Friday, May 31, 2013

Benneteau no problem for Roger Federer who moves into 4th round at French Open

Roger Federer sealed a 6-3 6-4 7-5 win over Julien Benneteau to march on into round four of the French Open.

The record 17-time grand slam champion defeated an opponent who has caused him problems in previous encounters - with Benneteau beating Federer in Rotterdam earlier in the season and blowing a two-set lead at Wimbledon last year.

Federer was graceful on court and had a deft touch all round, but Benneteau played his part early on as it was the Frenchman who settled the quicker of the two. Benneteau won the first two games, but Federer quickly leveled at two each and began to fire.

The serve was working extremely well and three consecutive love service holds saw the Swiss move 4-3 in front.

A run of 11 consecutive points gave Federer the first set as the challenge of Benneteau started to fade. Federer, with 18 winners to his name, also secured the second set thanks to one break point conversion.

The Wimbledon champion answered Benneteau's question to serve to stay in the third set at 5-5, but when Federer put the pressure on in the 11th game Benneteau crumbled, and eight straight points saw Federer cross the finishing line with a flourish.

"I'm able to play quite aggressive at the moment," Federer said afterwards.

"I don't know if I can keep that up. But the important thing is to keep the errors somewhat low, because otherwise it's just silly aggressiveness. It has to be controlled aggression.

"I'm happy because I have not used much of my energy so far. I feel totally relaxed. Mentally I'm okay. I'm quite confident. I can feel it, which is what you need to be if you want to go deep and have good results here at Roland Garros."

Read more at 

I love seeing the confidence in Roger, that's exactly what he'll need if he's gonna beat Rafa or Djokovic (I must say Rafa is looking less and less impressive each match). 

My bold prediction?, Djokovic will knock him out.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Joss Whedon '87 - Wesleyan University Commencement Speech

More wise words from the master. I love what he says about change at the end, in a typical Joss way he once again manages to drive the point home & really make it resonate.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Roger Federer easily through to 3rd round at French Open

Second seed Roger Federer will square off against a familar foe at a Grand Slam event after cruising through his second round match at Roland Garros Wednesday. 
In brushing aside qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-2, 6-1, 6-1, Federer set a third-round clash with 30th-seeded Frenchman Julien Benneteau, the man who nearly eliminated the Swiss superstar in the round of 32 at Wimbledon just a year ago. 
Benneteau won the first two sets, but failed to close out the eventual champion, having been within two points of victory on six occasions. Federer then won a re-match in convincing fashion at the London 2012 Olympics, but Benneteau made the latest statement, ousting Federer in Rotterdam this year.
Against Devarrman, Federer broke the Indian to begin the match, and never looked back, capitalising on seven of his 14 break point opportunities. Federer was equally as effective on serve with a 74 per cent success rate. The World No. 3 finished off Devarrman in 82 minutes to improve to 2-0 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
With the win, Federer secured his 898th tour-level victory. Only three players in the Open Era have won 900 matches. The 31-year-old Federer is the only active player other than seven-time champion Rafael Nadal to triumph at the second major tournament of the season in Paris, having lifted the trophy in 2009 (d. Soderling). 
Benneteau blew a two-set lead against Tobias Kamke, but prevailed over the German 7-6(9), 7-5, 5-7, 0-6, 6-4 despite winning nine fewer points in the match. Benneteau reached the third round at his home major for the fifth time, with his best result coming in 2006 when he advanced to the quarter-finals. Federer has won four of their six meetings and took their fourth-round encounter at Roland Garros in 2008. 

Could be the first real test for Federer. Already biting my nails.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kim Clijsters receives honorary doctorate from University of Brussels

From now on, Kim can call herself Doctor Honoris Causa. "It's my first degree ever," Kim laughs. "And the standards is very high from the start already."
Along with four other women, Kim received an honorary doctorate at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Free University of Brussels). Strikingly, the VUB presents its 2013 honorary doctorates to women only: ProfCecilia Jarlskog (Lund University, Sweden), Prof Londa Schiebinger (Stanford University, USA), ProfCarol Gilligan (New York University, USA), prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (International Criminal Court) and the Belgian tennis champion Kim Clijsters.

