Federer, Monfils to clash in US Open quarter-finals

With more than 50 net approaches, an aggressive Roger Federer reached the US Open quarter-finals Tuesday night after defeating 17th-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Chasing his first final at Flushing Meadows in five years, Federer powered to a 6-4, 6-3 6-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals for the 10th time in the past 11 years and his 43rd grand slam quarter-final.

Federer was aggressive from the outset, breaking the Spaniard in the third and fifth games and winning his first 12 net approaches as he attacked the backhand. Bautista Agut, who had not beaten a Top 80 player en route to the fourth round, was also suffering from nerves on his debut on Arthur Ashe stadium, bouncing a first serve before the net in the seventh game. But he steadied to hold serve, then break Federer and hold again to fight back to 4-5.

But Federer would win 13 of the last 18 games of the match to close out a routine victory in the pair's first meeting.

Speaking on court after the match to ESPN’s Brad Gilbert, Federer said of his net rushing: "I used to serve/volley some myself when conditions were faster and my baseline game wasn’t as good. I’m happy I'm able to come forward now because coming to net requires a lot of agility and explosiveness and I have it back. I’m happy I’m feeling good at net because you’ve got to anticipate some, read some and it’s working really well. I hope I can keep it up.

"I felt like I had maybe some margin," said Federer. "He hasn't got the biggest game but he's consistent. He's fast. He can adapt. So he's got things that can make you feel uncomfortable, I must say.

"He can absorb pace well. From that standpoint, even though I did feel I had margin because I never played him before, I was still pushing forward all along and trying to always keep a gap between him and me in terms of the result and the scoreline."

Federer next meets flashy Frenchman Gael Monfils, whom he leads 7-2 in ATP Head to Head meetings. The pair met last month at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Cincinnati, which Federer won in three sets en route to the title.

"After my win in Cincinnati I know exactly how I need to play him," Federer told ESPN of the looming Monfils clash. "Gael has been playing some great tennis, he's always very entertaining. It's going to be more or less the same conditions. It's very clear cut in my opinion. I know I'll be coming in; he knows he'll be defending. He'll be wanting to serve well and play big as well. So we both know what to expect going in.

"He's got easy top 10 potential," said Federer. "He's a great mover. He's got a wonderful serve, really, which nobody really talks about because of his athletic movement which stands out so much.

"His issues have really been just his fitness and his setbacks he's had because of injury. Then sometimes maybe not wanting to play sometimes because of reasons only he can explain.

"I think I can speak on behalf of so many players: We love watching him play. It's nice seeing him do well again. He's going to rise in the rankings now, and maybe that's exactly the stepping stones he needs to make it back in the top 10."

Should Federer win a sixth US Open title and Novak Djokovic not reach the final at Flushing Meadows, the Swiss would replace the Serb in first place in the ATP Race to London. The Race reflects a player's performance in 2014 only and determines which eight players qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals.

At the end of the season the Race mirrors the ATP Rankings, also known as the world rankings. So if Federer moves into first place in the Race, he will have a strong chance of finishing the year at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

Federer, who hit 36 winners and converted six of 13 break chances, improved his 2014 match record to 53-9. He is seeking his first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon 2012 and first US Open crown since he won a fifth consecutive title at Flushing Meadows in 2008.

Date: 3rd September 2014, Source: ATP and Reuters


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