En route to Miami 2001 with just two Masters 1000 wins, Roger Federer added three wins to his tally in Florida and reached the first Masters 1000 quarter-final. The Swiss faced world no.8 Patrick Rafter, who proved too strong for the youngster and beat him 6-3, 6-1 in 56 minutes to stay on the title course and end Federer’s journey. The Aussie used his serve to win 30 of 34 points after landing the first serve, fending off both break chances and mounting the pressure on Federer. The youngster failed to provide similar numbers in his games, getting broken four times out of the eight opportunities Rafter was offered to be behind the whole time. The Swiss was unhappy with the way he competed, powerless on the pitch and making too many mistakes in rallies that he should have won against the opponent who threw everything at him with an aggressive serve-and-volley game. “I tried to hold my serve today, but my game plan didn’t work. I couldn’t complete what I had in mind because my serve wasn’t there, which gave Patrick a lot of chances on the return. I think Patrick played well today, but my performance was horrible. It’s a big disappointment and I’m a bit sad to lose in straight sets like this; it is not easy to admit. It was a great match for me to play against Patrick here, and the conditions probably favored him; the surface and everything. I did my best, but I never found my game. I had a few chances at first, but he served well; after that, I had no chance at his service. He made me play bad and I would say that I made him play good. I have to work on my service in the next few weeks because it has been a disappointment all week. There is no second serve, and you can’t beat Pat Rafter without it. I’m fine with someone attacking me all the time like he did.”
Arias talks about Federer
During a recent conversation on the Tennis Channel, former World No. 5 Jimmy Arias was asked to name the top three one-handed players on tour, excluding Roger Federer, who has not been in action for almost a year. “I went with Stan as well because of the 3 Majors and the fact that he absolutely crushes that backhand with incredible pace,” Jimmy Arias said, adding, “When he’s on, he’s the one guy I’ve ever seen that can overpower Novak Djokovic in baseline rallies. With forehand, backhand Djokovic has nothing that he can do when Stan was on in those finals.” Arias also called Roger Federer’s one-handed return the best among the lot. “Dominic Thiem again, huge backhand from anywhere,” he stated. “Richard Gasquet, I almost feel as if I should put him at one because his return. Those two guys, Stan and Thiem, get behind on the points with their return of serve. Gasquet’s is a little bit better, he’s not as behind in points off his backhand return, which is why we’re going back we can’t say Federer. I actually like Federer’s the best because he’s the one returner with one hand that stays at least neutral. It’s incredible in a lot of ways,” Arias said.