Federer Wary of Davydenko and Video Replay

Posted on September 8, 2006

By Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com Senior Writer

World No. 1 Roger Federer has defeated the frail-looking, balding yet never-tiring Nikolay Davydenko in all seven of their career meetings, but the Swiss knows his Saturday semifinal at the US Open will be no "gimme" against the No. 6-ranked Russian, who has taken a set off Federer in four of their seven encounters.

"I think he's playing excellent," said Federer of the man who came from two sets down to defeat Tommy Haas in the quarterfinals. "He's really improved a lot on hardcourts. We all knew he could play on clay and everything. But he's similar to James (Blake). All of a sudden he kind of found another gear, more confidence from the baseline. Also incredibly fit, you know, never breaks down. Has the much bigger belief now than he used to have. Every part of his game has kind of improved because his serve was pretty dodgy, was switching from one racquet to the next, not sure exactly how to play and everything. All of a sudden he's found his game."

Federer says he would like to see Andy Roddick come through in the other semifinal against unseeded Russian Mikhail Youzhny for what could possibly be a TV-ratings blockbuster in the U.S. after Roddick's resurgence this summer.

One thing Federer says he isn't a fan of is the video replay challenge, with New York fans sometimes booing players when they request a challenge. Regardless the Swiss isn't afraid to use the system, even if it is for a throw-away challenge.

"I'm not a fan of it, so I would boo it myself," Federer said. "It's there to be used, you know. Of course I feel bad sometimes to use it on a ridiculous point, but might as well, you know. You never know if the machine is wrong on something."

Federer last faced Davydenko in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open in January, dismissing the Russian in four sets. The Swiss has won 10 of 11 against Roddick, last beating the American in straight sets in 2005 at Cincinnati.

Richard Vach, Tennis-X.com senior writer, can currently be seen on The Tennis Channel's "Tennis Insiders: Super Insiders" episodes, and was recently awarded "Best Hard News" story for 2005 by the United States Tennis Writers Association.