Hawkeye Helps Federer Into Quarters at ATP Madrid

Posted on October 20, 2006

World No. 1 Roger Federer has been a vocal critic of the new Hawkeye video replay challenge system in pro tennis, but the Swiss had no problem utilizing the system multiple times Thursday during a difficult 7-6(5), 7-6(8) win over big-hitting Swede Robin Soderling to move into the quarterfinals at the Masters Series-Madrid.

Federer was 4-2 down in the second tiebreak before saving three set points and correctly challenging Soderling's final two shots in coming back to tame the Swede 10-8, advancing into the quarters against American Robby Ginepri.

"It turned out to be a crazy end and was kind of funny waiting for the result on the match point, this has never happened before and I thought it was kind of silly," Federer said. "But it wouldn't have made a difference to the end result."

Ginepri advanced with a straight-set upset over No. 7 seed Tommy Robredo, hurting the Spaniard's chances of qualifying for the year-end Masters Cup.

Ginepri's countryman Andy Roddick was not so lucky, with the No. 6 seed complaining of ankle pain after a 7-6(7), 6-3 loss to No. 11 seed Tomas Berdych, who fed the big-serving American some of his own medicine with 23 aces.

"It's the same ankle I had injured earlier this year during the claycourt season. I just kind of tweaked it again," said Roddick, who looks to return at the Masters Series-Paris the week before the Masters Cup. "I'm in pretty good shape right now -- I think I'm closed to being confirmed (for the Masters Cup). But the priority now is to get healthy because I'm not sure what the upside to playing in Shanghai on a bum ankle is."

Berdych will next square of against world No. 2 Rafael Nadal, who handled No. 13 Tommy Haas in straight sets. The Czech holds a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over the Spaniard, beating him in three sets this year at the MS-Canada, and in three sets last year at the MS-Cincinnati, both on hardcourts.

"If I'm serving as good as I served today, then I think I have a really good chance to beat Rafael," Berdych said.

There was fireworks during the meeting between No. 4-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian and British wildcard Tim Henman as the two players arguing with each other over line calls.

"It's frustrating because there were a lot of tight points in those last few games," said Henman who unsuccessfully served for the match, and refused to overturn a point in favor of the Argentine. "I think he's in a dream world...and so then he starts questioning my sportsmanship. If you're going to go down that road, there's only going to be one winner in that debate."

The win was a big one for Nalbandian, who is in contention for one of the year-end Elite Eight spots at the Masters Cup.

Also into the quarterfinals were unseeded Marat Safin who had few problems against Belgian Kristof Vliegen, No. 10 seed Fernando Gonzalez who was handed a walkover with opponent Joachim Johansson of Sweden suffering a throat infection, and No. 15 Novak Djokovic who came back from a 6-1 first-set beating to defeat Andy Murray in three sets.

Friday's quarterfinal line-up in Madrid will be Federer vs. Ginepri, Nadal vs. Berdych, Gonzalez vs. Djokovic, and Safin vs. Nalbandian.