Federer in Japan Open semis

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:37 IST

Top-ranked Roger Federer rallied from a shaky start on Friday to edge Japan's Takao Suzuki 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) and advance to the Japan Open semifinals.

Federer in Japan Open semis

Tokyo:

Top-ranked Roger Federer rallied from a shaky start on Friday to edge Japan's Takao Suzuki 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) and advance to the Japan Open semifinals.Struggling with his return, Federer dropped the first set to Suzuki, who recently recovered from a shoulder injury and is playing in his first ATP tournament since the Australian Open in January."It was a difficult match and I was afraid I might lose it," said Federer. "He mixed up his serves well and hit all the corners. I got a bit of luck here and there in the third set which helped."Federer, who had 13 aces, finally found his rhythm in the second set and broke Suzuki for the first time in the final game after being down 30-love.Suzuki, ranked 1,078th in the world, kept pace with Federer in the third set, holding serve in the 12th game to force the tiebreaker."Not returning more of his serves was the only part of my game today that I maybe wasn't happy with," said Federer. "But that had a lot to do with my opponent and how well he hit the ball."Federer, playing in his first tournament since winning the US Open last month, has been inconsistent in his Japan debut.The Swiss star struggled through his opening match against qualifier Viktor Troicki before returning to form in the third round Thursday with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 win over defending champion Wesley Moodie.Federer will next face either fifth-seeded Jarkko Nieminen of Finland or German No. 14 Benjamin Becker, who played later on Friday.Even though he lost, Suzuki said he was pleased with his performance."I felt really good playing the World No. 1 on center court," said Suzuki. "I didn't really have a game plan, I just got caught up in the moment and am happy I played so well today."Earlier on Friday, No. 10 Tim Henman overcame a slow start to defeat Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro 7-6 (3), 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals.Henman has not reached a top tier tournament final since Indian Wells in 2004 and his ranking has dropped from a career-high No. 4 in 2002 to No. 55. (AP)



Topics : Tennis Roger Federer
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