Federer records 1200th match win in Madrid

Roger Federer completed the 1,200th match win of his illustrious career in dramatic fashion on Thursday for a place in the Mutua Madrid Open quarter-finals. The Swiss superstar saved two match points to become the second player in the Open Era to hit the milestone, joining American Jimmy Connors (1,274), with a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3) victory over No. 15 seed Gael Monfils of France in two hours.

Monfils won just nine points in the first set, but he found his rhythm to lead Federer 4-1 in the second, prior to the Swiss coming within one point of a 5-4 advantage and a chance to serve for a historic milestone. Monfils countered to take a 4-1 lead in the decider, before Federer started his own comeback in a tense finale on Manolo Santana Stadium.

Federer saved the first match point on a second serve at 5-6, 30/40, attacking the net to finish the point with a smash winner. He saved a second match point, two points later, when aggression off his forehand kept Monfils off balance. Federer was continually forced to rely on a second serve and attacked the net to create the error.

In the deciding set tie-break, their first since the 2010 Rolex Paris Masters that Monfils won, Federer took a 3/0 lead and maintained his service advantage for a 20th victory of 2019 (20-2 overall). The 37-year-old is now also 87-0 in matches where he has won a set 6-0.

"I just felt not so confident to win the point from the baseline, so I said panic mode is switched on and we are coming in," said a smiling Federer about the first match point he saved. "Regardless of how and what and when, there were no more tactics except to serve it to the forehand to mix it up and you go to the net as quick as possible so you are as close as possible and I framed the first volley, which ended up being perfect."

The three-time former Madrid champion, playing his first tournament on clay in three years, will now prepare to face fifth-seeded Austrian Dominic Thiem, runner-up at this ATP Masters 1000 event for the past two years. Thiem leads Federer 3-2 in their ATP Head to Head series, including victory in the BNP Paribas Open final in March.

Earlier on Thursday afternoon, Thiem pushed his winning streak to seven matches by beating Rolex Monte Carlo Masters champion Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5 to reach the last eight at the Caja Magica.

Date: 9 May 2019, Source: ATP


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