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With his back to the wall and United
States Open hopes fading fast, Roger
Federer produced one of his most
memorable New York performances
to haul himself back from the brink
and win a thrilling five-setter against
mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils
Federer rode a wave of tumultuous
support to battle back from two sets
down and double match point to
c laim what the stoic Swiss termed an
“emotional” victory over Monfils at a
buzzing Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The dazzling athleticism and
charisma of 20th seed Monfils, who
had dominated Federer in the first
two sets, won roars of encouragement
from fans who love to embrace the
But with the Swiss grand slam
king on the brink of elimination, the
noise level rose exponentially for old
favourite Federer, who seemed to
reach new heights during his inspired
“ I have played some amazing matches
here, but maybe not enough over
the years,” Federer, winner of a men’s
record 17 grand slam singles titles,
said. “Regardless if I won or lost it, it
was really special.
“There is nobody like New Yorkers,
and this stadium here is phenomenal.
“ I think once they clamp down and
get into it, it really is truly special. ”
The final score read 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5,
6-2, but the combatants and spectators,
and even those who switched their
television sets from the National
Football League opener to watch the
action at the National Tennis Centre,
will remember much more.
The crowd beseeched Federer to
sur vive a pair of match points when
down 15-40 on ser ve in the 10th game
of the fourth set and he found a way
to do just that and was repaid with a
Monfils struck a backhand long to
squander his first chance to claim
victory and then Federer denied his
again with a sizzling forehand winner
to stay in the match.
“It was one of those moments where
you got your back against the wall and
hope to get a bit lucky and you hope
to play exactly the right shots that you
need or that he completely just messes
it up,” Federer said. “ I’m very, very
happy to have found a way. ”
From that point on, Federer took
charge by holding ser ve for 5-5, closing
out the fourth set and then breaking
Monfils in the first game of the fifth.
Playing at his brilliant best after
scattering unforced errors earlier in the
match, the Swiss master made leaping
volleys at the net and whipped winners
into the corners in taking nine of the
last 11 games.
Federer said he kept a positive
attitude despite falling behind a
supreme exhibition by the entertaining
Monfils in the opening two sets.
“I still thought the finish line was far
for Gael,” Federer said. “I knew I could
play better tennis.
“I ser ved well and stayed in the
match and somehow turned it around.
I felt great in the fifth, though. I
started playing better and better as the
match went on. It’s a great feeling. ”
It marked the ninth time in his
career that Federer escaped from a
two-set deficit, the last time in the
third round of Wimbledon in 2012
against another Frenchman in Julien
Federer will play 14th seed Marin
Cilic, who blasted his way past sixth
seed Tomas Berdych 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4),
for a place in the final.
Monfils, who had lost seven of nine
career matches against Federer but
split their last four, paid tribute to
the Swiss for hanging on for dear life
when the odds were stacked against
“That ’s why he’s Roger Federer,” an
admiring Monfils said. “He start with
chipping very low. I think I handled it
“So then he stick with longer points.
It was 50-50, and then he try to come
to the net very often. It was a bit better
for him. Then suddenly he start to mix
everything. You know, that ’s why he’s
the greatest player, because he can do
The Swiss said he was moved by the
support from the crowd.
“I felt very much a warm support
for me, wanting me to go out fighting
and believing that I could turn this
thing around,” he said. “I think when
the crowd gives you that it grows your
belief that you can hit better shots, you
can dig out more tough balls, you can
ser ve better.
“All that just helps solidify your
belief. I must say tonight was actually
quite emotional for me. They definitely
got me through the match out here.”
Federer savours phenomenal comeback
PICTURE: Getty Images
Roger Federer of Switzerland shakes hands with Gael Monfils of France after their men’s singles quarter-final match.
