Federer scrapes past wildcard

World number one Roger Federer saved himself from embarrassment when he came from behind to defeat 1,078th-ranked Takao Suzuki to scrape into the Japan Open semi-finals in Tokyo on Friday.

    Japanese wildcard Takao Suzuki took Roger Federer to the limit

    Federer, who is playing for the first time in Japan, finally won 4-6 7-5 7-6 after an inspired Suzuki was lifted by his home crowd.

     

    The Japanese player was making his return to the game after a sustaining a serious shoulder injury in January, winning the first set in a memorable comeback performance.

     

    Federer leveled the match at one set apiece, but Suzuki regained his composure to take the last set into a tie-break.

     

    In the end, the Swiss player's class and experience shone through as he easily won the tie-break 7-3 to close out an enthralling match.

     

    Relieved at not being overthrown by a player more than 1,000 places below him, Federer will now play either Finland's Jarkko Nieminen or German Benjamin Becker in the other semi-final.

     

    "I could see the headlines," Federer told reporters.

     

    "'Federer loses to a guy outside the top 1,000.' I'm glad I won - it saved my image."

     

    "His serve is incredible for such a little guy," Federer said.

     

    "I had to dig deep and come up with a good breaker in the end. There's always a fear of losing. It was a relief."

     

    In other quarter final action, South Korean Lee Hyung-taik upset second seed Tommy Robredo 7-6 4-6 6-1 to advance to the semis where he will meet either Tim Henman or Mario Ancic.

    SOURCE: AFP


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