Federer drops set in victory over Ferrer at Hamburg Masters | VailDaily.com

Federer drops set in victory over Ferrer at Hamburg Masters

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) – Roger Federer struggled to beat David Ferrer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 Friday and reach the semifinals of the Hamburg Masters.

The top-ranked player is aiming for his fourth title at the Hamburg Masters, a tuneup for the French Open. In six previous meetings, Federer had never dropped a set against Ferrer.

“I didn’t serve very well in the second set and he took advantage of it,” Federer said. “He is has one of the best returns in the game, I knew it would be a tough match.”

The Swiss player broke serve in the first and last game to cruise through the first set.

But the second was tougher for Federer, who made several mistakes while his Spanish opponent raised his game. Federer served for a 5-2 lead, but could not hold and then Ferrer rallied to win the next three games. Serving for the set, Ferrer double-faulted on his first set point before Federer hit a backhand long.

Serving at 3-3 and 30-30 in the third set, Federer hit a sloppy forehand, but it clipped the net and bounced inside beyond Ferrer’s reach. It proved to be the turning point, with Ferrer throwing his racket to the ground in frustration. Federer then served out the game with an ace.

“I got lucky on that cord, that was huge at the end,” Federer said.

In the next game, Federer wasted four break points before converting to take a 5-3 lead and serving out the match.

“I was feeling very good off the baseline, and I served well in the first and third sets,” he said.

Federer, who has won the Hamburg Masters in three of his last four visits, is aiming for his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam. Federer has gone four straight tournaments without a title _ his worst run since becoming No. 1 in February 2004.

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