Murray, Federer Advance to Quarterfinals; Nadal Upset
Rafael Nadal fell Thursday night to fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(3) on Center Court, looking lackluster in his second straight Masters 1000 tournament leading into the US Open, which begins on August 31st.
Nadal has struggled to find his old form since coming back from another knee injury with Thursday’s defeat reinforcing the notion that the Nadal of old will not be returning.
“I was there during the whole match with the right intensity, with the right attitude, doing the things that I have to do, trying to be more aggressive, trying to go to the net more often,” Nadal said about the loss. “But today I played against an opponent that he played a fantastic match, I think. He played the best match ever against me, without a doubt?”
“This year, you know, in a lot of key moments of the year I lost a couple of matches that I should not lose. This one is another one. This is a little bit different than others, for sure. Others I lost because of my fault, because I played bad, because I didn’t play with the right intensity,” Nadal said of his struggles in 2015. “Was not the case of today. So accept the loss and keep going.”
Lopez’s opponent in the quarterfinals will be six-time Western & Southern Open champion Roger Federer, who made quick work of 15 seed Kevin Anderson in a 6-1 6-1 victory in just 55 minutes.
Federer’s service game was nearly impenetrable tonight, winning 19 of 22 first serve points. His return game was equally effective today, breaking the big serving South African five times throughout the match and winning 68% of second serve return points.
“Felt good on the return; felt good on the serve; seeing just the ball really well,” Federer said of his performance. “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.”
Three-seed Andy Murray struggled for the second night in a row in Cincinnati but pulled out a hard fought 6-4, 7-6(3), 7-5 victory over 16-seed Grigor Dimitrov.
Murray, who is coming into Cincinnati having won the Rogers Cup in Montreal last week, appeared to be bothered with a stiff back throughout the match, stretching and holding his lower back at various points.
Late in the third set it looked as though the Bulgarian would be the victory, leading 5-2 after breaking Murray’s serve twice in the deciding set. But Murray would rally, surviving a match point, and win the next five games in a match that lasted 2 hours and 58 minutes.
Murray is seeking to become only the seventh man to win the Canada/Cincinnati titles in the same season. The last three men to do so, Nadal in 2013, Roddick in 2003, and Patrick Rafter in 1998, all went on to win the US Open two weeks later in New York.
All quarterfinal matches are scheduled for Friday:
(1) Djokovic v (5) Wawrinka
(6) Berdych v (Q) Dolgopolov
(3) Murray v (12) Gasquet
(2) Federer v Lopez
(1) Williams v (6) Ivanovic
(7) Safarova v (14) Svitolina
(3) Halep v Pavlyuchenkova
Jankovic v Schiedlova