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Ferderer plans to keep expectations in check for 2018

Roger Federer, who begins his 2018 campaign at the combined teams Hopman Cup tournament in Perth, recognizes that while expectations this year might be a little higher, he was trying to ensure they did not get out of control.

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Federer beats Del Potro for eighth Basel title

Roger Federer won his eighth Basel title, battling back to defeat the surging Juan Martin del Potro, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-3 to clinch his ATP World Tour-leading seventh title of the year.

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Federer crushed Nadal to win Shanghai Masters

Roger Federer was at his ruthless best, streaking to the Shanghai Rolex Masters title with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Rafael Nadal. Its his 27th Masters title and second in Shanghai.

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Federer wins historic 8th Wimbledon crown

Roger Federer won a record eighth title at Wimbledon, when he claimed his 19th Grand Slam championship trophy. He defeated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

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Federer defeats Nadal to win 3rd Miami crown

Roger Federer extended his run of dominance in 2017, clinching his third title of the season 6-3, 6-4 over Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open.

Federer eases past Gasquet into fourth round

Roger Federer eased into the second week of the Australian Open with a 6-2, 7-5, 6-4 win over Richard Gasquet on Saturday evening that kept the Swiss on course for a 20th grand slam title.

The 36-year-old defending champion reached the fourth round of the Melbourne Park tournament for the 16th time by shifting up the gears when required to see off his French opponent in just under two hours on Rod Laver Arena.

“My head’s still spinning from the match point where I got so lucky so I’m just trying to get over that one,” Federer said with a laugh on court after the match. “I think I was able to maybe stay a little bit more on the offensive than he was and maybe I was protecting my own serve a little bit better than him, I don’t know. But the second set was tight, the match was close.”

A year after Federer won the title despite coming directly off a six-month layoff due to injury, the Swiss is attempting to tie the record currently held by Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic of six Australian Open titles.

To Gasquet’s credit, the Frenchman battled until the end. Federer appeared in cruise control serving at 4-2 in the third set. But the 14-time ATP World Tour titlist found some of his best tennis to save three game points and break back, before playing a solid service game of his own to even the set at 4-4.

But true to his good form, Federer found a way to bounce back and on his second match point in Gasquet’s next service game, scrambled to reach a Gasquet volley, flicking a backhand passing shot down the line to clinch the victory on his second match point.

"I was hoping I could play at that level. I'm very happy that I was able to rise to a level that I needed to beat Richard," Federer said in his press conference. "It was tough. The score shows it, as well. I could have done it maybe a bit faster. At the same time I'm happy to have done it the way it happened. I was pleased. I think I had some good shots."

Federer won 80 per cent of his first-serve points and knocked 42 winners past his opponent to advance. But he was not the only one who showed good tennis - Gasquet struck 27 winners on the evening.

"I enjoy when we have good points. I like to see, I don't know, the way he saved match point. The first one was a backhand down the line. Feels like he can do that in his sleep," Federer said. "I admire that. I take pleasure out of him making that shot even though for a second I thought that this could have been the match point I had and end up losing the match. That really went through my mind. But I do take pleasure out of his shot-making, my opponent's shot-making, because I know how much hard work has been put into it."

Federer will next face Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, who defeated World No. 93 Nicolas Kicker 6-3, 6-3, 6-2 in one hour, 56 minutes. The fourth-round matchup will be the first meeting between the pair.

Fucsovics, who is at a career-high No. 80 in the ATP Rankings, arrived at Melbourne Park without a main draw Grand Slam victory in three attempts. That has not stopped him from winning his three matches thus far, though. The 25-year-old, competing in his first Australian Open main draw, broke six times and captured 59 per cent of points in the match to triumph.

Date: 20 January 2018, Source: Reuters and ATP

Federer through to Australian Open 3rd round

Roger Federer barely put a foot wrong on Thursday night as he continued his quest for a sixth Australian Open trophy, which would represent his 20th Grand Slam championship crown.

