Second-seeded Roger Federer narrowly avoided another upset on the eve of his 33rd birthday when he edged out Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-4 in the Toronto Masters on Thursday.
Federer, who turned 33 on Friday, was wished luck by fans on various social media outlets for a great run in 2014. Fans shared photos of the seven-time Wimbledon champion on Twitter, along with various graphics and art forms under the hashtag #Roger33. He was once again hailed as the best ever that the sport has seen.
Federer faced only two break points throughout his contest against Cilic, saving both, but still had difficulty dispatching the resolute Croat, who saved six match points during the second set and eventually took it in a tiebreak.
Federer's quarterfinal opponent in Toronto will be David Ferrer. The Spaniard was also pushed to three sets by a Croat opponent, defeating Ivan Dodig 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka failed to become the second Swiss player in the last eight. He was beaten 7-6 (8), 7-5 by Kevin Anderson.
Ahead of the last Grand Slam of the year in New York, the US Open, Federer recently said that he no longer feels the pressure that the newer tennis generation has to face continually in their careers.
"I see the positive side of things today," Federer said. "When I was younger I felt much more pressure. I felt like I had to do what people said, and I would listen to everything. Today I kind of go my pace, and I really enjoy it in the process."
"For me it's about how do I feel in practice, how is my motivation, how am I actually really playing, how do I feel it, rather than how is everybody else thinking they see and know it. I can analyze it much more clearer today than I ever have," the Swiss ace added.
(With agency inputs)