Federer battles past Simon in five sets, Robredo ousts Almagro

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Roger Federer was far from his best but finally came through in a tough five setter, defeating Gilles Simon in five sets 6-1 4-6 2-6 6-2 6-2. When Federer blitzed through the first set for the loss of just one game, it looked like he wouldn’t be around for long but halfway through the second set it began to go wrong. While Simon held for 3-3, Federer fell chasing a Simon forehand and looked shook up. In the very next game, he would play an awful service game allowing Simon to break to love on his way to tying the match up.

The match was full of streaks, this time it was Simon winning five games in a row from 1-2 down to take the third – backed up by his strong first serve on which he won all but one point. After hitting more unforced errors than winners in each of the first three sets, Federer stepped it up in the fourth hitting 14 winners to just 6 errors as he won five straight games and broke for the set after a loose game from Simon to end it from 40-30.

The momentum was with Federer from then on and he took control early on in the decider, breaking for a 2-0 lead. He would have a chance for a double break but it remained unconverted. Federer was solid on serve until the final game when he began to get tight as he faced two break points and missed one match point but would finally close it out after Simon put an attempted backhand down the line wide.

Tommy Robredo made it an extraordinary three comebacks in a row from 0-2 down in three matches to defeat Nicolas Almagro 6-7 3-6 6-4 6-4 6-4. He could well have taken the first though, having held a mini break in the tiebreak after a set with very little for either play on return. He was unable to hold on from **3-2 though and would eventually lose 7-4. The second was dominated by Robredo and he looked finished, having hit just 1 winner on his way to a 3-6 defeat, Almagro breaking twice to take a 2-0 lead.

After heroic comebacks against Igor Sijsling and Gael Monfils, it seemed unlikely that Robredo could repeat the trick for the third successive time and even more so when Almagro broke and held for a 4-1 lead in the third. However, Robredo’s battling qualities got him back into the match once more as he took five straight games for the set.

The fourth set was almost a copy of the third with Almagro being the first to break, this time for a 4-2 lead only to disastrously lose four straight to send it into a decider. David Ferrer came from 0-2 down to beat Almagro at the Australian Open and now it was a realistic scenario that his fellow Spaniard Robredo could do the same.

Even when Almagro broke first in the set, as he had done in the past three sets as he won 8 of the first 9 points to begin the fifth. Robredo continued to fight though and immediately broke before consolidating the hold, but not before saving three break points in a lengthy service game. They then traded breaks before Robredo settled things down with a love hold to tie it up at four games apiece. The decisive ninth game of the set swung both ways with Almagro having multiple game points and Robredo multiple break points but it would be the latter who finally took it at the third time of asking to go *5-4 up. A love hold finished off by a netted Almagro volley completed a remarkable comeback and booked a place in the quarter finals for the 31 year old.

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