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Federer faces familiar foes during Open's second week

| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007

Some things never change, like Roger Federer being the heavy favorite in every tournament he enters. And some things never stay the same, like the seven guys who are in the quarterfinals with Federer. He'll face some familiar foes during the second week of the U.S. Open, like Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic. One particular thorn in his side, Rafael Nadal, won't be around, losing in an entertaining late-night match against David Ferrer early this morning. Nadal's exit opens the door on the bottom half of a deep draw, and anything could happen. The men's quarterfinals:

Roger Federer v. Andy Roddick: The numbers don't look good for Andy Roddick here. He has beaten Federer exactly once, four years ago. He's lost to him 13 times. The term "uphill battle" seems an understatement here. If Roddick has one thing going for him, it's the fact that he's won two matches at Flushing Meadows this year by walkover, with two opponents quitting. The American can try to raise his level against the best player in the world, or he can hope for another "walkover." Sorry, Andy. I think Tonya Harding's got a Celebrity Death Match set up for tonight.

Nikolay Davydenko v. Tommy Haas: Haas is enjoying a bit of a career resurgence after being derailed by injury. After edging James Blake a couple days ago, he should be brimming with confidence, even if he is taking on the fourth seed. Davydenko has looked solid himself so far, despite the gambling investigation that centers on him. Haas and Davydenko have had some battles at Grand Slams. Last year at the Open, Davydenko beat him, but this year in Australia, it was Haas who won, 7-5 in the fifth set. The edge here goes barely to Haas, only because Davydenko has played a lot this summer, and his gas tank has got to be approaching empty by now.

Carlos Moya v. Novak Djokovic: Stat of the day: Carlos Moya won the French Open ... in 1998. That's a long time ago, and he's still ticking at 31. His opponent is 11 years younger, and has wina over Federer and Nadal this summer. One guy Djokovic doesn't have a win against this summer is Moya. Moya's won both of their matches this year, including in Cincinnati a few weeks back. Can the old man continue his dominance over the young upstart• I don't think so. It may take four sets, but Djokovic should be able to figure Moya out, especially with a Grand Slam semifinal on the line.

Juan Ignacio Chela v. David Ferrer: Physically, Chela would get an edge, since the Ferrer-Nadal match practically ended 15 minutes ago. Seriously, this is huge for both men. Whoever wins gets to their first Grand Slam semifinal. In cases like this, an intangible like this could mean more than who has the best forehand. Ferrer could be still riding the high from beating the world No. 2, but it was a three and a half hour match. Chela also had to go the distance in his fourth-round win. Bottom line: Who would have expected either of these guys to get this far• And who could guess who'd win between the two•

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