Federer Struggles Into Semis at ATP Tokyo

Posted on October 7, 2006

Top seed Roger Federer again had a rough going in Tokyo Friday as the Swiss pulled out a third-set tiebreak to defeat Japanese wildcard Takao Suzuki 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3).

"It was a difficult match and I was afraid I might lose it," Federer said. "I could see the headlines, 'Federer loses to a guy outside the top 1,000.' I'm glad I won, it saved my image. He mixed up his serves well and hit all the corners. I got a bit of luck here and there in the third set which helped."

The win moves Federer into the semifinals against Benjamin Becker, a 6-7(5), 7-6(6), 6-4 victor over Jarkko Nieminen, and Federer breaks his own Race points record of 1,345 set last year by a single ranking point. Suzuki was ranked 1,077 spots below Federer at No. 1,078.

The 14th-seeded Becker and former Baylor University standout will appear is his first career ATP semifinal.

In the other semifinal, Hyung-Taik Lee will meet Tim Henman.

The ninth-seeded Lee stunned Tommy Robredo 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1. Awaiting Lee will be Tiger Tim, who put paid to No. 3 seed Mario Ancic 6-2, 6-2.

It was both player's second match of the day due to rain yesterday. Earlier, Henman disposed of Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(3), 6-3, while Ancic overcame Rainer Schuettler 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.

"It's an unusual situation," Henman said. "I haven't played two matches in one day for a long time. But I thought I played very, very well this morning and I played even better in the evening. I felt very good. I think the condition of the court and the balls are really perfect for me. I feel like I can play aggressively and get forward to the net a lot and that's when I'm playing my best tennis."