Monday, 23 January 2017

Federer in last eight

Roger Federer v Kei Nishikori is the fourth round match first up in the night session on Day Seven, and promises to be an interesting match up - Nishikori the top five player developing into a regular visitor to quarter finals and semi finals of majors, but hoping to be a finalist more often as in the 2014 US Open, or indeed a winner of them.
Federer of course has already written his chapter in tennis history and it is long and illustrious.
With the exits of Djokovic and Murray, maybe this is the draw opening up for one more tilt at an eighteenth major for Roger.  Still a few big hurdles to clear and the fifth seed is the immediate significant one.

Roger began slowly and Kei the opposite, finding the mark with early winners and having a number of break opportunities.  Each was thwarted though, and it took the fifth for the break to finally occur with a poor Federer forehand.
After Nishikori held serve he had Federer down another two break points, before needing a third to break a second time and lead 3-0.

At 0-4 Roger appeared out of first set calculations, but although taken to deuce in his next service game, he did finally put a score on the board, and from that moment he was in the match.
Nishikori held serve once a backhand winner passed his opponent, but then his run of success dried up.

Two aces sealed the seventh game for Federer and he broke Nishikori in the next, his forehand causing problems for the fifth seed.
Two more Swiss aces highlighted another love game and Nishikori had another go at serving for the set.

Broken again, Nishikori had seen his lead evaporate and games were now 5-5.
A confident Federer was now roaming the net, winning points there and forcing Nishikori to find other avenues of success.

A tie break was now the fifth seeds only hope once Federer had taken a 6-5 lead.  Nishikori served a much better game and the tie break eventuated.

A forehand winner on Federer's serve early in the tie break gave Nishikori the edge, and he never surrendered it, winning 7 points to 4, forcing Federer into forehand error on the final two points.
The first set to Nishikori 7-6 (4), but against the flow.

The second set was posed delicately at 3-3 when Nishikori hit two bad forehands to give Federer two break points.  These were saved, the second with a forehand winner. However, a double fault next serve spelt disaster and there was no escape from this break point, and Federer had the lead 4-3.

Two love games on serve from the Swiss number 17 seed tied the match at a set apiece.

Set three opened with Nishikori holding serve but it was all a mess from that point.  After being broken in the third game, Nishikori couldn't take advantage of a break back point in the fourth.  A double fault and unforced errors caused a further loss of serve in the fifth and Federer led 4-1.

Serving to stay in the set, Nishikori appeared disinterested and dropped a third straight serve and the set 1-6.

Game five of the fourth set saw a Japanese revival.  Backhand and forehand winners off the Nishikori racquet, and volleying errors from Federer resulted in a break of service, and Kei led 3-2.
Federer didn't lose another point on serve for the set, and at 5-4 Nishikori had to hold to send the match into a fifth set.
He needn't have worried, as Federer donated a string of errors and the love game ensured the set was Japanese 6-4.

The first game of set five saw Federer double fault and land at deuce but that was the extent of any drama.  He held for 1-0 then misbehaviour from the Nishikori backhand caused the fifth seed to drop serve in the second game, and Federer had what he needed. 2-0 and serve to come.

Holding serve without difficulty, Federer could attack the Nishikori serve in hope for a second break, and that nearly happened.
It mattered not at all, and at 5-3 Roger Federer completed the deal with a service winner, ace and forehand smash.
He was in the quarter final, winning 6-7 6-4 6-1 4-6 6-3 

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