Federer joins exclusive club

Roger Federer reached the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and joined a select band of players who have won 800 matches in the open era.

Roger Federer reached the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and joined a select band of players who have won 800 matches in the open era.

Federer beat Juan Monaco 6-3 7-5 to join Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Guillermo Vilas, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Stefan Edberg with 800 or more wins.

Federer admitted he had struggled to overcome Monaco.

He said: “It was a battle from start to finish. We both weren’t hitting the best balls, there were a lot of errors.

“I thought it was so slow that I had to adjust my game. These are the kind of matches you have to come through,” Federer added on Sky Sports 2.

Asked what making it to 800 wins meant to him, he replied: “Eight hundred grey hairs. It’s a lot of tennis.

“I knew coming in it could be my 800th win. It was a good battle and I’m happy I got to that magical number.”

Federer won the first set comfortably in the end, but only after Monaco had forced a break of serve.

The Swiss dropped his serve in game five but broke straight back in the next to level it at 3-3.

Federer then held serve before breaking Monaco to lead the opener 5-3. He was then able to hold his own serve to wrap it up 6-3.

The first 10 games of the second set went with serve before Federer made the decisive breakthrough.

Federer set up two break points at 15-40 on the Monaco serve when his opponent was forced to try to lob him from the back of the court and he won the point with a smash.

However, one of those break points was lost when Federer netted and he surrendered the next when he fired a forehand wide.

But when Monaco sliced a backhand out it gave Federer a third break point. Monaco netted a forehand and that left Federer serving to take the match.

Points were swapped to 30-30 and when Monaco netted a forehand it gave Federer match point.

An ace straight down the middle secured Federer’s place in the semi-finals, where he will face Tomas Berdych.

Andy Murray’s 18-match winning run came to an end in the quarter-finals, as Berdych came from behind to secure a thrilling win over the world number three.

With Murray’s form so imperious going into the match – he had won his last three tournaments and overtaken Federer in the rankings – it was expected he would routinely secure a last-four berth when he won the first set.

But Berdych, who now has a 3-1 record over the Scot, dug deep and raised his game to a new level in the next two thrilling sets, often forcing Murray to lose his temper as he won 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 to set up a meeting with Federer.

World number one Novak Djokovic pulled out of the tournament due to his injured shoulder.

Djokovic saw off fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki 4-6 6-3 6-1 yesterday and was due to face home favourite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga this evening.

But the shoulder joint is still troubling him, forcing him to withdraw.

He wrote on his official Twitter account: “Dear fans and friends, sadly I have to inform you that I have withdrawn from the tournament.

“I have pushed myself to the limit by playing, and after the match yesterday my shoulder got worse.

“For this reason, I have to put my health first and withdraw even though my urges as a professional player are making me want to play until the last drop of energy.

“My season has been long and tiring, I played all of my matches at my highest level, and now my body is aching for recovery. Hoping for your understanding and support.”

Djokovic’s withdrawal allowed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga a walkover into the semi-finals where he will meet John Isner who had a three-set win over David Ferrer, 6-3 3-6 6-3.

The American traded sets with his Spanish opponent before breaking serve in game eight of the third and then serving out for the match.

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox