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Rediff.com  » Sports » Federer secures Swiss playoff win

Federer secures Swiss playoff win

September 24, 2006 20:53 IST

World number one Roger Federer came to his country's rescue again on Sunday, maintaining Switzerland's place in the Davis Cup World group with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over Serbian teenager Novak Djokovic.

After winning Friday's opening singles against Serbian number two Janko Tipsarevic and taking a second point in the doubles with partner Yves Allegro on Saturday, Federer made it three out of three on Sunday to give the Swiss a decisive 3-1 lead.

Swiss number four Marco Chiudinelli beat Serbia's number two Janko Tipsarevic 6-4, 6-1 in the remaining best-of-three sets dead rubber to complete a 4-1 scoreline.

"It was very important for us to keep our place in the world group and it's a fantastic feeling because somehow the Davis Cup always brings out a lot of emotion," Federer said.

"I was working hard on Saturday keeping Yves and myself pumped up and I think that emotion carried on into the singles today."

Djokovic came into Sunday's encounter on the back of an impressive 12 months during which he climbed 60 ranking places to world number 21.

The 19-year-old was struggling from the start against a cool and confident Federer, however, and did well to defend four early break points before cracking in the sixth game of the opening set.

Even by Federer's high standards, the second set was breathtaking with the Swiss winning three of his four service games to love and twice breaking his opponent with a series of stunning winners.

Trailing 3-0 after dropping two further service games at the start of the third set, the young Serb finally gave Federer something to think about with a surprising break back to 3-1 before earning another break point at 4-3.

Any chance of an unlikely comeback soon faded though after Federer retrieved the situation with an ace, served out the game and broke Djokovic once more to complete his victory.

FREE POINTS

"I was serving excellently today which gave me a lot of free points and let me keep the pressure on his service games," Federer said. "I was hoping yesterday that I could play a great match and that's exactly what happened. I'm very happy with the consistency I was able to show all weekend."

Federer's three-point haul was the fifth of his Davis Cup career, following one-man shows against Romania, France, Morocco and the United States.

Switzerland were drawn into this weekend's relegation battle after losing 3-2 to Australia in a first-round tie which Federer opted out of.

Since taking Switzerland to the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the 2003 and 2004 competitions, Federer has decided to skip the Davis Cup first round to concentrate on his individual career.

In 2005, the nine-times Grand Slam champion was absent from Switzerland's 3-2 first-round defeat by the Netherlands but returned to inspire the team's 5-0 win over Britain.

"I'd love to play all the Davis Cup ties because with the quality in this team we definitely have the potential to win it one day," Federer said when asked about his future commitment to the competition.

Despite impressive away wins over Israel and Britain in February and April this year, Serbia must now contemplate another season outside the world group.

"We have a young team with a lot of quality and potential and I'm sure sooner or later we'll make it," Djokovic said.

"I don't think we could have got a tougher draw than Switzerland when you look at how Federer is playing. Today I was playing my best tennis, trying lots of different things, but nothing worked. When you're playing like that and he still comes up with all those great shots you really have to wonder if he's even from the same planet."

Source:
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