It wasn’t pretty but Roger Federer advanced in two tiebreakers beating a pesky Florent Serrra 7-6, 7-6 at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami on Monday. The win puts Federer against Tomas Berdych in a much anticipated Sweet 16 showdown.
I know many of you suggested Roger’s run would end at hands of the giant killer Berdych. But I disagree. At 6-foot-4 Berdych is a giant, but is he a killer? About the only things he kills are his chances and his fans when he gets into these big matches. The guy has plenty of weapons and a lot of talent but he just never seems to come through.
I can count on one hand the number of times the Big Bird has stepped up on the major stage to win a match – the Athens Olympics comes to mind. But otherwise, he’s had numerous near misses like the Rafael Nadal loss a couple weeks ago and his choke job at the Australian Open in 2009 to the Swiss.
Even Federer called out Berdych after his match today in an on-court interview saying he the Czech had underachieved to a degree after that Olympic win – Tomas, are you listening, now is your time, prove us wrong!
And while Federer hasn’t looked great– he did hit some spectacular shots today, but he blew a two break lead at 4-1 in the second set – I think Berdych is about to suffer another near miss! Federer has won eight straight over Berdych since that windy Athens loss. They’ll play late Tuesday night at 9pm when the wind shouldn’t be a much of a factor as it is during the day.
“Sure, I still have to tidy up my game a bit, you know, having had one break up in the first and two breaks up in the second, it’s normally something that doesn’t get away from me,” said Federer who had a nice pre-match on-court photo with socialite Kim Kardashian. “But I thought he came up with some good stuff, and that made it difficult for me, you know, to close it out. That’s why I’m happy to still be through.”
Tomorrow’s loaded eight-match fourth round schedule kicks off with JW Tsonga and Juan Carlos Ferrero. If Tsonga plays his game he should be able to overpower the veteran Ferrero. Andy Roddick meets Ben Becker in a straight forward match for the American. Mardy Fish and Mikhail Youzhny tangle. I like the Russian there.
Nadal meets his countryman David Ferrer. If Nadal’s on he’ll win. If he starts making tons of errors he’ll lose. I don’t think Ferrer can hit him off the court but he can trouble Rafa. Another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro battles Tomasz Bellucci. I think I’ll go with Spain in that one, as well!
And in two of the better matches Fernando Verdasco faces Marin Cilic and Fernando Gonzalez rides his emotions against the hot Robin Soderling. Unfortunately for the Fighting Fernandos, I think they both come up short on Tuesday.
By the way, Gonzo will join Gustavo Kuerten, Jim Courier and Roddick for a special “Champions for Chile” exhibition on Saturday.
The women’s quarterfinals also get underway. Venus Williams, who narrowly escaped the clutches of Daniela Hantuchova (she 10-0 now against Dani), faces A-Rad Aggie Radwanska. In the night quarter Marion Bartoli squares off against Yanina Wickmayer.
On Wednesday it’s Justine Henin v. Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters v. Sam Stosur.
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