Federer battles back to set up Del Potro showdown
Roger Federer recovered from a set and a break down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Rotterdam Open semifinals on Saturday, his 17th win in 19 matches against the Russian.sports Updated: Feb 19, 2012 19:01 IST
Roger Federer recovered from a set and a break down to defeat Nikolay Davydenko 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the Rotterdam Open semifinals on Saturday, his 17th win in 19 matches against the Russian.
Top seed Federer will play for his 71st career title on Sunday when he takes on Juan Martin del Potro in a re-match of the 2009 US Open final won by the Argentine.
Del Potro, seeded third, mowed down a listless Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-1 in just an hour and a quarter to hand the Czech a first defeat indoors this season.
Federer had his difficulties against Davydenko, a long-time rival on the tour.
"I've played him a lot, we are the same age," said the 30-year-old, world number three.
"He was in the top four or five for years and we played a lot of big matches. I'm happy to live up to expectations, he's playing fantastic again but not enough to beat me. We had a great match."
The Swiss stands 8-2 over del Potro, who missed 2010 due to wrist surgery but is back to 10th in the world rankings.
The powerful Argentine has lost just five games in his last two matches as his successful Rotterdam debut continues.
"I beat him in the Australian Open last month in my 1,000th match on tour," said 2005 Rotterdam winner Federer after disposing of the gritty Davydenko who saved 10 of the 13 break points he faced.
"It's nice to see him back. I'm sure it will be a good match, I had my first hit this week with him and he will also be my last match of the week. He's played a great tournament, but I hope I can win, let's see how it goes."
Federer was caught in the ninth game of the first set on a break as Davydenko moved into the lead, taking the opener after a long game in which Federer saved a set point before sending a forehand out.
The Swiss levelled after fighting back from a break down in the third game of the second, breaking Davydenko late in the set to level.
In the third, Federer battled to finally take victory with a break in the penultimate game followed by a winner down the line on match point.
Earlier Saturday, Del Potro never let Berdych into their semifinal.
"I played almost perfect," said the Argentine. "I was focused all the time on trying to break and on hitting my forehand. I've been improving match by match, but I need to play better in the final if I'm going to win this tournament."
Del Potro picked up where he left off against Berdych, whom he beat in two previous matches in 2009 before his wrist injury problem surfaced.