Federer Survives 3-Set Scare at Toronto

Posted on August 12, 2006

Roger Federer stretched his North American hard court run to an incredible 52 matches unbeaten with a tight three-set win over Belgian Xavier Malisse. The victory also helped the World No.1 extend his winning streak to 16 matches. The 26-year-old Malisse won the second set tie-break during a 7-6(4), 6-7(5) 6-3 defeat.

Federer will now face Fernando Gonzalez, who came through his eighth quarterfinal of the year against Argentine Jose Acasuso in straight sets. The win extended Gonzalez's record to 29-15 for 2006. The match, which lasted 80 minutes was the Chilean's 214th career victory.

Richard Gasquet knocked out Czech No. 13 seed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-1, in the pair's first career meeting, for a place in the semifinals of the Rogers Masters Friday. Gasquet backed up victories over French compatriot Fabrice Santoro, fifth-seeded James Blake and Fernando Verdasco this week, in reaching his first ATP Masters Series semifinal since losing to Roger Federer in the Hamburg final of May 2005.

The Nottingham and Gstaad champion broke the Berdych serve in the fifth game of the first set. Gasquet won 94% of points on first serve in 36 minutes.

He broke a further three times in the second set to improve his ATP-level match record to 21-15 this season, with victory in 65 minutes.

At No. 51 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, Gasquet is ranked 37 spots lower than his fellow 20-year-old, Berdych (No. 14), who had won 13 of his last 17 matches.

Gasquet will now play another young talent, Andy Murray, who earned a hard-fought 6-4, 6-7(0), 6-3 victory over No. 14 seed Jarkko Nieminen in two hours and 28 minutes.

Murray will contest his first career ATP Masters Series semifinals Saturday, following his 18th win on North American hard courts this season.

The 19-year-old edged the first set in 56 minutes, with the decisive break of serve in the tenth game. Murray served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but Auckland winner Nieminen, fought back playing the perfect tie-break to level the score line.

Nieminen dropped his serve in the first game of the third set and was always playing catch-up thereafter. Murray broke serve on eight of 18 opportunities, going 37% on first serve with six aces and nine double faults.

Murray, currently No. 31 in the INDESIT ATP Rankings, will now look to reach his third ATP final of 2006. He captured his maiden ATP title at San Jose in February (d. Hewitt) and reached the Washington final recently (l. to Clement).

In doubles the world No. 1s Bob and Mike Bryan came through their quarterfinal test with the French and Serbian pairing of Fabrice Santoro and Nenad Zimonjic in a match tie-break. The Bryan twins progressed 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 (Match Tie-break) to set-up a semifinal contest with Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor, who defeated Simon Aspelin and Todd Perry 2-6, 6-3, 10-2 (Match Tie-break).

Knowles and Nestor are looking for their fifth doubles title of 2006. They have faced the Bryan Brothers only three times so far this year, winning two of the encounters. If Knowles and Nestor are victorious again, it would be their third ATP Masters Series title of the year, after their triumphs at Indian Wells and Rome.

Seventh-seeded Martin Damm and Leander Paes edged past No. 2 seeds and 2004 finalists Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi 7-6(4), 7-5 for a place in the semifinals. Damm and Paes broke just once in the match that lasted one hour and 42 minutes.

The s'Hertogenbosch winners and Australian Open finalists will now take on No. 3 seeds Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett, who have four ATP titles to their name (ATP Masters Series Hamburg, Dubai, Queen's Club, Rotterdam) from six finals this season.
-- ATP