The defending champion knocked out Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (4) in one hour and 56 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, in the final match of the day, completed in 30°C temperatures.

"I've practiced with him, and played against him in doubles and singles," said Federer, in an on-court interview with former World No. 1 Jim Courier. "You know he can serve 215 or 220 kilometres per hour for five hours, so that's what you have to be ready for. I knew he was going to go for his shots. I had to protect my own serve and get the break with a good defence.

"It wasn't easy. There's an expectation on the underdog, but it was a good match and I wish him the best for the season."

Federer, making his 19th appearance at Melbourne Park, will look to maintain his momentum on Saturday against Richard Gasquet, the French No. 29 seed, in the third round. Gasquet proved too strong for Italian World No. 217 Lorenzo Sonego 6-2, 6-2, 6-3. Federer leads Gasquet 16-2 in their ATP Head to Head series.

Federer wasn’t troubled by No. 55-ranked Struff in the first two sets - breaking serve at 2-2 in the first set, then at 3-3 in the second set - before the German started to make inroads. Struff came within one point of taking a 4-1 lead in the third set, only for Federer to regain his focus.

The second seed broke back immediately in the fifth game, then, at 5-6, struck three straight aces to force a tie-break.

At 36 years of age, Federer is looking to become just the second player to win three Grand Slam championship titles after turning 35, following in the footsteps of all-time great Australian Ken Rosewall.

Date: 18 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer breezes through Melbourne opener

Defending champion Roger Federer started his 2018 campaign for a sixth Australian Open crown on Tuesday night with a confident performance on Rod Laver Arena.

The World No. 2, who is competing in his 19th tournament at Melbourne Park, defeated Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes. The Swiss star is now 88-13 lifetime at the first Grand Slam championship of the year.

Federer will next challenge Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff, who hit 45 winners, including 19 aces, past wild card Soonwoo Kwon of South Korea in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory in 77 minutes.

Federer had plenty of rhythm against the Slovenian, as he broke Bedene's serve in the fourth game in the first set and won 16 of his 20 first-service points, including three straight love holds. The 36-year-old seized control of the match with a break at the start of the second set to leave Bedene winless in six appearances in Melbourne.

Asked in his post-match press conference about the return of six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, who was victorious in his first match since retiring in the quarter-finals at 2017 Wimbledon, Federer said he was not surprised to see his great rival in good form.

"I do maybe think if you put Rafa, myself and Novak together, I think because we have margin maybe against a lot of the players normally, when we do come back, we can find that level," Federer said. "Even though we're not feeling good, we can still find a way and eventually play good again, whereas others would struggle early on and it becomes more difficult."

Federer is attempting to retain his Australian Open trophy one year after beating four Top 10 players in the ATP Rankings en route to his first Grand Slam title in five years (2012 Wimbledon). He would go on to win two majors (Australian Open, Wimbledon) and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000s (Indian Wells, Miami, Shanghai) among seven total trophies in 2017.

"I am hoping for another good year," said Federer, who has won 19 Grand Slam championships. "I am not sure it will go that well because I'm a year older, Rafa's looking in tip-top shape and other guys are coming back.

“Last year was a fairytale and I can't control everything. I am hoping to stay healthy and give myself chances and hope to play my very best in the big matches."

Date: 16 January 2018, Source: ATP

Federer wins Hopman Cup for Switzerland

Switzerland are the Hopman Cup champions for the third time after Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic combined to topple Team Germany’s Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber 4-3 (3), 4-2.

19-time Grand Slam champion Federer, who lifted the trophy alongside Martina Hingis back in 2001, won all four of his singles contests, whilst a rejuvenated Bencic helped maintain an unbeaten Swiss record in the mixed doubles.

“After all these years I can’t believe I’m here again,” noted Federer. “It’s absolutely amazing. I’ve lost count of the years, I’m thrilled to win the Hopman Cup again with Belinda, it’s been a pleasure to partner you this week, well done.”