"These are five outstanding people, from the world of academia and one from the world sports. They have all reached the highest possible level in their field and as a woman," Rector Paul De Knop said. The Vrije Universiteit Brussel strives for a better balance between men and women in academia, and to that end has an active gender policy. "We're not only banking on it now, but also for the future. For future candidates for honorary degrees, we will aim for a balance between men and women," said De Knop.

"I'd never given it much thought," Kim says. "It was important for me to be playing tennis and to be as good as possible. The fact that I'm here because of a sporting career is truly a great honor."

Not only did Kim shine as an ace tennis player, according to the University she also become an inspiration to many women and to mothers who combine their career with their families. "I often felt guilty to be leaving for training session or to be traveling," Kim says. "It would all have been impossible if I would not have had the support of Brian."

With the honorary doctorate for Kim, "the appreciation is expressed about the role she fulfilled as an ambassador for her sport and for the way she combined a sports career with a family," said the VUB.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

WTA #1 Spotlight: Martina Hingis

Born in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1980, Martina Hingis was named after the finest tennis player to emerge from behind the iron curtain, Martina Navratilova
And while it was Monica Seles that would become Hingis' childhood idol, her shot making and panache around the court was reminiscent of Navratilova in full flight.
After tasting junior Grand Slam success at the tender age of 12, it was not long before she was showcasing her dazzling array of strokes in the senior ranks. Arguably the last truly great tennis prodigy, Hingis became the youngest ever Grand Slam champion when, still three months shy of her 16th birthday, she won the Wimbledon doubles title alongside Helena Sukova in 1996.
Twelve months later she would return to capture the singles crown, which she added to the Australian Open and No.1 ranking she had picked up earlier in the year. Victory over fellow teenage star Venus Williams in the final of the US Open rounded off one of the great seasons and appeared to mark the dawning of a new era at the top of the game.
However, her reign would be a fleeting one. The arrival of Venus and her sister Serena and the blossoming of Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati restricted Hingis to just two more majors. A long-term ankle injury forced her into temporary retirement in 2003, and despite making a successful comeback a few years later she left the game for good at the end of 2007.
• Her 43 singles titles were highlighted by five Grand Slams, including three-peat at Australian Open(1997-99); also won Wimbledon and US Open

• One of seven women to win three of four majors in the Open Era

• Her 37 doubles titles included nine Grand Slams; she was fourth woman in history to complete calendar-year Grand Slam in doubles in 1998. Also won mixed doubles major at 2006 Australian Openwith Mahesh Bhupathi

• Youngest Grand Slam champion in 20th century at 1997 Australian Open (aged 16 years, 3 months)

• Became youngest player to rise to No.1 on March 31, 1997, aged 16 years, 6 months; and became just third player to rank No.1 in singles and doubles simultaneously in 1998 (now one of six)

• Her 209 weeks spent as singles World No.1 is the fourth most in history

• Became youngest player at 16 years, 1 month to surpass the $1 million mark in career prize money in 1996

• Her 37 matches won to kick off 1997 is tied for the second-best start to a season in the Open Era

• Led Switzerland to its only Fed Cup final to date in 1998

• Won WTA Championships in singles in 1998 and 2000 and in doubles with Anna Kournikova in 1999 and 2000

• Won WTA's Most Impressive Newcomer Award in 1995

• Won WTA's Most Improved Player Award in 1996

• Won WTA's Player Of The Year Award and Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1997 

• Won WTA's Doubles Team Of The Year Award alongside Jana Novotna in 1998 and alongside Anna Kournikova in 1999

• Won WTA's Diamond Aces Award in 2000 and 2001

• Won WTA's Comeback Player Of The Year Award in 2006

• Voted into International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013

Sometimes I (and I'm sure many other people) forget just how much she was able to accomplish at such a young age.  All of that is A LOT harder to do these days.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Roger Federer off to a good start at French Open moves to 2nd round

Roger Federer cruised into the second round of the French Open with a 6-2 6-2 6-3 win over Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta.
Despite a blip in the first set, Federer never looked in any danger against a man tipped for great things in the future.
Carreno-Busta, 21, won seven consecutive Futures tournaments earlier this year, with clay his favourite surface. In that time his world ranking has jumped from 654 to 166.
He did manage to break the second seed in the first set to create some excitement on Court Philippe Chartrier.
But that was as good as it got, Federer never needing to find top gear and he wrapped up the match with a trademark backhand down the line winner after 80 minutes on court.
"I didn't know a great deal about my opponent. He played really well and has a great future," said Federer, who served 10 aces and hit 33 winners in his 55th victory at Roland Garros.
Federer, who is just two away from Wayne Ferreira's record of 56 consecutive Grand Slam appearances, will face Indian Somdev Devvarman in the second round.
Meanwhile, fourth seed David Ferrer was a straight-sets winner against Australia's Marinko Matosevic 6-4 6-3 6-4.
There were also wins for Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson, Jeremy Chardy, Andreas Seppi and Sam Querrey.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Roger Federer Reddit Q&A

Question:  1. What’s your opinion about moving up to a 95 sq in racquet like most of the ATP?

