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By Gokul Pillai
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Federer started the year with a semi-final loss to Rafael Nadal and then went on to lose to John Isner at the Davis Cup which also saw him lose his doubles match to the Americans. He beat Nicolas Mahut from France in two tight sets in the first round and got a second round walkover by Mikhail Youzhny in order to set a clash against Nieminen.
Nieminen managed to qualify in Sydney and went all the way to win the tournament. He then retired in the first round of the Australian Open and followed it with a quarterfinal spot at Open Sud De France. He beat Igor Sijsling in the first round and then edged past Lukasz Kubot in three tight sets in the second round to set up a quarterfinal encounter with the first seed here in Rotterdam.
Both the players have played each other twelve times before and the head to head stands at 12-0 in Federer’s favour. The last time they met each other was at Basel in 2011 where Federer won in three tough sets. Federer has a mighty forehand and can vary the pace on his backhands. Nieminen can angle serves and crack crispy forehands for winners. Federer should be able to win this one in straight sets.
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