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Roger Makes it 15

19.02.2005 | Tennis

Roger rallied from one set down to claim his 15th successive victory in an ATP Tour final at the Rotterdam Open. His excellent run in tournament finals looked in danger when unseeded Croatian Ivan Ljubicic took the first set, but Roger recovered to prevail 5-7, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5).

 

Roger was broken for the first time in the tournament, to love, in the 11th game. But after failing to make the most of four earlier break points in the second set he finally broke in the 12th game to level the match.

Neither player was able to establish any control in the deciding third set and a tie-breaker was inevitably needed to split them, with Roger winning five of the last six points to come from 2-4 down and win in 2 hours and 44 minutes.

 

Roger has now put further distance between himself and Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, the two men who previously held the record of 12 straight wins in finals, and his second triumph of 2005 is also the 24th of his career. "I always expect a tough match but I was hoping it was going to go the way the final in Doha when I won 6-3, 6-1 against Ivan," Roger said. "Indoors, he's more efficient, and he's harder to break."

 

"I just had to fight and stay in there. I gave myself a lot of chances in the second set, eventually I squeezed through that one and it was all the way level through to the tie-breaker and anybody can win that. I was the lucky one."

 

 

Roger sent hard-serving Croat Mario Ancic packing with a 7-5, 6-3 triumph in the semi-final. Roger is 1-1 lifetime versus Ancic, who had beat him in a first-round match at Wimbledon in 2002. Roger, the 2001 Rotterdam runner-up, also improved to 30-1 in his last 31 matches.

 

In other semifinal play, Ljubicic disposed of 1998 Rotterdam titlist Thomas Johansson of Sweden, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5. The head-to-head with Ljubicic stands 4:3 for Roger, the last encounter in Doha also going to him with 6:3 and 6:1.

 

 

Roger advanced to the semifinals in Rotterdam, defeating sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 7:5, 7:5. "It's about the important points," he said afterward. "Thankfully I won those, even if Nikolay didn't make it easy for me."

 

Roger showcased a range of weapons in the first set - including a marvellous leaping backhand volley - and challenged Davydenko's service several times. But both players held serve until the 11th game, when Roger finally broke. In the second set both players were equal from the baseline. Davydenko had good chances in the third and 11th games, but was unable to capitalize on five break points.

 

Roger will face Croatia’s Mario Ancic who ousted him from Wimbledon in 2002.

 

 

Roger showed a very solid performance against his 19-year-old compatriot and practise partner Stanislas Wawrinka 6:1, 6:4 to reach the quarter-finals in Rotterdam. Roger will now face Russia's Nikolai Dawidenko.

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Roger beat Bohdan Ulihrach (CZE, ATP 112) 6:3, 6:4 in the opening round of the ABN Amro tournament on Wednesday. Roger broke Ulihrach in the second game, and his only hitch was giving up a 40-0 lead in the final game of the first set. But he recovered and broke quickly in the second set for full control. It was Roger’s eleventh victory this season.

 

In second-round play, a surprising Swiss duel will take place as qualifier Stanislas Wawrinka (ATP 128) showed a convincing performance against France’s Sébastien Grosjean (ATP 27).

 
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