“I want to congratulate Team Germany for making the final,” said Bencic having lifted the trophy. “You played a great tournament and Angie was just too strong for me today. I’m so glad we made it in the mixed this time.

“Thanks to Roger for playing with me. It really is a dream come true. I couldn’t wish for a better partner,” she added with a beaming smile. “I’ll never forget this week, it’s been unbelievable.”

Earlier, Federer outplayed Zverev 6-7 (4), 6-0, 6-2 to begin an enthralling final. The contest was levelled by Kerber defeating Bencic 6-4, 6-1.

“I couldn’t be more happy, I thought I played great throughout,” said Federer. “Sascha definitely dropped his level a bit in the second and third sets, but I was able to take advantage of it and most importantly put Team Switzerland ahead.

“I was trying to play as aggressive as possible. I’m maybe better when we’re closer together,” explained the reigning Australian Open champion.

“The court plays fast, so it helps if you approach the net and do it the right way. It was working out well, so I thought I’d keep going until I had to fix it. That never happened, so I was able to cruise all the way through.

“It’s nice. I work part time now,” quipped the 36-year-old, suggesting he attacks frequently to avoid long baseline rallies. “I work in the morning, I’m off in the afternoons. It’s good being a dad, it’s good being a husband and it’s good being a tennis player.”

Walking into meet the media after the final, both smiles were drawn from cheek to cheek, it was evident how much this meant to both players.

“It’s kind of surreal. When you first play Hopman Cup you think you’ll be back every year, then all of a sudden, your plans change, your life changes and you have different preparations,” reflected Federer.

“It was already amazing to be back last year. We had a great time. This year round, getting it done is an incredible feeling.”

Perth is a unique place for Federer. In 1999, he was a hitting partner for national tennis treasure Martina Hingis and Ivo Heuberger. In 2001 he lifted the trophy alongside Hingis and in 2002 he teamed up with his now wife Mirka.

“Every trip has been very memorable for me,” recalled the world No. 2. “It’s a totally different feeling to when I won with Martina because I was the apprentice and she was the Master. Maybe this time it’s the other way round.

“There is just a lot of positivity. It was a great week as a team, but also personally in singles I played great. I just have to pace myself in the lead up to Melbourne and I’ll be ready,” claimed the reigning Australian Open champion.

“I’m just excited to go back to Melbourne, where I had my fairytale 2017 run.

“It’s great to be the defending champion, but I will go about it the right way, I won’t be putting any extra pressure on myself.”

Date: 6 January 2018, Source: Hopman Cup

Federer in fine fettle as Switzerland beat Russia in Hopman Cup

Roger Federer subdued a feisty Karen Khachanov while Belinda Bencic outlasted Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to help Switzerland beat Russia 3-0 in the Hopman Cup on Tuesday.

Federer won 6-3, 7-6 (8) as his Australian Open preparation gained momentum but the 19-times grand slam champion was pushed hard in the second set by the 21-year-old in front of a record crowd of 13,943 at the Perth Arena.

Playing with little inhibition and plenty of power, Khachanov broke Federer early on before the Swiss switched gears to march ahead and take the opening set in 29 minutes.

Federer, who beat Khachanov in straight sets at Halle last year in their only previous meeting, showed his experience in the second-set tie breaker that swung back and forth and clinched the contest on his third match point.

"It was nice to see him free swinging the entire match, which isn't easy to do," Federer said of his opponent.

"I remember those days, match point down, you go for it, you don't care. That is what you have to remind yourselves sometimes when you're older, to go for it. He mixed up the play well, so it was a tough match for me.

"The tiebreak was close, it was good to play that early on in the season, to play those nervy situations with the pulse up high, you're sweating loads. The match had a bit of everything, so I'm very happy with the performance."

