Jeweils vier Halbfinalplätze haben das ATP- und WTA-Turnier in Rom heute zu vergeben, mit Angelique Kerber war auch noch eine Deutsche in der Verlosung. Die Kielerin setzte sich am Abend gegen die Nummer vier der Welt, Petra Kvitova, in drei Sätzen durch. Beim Herren-Masters schaltete Rafael Nadal Tomas Berdych aus und trifft im Halbfinale auf David Ferrer. Novak Djokovic bezwang Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nächster Gegner: Roger Federer oder Andreas Seppi.
Playing one of his contemporaries on a big stage in just his seventh tournament of the season (his record in the previous six: 0-6), I had a feeling Juan Carlos Ferrero would seize this opportunity, if only for a few games. As it turned out, Ferrero’s moment lasted longer than that, and it was better late than never. The 32-year-old’s inspired play pushed Roger Federer to an unexpected third set, but no more, as the world No. 2 won in the end, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
If matches played out as they are previewed on paper, the first set made the author look like a soothsayer. Federer, riding his hot streak, completely controlled play from the start and made Ferrero look every bit of his age. But with that set behind him, and perhaps some early jitters as well, Ferrero loosened up and hit out on his shots whenever possible. If his big groundstrokes—which he still can smack—didn’t end the point, they pushed Federer back while allowing him to creep closer inside the baseline. When Ferrero was in those positions, he dictated play, and his service games, somewhat dodgy in the first set, weren’t as taxing.
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Seventh seeds Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek rallied to defeat second-seeded Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor 3-6, 6-1, 10-8 to win the Sony Ericsson Open on Saturday, their second team trophy of the season. After dropping the first set, the Australian Open champions broke Mirnyi and Nestor twice in the second set to force a Match Tie-break. The Indian-Czech tandem trailed 1-4 before winning six straight points to surge ahead. Stepanek closed out the victory with an unreturnable volley to clinch the win in 82 minutes.
“We fought through it, and we got on top of them in the second set all the way,” said Stepanek. “We [were] the more aggressive, and, I would say, creative team in the [Match] Tie-break, as well. That’s why we won.”
Paes collected his third straight crown at Crandon Park, having triumphed with Lukas Dlouhy in 2010 and Mahesh Bhupathi in 2011. The 38 year old also became the 24th player in ATP World Tour history to win 50 doubles titles.
“[It’s] really, really special. 50 tournaments takes a little doing. 600 matches takes a little bit of doing,” said Paes. “Having done a three peat here in Miami is awesome. Next year, I hope to start another one.”