Swiss downs Amer­i­can teenager

New Straits Times - - Sport -


ROGER Fed­erer sur­vived a brave chal­lenge from Amer­i­can qual­i­fier Frances Ti­afoe be­fore emerg­ing with a 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 vic­tory as he got his Mi­ami Open ti­tle bid un­der­way on Satur­day.

Ti­afoe, ranked 101st in the world, strug­gled against Fed­erer’s serve but was strong on his own and forced a first set tiebreak in which the Swiss came out on top.

The 19-year-old son of im­mi­grants from Sierra Leone then broke Fed­erer's serve in the first game of the sec­ond set only for the 18-times Grand Slam win­ner to break back twice and run out a com­fort­able win­ner in the end.

Fed­erer was full of praise for his op­po­nent and said he would have gained valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence from the con­test.

“I hope he’s go­ing to learn a lot from a match like this just be­cause play­ing on a cen­tre court with a lot of peo­ple, un­der pres­sure, sav­ing break points, mak­ing break points, play­ing break­ers. That’s what it’s about, and it should feed a player like him with a lot of en­ergy mov­ing for­ward,” he said.

Fed­erer is in fine form hav­ing clinched the Aus­tralian Open and In­dian Wells so far this year and ex­tended his record to 14-1.

The 35-year-old is look­ing for his third Mi­ami ti­tle fol­low­ing wins in 2005 and 2006.

Fed­erer should have met Del Potro in Mi­ami last year but the Swiss had to pull out with an ill­ness and he says he is look­ing for­ward to re­new­ing his ri­valry with the South Amer­i­can

“We’ve had some epic matches against each other: Semis at the French, Olympic semis, fi­nals at the US Open.

“You name it, we’ve had some re­ally good ones,” he said.

Reign­ing US Open cham­pion Stan Wawrinka got off to a solid start, beat­ing Ar­gentina’s Ho­ra­cio Ze­bal­los 6-3, 6-4 at Cran­don Park on Satur­day.

In the ab­sence of Andy Mur­ray and No­vak Djokovic, the top two ranked play­ers in the world, Wawrinka is the num­ber one seed and is fired up after reach­ing the fi­nal at In­dian Wells last week, where he was beaten by Fed­erer.

“I’m play­ing bet­ter ten­nis. I feel that I'm play­ing good here. I took the con­fi­dence from In­dian Wells. So let's see... When I'm play­ing well, when I am con­fi­dent with my game, I know I can beat any­body,” said Wawrinka, who turns 32 on Tues­day.

Wawrinka next faces Tu­nisia's Malek Jaziri, a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win­ner over Spain’s Feli­ciano Lopez.

Aus­tralia’s Nick Kyr­gios also pro­gressed on Satur­day en­joy­ing a 6-4 6-3 win over Bos­nian Damir Dzumhur. AFP


Roger Fed­erer (left) cel­e­brates after de­feat­ing Frances Ti­afoe in the Mi­ami Open on Satur­day. Fed­erer won 7-6 (7-2), 6-3.

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