Roger Federer overcomes double duty, lightning, and Stan Wawrinka to earn Cincinnati semis spot

Roger Federer backhand

Roger Federer survived double duty, losing the first set, and a mid-match delay for lightning to beat Stan Wawrinka and move into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters on Friday.

The 37-year-old had not played since Tuesday due to the weather wreaking havoc, forcing him to play twice on the same day for the fist time on the ATP Tour in 14 years.

“It was exciting to go through something new, only it was something I have done for the second time of my career maybe at the professional level,” said Federer of the double duty.

“Felt like two separate days, actually, because this morning it was daytime, or this afternoon it was daytime, windy and breezy, and then we came out in the nighttime and it was black, and the sky totally different.

“No wind at all. Different atmosphere. It was quite interesting, actually.”

Federer had cruised past Leonardo Mayer 6-1 7-6 first, but found compatriot and old foe Wawrinka a far tougher nut to crack.

The two exchanged tiebreak wins to necessitate a decider, before Federer rode out a 20-minute rain delay to claim a 6-7 7-6 6-2 win.

“I just tried to remember [for] the core of the match, focus on your serve and try to do what we talked with the coach beforehand on the return games, but it was just never really connecting at the right times my way,” Federer said.

“So I just had to hang tough, not get frustrated, and hope that I was not going to throw in a horrible service game or that he was going to connect perfectly.

“It was a close match today, so I’m just relieved that I got through it somehow.”

“Maybe he came out a bit heavy after the rain delay.

“I also felt heavy for a second, because it has been a lot of tennis and a lot of focus we had to put into it.

“Maybe it felt a little bit easier for me and maybe it was a little bit clearer what I wanted to do also from the baseline.

“And I just didn’t want to overhit, to be honest, because I felt like I did that quite a bit the first couple of sets.”

Federer will not get a day off with David Goffin awaiting him in the semi-finals after he impressively beat both Kevin Anderson and Juan Martin del Potro on Friday.

“It was a tough day,” Goffin said. “It was a great intensity against Delpo and some rallies with his backhand crosscourt, so it was not easy tactically to find a solution.

“But at the end, two tie-breaks and I made it. So I’m really happy to be in the semi-final for the first time.”

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