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Friday, Aug 01st

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You are here: Tennis ATP / WTA Tour Federer holds off Wawrinka to reach 300 weeks at No.1; Djokovic, Murray ease into Shanghai quarterfinals

Federer holds off Wawrinka to reach 300 weeks at No.1; Djokovic, Murray ease into Shanghai quarterfinals

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roger_federer_3Roger Federer ensured he would be at the top of the world rankings for yet another week as he suffered a slight scare before asserting his superiority over good friend Stanislas Wawrinka to reach the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. With this win, Federer also scaled yet another unprecedented height, reaching 300 weeks as World No.1. In other action, Federer's nearest challengers Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray recorded convincing wins in their third round matches and were joined in the quarterfinals by London contenders Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

The Swiss maestro has always had a clear edge over his countryman Stanislas Wawrinka, a fact clearly illustrated by their head-to-head record and many would have expected the trend to continue without much ado. Wawrinka though, had different ideas, and went for his shots from the word go, thereby putting his more illustrious opponent under pressure. The Swiss No.2 secured a break in the seventh game and went on to win the first set, taking it by 6 games to 4.

While Federer managed to show some signs of resurgence and broke to lead 3-1 in the second set, he was uncharacteristically broken in the very next game to hand back the advantage. A few nervy service games followed before Federer finally managed to keep his world ranking intact by taking the tiebreak and romping through the deciding third set 6-0 for a 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-0 win. He will now play Croat Marin Cilic for a place in the semifinals. Cilic got the better of Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Novak Djokovic continued his impressive serving form as he dropped just seven points on serve enroute to a 6-3, 6-3 win over Feliciano Lopez of Spain. Djokovic has been in solid form this week as he dropped just five games yesterday against Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria and followed it up with another commanding performance as he moved a step closer to his third ATP World Tour 1000 title of the season following wins in Miami and Toronto earlier this year. Two-time defending champion Andy Murray finally took to court after receiving a bye and a walkover in his first two rounds but showed no signs of rustiness as he dispatched Ukrainian Aleksandr Dolgpolov 6-2, 6-2 in less than an hour. Murray fell in the semifinals of the Japan Open last week to Milos Raonic and would be looking to go better at an event he has dominated over the past two years. Murray's opponent in the quarterfinals will be wily Czech Radek Stepanek who upset American John Isner 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 in their third round encounter.

Two strong contenders for the year-end championships in London, Tomas Berdych and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga survived tricky encounters to set up a mouthwatering clash in the quarterfinals to be played tomorrow. Berdych battled past rejuvenated American Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the event for the first time while Tsonga had it a bit easier, disposing off experienced Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-2, 7-6(2) in 86 minutes.

Apart from the aforementioned Tsonga-Berdych quarterfinal, the remaining three quarterfinals will also be played on Friday at the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Roger Federer and Andy Murray play Marin Cilic and Radek Stepanek respectively while Novak Djokovic will take on either countryman Janko Tipsarevic or German veteran Tommy Haas for a spot in the semifinals.

Round of 16 Scores:

(3) A Murray defeats A Dolgopolov 62 62
(1) R Federer defeats (13) S Wawrinka 46 76(4) 60
(5) J Tsonga defeats M Baghdatis 62 76(2)
(2) N Djokovic defeats F Lopez 63 63
(4) T Berdych defeats S Querrey 62 67(3) 64
R Stepanek defeats (8) J Isner 64 67(5) 63
(10) M Cilic defeats F Verdasco 46 61 64

File Photograph by Dan Galbraith