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Rediff.com  » Sports » Rogers Cup: Federer celebrates birthday with win; Williams sisters to clash

Rogers Cup: Federer celebrates birthday with win; Williams sisters to clash

Last updated on: August 09, 2014 14:01 IST

Rogers Cup: Federer celebrates birthday with win; Williams sisters to clash

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Roger Federer celebrated his 33rd birthday with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over Spaniard David Ferrer on Friday to move into the semi-finals of the Rogers Cup and a step closer to a landmark 80th career title.

Federer will next face another Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, who ended the last hope for a homegrown winner in sixth seed Milos Raonic 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3.

The other semi-final will see rising star Grigor Dimitrov take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who has reached the last four by knocking off World No 1 Novak Djokovic and twice-champion and eighth seed Andy Murray in Friday's quarter-final.

With Ferrer 14-0 against the Swiss maestro there was little concern the fifth seed might spoil the party as the capacity crowd serenaded 17-time grand slam winner Federer with a chorus of "Happy Birthday" between games during the second set.

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Image: Roger Federer of Switzerland has a piece of his birthday cake after his quarter-finals win against David Ferrer of Spain during the Rogers Cup at Rexall Centre at York University in Toronto on Friday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Ferrer made it tough for Federer

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But there would be no gifts from Ferrer, who made Federer work a little longer and little harder than he wanted.

"It's a dream come true to still be playing tennis at this age," Federer told the cheering crowd.

"I love tennis but it is a whole lot more fun when you do win and play against guys like David who leave it all out there.

"Stay injury free and go out on my terms, maybe try and win tournaments, I have two this year and hopefully we will have a few more.

"It starts here tomorrow again on the court."

His next opponent Lopez excels on grass and reached the final at Queen's before clinching his fourth career title at Eastbourne a week later, but he has looked at home on the Canadian hardcourts.

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Image: David Ferrer of Spain returns a shot to Roger Federer of Switzerland on Friday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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'Lopez stepped up and played well on the important moments

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After knocking off fourth seed Tomas Berdych in the third round Lopez will now have to record another big upset in Federer if he is to reach his first ATP Tour Masters 1000 final.

Lopez's victory deflated the capacity crowd and was a crushing loss for Raonic, who came into his home tournament with huge expectations.

Raonic blasted 18 aces past Lopez but in the end the big-hitting Canadian said it was a lack of courage, not muscle, that cost him the win.

"He (Lopez) stepped up and played well on the important moments, especially on his service game," said Raonic.

"I just need to show in a few situations more courage and go for a little bit more.

"Not just that third set but all throughout the match. I just felt like I never let it go through or impose myself, and I think that's what cost me over time."

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Image: Feliciano Lopez of Spain returns a shot to Milos Raonic of Canada in the quarter-finals on Friday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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'Lopez stepped up and played well on the important moments

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A confident Tsonga heads into Saturday having already taken out Djokovic and Murray, who between them had won five of the last seven Canadian hard-court titles.

After ending an 11-match losing run against Djokovic in the third round, Tsonga brought another barren stretch to an end against Murray with a 7-6(5,) 4-6, 6-4 win.

The Scotsman had dominated their head-to-head encounters, winning nine of 10 contests, with the Frenchman's only victory in that stretch coming in 2008 at the Australian Open.

"It's going better and better every day," said Tsonga.

"These last couple of months I practiced a lot because I didn't win many matches and I also made the choice to practice than play tournaments because I was not really ready after the knee problem I had last year.

"Now I feel like I'm ready to play. I'm sure I'm playing better than before."

Tsonga has found success over the years on the Canadian hardcourts, reaching the semi-finals in three of his four visits and with a win over Dimitrov will advance to his third ATP Masters final.

Dimitrov needed to dig deep to avoid having his name added to the upset list, the seventh seed battling back to beat South African Kevin Anderson 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(6).

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Image: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France reacts after a point against Andy Murray of Great Britain in the quarter-finals on Friday
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Williams sisters renew sibling rivalry in Montreal

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World No 1 Serena Williams and sister Venus will renew one of sport's great sibling rivalries after posting quarter-final wins at the Rogers Cup on Friday to set up a showdown on the Montreal hard courts.

Serena kept her title defence on track rallying for a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over Caroline Wozniacki while Venus booked her place in the final four by beating 14th seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.

It will mark the 25th time the sisters have squared off and first since a 2013 semi-final clash in Charleston that Serena won.

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Image: Serena Williams of the USA hugs Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark after their quarter-final match on Friday
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Serena holds a 14-10 advantage over her older sister

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While it is a match-up tennis fans always look forward to, for the sisters it is something they could live without.

"I definitely don't like playing her," explained Serena.

"I think I've lost to her more than anyone on the tour. Definitely not a fun match.

"She's tough. She has a great serve. She runs every ball down. She has a great backhand. She hits winners off the forehand.

"She does everything well, so it's not an ideal matchup for anyone, to be honest."

Despite the high praise, Serena holds a 14-10 advantage over her older sister in head-to-head meetings and has come out on top in their last five encounters, including the 2009 Wimbledon final.

The other semi will pit third seed Agnieszka Radwanska against Ekaterina Makarova.

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Image: Serena Williams of the USA hugs Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark after their quarter-final match on Friday
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Radwanska cruises past Azarenka

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Poland's Radwanska, the third seed, advanced with a dominant 6-2, 6-2 win over Belarus's Victoria Azarenka.

But the sisterly clashes, which were at one time almost a regular and welcome occurrence on tennis courts across the globe, have become rarer-and-rarer.

In fact, Saturday's meeting will be just the second in the last five years and Venus has a simple philosophy of how to play her sister.

"There's no secret or science to it," she said.

"I think that anyone who has gotten any wins against her, they've pretty much played the match of their life.

"Granted, I'd like to imagine that I hopefully won't have to play the match of my life... but I know I need to play well."

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Image: Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland serves to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in their quarter-final on Friday
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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Venus continues to prove she remains a force on the court

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Unseeded Russian Makarova beat American qualifier Coco Vandeweghe 6-1, 4-6, 6-1.

At 34, Venus continues to prove she remains a force on the court out-lasting Navarro, who at 25 is nearly 10 years her junior.

"She (Venus) is been playing really well. She's in really good form," said Serena.

"I definitely feel great when I see her playing so well.

"Obviously not when it's time for me to play her but other than that it always is really good to see her playing really well."       


Image: Venus Williams of the USA returns a shot to Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain in their quarter-final match on Friday
Photographs: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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