Defending champion Roger Federer is primed to collide with Feliciano Lopez in the Cincinnati Masters quarterfinals on Friday. The tennis cosmos was abnegated a Federer-Nadal quarterfinal in Cincinnati when Feliciano Lopez upset the established order by taking out fellow Spaniard in the 3R. So it will be second-seeded Roger Federer taking on Lopez with a berth in the semifinals on the line. Feliciano Lopez will attempt the hard task of beating Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in back to back matches in the Cincinnati quarterfinals when he takes on the world number three Federer tonight (Last man to beat Rafa and Roger (or vice versa) in back-to-back matches – Novak Djokovic in 2011 US Open).
Federer obviated a quarterfinal showdown with Rafael Nadal after Lopez upstaged his compatriot in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (3) in the third round. It was just the fourth time in 13 matches that Lopez had managed to pull off the victory against Nadal (2nd win in a row against Rafa after Shanghai 2014).
“It means a lot when you beat such a good player like him,” Lopez said. “It’s not a normal match. It’s something different and the atmosphere there when you play against Rafa, it’s always something special … I think he’s playing better, getting better and better”. “He played good today. I mean I was playing really my best today. Doesn’t matter the way he played because I was playing so good today”. Nadal agreed: “He played a fantastic match, I think. He played the best match ever against me, without a doubt”.
Lopez had earlier recorded straight set victories against both Milos Raonic and Andreas Seppi. But Federer presents the biggest challenge yet and Lopez has never defeated the World No. 3 in eleven attempts. Federer also eased his way into the quarterfinals after a comfortable 6-1, 6-1 victory against Kevin Anderson.
“Definitely felt better than other days. Felt good on the return, felt good on the serve, seeing just the ball really well,” Federer said. “It’s a pleasure to play that way because it doesn’t happen very often that you feel this good. So you’ve got to enjoy it, but then, unfortunately, you have to quickly put it behind you and look forward.”
He added: “Played a lot against him (Lopez) in my life. We go way back to the European Championships, under-16 and under-18 where I lost both times against him. “Then on the Tour I don’t think I lost against him, but we played on all different conditions, and we know each other obviously very well because of that. It was a tough match for him tonight; played a good ’breaker. Obviously everybody knows how well he can serve. He also beat Raonic here, now Rafa. Clearly he’s on a run.”
Federer is a six-time champion in Cincinnati, with his most recent title coming last year, whereas this is Lopez’s greatest run ever at the Masters event. Lopez is into his first quarterfinal in Cincinnati, while Federer is contesting his ninth. Every time Federer has advanced past the quarterfinals in Cincinnati, he has gone on to win the title (6-2 in QFs in Cincy; 6-0 in SFs and Finals).
Federer is a perfect 11-0 against Lopez in his career. In those eleven meetings, Lopez has only won four sets, the last one coming on clay in 2011. The last time Lopez won a set against Federer on hard courts was the 2007 US Open. Their most recent match was on the hard courts of Toronto last year during the 2014 Rogers Cup SF, which Federer won 6-3, 6-4.