Friday, Mar 6, 2015Friday, Mar 6, 2015

Tennis: Federer pushed to the limit by canny Stepanek

Published on Feb 27, 2014 3:01 AM

DUBAI (AFP) - Former men's world number one Roger Federer had to dig deep to progress to the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open on Wednesday eventually beating fellow veteran Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 in their second round clash.

The 32-year-old Grand Slam record-holder - who has won the Dubai title a record five times - struggled for long periods against a 35-year-old who is barely a full-timer on the ATP Tour these days.

Federer was four times within a point of going 0-3 down in the final set, any one of which could have inspired the talented and unpredictable Czech to close out the game.

Once Federer had held on in that game, and broken back, he created some momentum of his own, and the ace which took him to 4-2 signalled he had turned the tide.

If you are not a subscriber, you can get instant, unlimited access here