2. Do you follow any of the nutritional/training advances that players like Djokovic have adopted in recent years? (pressure chamber, low carb diet)

Roger:  I've been testing rackets for the last 10 years and have also tested 95 sq so who knows. Maybe one day. I'm always open for changes. The real challenge is finding a time in the calendar year where i have enough time to test it out and get comfortable.

It's important to do everything in moderation. I live a really healthy lifestyle already. As an athlete I do spend a lot of time to make sure i'm eating the right things at the right time but as I get older I definitely and paying more attention to my nutrition. Sleep is always important. So is treatment.

Question: Are you ever planning on bringing back Darth Federer? Fans love the all black night outfit.

Roger: I really loved that outfit. Under the lights in NYC. All black. That was awesome. No plans yet to bring it back yet.. but we'll see.

Question: Thank you Roger, I've always hoped that you would do an AMA! First, I want to congratulate you on having such a beautiful family and being an amazing family man as well as an amazing athlete. Second, what are your thoughts on restructuring the tennis season to allow for a slightly longer grass court season and possibly having a Masters 1000 event before Wimbledon?

Roger: Thanks LogelFedelel.

The Tour is adding a week of grass before Wimbledon starting in 2015. Who knows, maybe one day we'll have a Masters 1000. I clearly would love more tournaments on grass :)

Let's not forget 3 of the 4 grand slams used to be on grass.

Question: If you could play doubles with one player living or dead who would it be and why?

Roger: My three choices would be John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, and Rod Laver. From a historical perspective it would be really fun to play doubles with them as they are all legends.

Question: You and Rafa filmed a commercial advertising charity matches. In this clip, you could not hold your laughter at all. The same thing happened when Pedro Pinto interviewed you for CNN International. Is spanish your Achilles Heel?

Roger: It's funny I actually spoke to Rafa yesterday about that commercial. We had a close moment again yesterday at a Nike appearance. He insists it must have been because of his spanish accent. He couldn't start a sentence without me already cracking up. It was a hilarious 5min for all of us.

Question: Did you really hit that can off that guy's head?

Roger: It takes a lot of practice. Kids, I wouldn't try that at home ;)

Question: How do you keep your hair so perfect?

Roger: I really don't. I fight it every day like everybody else. But thanks.

Question: Dear Roger, if there was one rule of tennis you could alter, what would it be?

Roger: A rule that would only let ME serve from the service line. Whenever I want. Seems fair to me :)

On a serious note: we should get some more Best of 5 set finals back (like at the ATP World Tour finals).

Question: Glaubst Du das Praezision i de maischte Schwizer im Bluet fliesst?

(Translation: Do you believe, that precision is in the blood for most Swiss?)

Roger:  ich wuerd scho sage jo, mir sind generell so erzoge um genau und korrekt z'si. ich bi dr meinig es isch sogar e qualitaet vo uns.

(Translation: I believe so, we are generally raised to be exact and precise. I think, it is a quality of us.)

Question: Hi Roger, big fan! Which of your grand slam titles has meant the most to you?

Roger: My first one. It was a dream come true.

Question: Hey roger, I played against you in a Netjets tournament/exhibition a couple of years back, where you then played against Rafael Nadal. Just wanted to say hi, and see how you are doing? We sat on the table next to you at the luncheon, and I still have all my autographed hats and shirts from you. I just wanted to say that I thought it was so admirable that you let my grandma win the point against you, without making it seem that way. She's your biggest fan, and that made her so happy! You're a good guy.

Roger: Thanks trikskier. Please say hi to your grandma for me.

Question: What are some of your pre-match rituals?

