What an intense day of tennis in Hamburg, Germany. It was quarterfinal day and there was certainly no lack of drama. I didn't get a chance to catch all the action, but three of the four matches went to three sets, complete with back-and-forth breaks of serve, inability to capitalize on break points, and see-saw tiebreaks. Almagro came out on top over defending champion Monaco, Delbonis got the best of Verdasco, and Fognini surprisingly beat Haas in straight sets
The match I was most intent on, though, was the Roger Federer-Florian Mayer match, which got a much later start than expected. It would have been a good time for one of Fed's short but sweet matches with the whole thing happening in an hour. That's wasn't to be, however. The first set was a tight affair with each of them playing well and holding serve. After that one was done I was already thinking about how I was planning to write that Roger seemed to be playing well, getting the feel of his new racquet, hitting great shots, etc. However, then the match got, shall we say, puzzling, and continued that way until the end.
He came out in the second set sporting a new addition to his match attire - a sweater vest to keep warm in the cool Hamburg evening temperatures. But whether he couldn't play quite right with it on, or just a basic dip in form, soon he was down one, and then two breaks of serve. Some of it was due to good solid playing by Mayer, but a lot of it was balls just going astray. Though he did manage to get one break back, to where I was wondering if he might be able to break again to save the set, all of a sudden he was broken again to lose the set instead. What in the world!
The third set was no less crazy. In spite of an early break, he ended up losing that too. At that point it seemed it certainly could go either way. I admit I was starting to wonder if he was going to have another one of those losses in an oh-so-close match that at this point could prove majorly detrimental to his confidence. Suddenly, however, he seemed to find a new gear and came up with some brilliant play to break serve and go on to serve it out at 7-5 in the third. I think at this point these types of tough wins are very important for going forward. He needs to remember that feeling of coming through those very tight ones, fighting through and coming up with the winners instead of the errors in the tight moments. Who knows, maybe this will be a big help for him in turning around his season.
He definitely has the disadvantage going into the semis. His opponent, Delbonis, finished his match quite a bit earlier, and is also quite a bit younger. However, considering that he is ranked #114 in the world, hopefully Federer can come through that one in spite of much fewer than 24 hours in between.