By Randy Walker
Two swings of the racquet was the razor thin difference between Roger Federer and John Isner in the quarterfinals of men’s singles at Olympic Tennis on Centre Court at Wimbledon Thursday.
In a battle of the two best servers in tennis today, Federer, the world No. 1, topped the American No. 1, 6-4, 7-6(5) – with Federer benefiting from a net-cord winner that dribbled over onto Isner’s side of the net off a return of serve on match point.
The only service break of the entire match came at 4-4 in the first set when Isner missed a sitter forehand on break point, allowing Federer to serve out the first set 6-4.
The win for Federer places him into the medal round at the Olympics and will next face Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in the semifinals. Novak Djokovic, the No. 2 seed, will face Andy Murray of Great Britain, the No. 3 seed, in the other men’s semifinal.
Del Potro famously beat Federer in the 2009 US Open singles final, but has lost 12 of the 14 matches they have played, including all five matches this year.
“I have his number this year which is a good thing,” said Federer post-match on Bravo TV in the United States, also pointing out that in their last meeting, del Potro led two-sets-to-love in the French Open quarterfinals but faltered losing in five sets.
Federer, who won his record-tying seventh Wimbledon singles title last month, will look to become the first No. 1 ranked player to win the Olympic gold in men’s singles and win that title for the first time in his career. He did capture Olympic gold in 2008 in men’s doubles alongside Stan Wawrinka, but his best showing in singles came in 2000 when he finished in fourth place. In 2000, three years before he won the first of his 17 major singles titles, a 19-year-old Federer lost to Tommy Haas in the men’s semifinals and unheralded Arnaud DiPasquale of France in the bronze medal match.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia, the 2011 Wimbledon singles champion and the bronze medal winner in men’s singles from 2008, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Jo Wilfried Tsonga of France. Murray, being cheered on by Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, defeated Nicolas Almagro of Spain 6-4, 6-1, hitting 15 aces. Del Potro defeated Japan’s Kei Nishkori 6-4, 7-6 (4) to advance to play Federer.
To read more about Federer and his “Olympic Experiences” read this excerpt from the book ROGER FEDERER: QUEST FOR PERFECTION here on WorldTennisMagazine.com: http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/7395