Federer renaissance continues apace as Swiss reaches quarters
ROGER Federer’s impressive start to the 2017 campaign continued as he beat Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 7-6 in the fourth round of the Miami Open.
The Australia Open champion has lost only one match this year, after returning from a five-month lay-off, and claimed the tie breaks 7-5 and 7-4 to progress to the quarter-finals in Florida.
Czech Tomas Berdych awaits the Swiss in the last eight, after he beat France’s Adrian Mannarino 6-3 7-5.
No.2 seed Kei Nishikori – a 6-3 4-6 6-3 winner over Federico Delbonis in the quarters – met Fabio Fognini in the last four late last night after the Italian had thrashed Donald Young 6-0 6-4.
Federer’s compatriot and top seed Stan Wawrinka suffered a surprise defeat to German teenager Alexander Zverev. Wawrinka took the first set 6-4, but Zverev converted four of his five break points as he won the next two 6-2 6-1.
Zverev will play Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals after the Australian beat David Goffin of Belgium 7-6 6-3.
Rafa Nadal beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4 7-6 and faces American Jack Sock, who was a 6-2 6-1 winner against compatriot Jared Donaldson.
Meanwhile, former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki progressed to the semi-finals in Miami with a straight-sets win over Lucie Safarova. The No.12 seed from Denmark was a 6-4 6-3 winner against her Czech opponent.
Wozniacki, who had progressed on Monday when No.6 seed Garbine Muguruza retired through illness, had too much for doubles specialist Safarova and advanced after an hour and 50 minutes. She will face No.2 seed Karolina Pliskova in the last four, after she beat Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia in straight sets, the Czech progressing 6-3 6-4.
Britain’s Johanna Konta reached the last four after defeating Simona Halep 3-6 7-6 (9/7) 6-2, and will face either top seed Angelique Kerber or Australian Open finalist Venus Williams.
Elsewhere, Maria Sharapova said she fought for the truth so she can end her career on her terms.
The former world number one was initially banned for two years after failing a doping test, before having it reduced to 15 months on appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. She will return to action at the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart next month, playing her first match the day after her suspension runs out.
The Russian’s impending return has been the hottest topic of conversation in tennis, with a number of players expressing discontent at Sharapova being given wild cards into the biggest tournaments on the WTA Tour.
Sharapova herself appears to see no reason to show remorse.
Speaking at the ANA Inspiring Women in Sports conference in California, reported by The Desert Sun newspaper, Sharapova said: “You always want to end your career or a chapter in your life on your terms and in your voice, and to be in a moment where you felt like it could have ended on someone else’s terms was very difficult to accept. And that’s why I fought so hard for the truth to be out.
“You don’t realise how much you love something and how much something means to you until you lose it for some time.”
Sharapova, 29, has used the time to focus on her business career. The creator of Sugarpova sweets took classes at Harvard Business School and spent time shadowing NBA commissioner Adam Silver, at Nike headquarters and as an intern at an advertising agency.
She also wrote her autobiography, due to be published in September.
Sharapova said: “I learned that life is okay without tennis.’
“But my mind and my body still have the motivation to be the best tennis player I can be. I got my day job back.”
SERVING UP A TREAT: Roger Federer continued his good vein of form by reaching the last eight in Miami
BROKEN CHINA: Ronnie O’Sullivan suffered a 5-4 defeat to Mark Joyce in Beijing