Top seed Roger Federer rebounded from an opening round-robin Tennis Masters Cup loss to earn his first Red group win with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Nikolay Davydenko in Shanghai Wednesday. Later in the day, Andy Roddick became the first player to clinch a semifinal berth after a strong, 6-4, 6-1 demolition of Fernando Gonzalez.
“I realized he was not going to serve bombs all the way through, which allowed me to really get into the rallies from the baseline and try to maneuver him around a little bit,” said Federer, who slammed 23 winners to Davydenko’s 11. “I thought I missed a few too many backhands maybe at the beginning, but then started to slice nicely and sometimes take a chance also to let him make some mistakes. That was the right play today.”
Federer was stunned Monday by Gonzalez in three sets, making his match against Davydenko an almost must-win.
“We saw it I think in Montréal already, Djokovic beating the top three. Nalbandian doing the same thing in Madrid again. Then beating me and Rafa again in Paris. You know, so we’ve seen upsets this season. So that it happens at the Masters Cup as well to me honestly is not that big of a surprise.”
Federer will qualify for the semifinals if he beats Roddick Friday. Federer could lose to Roddick and still qualify should Gonzalez lose to Davydenko, in which case it would come to a sets won/lost percentage.
Federer of course has owned Roddick, sporting a 14-1 record against the American, including a tight 4-6, 7-6(10), 6-4 victory a year ago in Shanghai.
“There’s no reason for me to be nervous. I can go out there and let it fly,” Roddick said of playing Federer. “Play aggressive and try to knock him out. I’m sure I’ll have about seven other guys cheering for me to do that (smiling).”
Gonzalez, who played so well in his win over Federer, was broken in his opening service game and was never really in the match again.
“Today I was really, really tired. I mean, with my body, I feel really like heavy,” Gonzo said. “It was really hard to me to move to one side to another. I need like maybe one or two more step to stop and go the other way. It wasn’t a really good day for me. And Andy plays really good. I mean, he has an early break and then he get a lot of confidence winning the match.”
On Thursday in Gold Group play, Rafael Nadal meets Novak Djokovic while Richard Gasquet and David Ferrer meet. Among the scenarios, Ferrer will clinch a semifinal spot with a win or a Nadal loss. If Gasquet wins and Nadal loses, Gasquet will qualify. Nadal will qualify with a win and a Gasquet loss.
winning the match.”
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