Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Federer survives scare to set up Nadal clash

August 16, 2013 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
Roger Federer beat Tommy Haas in three sets in Cincinnati to reach the quarterfinals.
Roger Federer beat Tommy Haas in three sets in Cincinnati to reach the quarterfinals.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Roger Federer rallies from a set and break down to beat pal Tommy Haas in Cincinnati
  • Federer has been suffering from back problems and missed the Rogers Cup last week
  • Federer is chasing an unprecedented sixth title at the Western & Southern Open
  • Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Victoria Azarenka also advanced Thursday

(CNN) -- Roger Federer suffered unexpected losses in his three previous tournaments and needed to rally to set up a clash with Rafael Nadal at the Cincinnati Masters.

Federer, troubled recently by a back injury and absent from last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal, beat Tommy Haas 1-6 7-5 6-3 to set up a quarterfinal against a surging Nadal.

After dropping the first set, Federer fell behind a break in the second but Haas couldn't hang on and one break was enough for the Swiss to claim the third.

Read: Marion Bartoli retires from tennis

Japan's 'rock star' tennis pro
Tennis baby takes Internet by storm

Having changed his equipment for clay-court tournaments in Switzerland and Germany following his shock second-round loss at Wimbledon to Sergiy Stakhovksy -- he opted for a larger racquet -- the 17-time grand slam winner is playing in Ohio with his old racquet.

He is seeking a record sixth title in Cincinnati.

"Now I'm fit again and I'm mentally motivated," he told reporters before his opening match in Cincinnati.

Federer's last eight tie against Nadal will be the 31st match between the all-conquering duo.

Nadal, a 12-time grand slam winner, notched his 12th consecutive hard court victory by beating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 5-7 6-2.

The Spaniard has defeated Federer 20 times during his career.

"We played so many times for very important things," Nadal said in a courtside interview. "That makes every match very special. The combination of styles makes the matches very interesting."

Read: U.S. Open to get retractable roof

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, coming off a tough loss against Nadal in the Rogers Cup semifinals and without a title since April, had little difficulty advancing to the quarterfinals as he thumped Belgian David Goffin 6-2 6-0 in under an hour.

He didn't face a break point.

Andy Murray's historic Wimbledon win
Andy Murray inspires Scottish hometown

"Even though the scoreline says it was quite straightforward, it's still never easy," Djokovic told the ATP's website. "You need to work for your wins and points.

"That was kind of the mindset I had today before I came to the court. I wanted to just play from the first to last point committed and aggressive, and I did well."

Next up for Djokovic is U.S. No. 1 John Isner, who beat 10th-ranked Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, the world No. 2 who was upset by Ernests Gulbis in Montreal, advanced 6-2, 6-2 over Frenchman Julien Benneteau.

Third seed David Ferrer is out after slipping to a straight-sets defeat against Dmitry Tursunov.

In the women's draw, second-ranked Victoria Azarenka progressed with a 6-3 6-4 victory over an in-form Magdalena Rybarikova, converting eight of her 10 break points. Slovakia's Rybarikova went 5-for-14.

Like Federer, Azarenka didn't play in Canada. She pulled out because of a lower back injury.

Azarenka advanced to a tie against Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki. The 10th seed came from one set down to beat No. 7 Petra Kvitova 3-6 6-2 6-3.

American rising star Sloane Stephens was knocked out by former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic in the first ever match between the two players.

Serbia's Jankovic clinched a grueling encounter 3-6 7-5 7-5.

Jankovic's quarterfinal opponent will be Roberta Vinci, the 12th seed who beat fellow Italian Sara Errani 6-4 6-3.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 2359 GMT (0759 HKT)
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT