By Fernie Ruano Jr.
No. 5 seed Roger Federer made it another day at the beach with a breezy victory over Thiemo De Bakker, his third straight win over the young qualifier, all in straight sets, during Sunday’s Day Session action at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis. Federer, a back-to-back champion in Key Biscayne (2005-06), improved to 43-12 lifetime in Miami, while taking just 62 minutes to secure a spot in the fourth round.
When asked to pinpoint a reason for his success – besides the much-publicized new racket – Federer spoke about his commitment to his craft. “I’ve put in the hard work, which you have to. I know I can play good tennis, I know that. I’ve proven that in that past. Just because I’ve had a little bit of a letdown last year because of injury doesn’t mean I have forgotten how to play.”
“It’s important to remind yourself of that but you don’t live in the past. You have to create your own future and for that I have to make sure I keep believing and now the confidence is back. I think it’s pretty simple as it used to be.”
Federer said finding his game again was just a matter of staying patient. “I think it was more a process,” said Federer about his recent spike in play, which includes winning a sixth title in Dubai. The 32-year-old veteran, attempting to win his third Sony Open title after not playing last year in Key Biscayne, recently moved into third place all-time with 78 career titles, one more than John McEnroe.
There’s a Rado commercial making the rounds where Sony Open defending champion Andy Murray does everything from jump rope to run through Miami before arriving on the tennis center in time to check his watch and make sure he wasn’t late. But time was no issue on Sunday afternoon for the sixth-seeded Murray, a 6-4, 6-1 victor over No. 32 Feliciano Lopez in his third round match.
Murray livened up a subdued crowd by whipping through the first set in 44 minutes, rarely appearing in trouble, including in the 10th game of the set when he won three of the final four points to close out the set. Murray took advantage of Lopez’s erratic play at every turn, most notably early in the second set when he hit a winner after Lopez misfired on easy volley that caught the net.
In other Sunday action, Polish No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanksa polished off Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-5, 6-3; No. 10 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia beat Alize Cornet 7-6(6), 6-4 of France; Varvara Lepchenko of the US beat Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia; Elina Svitolina of the Ukraine got past Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republish; and Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain ran past Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. 6-2, 6-1.
On the men’s side, France’s Richard Gasquet defeated South African Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-4 to set up a matchup with No. 5 seed Federer in the fourth round; Tommy Robredo, the No. 16 seed upended Julien Benneteau of France 6-3, 6-4