Federer Completes Historic QF Line-up
by ATP Staff|
World No. 1 Roger Federer is accustomed to rewriting history books, but his newest achievement was a collaborative effort shared by the Top 8 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings. With all of them winning their third-round matches Thursday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, it marked the first time since the ATP Rankings were introduced in 1973 that the top eight players had advanced to the quarter-finals at an ATP World Tour or Grand Slam tournament.
Federer fittingly held the honour of completing the historic quarter-final line-up, defeating fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 7-6(5) just moments after World No. 7 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had cemented his 6-3, 6-3 win over World No. 9 Gilles Simon in an all-French third-round match.
"It's definitely a special occasion," said Federer. "It just shows the top guys now are really consistent and they're showing up at the big events. It's nice it finally happened."
Wawrinka attempted to play the role of spoiler, rolling out to a 3-0 lead in the second set as he attempted to get the match back on level ground, but his countryman quickly countered with his own service break. In the tie-break, Wawrinka managed to stave off four match points, but Federer - a two-time champion at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament - earned a mini-break to clinch his 21st straight match win.
Federer looked ahead to his next match against Tsonga, whom he defeated in their one previous meeting last year in Madrid: "I think he's got great potential. He's a wonderful character for the game, and I think he's exciting to watch and I'm sure also to play."
Tsonga ousted 2008 Rogers Cup semi-finalist Simon as he coolly saved all seven break points faced on serve while capitalising on three of his five opportunities in the one-hour, 22-minute match.
"The first time I'm in history," Tsonga said with a laugh when asked about the Top 8's accomplishment. "For me it's good, but you can see the level is really high and it's really tough to be in quarter-final in tournament like this."
The Top 8 had come close to making history just three months ago at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament in Madrid, but Simon - ranked No. 7 at the time - fell to Croatian Ivan Ljubicic in three sets. Overall this season, the Top 10 has performed exceptionally well as a group with seven players reaching the quarter-finals at four other tournaments prior to Montreal. Last year, the most Top 10 players to reach a quarter-final was six.
World No. 3 Andy Murray put paid to the challenge of Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero with a 6-1, 6-3 victory earlier in the day. The 22 year old, who has been training in Miami in recent weeks, looked to be on track with his US Open preparations as he confidently dismissed former World No. 1 Ferrero – who had qualified into the main draw before ousting Lleyton Hewitt and No. 13 seed Gael Monfils to reach the third round.
Two breaks of serve in the second and sixth games of the first set were enough to secure a one-set lead for Murray and he immediately stamped his authority on the second set with a break of serve in the first game. The Scot then earned one final break of serve to close out the contest in 77 minutes, having faced no break points in contrast to the 14 opportunities he created on the Spaniard’s serve.
"It was a really tough start to the match," confessed Murray. "Those first three or four games lasted about half an hour, and then a lot of long points, long games. I managed to stay out in front and once I got the second break in the first set I started to feel a lot more comfortable, but I hit the ball very well. There was a lot of really good rallies and it was good to get into a rhythm like that. I played better and better as the match went on, and if you can get a good start in all your matches it's going to make a big difference to whether you win or lose."
The Scot is playing in his first tournament since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals (l. to Roddick) as he looks to fine tune his form for the US Open, where he reached his first Grand Slam final last year (l. to Federer).
Since reaching the semi-finals at the Rogers Cup last year (l. to Nadal), the 22-year-old Murray has won three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters in Cincinnati (d. Djokovic), the 2008 Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open (d. Simon) and the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami (d. Djokovic).
Murray goes on to face eighth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who continued his red-hot run of form with a close 7-6(2), 7-5 victory over Chilean No. 11 seed Fernando Gonzalez. The 28 year old, who won his 12th straight match, came into the Rogers Cup on the back of successive ATP World Tour titles at the International German Open in Hamburg (d. Mathieu) and the ATP Studena Croatia Open in Umag (d. Ferrero). The right-hander takes a 4-4 record into the clash with Murray, as he looks to reach the Rogers Cup semi-finals for the first time.