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US Open 2013: Roger Federer vs. Grega Zemlja Round 1 Preview
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Reads: 2,724, Comments: 1
It has been a forgettable season for the former World No.1 Roger Federer as from being ranked as the No.2 player at the start of the year, he now finds himself at No.7 – his lowest mark since November 2002. That ranking is a testament of his diminishing aura on a tennis court as never before in his career he has tasted three defeats at the hands of players that were ranked outside the top-50.
But, that did happen this year as he was sent packing out of the second round of Wimbledon by the little-known Sergiy Stakhovsky and then a qualifier named Federico Delbonis beat him in the semifinals of the German Open tennis Championships in Hamburg. After that loss, with the pressure mounting on him, he gave more air to retirement talks when the hard-hitting Daniel Brands of Germany knocked him out of the Suisse Open in Gstaad.
Later he revealed that a back injury has been bothering him as he had been playing with some sort of protection on his back and he had to take anti-inflammatory injections to get relief from the pain, but the hurt was simply too much for him to continue playing and hence, he had no choice, but to skip the Montreal Masters so that his back got healed on time for the US Open.
And, when he returned to action in Cincinnati he put an impressive display against the French Open champion Rafael Nadal and appeared to have recaptured the sharpness that had gone for a toss earlier in the year. Other than that, he had junked his new racket for the old one – an experiment that he did during his brief stint on European clay-courts post Wimbledon.
However, things have to go his way if he has to win a record extending 18th Major come 9th of September as he is in that section of the draw that has the second seed Nadal lurking for him in the quarters. Yet, one has to remember that he has been written off by the pundits a lot of times before and has returned with vengeance to give a fitting reply to his critics in the past as well. He will be hoping to deliver the goods once again and the first challenge that he faces in his mission is Grega Zemlja of Slovenia.
Zemlja is a player who sits at No.62 on the ATP list and hasn’t done anything significant this year so far barring a third round showing at The Championships where he outlasted the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in an epic second round clash before losing to the Tower of Tandil Juan Martin Del Potro in the ensuing round. Subsequently, his run on the hard courts has been really awful as he bowed out in round 1 at Washington, Toronto and Winston-Salem and in Cincinnati he failed to qualify for the main draw as he lost in round 2 of the qualifiers.
The 17 times Grand Slam champ has been victorious in both his previous clashes versus Zemlja as he destroyed him on both occasions in Doha last year and then again in Rotterdam in February this year. In spite of the fact that Federer is not at the peak of his game, we expect him to claim yet another win in three easy sets today.
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