  1. Arrive on time at the courts. Pretty crucial so I don't miss my match.
  2. Warmup and hit for 30min.
  3. Go for lunch or dinner. A light meal (pasta, for instance)
  4. Get my ankles taped.
  5. Stretch.
  6. Warm up and match time.
Question: Federer! What are your thoughts on the decline of the one-handed backhand? Do most players play with two-handed just because it is more consistent and powerful?

Roger: I would love to see more one-handed backhands but the trend is clearly going 2-handers because we see more baseline tennis.

Question: What's your reaction to this?


Roger: For you baseball fans out there: Strike 1.

Question: Yooo what are the differences between Paul Annacone and Severin Luthi's coaching? Do they give you different kinds of advice/strategy or are they on the same wavelength?

Roger: For me it's really important that they get along.. which is definitely the case.

We have a great chemistry and they compliment each other. Paul has great experience on Tour as a player and coach, which is invaluable. And Severin has known me and my game for such a long. So the two together are a great combo.

Question: How much do you squat?

Roger: I'm not sure actually. I'll pay attention next time.

Question: What are your thoughts regarding doping in the game of tennis?

Roger: As far as doping is concerned: it should be a huge priority. The sport of tennis needs to lead by example and be the most serious and tough on doping.

Question: Hi there! How do you deal with nerves before a match? Is there anything special, or is it all training? Or perhaps something else?

Roger: Funny enough I could be more nervous about a 2nd round match than a finals match from time to time. Just because you have more doubts on certain days. Unexplainable really. But of course when the big matches roll around you have tendency to be more anxious. I don't really have any specific routines other than having my normal pre-match routine which helps me get comfortable and focused.

Question: Roger, you are one of my favourite tennis players, if not my absolute favourite ! What kind of music does a man of your calibre listen to ?

Roger: It all started for me in Dance & Techno. Then i moved over to Rock. Now i'm all over the place.

Question: Hey Roger, just wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of yours. One of the best things I've ever read about you has to be David Foster Wallace's piece for the NY Times. Have you ever read it? If so what did you think of the way he characterized you?

Roger: I have read it. The thing that struck me is that I only spent 20min with him in the ATP office at Wimbledon, and he was able to produce such a comprehensive piece.

  1. In every picture I see of you, you are looking directly at the ball through the strings and your hitting arm is perfectly straight. No other pro in the world does this as well as you. Here is an example I put together of you doing this compared to Murray, Djokovic, and Nadal (picture album) My question is, is there a way I can copy this technique?

  2. What strings do you use and at what tension?
  1. seeing the pictures are really interesting. funny enough I don't think consciously about looking directly at the ball, but I guess you're right. it's just habits and the way I was taught to play tennis.

  2. 22 kilos tension.

Question: Hi Roger! It's unbelievable the kinds of records you've set: most weeks spent at number 1, most grand slams, and many more. My question is: at this point in your career, are there any records or achievements that you still really want? We know you're going to keep playing because you love the sport, but is there anything specific you want to achieve? Highest number of Wimbledon championships, for example?

Roger: There are some great new CD's out that I haven't bought yet. But in terms of tennis records:

Any record is welcome. 8 Wimbledon would be great. I'd also love to win another ATP World Tour final.
And getting back to World #1

Question: Hi Roger! Someday you will come to Mexico? here are many fans who love you! please! :")

Roger: Thanks Fer_Alvarez. I was there in the mid 90's for Juniors and I'd love to come back. We're actually having discussions about coming in December. Stay tuned!

Question: What was your toughest match ever?

  • Hewitt in Davis Cup 03.
  • Del Potro in Olympics 2012.
  • Roddick Wimbledon 09.
  • Nalbandian 05 World Tour Finals, final.
  • Rafa Wimbledon 2008. One of the great matches I've been apart of.
Question: Hey Roger just wanted to say thanks for everything you have done for the sport of tennis and I will be rooting for you at Roland Garros. Also, that new Wilson commercial turned out great! My sister said she had so much fun participating.

Roger: Awesome! Glad you liked it. I loved it too.

Question: Hey Roger! I'm a big fan of watching you play! Since players like you, Nadal, or Djokovic have all started off as young players, what advice do you have for young tennis players who have dreams of going professional?

Roger: Take up Football. No just kidding. You have to enjoy what you're doing.
It's not always easy but it sure is a whole lot of fun traveling the world, meeting people, learning different cultures and playing against other great people and players. For that, you need to work really hard and play tough and fair. And learn from your losses and your disappointments and make sure you don't look back with regrets.

