Federer Plays Better-er as Favorites Roll at Wimbledon; Hanescu in Hissy Spit
Roger Federer seems to be improving with each round. In the first round the Swiss was almost embarrassingly extended to five sets by Alejandro Falla. On Wednesday Federer make quicker work of unsung Ilija Bozoljac needing just four sets. And today Federer brought his best stuff to the ballpark shutting down Arnaud Clement in straight sets 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
But again it was only Clement.
“I knew I had more of an active role today in my match, you know, that Clement was only going to allow me to play a bit more,” Federer said after his seventh straight win over Clement. “He has different assets than the last opponent. I knew it could be somewhat like in the first round. I’ve played him on numerous occasions, also on grass before, so I know how he plays. I’ve been successful the last few times we’ve played. So it’s the kind of guy I didn’t like to play against. Today I don’t mind it, so I’m happy with the score line.”
Federer, who met with the Queen of England Friday, now lines up against French Open semifinalist Jurgen Melzer. The 29-year-old Melzer and Federer have unbelievably never played before. But the matchup should favor Fed.
Melzer finds himself against the Swiss in his first Wimbledon fourth round after dispatching Feliciano Lopez in four sets 4-6 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.
Andy Roddick gained some measure of revenge on Phil Kohlschreiber. Roddick, a three-time Wimbledon finalist, lost to Phil at the Australian Open in 2008 8-6 in the fifth set. Today, it was all Roddick as the American collected a tough four-set win.
“Kohlschreiber, I think I had one of the tougher second‑round draws,” Roddick said. “For the slotted seeds that I could have played, 25 to 32, he might be the most dangerous one there. Obviously I’d lost to him in a slam before. He comes to play at slams. So, yeah, I mean, I knew it was going to be tough. I was relieved to have gotten through.”
Yen Hsun Lu, a winner over Florian Mayer, now awaits Roddick on Monday.
Like Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic may have played his best match of the tournament on Friday. The Serb brushed aside Albert Montanes 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. That win put Novak into a tasty Monday encounter with former champion and my pick to win it, Lleyton Hewitt.
Hewitt looked like his usual self in a 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 win over Gael Monfils. Full credit to Hewitt, in an age of power players who should do excel on the faster surfaces, the Aussie somehow measures up well and doesn’t back down. Monfils of course got far too defensive against Hewitt today, and you can’t win playing that way against a quality opponent like Lleyton on a grass court.
Hewitt, however, has beaten Djokovic just once in four tries.
“He’s been a little bit up and down over the years,” said Hewitt looking ahead to Djokovic. “I played him at Queen’s once the year that he made the final against Rafa at Queen’s. I thought he played bloody well on grass that year in particular. Then he came and lost to Safin second round I think here at Wimbledon, which was surprising. So he’s been a little bit up and down on grass.”
And in the final top half fourth round match on Monday, Daniels Brands will play Tomas Berdych after both won five setters today. The big bird Berdych beat Denis Istomin 6-4 in the fifth.
For Brands, it turned out to be a much different story. According to reports, Hanescu grew increasingly irritated after blowing multiple match points in the third set. In the fourth set he received treatment for his leg which incited the Court 18 crowd. In the fifth set down 2-0, as the crowd got on him further he spat at a fan which earned him an immediate conduct penalty. Hanescu then intentionally foot faulted the game away and promptly retired from the match because of his injury.
“In the final set I recognised that he had some problems with his leg and he was getting angry, and angry with the crowd,” said Brands to the Guardian. “The main reason was because [he was getting jeered] from some people in the crowd. I didn’t hear [him swear]. I think he was deliberately foot faulting and serving some double faults on purpose.”
That’s a heck of way to finish out a match Victor. A day after John Isner and Nicolas Mahut play an epic, you come up with that act on the same court? Shame on you.
Speaking of Isner, the 6-foot-9 Bulldog had nothing left in his second round match against Thiemo De Bakker. In a three set loss the exhausted Isner couldn’t even muster a single ace against the Dutchman. I can’t blame him either, the big man needs some rest!
“Mentally and physically, I was obviously a bit drained,” Isner said. “I just didn’t have much in the way of my legs. I was just low on fuel out there really. Didn’t really have a chance.
“Actually, I mean, I thought I might be all right. But I also have this pretty gnarly blister on my left toe. That was bothering me, too. Sometimes with a blister you can work through it. Once you play, adrenaline will take over. But that wasn’t the case today.”
As for tomorrow, Rafael Nadal is on against Phil Petzschner, Andy Murray meets Gilles Simon, Robin Soderling faces Tomaz Bellucci and in the other match of interest Sam Querrey gets Xavier Malisse.
I think Saturday should be straightforward with Nadal winning (though he could drop a set), Murray in straights, Soderling in straights and Querrey in four or five.
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