on their third round encounters. World #2 Roger Federer lost the first two sets and World #1 Novak Djokovic lost the first set in their matches but ended up winning. The seeds  that lost today were #8 Janko Tisarevich, #12 Nicolas Almagro,  #15 Juan Monaco, #17 Fernando Verdasco and #21 Milos Raonic.

On the women's side everyone who was expected to win did so, namely Maria Sharapova(1), Aggie Radwanska(3), Kim Clijsters, Angelique Kerber(8), Sabine Lisicki(15) and Maria Kirilenko.

Match of the Day: R. Federer SUI (3) d. J. Benneteau FRA (29) 4-6 6-7(3) 6-2 7-6(6) 6-1.
The 16-time major champion endangered his jaw-dropping streak of 32 Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances by flirting with disaster against the powerful Frenchman today. Benneteau played excellent tennis, staying close to Federer in the first set and sneaking away with it with one break. In the second set, Federer earned an early break but Benneteau was able to get the break back and again stay close, eventually pulling out the second set in a tiebreak. Now Federer had a tremendous task ahead of himself: coming back from 2-sets down to win a match at a major. He was able to step up his game and easily took the third set 6-2. In the fourth set, Benneteau was able to right the ship and was able to hold serve until the inevitable high-stakes tiebreak. The problem for Federer was that he was serving second in the 4th set so if his serve was broken it could mean sudden death; it turned out that five times he was two points from defeat but after a hard-fought tiebreak featuring amazing shotmaking Federer was able to win the 4th set, forcing a 5th set decider. Unfortunately, Beneteau's body betrayed him and he quickly succumbed 6-1 to lose his best chance to write his name in the history books. Interestingly, last year in the quarterfinals, Federer had been up 2 sets against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and never even earned a breakpoint in the last 3 sets in a stunning 5-set loss. This year the roles were reversed and Federer dropped the first two sets and then never faced a breakpoint in the final 3 sets, eventually winning.

Federer will have the entire weekend off and face Xavier Malisse in the 4th round and then either Denis Istomin or Mikhail Youzhny in the quarterfinals. Djokovic faces countryman Viktor Troicki in the 4th round and either Richard Gasquet or Florian Mayer in the quarterfinals. The #1 and #3 seeds are the only remaining players in the Top 16 in their half of the draw.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin