Section: ATP Brisbane

ATP Brisbane: Federer battles to claim 1,000th career victory

Roger Federer claimed his 1,000th career victory and collected his 83rd title with a 6-4 6-7(2) 6-4 win over Milos Raonic in the ATP Brisbane Final.

The 17-time major winner broke Raonic’s serve in the third game and again in the opening game of the second set but just when Federer appeared set for a comfortable victory, the 24-year-old Canadian broke back in the fourth game to swing the momentum.

The second set then stayed on serve until the tie-break, where Raonic dropped the first two points before winning the last seven to level the match.

After overcoming his early nerves, third-seeded Raonic was playing a cool, composed game until he served his first double-fault of the third set, giving Federer championship point. Raonic netted a forehand on the next point, allowing Federer to join Jimmy Connors (1,253) and Ivan Lendl (1,071) as the only players to win 1,000 or more matches on the men’s professional tour.

After a sudden end to the match, Federer raised his arms to acknowledge the ‘Federer 1,000’ placards and red-and-white Swiss flags being waved around the stadium.

Ballboys held up 1,000 in big, white numerals near the net during the presentation ceremony, when Federer accepted the trophy from Roy Emerson and a framed montage of images with the words ‘Congratulations Roger, 1,000 match wins’ from Australian great Rod Laver.

“It’s a special moment, I’m glad I got it,” Federer said. “To get to 1,000 match wins in front of you guys … it really means a lot to me. I’ll never forget this match.

” The 33-year-old started the 2015 season with a 996-227 career win-loss record and reached the milestone with victories over Australian wildcards John Millman and James Duckworth, fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov and Raonic, whom he now leads 8-1 in head-to-head encounters.

The Aussie fans love an underdog, and backed Raonic while he was down early in the match, with Federer firing eight aces and not facing a break point in the first set. But as the final progressed and an upset loomed, the Pat Rafter Arena crowd got right behind Federer and cheered his every winner.

Federer responded to his slide in the tie-break by serving an ace to open the third set, but he needed all his experience to save three break point chances in the opening game that lasted more than 11 minutes.

Raonic then had to save two breaks points in the fourth and sixth games – after missing two on Federer’s serve in the fifth. The server only conceded one point in the next three games until Raonic was serving to stay in the match. Raonic led 30-15 until Federer produced a pin-point topspin lob that forced an error, and then the double-fault – only his fourth of the match. He hit 49 winners, six more than Federer, but had also had more unforced errors and, surprisingly, fewer aces.

“We all know today was a significant milestone for Roger,” Raonic told the crowd, reflecting on how when he listened to all of Federer’s credits in the introductions before the match he could have sworn he was aiming for his 2,000th win. “I think you need to step it up.”

Read more at ESPN

ATP Brisbane: Roger Federer races to 39-minute victory

Top seed Roger Federer beat Australian wildcard James Duckworth 6-0 6-1 in 39 minutes to reach the Brisbane International semi-finals.

The 33-year-old’s victory came just 24 hours after he struggled to see off world number 153 John Millman.

Federer, last year’s runner-up, will face fourth seed Bulgarian Dimitrov, who beat Martin Klizan 6-3 6-4.

“I’m happy I had a match like this after yesterday,” said Switzerland’s 17-time Grand Slam winner.

“I felt tired. This morning, I had muscle pain and all that stuff. So I’m very happy I got it done quickly today.”

Japan’s Kei Nishikori meets Milos Raonic in the other semi-final as players warm up for the Australian Open, which starts on 19 January.

Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, beat Bernard Tomic 6-0 6-4, while Raonic’s booming serve helped secure a 7-6 3-6 7-6 victory over Australian Sam Groth.

Dimitrov, a beaten Wimbledon semi-finalist alongside Raonic, set up the Federer encounter with a comfortable 6-3 6-4 success over Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Federer will be seeking his fifth Australian Open triumph in the 2015 tournament.

Read more at BBC Sport

ATP Brisbane: Federer opens 2015 with battling win

Roger Federer survived a close call in his first match of the season, needing three sets to reach the Brisbane International quarter-finals.

The 17-time grand slam winner came from a set and a break down to beat Australian wild-card entry John Millman 4-6 6-4 6-3.

“I’m sweating like crazy,” Federer said.

The weather was reasonably mild for sub-tropical Brisbane, where Federer lost in the final last year. It was the hot reception from world No.153 Millman that troubled him for a while.

Federer, who had a first-round bye and delayed his opening match until the fifth day of the tournament, made an uncharacteristic 19 unforced errors in the first set and finished with 38 for the match.

Milos Raonic hit 17 aces and didn’t face a break point in a 6-3 6-4 win over Mikhail Kukushkin to set up a quarter-final against Sam Groth, who beat Lukasz Kubot 6-4 6-7(2) 7-6(3).

Australian wild-card entry James Duckworth progressed with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 win over Jarkko Nieminen and will meet Federer in the next round.

“I served well. Finished last year and we definitely thought I could do a lot better with my serve, so we spent a lot of time this off-season on that and I’m happy that it’s going well,” Raonic said.

The 24-year-old Canadian said he’s coming off his best off-season ever, and is ready to make his breakthrough at the grand slam events.

“That’s the biggest goal I’ve set for myself, is to do much better in specifically one major,” said Raonic, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals and French Open quarter-finals last year. “I’ve been in a semi-final now, but I can do much better.”

Read more at ESPN