Question: What do you think is the biggest plus about Switzerland, besides the flag?

Roger: It's one of the most beautiful countries I've ever seen. So worthwhile to visit. And the people are very accepting and genuine. I also like the fact that there are so many different languages. In such a small country, we have an incredible amount of diversity and influences from abroad. Also, great chocolate. Mountains. Cheese. Rivers. Lakes. Pretty much everything. Just move there.

Question: How do you do that between the legs shot without hitting yourself in a very painful place?

Roger: Nothing bad ever happened. So i'll keep doing it :)

Question: How many cows do you own now?

Roger: Unfortunately they both have left us :(

Question: Mr. Federer, I need help with my serve. Do you have any tips for a beginner trying to improve?

Roger: Make sure you focus on your ball toss so it's always in the same place. Keep your elbow up. Just try to mirror throwing something.

Question: What other sports do you play, and how often do you get a chance to play them?

Roger: I love to play squash, to ski, soccer/football, table tennis.
When I stop playing tennis, I'd love to learn how to ice skate so that I can play some hockey as it's one of my favorite sports to watch.

Question: Roger, if you had an upcoming match against a 2007 Roger Federer, what would your strategy be to win and how do you think you would fare?

Roger: Well first, I hope I'm a better player today than I was back then. I feel like I'm a more complete player today. Although my game hasn't changed much, my experience would allow me fewer mistakes and the ability to deal with challenges a little bit easier.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Roger Federer coaches new generation in Wilson commercial

Awww, I can just imagine him doing this with his twin girls in the next few years :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wimbledon & French Open to use Twitter Magic Mirror function at this year's championships

This year, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships is upping the ante by featuring Twitter’s ‘Magic Mirror’ at the tournament.  This will give fans exclusive access to live photos from within, powered by the Mirror. Tweets will be posted through Wimbledon’s official Twitter account, accompanied by the hashtags #TwitterMirror and #Wimbledon.
The Mirror first launched at the Oscars this year where celebrities could automatically tweet photos through the official Oscars Twitter account, simply by posing in front of the mirror. The Indian Premier League (IPL) then followed suit by featuring the Mirror throughout the entire tournament. The application travelled with teams across the country, giving fans exclusive snapshots of players through the @IPL account.
Now tennis fans can look forward to the same during the first few days of Wimbledon, which runs from June 24th to July 7th. The Mirror will be placed where only players can access it, assuring the best photos will make their way through, and give fans an exclusive look behind the scenes.
Alexandra Willis, who manages Wimbledon’s digital and social platforms, spoke about the campaign:
“We’re delighted to be working closely with Twitter and bringing the Twitter Mirror to Wimbledon. We hope the players will enjoy using it and giving an insight into their life at Wimbledon for their fans and ours.”
No other tennis tournaments have featured the Mirror so far, though it is expected to make an appearance at the French Open, which starts this weekend and runs to June 9th. It’s fantastic to see such close relationships emerging between Twitter and live sports events, where the content from these events is beautifully combined with the speed and reach of Twitter.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hanson introduces Mmmbop Beer!

You know you've arrived when you have your own beer!  Awesome.  Or should I say Mmmbop-tastic (sorry couldn't resist).

I really wanna know what it tastes like!. :D

Monday, May 20, 2013

Roger Federer's French Open dilemma

Jimmy Arias won the Italian Open. Cedric Pioline won in Monte Carlo. Roger Federer has won neither.

Sergi Bruguera won two French Opens, Federer just one.

This is a lesson in how little even the greatest player of all time can control. In short, you can't pick your contemporaries.

So will the Swiss' legacy be defined by his lopsided losing record against Rafael Nadal, now at 10-20 after his straight-set loss Sunday on the Foro Italico's clay?

Now there's a loaded question. There's no way to know how many more significant tournaments Federer would have won if Rafa had become a professional footballer like his uncle. Or if the Spaniard had come of age as a player in his early twenties, as has become the norm, rather than at 18.

We do know that even with his personal tennis Kryptonite rolling along behind him, Federer has managed to win more major titles than anyone else in the history of the game.

Without Nadal around, would Federer have 20 Grand Slam titles to his name instead of 17? Maybe 23?

Their rivalry is an important part of both men's legacies, but it's hard to say at this point just how important. Ivan Lendl earned a 21-15 record against John McEnroe, his chief rival. Yet is there anyone out there who believes Lendl was the better player or made the greater impact?

