Roger Federer admits he ‘got lucky’ against Gilles Simon
World No2 emerges victorious from thrilling five-set encounter to reach third round in Melbourne
Roger Federer admits he is lucky to still be in the Australian Open after a heroic comeback by Gilles Simon in their match on Wednesday.
Federer said: “I remained positive and it paid off. I got lucky. I’m happy I’m still in the tournament.
“I wasn’t playing poorly in the third and fourth set, but Gilles took it to me. Clearly, he’s a great player first of all. Matches against him don’t come easily. Hopefully we don’t play each other anymore!”
The world No2 continued his supreme recent form in the first two sets, using power and precision to lead 6-2, 6-3.
But Simon, who had beaten Federer in their two previous meetings, stunned the Swiss with some extraordinary counter punching. The 26-year-old Frenchman took on the ball early, which enabled him to neutralise Federer’s pace, forcing the reigning champion to hit the lines.
As a result Federer began to tally up several unforced errors whilst Simon kept up the intensity in punishing rallies. The quality was superb as Simon hit back to level the match at 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.
Federer composed himself and won a decisive break at 3-2 up in final set with a sensational forehand passing shot. Simon was unable to mount another comeback and Federer served out 6-3 to set up a clash with Xavier Malisse in round three.
Elsewhere, third seed Novak Djokovic also progressed despite an inconsistent match, beating Ivan Dodig 7-5, 6-7, 6-0, 6-2.
Andy Roddick defeated Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 and will play Robin Haase in the next round after the Dutchman beat 26th seed Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Ninth seed Fernando Verdasco produced a tremendous fightback from two sets down to get past world No49 Janko Tipsarevic. The Serb took the first two sets but squandered three opportunities at match point in the third and fourth to hand the initiative back to the Spaniard.
Verdasco seized his opportunity in the final set to complete a thrilling 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-0 victory. He now faces the upcoming Kei Nishikori in round three, who beat Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-3, 0-6, 6-3.
Meanwhile, Gael Monfils overcame Federico Gil 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 whilst sixth seed and 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych battled past Philipp Kohlschreiber to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Another seed fell as Mardy Fish lost to veteran Tommy Robredo 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3, while Richard Gasquet, Ivan Ljubicic and Nicolas Almagro also booked their place in the third round.