Bencic had a tougher outing against world number 15 Pavlyuchenkova but prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 before teaming up with Federer to win the mixed doubles dead rubber and will face USA on Thursday to vie for a ticket to the final.

Date: 2 January 2018, Source: Reuters

Sharp Federer gives Switzerland winning start at Hopman Cup

Roger Federer dismissed Japan's Yuichi Sugita 6-4, 6-3 in just over an hour on Saturday to give Switzerland a winning start at the Hopman Cup and send out a signal to his opponents ahead of next month's Australian Open.

Coming off a fruitful year which yielded two Grand Slam titles, world No. 2 Federer looked fit and sharp while other members of tennis' "Big Four" are grappling with injury issues.

Federer hurried to save a break point in his first game but otherwise did not have any trouble against the 29-year-old Sugita, whom he broke in the fifth game, and there was no looking back from there.

"This year I feel much more in a rhythm," Federer said. "You get to break point or the moment where you have to serve the first time of the year, and it’s a normal thing.

"Last year, I was like I hope I'm going to be able to hit my first serves, and I hope it's going to work out as much as it did in the practice.

"I think all those question marks aren't really there this time around, which is a nice thing.

"I think it was a great start."

The 19-times Grand Slam winner, who will be defending his title at Melbourne Park next month, was happy with the way he coped with the demands of the game.

"I feel the game has evolved again in the last 10 years or so," Federer said. "I have made some adjustments to my game, I'm trying to hit through the backhand a bit more, maybe I have a bit more pop on the serve and naturally the whole rally has changed because you have different options.

"I think I'm playing very well, otherwise I wouldn't be having the results that I'm having. I'm happy I'm still playing at this level. I was always hoping to play for a long time and I'm doing that."

Federer said his body was feeling great, and he was pleased with his first outing.

"I’m just very happy I was able to have a good level today, and stay calm under pressure," added Federer. "I had some good moments moving forward to the net and playing up in the court.That’s how I want to play for the year."

Belinda Bendic beat Naomi Osaka 7-5, 6-3 in the women's contest to clinch Switzerland's victory in the round-robin stage of the mixed team event.

In the mixed doubles the Swiss completed a clean sweep of the tie with a 2-4, 4-1, 4-3 (5/1) win under the Fast4 format.

Date: 30 December 2017, Source: Reuters, AFP and Hopman Cup

Ferderer plans to keep expectations in check for 2018

Roger Federer did not know what to expect when he touched down in Australia in 2017.

The then 17-times grand slam champion was 35 and coming back from a first surgery-enforced absence to the sport he dominated for more than a decade from his maiden Wimbledon title in 2003.

The six months off, however, appeared to be positively cathartic as he provided arguably the major talking point of the tennis circuit by reviving a career that pundits thought could be over with the injury.

He beat Rafael Nadal in an epic final to win his fifth Australian Open crown and then clinched his eighth on the grass courts of Wimbledon to finish the year with seven titles and the world number two ranking.

However, Federer, who begins his 2018 campaign at the combined teams Hopman Cup tournament in Perth, recognizes that while expectations this year might be a little higher, he was trying to ensure they did not get out of control.

And after touching down in Perth ahead of the Hopman Cup, Federer said: "I had a great off season. I mean, I did have a good off season too last year but I just wasn't sure what to expect.

"Now expectations are higher but at the same time I try to remind myself just don't think it's normal and realistic to aim for the same things I did this year in 2017.

"I've got to try and keep it cool. Try my best and see what happens but the preparation's been good so far. We'll see how things go."

Federer previously used the Kooyong invitational tournament to warm up for the Australian Open but returned to the Hopman Cup last year to team up with compatriot Belinda Bencic, where the pair finished second in their group.

"It worked out perfectly this year, winning at the Australian Open. Of course, that's a good omen. I hope that winning or losing the Hopman Cup is going to be good for me.

