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Federer moves closer to Rafa clash

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Originally published on: 30/03/11 10:51

Roger Federer moved into the quarter-finals of the Sony Ericsson Open for the eighth time in his career after a late-night 6-3 6-1 victory over Olivier Rochus.

The Swiss, who won the Miami title in 2005 and 2006, had to wait until 12:37am on Wednesday morning to begin his fourth round clash, but eased past the Belgian in just 52 minutes.

“It’s happened a few times in my career where we waited around forever and I was able to play one of those clean, quick matches,” said the world No.3.

“I was able to hit freely tonight and play with great variation, and I think that really kept him guessing.”

Federer, who surpassed Pete Sampras’ career record of 762 match wins after his third round defeat of Juan Monaco, is due to play Gilles Simon in the next round. The Swiss has lost two of his three past encounters with the Frenchman, but the sixteen-time Grand Slam champion will be buoyed by the prospect of a semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal should the Spaniard defeat Tomas Berdych in a re-run of the Wimbledon final.

Elsewhere in Miami, Mardy Fish battled to a 7-5 7-6(5) win over the resurgent Juan Martin del Potro – sealing his triumph over the Argentine with a hug at the net. Fish plays David Ferrer in the last eight with a victory enough to see him overtake Andy Roddick as the top-ranked American, while 2009 US Open champion del Potro is set to take a break at the start of the clay season to go easy on the wrist that required surgery last year.

“After here, I will see the doctor,” revealed the 22-year-old Argentine. “Then we will take a decision if I can still play or if I need to stop.

“I want to play but I’ve not played on a clay court since 2009, so it’s a long time. I want to improve my game on that surface.”

Meanwhile, defending champion Kim Clijsters had to save five match points to defeat Ana Ivanovic 7-6(4) 3-6 7-6(5) to reach the quarter-finals, while Maria Sharapova progressed to the last four after beating Alexandra Dulgheru in a three-and-a-half-hour epic.

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