Federer stretches winning streak over Roddick

MADRID: Roger Federer was made to work before overcoming Andy Roddick with a 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 win which handed the Swiss his ticket to the semi-finals of the Madrid Masters on Friday.

Roddick, frustrated by Federer since Basel in 2001, last beat the 13-time Grand Slam champion in Miami last year to end a run of 11 straight defeats and has since gone down three times in 2009 to the World No 2. From a total of 20 meetings, Federer has now prevailed 18 times.

Federer could have the fitness advantage as he waits for an opponent to emerge form a late-night encounter between Andy Murray — who won the event last October when it was played indoors — and Argentine fifth seed Juan Del Potro. Nevertheless despite out-acing the big-hitting Roddick 12 to nine on the clay court the win, in 2hrs 11 minutes, was not smooth for Federer.

Federer had been looking to wrap up a straight-sets victory but lost his way in the second-set tiebreaker as Roddick recovered from 0-3 down and squared the match after 90 minutes. But the Swiss broke free with a break to start the third and added another in the sixth game for 5-2 before serving it out as Roddick saved three match points but sent a return well out on the fourth Federer opportunity.

On Thursday, top seed Rafael Nadal and Roddick reached the quarter-finals without hitting a ball when their scheduled opponents pulled out with leg injuries.

World No 1 Nadal went through courtesy of German Philipp Kohlschreiber’s decision not to play. Almost simultaneously, sixth seed Roddick enjoyed the same gift when Russian Nikolay Davydenko pulled the plug before their scheduled late-night encounter.

Novak Djokovic completed a cleansweep for the top seeds, turning in a solid win over Italian Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4. Fourth seed Murray will face fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarter-finals after the Argentine needed four match points and three hours to hold off Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

In the women’s draw, France’s Amelie Mauresmo staged a fighting comeback to power into the semi-finals with a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 defeat of Hungarian Agnese Szavay. The two-time Grand Slam winner will face fast-rsing Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki, the ninth seed who booked her place over Rusian Vera Dushevina 6-0, 6-4. Wozniacki is set for a move into the WTA Top ten for the first time after her performance this week at the new combined clay event for men and women. Wozniacki was untroubled by her qualifying opponent Dushevina, whom she broke six times.

Mauresmo has come alive on court again three months after lifting her last title indoors in Paris. Her defeat of No 5 Elena Dementieva in the third round was her fourth win over a top five opponent after Ana Ivanovic (Brisbane), and Jelena Jankovic plus Dementieva (both Paris). It was her best showing in a season since 2006 when she notched five wins over Top five opposition.

Top seed and World No 1 Dinara Safina faces Ukrainian Alona Bondarenko and fourth seed Jankovic will play Swiss Patty Schnyder.