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World No. 2 Roger Federer kept on course for a fifth straight US Open title, coming through a five-set challenge against Russian Igor Andreev 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Tuesday at Flushing Meadows to reach the quarterfinals.
Federer and Andreev had entered the fourth round match as two of three men (along with Nikolay Davydenko) yet to drop a set during the fortnight, and it was Andreev who came out the stronger of the two players.
He broke the four-time defending champion in the opening game of the match, and though Federer managed to level the score at 5-all, Andreev prevailed in the tie-break as the Swiss fired a forehand wide on set point for the Russian.
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Federer stayed in the match as he saved four break points in the second game of the second set and two more in the fourth game, and then won the tie-break as Andreev's forehand pass clipped the net and landed wide. The two then traded a break of serve in the fourth games of the ensuing sets, pushing Federer to his first five-set match at Flushing Meadows since the 2004 US Open quarterfinals (d. Agassi).
Federer went up an early break in the decisive set, and he needed to save four break point chances against Andreev at 4-2 to maintain his lead. He served out the match in three hours and 32 minutes to take his record US Open winning streak to 31 matches.
He said: "I was really happy because in five sets you go through different stages of feelings, of playing well, playing bad. And in the fifth set you try not to make that many errors, and hopefully, you'll get off on a good start. That's exactly what happened.
I was just really pleased with my fighting spirit."
The 27-year-old Swiss will look to reach his 18th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal when he faces Luxembourg's Gilles Muller. Federer has a 2-0 record against Muller, with both their meetings coming on hard courts in 2005. (Head-to-head)
Muller (pictured right) became just the second qualifier in the Open Era to reach the US Open quarterfinals after stunning Russian No. 5 seed Nikolay Davydenko 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(10).
The 27-year-old Davydenko has reached the semifinals the past two years, falling to Roger Federer on both occasions. Since capturing his 14th ATP title at Warsaw (d. Robredo) in early June, the right-hander has failed to reach a quarterfinal on the ATP circuit. He slips to 46-15 for the season.
The 25-year-old Muller, who famously upset World No. 3 Andy Roddick in the first round three years ago, fired 20 aces in the fourth round encounter, taking his tournament total to a field best 112. The former World No. 59 captured the US Open boys’ singles title in 2001.
Currently placed No. 130 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Muller had won just three ATP level matches coming into the US Open. His run through to the quarterfinals has seen him recover from a two set deficit in his past two matches against Tommy Haas and No. 18 seed Nicolas Almagro.
"I came in here without very good preparation two days before the first match. I almost lost my first match in qualifying, so for sure, it's an amazing accomplishment," said Muller. "But I don't want to get too excited about it because I have another match now in quarterfinals. And again I'm very hungry and I would love to win that match."
This season, Muller’s best form has come on the Challenger circuit, where he has titled twice at Humacao and Izmir. His success this fortnight is projected to push his ranking up into the Top 65.
Federer said of his quarterfinal opponent: "I'm definitely aware of how well he's playing. I saw a little bit how he plays. He played aggressive. Serves well. He didn't beat Andy for nothing here a few years ago. That's why I definitely won't underestimate him because he's a good player."
Tuesday: Djokovic Battles Past Resilient Robredo
Monday: Murray, del Potro Advance Easily Into Quarterfinals
Monday: Nadal Battles Past Querrey; Fish Next in Quarterfinals
Sunday: Djokovic Works Late; Roddick Into Last 16
Sunday: Federer, Davydenko Advance To Fourth Round
Saturday: Nadal Cruises Into Fourth Round
Saturday: Nishikori Stuns No. 4 Ferrer To Reach 4th Rd.
Saturday: Murray, Wawrinka Rally To Win In Five Sets
Friday: Djokovic Advances; Roddick Wins Birthday Battle
Friday: Federer Wins 600th Career Match; Davydenko Advances
Thursday: Nadal Dispatches DeHeart To Reach Third Round
Thursday: Ferrer, Del Potro, Nalbandian Advance
Thursday: Seeds Murray, Blake, Wawrinka Earn 3rd Rd. Spots
Wednesday: Djokovic, Roddick Make Convincing Starts
Wednesday: Seeds Davydenko, Almagro & Tsonga Advance
Tuesday: Federer Wins Record 28th Straight At Flushing Meadows
Tuesday: Safin, Haas Win Five Set Tussles; Verdasco Cruises
Monday: Nadal Defeats Qualifier; Murray Wins; Blake Survives
Monday: Ferrer Makes Strong Start; Wawrinka Into Second Round
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