Toronto, Canada



7-6, 6-7, 6-3


Roger Federer was pushed hard by Xavier Malisse before reaching the semi-finals of the Toronto Masters Series event.

Federer admitted afterwards that Malisse had made him work for his win.

With an early break to go up 4-1, Federer looked poised for a comfortable win but Malisse dug in and broke back, sending the set into a tiebreak that the Wimbledon champion won 7-4.
Federer again seized the initiative in the second set with an early break but Malisse continued to battle, forcing another tiebreak which he won 7-5 to force a decider.
The effort, however, appeared to take its toll on the Belgian and Federer stepped up the pressure, sweeping through the third set without allowing Malisse a break point.
"Today was the first time I played him in four years since he's been playing on a different planet," said Malisse. "It's possible to beat him but you have to be 100 percent the full match.
"You can't slack one game or he's on top of you. I think that's what makes him so great.
"In one way you feel disappointed because you played a good match and you get so close to winning. You don't get that chance very often."

"When it was 5-5 in the first set before I had my first break point, I said to myself, 'OK, it's going to be a tough night'." "But I won the deciding game and after that there was never any doubt."

Maybe Federer is not wanting to admit to himself or his opponents any amount of doubt.   It is hard to believe Federer not having any doubts about losing when he lost the second set.  Malisse was playing incredible tennis, especially his running forehands that repeatedly whizzed past the charging Federer.