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A Federer-Nadal SF? "We'll See" Says Roger

It is one of sport’s greatest ever rivalries, spanning 37 matches and taking in nine Grand Slam finals, but somehow, a Roger Federer – Rafael Nadal battle has never graced Flushing Meadows.

Now, in a US Open that has been rife with upsets, Federer is hoping he and Nadal can continue to avoid any such pitfalls before their potential blockbuster semi-final clash.

Roger Federer could face Rafael Nadal in the US Open semi-finals.
They came within one point of playing each other in the 2011 final, but while Nadal made his way past Andy Murray in the semi-finals, Federer was denied on two match points against Novak Djokovic, who ultimately prevailed in their contest 7-5 in the fifth set.

“When you see a lot of seeds going out, you naturally put the focus on you for it not to happen to you,” said Federer after his third-round win over Feliciano Lopez. “You become more aware of it, that it seems a tournament of the upsets, so it's going to get you, too. You're going into the match this way.

“I think for many years Rafa and me, we've tried to play against each other here, and it just didn't work out. I was a match point away once against Novak years ago. I can't come closer than that because I think he had already won his match, I believe. We were one point away from it happening.

“Now this week, I don't feel necessarily the pressure's there. We'll see. [There will be] a new Grand Slam finalist in the bottom section, which is exciting in itself, I think. In the top [half] we actually really have good players left. A lot of them can play at a very high level. They're all facing off now. I think it's an exciting tournament. I'm happy I'm still around.

“Rafa fought well through again today. I'm happy for him, too. We'll see if it gets done or not. I'm curious to see myself.”

While the likes of Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and John Isner were all shown the door in the first week at Flushing Meadows, Federer has grown in form and confidence. The Swiss’ preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year was hampered by a back injury, forcing him to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, and he wasn’t at his most comfortable in a five-set first-round tussle with Frances Tiafoe. He then had to go to five sets again against Mikhail Youzhny in the second round.

But there was a marked improvement in Federer’s level in his three-set dismissal of Lopez on Saturday night and the Basel native has his game face on going into the second week in New York. If he is to have the chance to challenge Nadal, the Swiss will need to overcome Philipp Kohlschreiber on Monday before a quarter-final showdown with either Juan Martin del Potro or Dominic Thiem.

“I needed to get over the fear of the back issue, especially in that first match, the first set,” said Federer. “Then I think the wobble I had in the second round was due to my preparation. I think now I'm just trusting my movement better. My serve is there. My mind is there. I can finally focus on playing tennis and not so much about the past. It's nice to be in the present in my mind, looking ahead, thinking tactics.

“I think [with this preparation] we rolled the dice a little bit. Now we are in the fourth round and things are looking much better. I'm really excited how I feel after two five-setters. I'm confident in my physical shape.”

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/federer-reaction-us-open-2017-saturday

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