Federer adds Italian Open to French preparation

As is often the case with high-profile players in the latter stages of big tournaments, the markets have got it right, and this is also the situation for the second semi-final, between Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafa Nadal, which is due on court not before 2000 United Kingdom time this evening. For example, their first meeting was in the final of Barcelona last season, with Tsitsipas ranked outside the top 70 and Nadal priced as an overwhelming [1.05] favourite. "I was always trying to play aggressive, positive tennis and it paid off today".

Djokovic had been given a walkover after his scheduled quarter-final opponent Marin Cilic withdrew after suffering from food poisoning.

Thiem broke Federer for the first time in the third game of the third set, converting on his ninth break opportunity of the match.

Federer, who earned his 20th win of the season, skipped the clay swing the last two years to remain fit for the rest of the season.

After a poignant loss for Roger Federer at Mutua Madrid Open 2019, the Swiss maestro seemed exasperated after his defeat. He made a decision to return this year in preparation for his first French Open appearance since 2015. Of course, I will try everything to win that tournament and maybe beat him there, but it's very tough.

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They had to be separated by a tie-break and it was a thriller full of drama with the 37-year-old Swiss unable to take advantage of two match points. "He's one of the best players in the world", said Rafa.

Federer bageled Monfils 6-0 in the first set, lost his momentum in the second, and looked like he was down and nearly out in the third. Wawrinka won a paltry 32% of points in the match - one of the lowest I can recollect in a match between two big names in a high calibre tournament.

"You do have a little bit more of a confidence coming into a match knowing that you've never lost to your opponent", Djokovic said.

Also advancing to the quarterfinals were Stefanos Tsitsipas and Stan Wawrinka, who defeated sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori in two sets.

Thiem broke early in the decider, but Federer responded in typical fashion to make it 4-4. Zverev overcame a slow start to rally past Pol Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

  • Lawrence Cooper