Federer Survives Ferrer Test In Montreal
Tested early and often, Roger Federer overcame a formidable performance from David Ferrer to advance to the Coupe Rogers quarter-finals on Thursday. Federer prevailed 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes.
The Swiss kept his bid alive for a first title in Montreal, improving his 2017 hard-court record to 21-1 and bumping his overall win streak to 14 straight. Meeting for the first time in three years, Federer extended his impressive FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage over Ferrer to 17-0.
"I already beat other players 17 times," said Federer. "Sometimes I played them maybe 30 or 40 times. They ended up beating me at a certain stages, like Roddick, Gonzalez and Soderling. Sometimes I beat them 10 times in a row. At the end they always ended up beating me. That's why I have a lot of respect for this match today. I know it can't continue that way. 17 is a lot.
"The last match we played were three tight sets in Toronto, then three sets Cincinnati, and again today. So these statistics are a bit ridiculous, because I have a lot of respect for David. As a person, he's very nice. He's a great fighter on the court. So this type of head-to-head is a bit strange."
Ferrer was on the front foot throughout the opener and he would halt Federer's dominant sets-won streak at 32. The ruthless run began in the first round of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle and included his title at Wimbledon and straight-set win over Peter Polansky on Wednesday.
Striking his forehand with great depth and relying on an efficient first serve, Ferrer was unflappable in closing out the 43-minute opener. The Spaniard, who is in top form after claiming his 27th ATP World Tour title two weeks ago in Bastad, struck a deep, penetrating return to snatch the initial break for 3-1. Serving for the first set at 5-4, he would fire a return at Federer's feet, which the Swiss hit into the net. The second seed struck an uncharacteristic 19 unforced errors in the first set, but the tide would take an abrupt turn in the second. After exchanging early breaks, Federer rediscovered his groove, surging ahead with another break in the fifth game.
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Coming forward more often and playing more aggressive, vintage Federer tennis, the Swiss would turn aside a set point at 5-3 and force a decider in the next game. He would pull away from then on, breaking twice in the third and closing out a spot in the quarter-finals with a volley winner on his first match point.
"For me it was more of a struggle," Federer said about the match. "As you know, you don't always feel the same and each opponent is a different problem. He started very well, especially on the return on my second serve. I was not able to serve my first serve where I wanted to, and he hurt me on the second serve.
"From the baseline, I didn't have enough rhythm. The court is fast here. Of course, because of the surface, that it's fast, you can't just decide to put the ball in because physically David is very strong. You can't do that. You have to go into the battle. You have to accept you're going to make mistakes. But you have to keep moving forward.
"I tried with my intensity and focus to change the match, and this is what I was able to do. I was able also to change the angles, and that helped me win the match."
A two-time champion at the Canadian ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event (2004 & '06 in Toronto), Federer advanced to the quarter-finals in Montreal for the first time since 2009. He will next face Roberto Bautista Agut, after the 12th seed edged Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(2) earlier on Thursday. Federer owns a 6-0 edge in their FedEd ATP Head2Head, most recently prevailing at the Masters 1000 event in Miami earlier this year.
"We battled, both tried to find a way to win. He had a good start, I had a better finish. That was important. For me, take it how it is and hope that this match gives me some better rhythm and confidence against Bautista Agut, who plays actually very similar to David today."