Federer survives 4th-round scare at French

Updated: 03 June 2009 17:10 IST

Roger Federer said he won't feel much impact from Rafael Nadal's loss at the French Open until Sunday - if then.

Federer survives 4th-round scare at French

Paris:

Roger Federer said he won't feel much impact from Rafael Nadal's loss at the French Open until Sunday - if then.

That's when they would have met in the final.

Yet Federer acknowledged the elimination of the four-time defending champion has changed the dynamics of the tournament.

"For a lot of players," Federer said, "I think it must be quite a big opportunity, and their heads must be spinning right now."

It's a big chance for Federer, too, and one he nearly squandered in the fourth round Monday. He was five points from a straight-sets defeat before rallying past Tommy Haas 6-7 (4), 5-7, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

Federer advanced to the quarterfinals Wednesday, when he'll face No. 11-seeded Gael Monfils. The Frenchman beat the darkness and No. 6 Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.

Roddick began to complain in the second set that he had trouble seeing the ball in the fading light, but tournament officials denied his pleas for an overnight suspension of play.

Roddick missed several easy shots at the net, including a volley on match point to give Monfils the victory at 9:37 p.m. In his postmatch news conference, Roddick downplayed his frustration.

"We were dealing with the same conditions," he said. "Regardless of what my opinion is on the situation, it's not my decision to make. He handled the conditions better than I did."

The loss brought a sour end to Roddick's best showing at Roland Garros, and left Serena Williams as the lone American remaining in singles. She reached the final eight by beating Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-2.

The path to the men's title became less daunting when Nadal was upset Sunday by Robin Soderling. The aftershock could most affect Federer, who has been beaten by Nadal at Roland Garros four years in a row.

"It definitely changes it up if I were to make the final," Federer said. "But we're not there yet, so honestly it hasn't changed a whole lot for me."

When asked if he was relieved by the Spaniard's defeat, Federer smiled.

"He didn't retire, right?" Federer said. "It just shows that we're all human. We all lose at some stage. ... I speak firsthand, you know, knowing what it takes to dominate."

Federer's total of 13 Grand Slam titles is one shy of Pete Sampras' record, but the Swiss has battled a slump for much of the past year. An erratic forehand was again a problem for portions of the first three sets against Haas, but with the center-court crowd firmly in his corner, Federer rallied.

Haas led 4-3 in the pivotal third set and was a point from serving for the match, but Federer hit a forehand winner to launch one of the biggest comebacks of his career.

"I knew I was going to look back on that shot," Federer said. "That saved me on that day. ... It's a great feeling, because I was in quite some danger right there."

The victory was his fifth after trailing by two sets. After trailing most of the afternoon, he finished strong, sweeping the final five games.

"When I really needed to play well, I really found my A game in the fifth set," Federer said. "That was a great feeling."

When he smacked a service winner on match point, Federer leaped for joy, a reflection of what's at stake in Paris. For the fourth year in a row, he's trying to become only the sixth man to win all four major championships.

The other men's quarterfinal Wednesday will be between No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro and No. 16 Tommy Robredo.

Del Potro, at 20 the youngest player left in the men's draw, earned his third consecutive berth in a major quarterfinal by beating No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4. Robredo improved to 25-6 on clay this year by defeating Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

Williams' next opponent will be No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova, who beat No. 12 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 1-6, 6-1. The other quarterfinal Wednesday will be between 19-year-old Sorana Cirstea and Samantha Stosur.

Cirstea, ranked 41st, upset Jelena Jankovic 3-6, 6-0, 9-7 and became the first Romanian woman to reach the final eight at a major tournament since Irina Spirlea was a U.S. Open semifinalist in 1997.

Stosur, seeded 30th, earned her first berth in a Grand Slam quarterfinal by beating Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-2.



Topics : Tennis David Ferrer Novak Djokovic Bernard Tomic Rafael Nadal Andy Murray Stanislas Wawrinka Roger Federer
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