Tasman prop Siua Halanu-
konuka’s first try in the ITM
Cup has proven to be a valuable
The burly prop crashed through
from close range in the dying
stages as the Makos edged
Waikato 23-16 in Nelson last
night in a game that was played
with plenty of energy at a high-
The result was damaging for
Waikato which dipped to its
third defeat in five games, and
the players will need to find their
stride quickly if they want to
push for the premiership play-
Tasman has made a good start
to the year as a premiership
side after earning promotion,
although its first two victories
came against championship
opposition before it was held to
a 16-16 draw by Auckland last
It shot out to a handy early lead
last night via a try from flying
fullback Robbie Malneek and
should have pushed that lead out
further during the first half, but
a desire to push passes that were
not on became a noted Achilles’
But while hands failed them,
Tasman first-five Marty Banks
continued to tick the scoreboard
over with his reliable right boot
as it went to the break with a
Veteran halfback Jimmy Cowan
continued to show there is still
life left in his legs as he provided
a steady hand during his stint on
the field, while Tasman flanker
Shane Christie lead from the
front with his tireless work ethic.
But whatever was in the
water on offer at the inter val,
it temporarily sucked the life
out of a Tasman side which lost
direction and ability to hold on
to the ball during the second
Waikato’s players slowly eroded
the deficit in front of them as they
grew in confidence and Tasman
did its best to lose the game by
continuing to force offloads and
passes that were not on.
Tasman is a side which likes to
throw the ball around and use
the width of the paddock, but
Waikato’s improved defence was
tricky to break through.
With only a few minutes left it
looked like Tasman would pick
up its second straight draw, but
a final drive to the line showed
what the players could do when
they secure the ball.
patience during the final
moments and were eventually
burrowed over and celebrated in
The Mooloos brought plenty of
endeavour to Trafalgar Park and
they did not die wondering, but
eventually it was Tasman able to
find a killer blow.
The result pushed Tasman
firmly in to play-off contention
and it will host Taranaki in
Nelson next week, while Waikato
has a home outing against
Counties Manukau in the next
Tasman 23 (Robbie Malneek,
Siua Halanukonuka tries; Marty
Banks 3 pen, 2 con) beat Waikato
16 (Declan O’Donnell try;
Damian McKenzie 3 pen, con).
Half-time: 16-3. — APNZ
Hawke’s Bay ’s Ranfurly Shield
celebrations have officially ended
after they were upset 23-21 by
Manukau to claim the Ranfurly
Shield last Saturday, the Magpies
faced a potential banana-skin
game against the Taniwha last
night and it proved to be so as
a super sideline conversion from
Dan Hawkins gave Northland
Down 21-16 in the dying
stages, Northland’s reserve lock
Michael Stolberg managed
to smuggle the ball across the
line for a game-tying try and
Hawkins’s heroics after the
hooter sealed the win.
Wet conditions did not allow
for much free-flowing rugby
between the championship sides
but Northland never gave in,
despite trailing on the scoreboard
for most of the game.
Tries to Brendon O’Connor
and Ryan Tongia gave Hawke’s
Bay a handy lead, which they
should have been able to close
After suffering two losses from
their first three contests, this
victory would have been a good
confidence boost for a Northland
side which likes to throw the ball
around and play with ambition,
even if the conditions do not
The Taniwha players will look
to build on this result when they
meet Otago in Dunedin next
Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay will
need to lift its performance when
it defends the Ranfurly Shield
against Otago next Sunday.
Northland 23 (Dan Pryor,
Michael Stolberg tries; Dan
Hawkins 3 pen, 2 con) beat
Hawke’s Bay 21 (Brendon
O’Connor, Ryan Tongia tries;
Ihaia West 2 pen, con, Matt
Berquist pen). Half-time: 11-6.
Noted New Zealand motor-
sport writer Eoin S Young died
in Christchurch yesterday aged
Born in Timaru, Mr Young
left New Zealand for the United
Kingdom in the early 1960s,
working with New Zealand
drivers Denny Hulme and Bruce
McLaren, becoming the latter’s
secretary with the formation of
the McLaren Formula One team.
He went on to become a popular
and respected columnist and
writer, contributing to motoring
publications worldwide and
writing many books, including
the biographies of Hulme,
McLaren, Chris Amon, Jim
Clark and James Hunt.
— Otago Daily Times
NZ F1 writer Eoin
Young dies at 75
Electrical gremlins held up Lewis Hamilton
in Italian Grand Prix practice overnight after
the Mercedes driver had lapped more than
half a second quicker than anyone else in the
The Briton, who retired from the race in
Belgium 12 days ago after team-mate and
championship leader Nico Rosberg hit
the back of his car, missed an hour of the
afternoon running as mechanics replaced
sensors on his car.
