Old-school win puts Federer in new Berdych battle
Toronto: Roger Federer overcame old-school, attack-minded Michael Llodra 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to advance at the Toronto Masters, while defending champion Andy Murray escaped with a win over Gael Monfils.
While third seed Federer was revelling in a third-round serve-and-volley test with one of his oldest colleagues in the game, Murray fell apart in a love second set in the face of a burst of athleticism from the always unpredictable Monfils.
Monfils however, failed to follow through, a tumble on his right shoulder during a dive on the cement significantly dimming his enthusiasm and allowing Murray to escape 6-2, 0-6, 6-3.
The Scot managed to secure a 3-1 record over Monfils with the victory, his 27th of the season.
Federer`s winning efforts landed him in a re-match from Wimbledon against Tomas Berdych, a winner over Alexander Dolgopolov of the Ukraine 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-4.
Berdych eliminated Federer at the All England club after upsetting him earlier in the season in Miami.
Two seeds were eliminated as Argentine strongman David Nalbandian won an 11th consecutive match, toppling number five Swede Robin Soderling 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Jeremy Chardy of France beat Russian sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-2.
"It’s a good victory for me, I fell that I’m playing well. After missing some chances in the first set I played very good," said Nalbandian, last week`s Washington winner from South America.
"I’m gonna try to keep going, I’ve been a long time out of the circuit. I’m enjoying my time now."
Federer needed less than 90 minutes to pass his third-round test against old-school Frenchman Llodra, a year his senior at age 30. So impressed was the beaten opponent, that Federer happily gave him the pink shirt off his back upon request post-match.
"It`s fun playing that kind of a style once in a while," said the Swiss. "I kind of miss it.”
"Everything is much more open for everybody to play on all the surfaces, and it`s a different kind of tennis today. But it was fun playing against Michael, I thought he played well."
The throwback serve-and-volley style of the number 35 suited Federer down to the ground after the Swiss fought back in the first set from a break in the second game.
The contest was played under the watchful eye of Federer`s trial coach Paul Annacone, former mentor to Pete Sampras.
The Swiss improved to 33-9 on the season as he bids for his second title after January`s Australian Open.
"I definitely have to go back and think what didn`t go so well against Berdych and what did work well," said Federer. "He`s definitely on a run right now, so I hope to stop him a bit."