Does Andy Roddick have any chance of beating Roger Federer on his home court? I think he does. A slim one, though. Today, Roddick edged Radek Stepanek in three sets 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 to set up the showdown with Federer in the quarterfinals at Basel Friday.
In their long series, Federer has absolutely dominated Roddick 20-2 in their head-to-head. But Federer, who lost his first career set to Jarkko Nieminen on Wednesday, has been shaky, and Roddick may ride the emotion from the loss of his agent a few weeks ago.
“It’s certainly not easy,” reflected Roddick on Ken Meyerson’s passing. “You go back to, ‘what would he have wanted me to do?’ and he was always up for me playing. That’s what he enjoyed. I think the easiest times I’ve had are where my mind is occupied with something. It’s those times when you’re not doing anything that it’s hard. This obviously occupies my mind a little bit.”
Still, it’s awfully tough to go against Federer in his fiefdom. Yet, if Roddick can serve well…and yada yada yada, you know the rest.
Not to play second fiddle, top ranked Novak Djokovic is alive and well at the event and will play Marcos Baghdatis tomorrow.
“It’s a great tournament, obviously very strong main draw that we have, a lot of top players coming out; this year five of the Top 8 were playing in the tournament,” Djokovic said. “It’s great attendance. People really appreciate and love tennis in Basel.”
In the other two quarters, the strengthening Kei Nishikori clashes with Kukushkin and Florian Mayer meets the other Swiss, Stan Wawrinka.
“I would like to maintain my Top 30 ranking and eventually get into the Top 20,” said Nishikori. “I am working hard on my serve and physical conditioning.”
In Valencia, American Sam Querrey continued his road back from an elbow injury by stunning JW Tsonga 7-6, 6-2. What a great win for Sam and a poor loss by Tsonga who may be looking ahead to Paris next week.
“It’s huge. He’s playing well right now,” said Querrey. “I came out there and kind of played with nothing to lose. I served really well and took advantage of the big points. I thought I played great.”
Next for Sam is another comeback player Juan Martin Del Potro who was strong in a 6-4, 6-4 win over Kevin Anderson. Del Potro needs every win he can get to keep his slim London hopes alive.
Top seed and defending champion David Ferrer is also on tomorrow against former Top 10 Nikolay Davydenko.
Tennis Channel will have live coverage of Basel starting at 9am ET with taped matches from Valencia in the early evening at 5pm ET.
FRIDAY BASEL SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 14:00
[WC] K Nishikori (JPN) vs [LL] M Kukushkin (KAZ)
Not Before 16:00
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs M Baghdatis (CYP)
Not Before 18:00
F Mayer (GER) vs S Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 20:00
 A Roddick (USA) vs  R Federer (SUI)
R Haase (NED) / F Mayer (GER) vs  M Mirnyi (BLR) / D Nestor (CAN)
VALENCIA FRIDAY SCHEDULE
AGORA start 2:00 pm
M Granollers (ESP) vs  G Monfils (FRA)
Not Before 4:00 PM
 J del Potro (ARG) vs S Querrey (USA)
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs N Davydenko (RUS)
Not Before 9:00 PM
[WC] J Monaco (ARG) vs J Ferrero (ESP)
 B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs F Cermak (CZE) / F Polasek (SVK)
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