Federer fires into Paris quarters to stretch winning streak

Friday, November 12, 2010

PARIS - Roger Federer duplicated his career-best showing at the Paris Masters, reaching the quarter-finals over Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3 as he beat the veteran Czech for the second time in a week.

The Swiss top seed, hunting for his third straight ATP trophy after winning Stockholm and Basel, has never been past the last eight at the Bercy arena, often due to bad luck.

“This is tough at the end of the season,” said the winner of his last 11 matches Thursday. “I tried to come all the same when I was injured or I didn’t play well.

“That’s why I never had a chance to make a good result here. But this year so far it’s going well. I’ll try to use the surface at my advantage and try my best.”

Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer of Spain and American Andy Roddick booked the last spots for the ATP World Tour Finals thanks to a victory by Gael Monfils.

Rafael Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling had qualified ahead of the Paris tournament for the season-ender.

The 2009 Paris finalist Monfils finalized the eight-man lineup with a roller-coaster win over Fernando Verdasco, 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 7-5.

Meanwhile, Frenchman Michael Llodra overpowered fatigued holder Djokovic, producing a 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 defeat second seed in a preview against the player he could meet again in the December 3-5 Davis Cup final in Belgrade.

“He really played a perfect match,” said the Serb. “I don’t think I played bad, I even returned well in the first set.

“But any time I needed a point when it was important, he comes up with a huge serve. Just close to the line, or he comes up with an incredible first volley.”

Murray played patchy but effective tennis to outlast Croatian 13th seed Marin Cilic 7-6(6), 3-6, 6-4.

Swedish fourth seed Soderling reached the last eight as he beat Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6(3), 6-3. Austrian Jurgen Melzer beat Ferrer 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3.

Monfils kept his nerves under control during a momentum-shifting defeat of Verdaso to end the Spaniard’s year-end hopes for the event which starts November 21.

“Tennis-wise it wasn’t perfect, but I found the mental energy to stay in the match,” said Monfils, who fought out of a second-set slump.

“I started believing that I could do something and win after a couple of rallies, and I was back again.”

Roddick, seeded eighth, defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 7-6(8), a victory that eliminated Melzer from any further year-end consideration in singles.

The Austrian, who won Wimbledon doubles alongside German Philipp Petzschner, has qualified into the London doubles with his teammate.

Roddick’s entry into the year-end field was the eighth in succession for the 28-year-old who had to sit it out a year ago due to a knee injury.

Roddick said he paid no attention to the Monfils-Verdasco match.

“I’m happy that I’ve won some matches and not so far relied on people losing. That’s kind of the attitude I had coming into this week.”

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