One of the great things about sports is that results are entirely merit-based. There are no legitimate excuses, no ifs, ands or buts. If you win, it's not because you knew someone in HR or because you're sleeping with the boss. It's because you performed better than the other guy.

But ... tennis is a funny game.

It's all about the individual match-ups, which at the elite level involve variables beyond the straightforward differentiations of talent and motivation. Federer has dominated everyone in his generation (Marat Safin, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, etc.), but Rafa -- the oldest of the next generation -- has always been a problem. Nadal's mongo left-handed spin against Federer's beautiful but increasingly out-of-date one-handed backhand -- it just doesn't seem fair. At least not if you're a Federer fan.

Every player has his problem opponent. The veteran Nikolay Davydenko consistently gives the 26-year-old Nadal trouble (6-5 career H2H for Davydenko). Federer, meanwhile, has owned the gloomy Russian (19-2 for Federer).

The problem for Federer is that Nadal, unlike Davydenko, is an all-time great. The Swiss' 0-3 record against Franco Squillari, who's only slightly older than Federer than Federer is older than Nadal, is an interesting historical curiosity, but nothing more than that. Because Squillari was a middle-of-the-road player.

When it came to the rivalry with Nadal, Federer's saving statistic for years was his fast(ish)-court performance. He was, after all, a fast-court player, while Nadal was primarily a clay-court player. But even that advantage has fallen away. 

After Nadal's thumping win over Federer at Indian Wells in March, their combined hard-court and grass-court record now stands at 8-7 for Federer. After spending his first few years on tour as an unabashed clay-court specialist, Nadal grew into a great player on all surfaces, without losing his supremacy on clay. And Nadal, no matter the surface or his physical condition, has never grown tired of beating Federer; he's never had any problem working up enthusiasm for the fight.

For much of Federer's career, observers of the game have been calling him the greatest that ever was. That call should be getting even louder now that he's in his thirties and still at the top of the game. 

But the Rafa problem, even with Nadal's ongoing knee issues, refuses to go away. Federer fans now must hope that their man gets another shot at Nadal, not at the soon-to-start French Open but on Wimbledon's grass later in the summer.

Federer, however, will be forgiven if he secretly hopes he doesn't see Nadal across the net ever again.

-- Douglas Perry

Always holding on to the hope (with every passing year that hope gets squished a little bit more each time), as the article points out French Open is definitely not among the fave Grand Slams for any Federer fan.  

It's always an uphill battle, but one never knows.  One more week to go!.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Roger Federer to face Nadal in Rome Final

Roger Federer will renew his epic rivalry with Rafael Nadal in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final. 

Federer trails 10-19 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and will attempt to beat the Spaniard on clay for just the third time in 15 attempts. 

It will be their second contest of the season, with Nadal having won in straight sets when they met in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in March. 

Seven years ago, they played out one of the greatest clay-court finals in Rome, with Nadal prevailing in a fifth set tie-break after five hours and five minutes. 

The 31-year-old Federer defeated Benoit Paire 7-6(5), 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour final of the season. The Swiss is bidding to win the title at the Foro Italico for the first time, having finished runner-up in 2003 (l. to Mantilla) and 2006. 

Federer has won 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 titles, two less than Nadal, who won his 23rd of the prestigious trophies last week at the Mutua Madrid Open.

In some of the best form of his career, World No. 36 Paire had recorded his first Top 10 win with victory over No. 7-ranked Juan Martin del Potro in the third round. The Frenchman did not make life easy for Federer in their third meeting. 

He squandered a break advantage at 4-3 in the first set and held a mini-break lead three times in the ensuing tie-break before Federer won the final three points to claim the hard-fought set in 52 minutes.

Federer made early inroads on Paire’s serve in the second set, breaking for a 2-1 lead. The Swiss rescued a 15/40 deficit in the sixth game and went on to secure victory in 88 minutes. Federer is yet to drop a set in four matches this week.

Federer improved to a 3-0 lead in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series with Paire, having also beaten the 24 year old in the 2012 Basel quarter-finals and in the first round of this year’s Australian Open.

Paire, who reached his second ATP World Tour final in February at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier (l. to Gasquet), was looking to become the first unseeded finalist in Rome since Stanislas Wawrinka in 2008.