Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 30th 2017 Contents A56 sports
guardian.co.tt Thursday, March 30, 2017
Federer, Nadal advance at Miami Open
KEY BISCAYNE---For Roger
Federer and Rafael Nadal, it was
a happy anniversary.
For Stan Wawrinka, it was not a hap-
py birthday. Federer and Nadal --- play-
ing back-to-back on stadium court on
the 13th anniversary of their very first
match --- both advanced Tuesday to
the quarterfinals of the Miami Open,
surviving strong tests in both cases.
Wawrinka wasn't as fortunate, the
No 1 seed getting bounced on his 32nd
birthday by teenager Alexander Zverev.
"Every match is going to be tough
from now on," said second-seeded
Kei Nishikori, who also survived a
three-setter to reach the quarters.
That seems to already be holding
true. The fourth-seeded Federer out-
lasted No 14 Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6
(5), 7-6 (4), the fifth-seeded Nadal got
past Nicolas Marut 6-4, 7-6 (4), and
Nishikori --- a finalist at Key Biscayne a
year ago --- rallied from a break down in
the final set to beat Federico Delbonis
6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
Federer is 16-1 this year, matching
his career-best record at this point in a
season. "Is it the best I've ever played?"
Federer said. "For me, it's hard to say
yes to that question. ... Maybe on the
offensive side, overall, I think I'm doing
definitely a few things better than I ever
have. I do feel that I have improved.
The game has evolved, I had to adjust,
but overall I do believe I'm probably a
better player than I was 10 years ago."
Zverev, who turns 20 next month,
downed Wawrinka 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, and
showed no ill effects by playing just
24 hours after winning a three-setter
over John Isner that went entirely to
"I played well in the second and
third," Zverev said. "I turned it around
a little bit. I had to be aggressive."
Zverev won 26 of the 36 points
played in the final set.
"I had no more gas in the second and
third sets," said Wawrinka, who smiled
when a surprise birthday cake --- replete
with 'Stan The Man' lettering --- was
brought into his post-match news con-
ference. "But at the end of the day, you
have to try with what you have that day,
and today was not enough."
Nadal won the only break point
played in his match against Marut,
and it was enough. He was an up-
and-coming 17-year-old when he
faced Federer at what was then called
the NASDAQ-100 Open in 2004, and
surprised many with a straight-set win
that day. More than a decade later,
they're still rolling.
"It's a good start of the year, I think,
for both of us," Nadal said. "Obviously,
it's a little bit better for him, but at the
same time I'm happy with the way that
I am playing, happy with the way that
I started the year after a tough second
part of the year last year with injuries.
"So I think it's a positive for both of
us that we can still (be) around here and
be very competitive almost every week
that we are playing."
Federer had a battle with Bautista
Agut, and seemed to enjoy himself.
He needed --- and got --- a break with
Bautista Agut serving for the first set,
and with Federer serving at 4-5 in the
second they played about a half-dozen
back-and-forth shots at the net in a
tete-a-tete that ended with Federer
winning the point.
He cracked a slight smile as the
crowd roared. Federer gets yesterday
off, and will meet 10th-seeded Tomas
Berdych today in the quarters. Berd-
ych advanced with a 6-3, 7-5 win over
"You'll always take those days off,"
Federer said. "They are worth gold."
Nishikori will next face unseeded
Fabio Fognini of Italy, who beat Donald
Young 6-0, 6-4. Young's loss meant
only one American man would reach
the quarters --- that being No. 13 Jack
Sock, who beat Jared Donaldson 6-2,
Nick Kyrgios defeated David Gof-
fin 7-6 (5), 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal
match against Zverev.
Karolina Pliskova, who has never
found Miami exactly to her liking,
got into the women's semifinals with
a 6-3, 6-4 win over 26th-seeded Mir-
jana Lucic-Baroni. It's the first time
Pliskova has made the semifinals at
Pliskova improved to 23-3 this year,
the best record on the women's tour.
She'll next face 12th-seeded Caroline
Wozniacki, a 6-4, 6-3 winner over
unseeded Lucie Safarova. (AP)
Roger Federer, of Switzerland, hits a return to Roberto Bautista Agut, of
Spain, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Tuesday in Key Biscayne,
Florida. Federer won 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4). PHOTO: AP PHOTO
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