"Obviously looking ahead to Melbourne, I really hope that Hopman Cup's going to give me everything I need here.

"I had a wonderful time in 2017. I can't wait to see all the fans again because they came out in big numbers and supported me," Federer said of starting the season in Perth, where he and his 20-year-old partner will face Japan, Russia and the U.S. in group play.

Date: 28 December 2017, Source: Reuters and Omnisport

Federer: "It's been an amazing year"

It might not be the finish that he had hoped for, but Roger Federer is taking nothing for granted in his historic comeback season.

Federer’s 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 loss to David Goffin in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals might have come as a surprise, but not given the level of play that the seventh-seeded Belgian managed to produce after dropping the first set.

Maneuvering Federer around the court with his signature brand of pinpoint counterpunching tennis, Goffin claimed one of the biggest wins of his career just days after defeating World No.1 Rafael Nadal, becoming the sixth player in history to defeat both Federer and Nadal at the same tournament.

“I think it was a tough game to get broken at 1-0 for him in the second set. I had I think multiple game chances to get out of the game and go 1-1, keep the pressure up,” said Federer. “I think things really turned around for him at that moment. He started to feel better from the return, from the baseline. He wasn't missing as much anymore. He was returning also much better off the second serve after that.

“I just think the better returner won over the better server today.”

Despite failing to reach the final of the prestigious season-ending event for just the fifth time in 15 appearances, Federer punctuates a season of surprises with optimism for 2018.

“It’s been an amazing year for me. I’ve been so happy that I was playing at this level from the beginning till basically the end, till today. So it's been great. Really enjoyed myself in the process. I felt I was playing in a way that I also like, playing forward, playing attacking tennis. I wish I could have done that a little bit more today. It's kind of disappointing to finish on this note,” said the Swiss.

“But whatever happened today is less important than if I look at the entire season. With that season, I'm extremely happy.

“Looking ahead, look, clearly the buildup is not going to be six months like it was last time around,” added the 36 year old. “It's not going to be six weeks of tennis. It's just going to be two, three weeks. It's going to be short. But I did that 15 years previously, so I know how to handle the buildup.”

After an injury-filled 2016 that saw him pull the plug on his season early in July that year, 2017 has been a roaring success. Bagging seven titles including two Grand Slams and three ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies, Federer’s body held up throughout taxing periods of play that afforded him a high level of consistency throughout the year.

“I'm actually very relieved that I was able to finish strong now in Shanghai, Basel and here. It shows that things are in the past now. It's good to know that I can bounce back, you know, and get my confidence back.

“So considering how last year went, this year was perfect.”

Date: 18 November 2017, Source: ATP

Federer stays perfect in ATP Finals

Roger Federer went through round-robin play at the ATP Finals undefeated for the 10th time as he returned to haunt Marin Cilic with a 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-1 win at the O2 Arena on Thursday.

''It wasn't easy,'' Federer said. ''I mean, look, it's a fast court. It's indoors. We've seen it now. When you miss a few too many opportunities you can really pay the price at this tournament. So we've seen some swings of momentum in a lot of the matches this week.''

The outcome didn't really matter, though. Federer had already advanced to the semifinals at the season-ending tournament by winning his opening two matches at the O2 Arena, while Cilic had already been eliminated.

Federer, who beat Cilic in straight sets in the Wimbledon final in July, had four break points in the first set on Thursday, but he couldn't convert any of them. That allowed Cilic to take the lead when he landed a backhand drop shot and then a forehand to close out the first-set tiebreaker.

Federer had another break point early in the second set, but he again failed to convert. But his sixth attempt was different, and winning it gave Federer the second set.

In the third set, Federer broke early and jumped out to 3-0, and then broke again to lead 5-1.

''In the beginning I was slightly overaggressive in the first set on some crucial points rather than maybe being patient,'' Federer said. ''I was able to turn that around late in the second set. Then just had a much better feeling in the third set.''

