By Erik Gudris | Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Roger Federer gave thumbs up to his win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut that set up a tantalizing quarterfinal meeting with Gael Monfils.
Photo Credit: AP
A year ago at the US Open, the tennis career of Roger Federer was deemed in critical condition after a surprise loss to Spain's Tommy Robredo. For a while, Federer wasn't sure himself where his game was going after a tough 2013 season.
"As long as you can train you're gonna feel all right. As simple as that, basically. But because of the issues I had last year I had to be unbelievably careful what I did. We had to cut back on a few things I usually would do but were scared to do," Federer said. "Because of my experience with my fitness coach and my, you know, coaching staff, I think we really were able to come up with the right plan. Now I have my confidence back. It's as simple as that."
US Open: Monfils Books Last Eight Spot Over Dimitrov
That confidence showed as Federer secured a straightforward though tricky win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in a first time meeting for both inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Early on, Federer wasted no time as he raced out to a 5-1 lead. Though his opponent fought off some early nerves and narrowed the gap, Federer closed out the set 6-4.
Though windy conditions proved tough for both, Federer countered by attacking the net over 50 times. Bautista Agut, despite competing well, tasted little success throughout the evening. That was even after the Spaniard held several break points against Federer early in the final set.
Federer fought them off and eventually would hold match point while up 5-2. With rain imminent, Federer didn't waste any time securing the 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 victory.
This now marks Federer's 10th US Open quarterfinal appearance in the last 11 years. Federer relishes playing at night under the lights at the sport's biggest arena.
"I'm never going to say no to playing at night," Federer told ESPN's Brad Gilbert. "That's what it's all about."
The five-time US Open champion will now get another likely night match against the in-form Gael Monfils of France. Federer edged Monfils in a close battle over at Cincinnati a few weeks ago.
Monfils, after his win earlier over Grigor Dimitrov, talked about what it would be like to play Federer in such a high profile match.
"Well, he's definitely the legend of the tennis, you know. I think right now he's the greatest tennis player we ever had, and for me it's always challenging to play against him. It's always great, because no matter what, you know, I will say to my children, you know, I played against him," Monfils said. "And this is cool. And when you have this chance, you know, it's why, you know, I think I play tennis for, to play against a big legend, big court, show time. That's what I train for."
Federer himself expects yet another great encounter with the always entertaining, yet dangerous Frenchman.
"He's a great mover. He's got a wonderful serve, really, which nobody really talks about because of his athletic movement which stands out so much, you know. His issues have really been just his fitness and his setbacks he's had because of injury. Then sometimes, you know, maybe not wanting to play sometimes because of reasons only he can explain, you know," Federer said about Monfils later in press. "I think I can speak on behalf of so many players: We love watching him play. It's nice seeing him do well again."