Roddick knocks out Federer

Roddick knocks out Federer

Azarenka toils for win; Paes-Stepanek, Bhupathi-Bopanna in quarters

Roddick knocks out Federer

World number three Roger Federer was feeling the pace of his busy start to the year after suffering a surprise 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 defeat to Andy Roddick in the Sony Ericsson Open on Monday.

The third round loss to the American ended a 16-match winning streak for the Swiss, which included his titles in Rotterdam, Dubai and Indian Wells.

“I came out a bit flat today, I was a bit tired, I guess, but it was more mental than physical,” the 16-time Grand Slam winner said. “That’s maybe 30 matches for the season. I am just feeling like it’s taken its toll a bit, which is normal,” he said.

“But I’ve played more tired in the past, so this was not the most tired I have ever been, but you just start to feel it a bit. I didn’t just get the lucky break today that I got in Indian Wells.” After sharing the opening two sets, Roddick saved three break points against his serve in the opening game of the decider, went on to break his opponent immediately and maintained the advantage through to the end of the match.

“I have been playing so much. I tried to push myself and gave myself a fighting chance, and then when things were under control, he fought off those break point chances... and had the perfect game after that,” Federer added.

“I regret missing those opportunities and giving myself maybe a chance,” he said.
Roddick, who has slumped to 34th in the world, had his powerful forehand back to its best and was strong on serve, winning 69 percent of first service points.

The win was Roddick’s first over a top three player since beating Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati in 2010 and his first against Federer since a 2008 win here at Key Biscayne.  “The game that I played for the break in the third set was one of the best return games I’ve ever played. I think I hit four forehand winners,” the 2003 US Open champion said.

“I played well tonight and served really well there at the end,” he added. But Roddick was wary of talking up his chances in the tournament too much. “In 2008, I beat Roger and then lost to (Nikolay) Davydenko in the next round. There’s no script in sports. That’s what makes it the best entertainment in the world. It’s not planned,” he said.

The 29-year-old American said that despite the euphoria of victory the result needed to be kept in perspective.

“It would be a little presumptuous to go from people retiring me to all of a sudden talking about winning a Master’s event. Let’s take it for what it’s worth. “It probably wasn’t as bad as it seemed two weeks ago and it’s probably not all the way turned around because of one match.”

Azarenka battles on

World number one Victoria Azarenka scraped into the quarterfinals, surviving a two hour 49 minute battle against Slovak Dominika Cibulkova to emerge with a 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 victory.

Cibulkova, playing with bags of energy and invention, was well placed at 4-1 up in the second but despite having chances to close out the match lost the set in a tie-break.

The Slovak was within two points of victory on five occasions in the tightly fought third set but each time Belarusian Azarenka fought back.

Azarenka will now face France’s Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals.  Serena Williams produced 20 aces and blasted her way into the last eight with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Australian Samantha Stosur.

It was not all plain sailing for Williams, who lost her first service game of the match but came back to grind out the set in the first meeting between the two players since Stosur beat the American last year’s US Open final. Down 5-2 in the second, Stosur twice saved match points and forced Williams to serve out for the match.

Williams will face Caroline Wozniacki on Tuesday after the Dane overcame Yanina Wickmayer. Russian Maria Sharapova also sealed a place in the quarters with a 6-4, 7-6 win over compatriot Ekaterina Makarova, despite being broken four times. Makarova fought particularly hard in the second set but eventually fell 7-3 in the tiebreak.

Sharapova, the runner-up here last year, will face China’s Li Na after she beat German Sabine Lisicki 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Venus Williams defeated Ana Ivanovic 6-7, 6-2, 6-2 and moves forward to face Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska.

Good day for Indians

India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna moved into the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open, defeating Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Rafael Nadal, while Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek beat British pair Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins.

Bhupathi and Bopanna, seeded sixth, were in total command against the Spaniards, disposing their opponents 6-4, 6-3 on Monday night. They will next meet third seeds Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic.

Paes and his Czech partner too had in easy outing against the unseeded British pair. The Indo-Czech pair cruised past Fleming and Hutchins 6-4, 6-3 in 82 minutes to set up a clash with Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in the quarters.

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