Cilic is ranked No. 5 in the world - achieving a goal he set for himself at the end of last season. At the ATP Finals, however, the Croat has won only once in nine matches over three appearances at the round-robin tournament.

"Even though it's three losses, I felt that my tennis wasn't too far off of playing really, really well. Good positives at least in that. Hopefully I'm going to recover good and start a new season on a good level," Cilic said.

In the semifinals, Federer will face Dominic Thiem or David Goffin. Both have 1-1 records in the other group and meet Friday to decide which player will advance along with Grigor Dimitrov.

Federer leads his ATP Head to Head series against Goffin 6-0, but the Swiss trails Thiem in their rivalry 1-2, although all three matches took place last year.

Federer, the 19-time Grand Slam champion who won his record eighth Wimbledon title, is looking to extend another record for titles at the ATP Finals. The 36-year-old Swiss has won it six times; twice in Houston, twice in Shanghai and twice in London.

Date: 16 November 2017, Source: AP and ATP

Federer downs Zverev in 'generation game'

Roger Federer marched into the semi-finals at the ATP Finals once again on Tuesday but he made hard work of the task before finally prevailing 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-1 in a high-quality battle of the generations with Germany's Alexander Zverev.

The 36-year-old six-times champion may have been giving away 16 years to the youngster fancied to be the game's next major force but Federer proved in a dominant third set that, for the moment, he still remains a cut above his young pursuers.

The triumph in two hours and 11 minutes ensured the 19-times grand slam champion booked a place in the last four for the 14th time in 15 appearances.

It also meant that Zverev and Jack Sock will now meet on Thursday to decide the other qualifier from the Group Boris Becker.

Sock earlier lived up to his childhood nickname of "Showtime" by producing a dramatic comeback triumph 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) over the erratic Marin Cilic, who is now eliminated after two straight defeats.

"It was a good battle and I always enjoy myself at this beautiful arena. I'm happy and relieved that I can play freely against Cilic, instead of it being a nailbiter. It's been a tough group so to be through in two matches is great," said Federer.

World No. 2 Federer looks even more of an overwhelming favourite for a seventh crown in the absence of Rafael Nadal, who has pulled out injured from the tournament.

With no classic Nadal clash on the horizon, the duel between Federer and Zverev, who had shared the spoils in their previous four meetings, was the most eagerly anticipated of the week.

It did not disappoint, with Federer immediately forced to save three break points to rescue the opening game and Zverev also digging deep to save one in the next.

Zverev's immaculate serving kept Federer at bay despite the master testing the apprentice with the variety and mixed pace of his shotmaking.

At 6-5 down, the German saved the second of two set points in the flukiest fashion, his backhand limping off the top of the net for an outright winner.

In a tight tiebreak, Federer came back from a shaky start at 4-0 down and rescued a set point of his own before cashing in on Zverev errors and testing the youngster's patience until it cracked in a long rally.

When Federer cruised to a 2-0 lead in the second set for the loss of just a point, it seemed a quick kill was on the cards but two double faults in a poor service game saw Zverev back in the contest.

Looking increasingly irritated as his first serve percentage dipped to an alarming 43 percent, the misfiring Federer was broken again at 5-6 as Zverev leveled the match.

Yet the German's own serve, hitherto a huge weapon, also began to malfunction in the final set as Federer found a new gear.

The toll of being pulled around the court by the Swiss's variety in pace and angles began to tell on Zverev.

It evidently felt satisfying for Federer to beat one of the game's new comets. Asked if he could remember his first ATP Finals, he smiled: "It's so long ago I hardly remember it!"

Federer has now won 12 consecutive matches, dating back to his title runs at the Shanghai Rolex Masters (d. Nadal) and the Swiss Indoors Basel (d. del Potro). That streak features seven indoor victories, including his ATP Finals opener against Sock.

Date: 15 November 2017, Source: Reuters