MADRID (AP) — Facing match point and on a second serve, Roger Federer decided it was time for a “panic move.”
So he went into all-out attacking mode, charging to the net to try to avoid a disappointing end to his first clay-court tournament since 2016.
A lucky volley, followed by a smash winner, kept Federer in the match. An aggressive forehand two points later allowed him to save a second match point, and he went on to beat Gael Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the third round of the Madrid Open on Thursday.
“I felt my chances were bigger at the net than from the baseline, so it was a desperation, panic move,” Federer said. “I was very nervous, so I just figured, ‘come to the net, take a chance,’ and it worked out.”
In only his second match on clay in three years, Federer rallied from three games down late in the third set and then dominated the deciding tiebreaker to outlast Monfils and reach the quarterfinals in a match of more than two hours at the Magic Box center court.
It was the 1,200th career win for Federer, allowing him to join Jimmy Connors as the only male players to have…