Federer rallies, rough summer improves
By Joe Kay ,APMASON, Ohio -- Roger Federer put aside his recent struggles with a come-from-behind win over veteran Tommy Haas on Thursday, booking a quarterfinal against long-time rival Rafael Nadal at the Western & Southern Open.
August 17, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Federer overcome a slow start to beat Haas 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 and emerge from his string of subpar showings since Wimbledon.
Nadal has a 20-10 head-to-head advantage over Federer, including two wins this year.
“Always playing against Roger is a special feeling,” Nadal said. “We have a great history behind us in our confrontations. So it's another quarterfinal. It's a special one because you're playing against a very special player.”
Nadal beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in a 2-hour evening match. Nadal has overcome an injured left knee that wiped out the end of last season and a stomach virus that affected him early this year.
Federer has been struggling to get his game back in shape since he was upset at Wimbledon by a player ranked 116th in the world. He has switched rackets and been limited by a sore back.
A return to a tournament he's won five times before — including last year — proved a tonic.
“I'm a strong believer that I am on the right path right now, and I just need to make sure that mentally I stay cool about it,” Federer said.
“Today for a long time it wasn't looking good, but these are the kind of matches I need right now.”
While Federer took a step, No. 1 Novak Djokovic got one win closer to a little ATP history. He needed only 50 minutes to beat qualifier David Goffin, 6-2, 6-0 and reach the quarterfinals.
Djokovic has lost four finals in Cincinnati, the only Masters series event he has yet to win. A victory would make him the first player to win all nine Masters.
“I played four times finals, so it's been one of the tournaments where I've performed well,” Djokovic said. “Never managed to make the final step, and hopefully this year I can do so.
“I have an extra motivation and an opportunity to make history in this tournament, so I'm very inspired to play well day after day.”
Also reaching the quarterfinals were second-seeded Andy Murray, sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych, seventh-seeded Juan Martin del Potro and Russian qualifier Dmitry Tursunov, who upset third-seeded David Ferrer.
The women's matches played mostly to form, with No. 1 Serena Williams beating Germany's Mona Barthel 6-4, 6-1 in only 63 minutes, reaching the last eight of a tournament where she's never reached the final.
“I always struggle here,” Williams said. “I've got to get used to everything. It's so different from the rest of the tournaments I've been playing.
“I can't quite figure out why I'm always a little off. But champions adjust.”
Second-seeded Victoria Azarenka, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, fifth-seeded Li Na and 14th-seeded Jelena Jankovic also advanced to the quarterfinals.
A few hours after her win, Radwanska withdrew from the tournament so she could attend her grandfather's funeral. Li, who won the tournament last year, automatically moved into the semifinals.