Fed and Djokovic survive scares
Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:15
Federer came from two sets to love down to defeat Tomas Berdych 4-6 6-7 (4/7) 6-4 6-4 6-2, while Djokovic left the Rod Laver Arena at 2.26am after a three-hour-15-minute tussle with Marcos Baghdatis ended 6-1 7-6 (7/1) 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 in his favour.
It is rare to see Federer taken to five sets, let alone be forced to come back from such a precarious position. But he showed all the experience of the 13-time grand slam champion that he is to end Berdych’s hopes of making the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the first time.
Djokovic must have thought he was heading for a quick finish when he took the first set against Baghdatis in only 25 minutes.
But Baghdatis, whose loyal band of supporters were in full voice, went 3-0 up early in the second but when he got broken in the seventh game, the set was back on serve and headed for a tie-break.
Too many errors by Baghdatis, who reached the final in Melbourne in 2006, put him on the back foot and Djokovic steamed through to take it 7-1.
The third set went with serve all the way to a second tie-break but this time Baghdatis found another gear, cracking an ace then two blistering forehand winners to the corner to get the decisive edge before a Djokovic forehand into the net handed the Cypriot the set.
Djokovic bounced back quickly, though, taking a 2-0 lead after breaking Baghdatis in the first game of the fourth set. Then having slugged it out for another four games without a break of serve, the defending champion got the second breakthrough he was looking for and, despite a double fault when serving out the set, he came through when a backhand return by his opponent drifted wide.
Djokovic now faces another stern test in the shape of Andy Roddick, who blitzed his way to a 7-5 6-1 6-3 win against Spain’s Tommy Robredo – his 10th on the trot.
Juan Martin Del Potro, at 20 the youngest man in the top 10, will take on Federer in the last eight after his 5-7 6-4 6-4 6-2 win against another rising star in Marin Cilic.