Federer struggles past Ferrer
Originally published on 10/08/17 00:00
The Wimbledon champion laboured to a 17th consecutive victory over his Spanish opponent to continue his winning run at Masters level and reach the last eight in Montreal. The 36-year-old appeared frustrated by his lacklustre display but he will have another chance to improve on Friday.
"I already beat other players 17 times," said Federer. "Sometimes I played them maybe 30 or 40 times but they ended up beating me at a certain stages, like Roddick, Gonzalez and Soderling. That's why I have a lot of respect for this match today."
An expectant capacity crowd turned out on Court Central to watch the Swiss magician at work, however it was clear from the outset that the overwhelming favourite was struggling with his timing. Federer looked insecure in the baseline exchanges and his rival deservedly moved a break ahead after converting his seventh break-point opportunity in the fourth game of the opener.
The 19-time major winner had been under the cosh but he began to use his backhand slice to good effect. Federer appeared to be back on track when he recovered the break in the ninth game, but he slipped up on serve once again and Ferrer was a grateful recipient.
In the first set, Federer cracked 12 winners but 19 unforced-errors proved to be costly. The pair exchanged breaks in the early stages of the second set however another tepid service game from the Spaniard gifted his rival a 3-2 lead – and he was unable to recover the deficit.
Ferrer had applied some late pressure in the second set but he was unable to convert his chances and he never fully recovered. The 35-year-old failed to produce his best in the decider and it was not long before he was embracing his old friend and rival at the net.
Federer’s quarter-final opponent will be Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard saved a match-point as he edged a lengthy duel with Gael Monfils 4-6 7-6(5) 7-6(2).
“I’m happy, as I knew I would have to play a lot of rallies,” said the Spaniard after his first triumph over the unpredictable Frenchman. “I’m going to try and recover and enjoy the win today before preparing for tomorrow’s match.”
Elsewhere on the grounds, Robin Haase upset Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(3) 4-6 6-1 and Diego Schwartzman overcame Jared Donaldson 0-6 7-5 7-5 despite losing the first eight games of the contest.