Hamilton was still fastest overall on the day,
with a best time of 1min, 26.187sec set before
lunch. Rosberg was top of the afternoon
timesheets with a best of 1:26.225, just ahead
of his team-mate.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to have the full
session tomorrow and get some good
running,” Hamilton, who has had more than
his share of mechanical problems this season
while Rosberg has motored on, said.
“Monza is quite an important circuit to
put the car at the front as it ’s very difficult to
“It would be great to have a trouble-free
Jenson Button, Hamilton’s former team-
mate at McLaren, was second fastest in the
morning in 1:26.810 with Rosberg — who
has not so far been on the podium at Monza
— pushed back to third in 1:26.995.
Hamilton is 29 points behind Rosberg in
the championship with seven races remaining
and is determined to claw his way back
against his German rival, who was punished
by the team for the Spa collision.
“I didn’t feel 100% confident in the car, so I
can’t be happy with today and I have a lot of
work to do tonight with the boys,” Rosberg
Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso was fourth fastest
in both sessions at the fastest circuit on the
calendar, with team-mate Kimi Raikkonen
third in the afternoon.
“That was a very busy day, but a positive one.
We made the most of every minute available
to us in both sessions,” Raikkonen, who has
never won Ferrari’s home race, said.
Williams’ Valtteri Bottas was fifth in the
second practice after a quiet morning and
Button was sixth for McLaren, who last won
a race in 2012.
Red Bull’s quadruple world champion
Sebastian Vettel, last year’s winner at the
“c athedral” of Italian motorsport, was sixth
and seventh while Australian team-mate
Daniel Ricciardo was 16th and 10th.
Ricciardo, as good as Italian to many of the
home fans and chasing his third win in a row,
was sidelined for some of the first session
with a power unit problem.
“Obviously we want to be a bit further
up, but I think we can chip away at it
tomorrow, the Mercedes will be quick, but if
we can sneak into the top five in qualifying
then we’ ll have a good crack at the race,”
“Getting temperature into the tyres is tricky,
especially for the first timed lap. ”
At the slow end of the field, Spanish driver
Roberto Merhi made his debut appearance
at a Formula One weekend and lapped faster
than regular race driver Marcus Ericsson in
the other Caterham.
Merhi handed the car back to Japanese
Kamui Kobayashi, returning after being
dropped by the team for Spa, for the
afternoon and rest of the weekend.
Spanish reser ve driver Daniel Juncadella
also had a stint with Force India while
Frenchman Charles Pic was handed
compatriot Romain Grosjean’s Lotus for the
session. — Reuters
Hamilton sets early pace at Monza
Fourteen teams competed for the
mixed darts pairs Kokatahi Trophy last
The final of the first life saw Barry and Sue
Hodson beat Evan Calteaux and Pauline
Hingston. In the second life final, Calteaux
and Hingston beat Kevin Rasmussen and
Jenny Hoskings. Following a best-of-seven
final, the Hodsons emerged winners over
Calteaux and Hingston.
High scores: Evan Calteaux 180,
P Hingston 150, Calteaux (5), K
High breaks: J Thomas, E Calteaux,
M Sangster 120, B Hodson 119, L
Hoskings, G Gallon 105. High finishes:
S Hodson 148, E Calteaux 110, J
Hodsons take title
PICTURE: Getty Images
Dale Copley of the Broncos drops a pass during the match between the
Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Storm seals finals berth
with Broncos win
Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Smith
delivered a captain’s knock to give his
team every chance of a top four NRL
finals berth with a drama-packed 22-12
win over Brisbane at AAMI Park.
Smith shrugged off a possibly serious
ankle injury that temporarily forced him
off the field while centre Mahe Fonua
scored two second half tries to seal the
last round win and a place in the play-
The Storm moved into fourth, however
Penrith and North Queensland can
still leapfrog it with wins against the
Warriors and Manly respectively.
Brisbane meanwhile could drop out
of the eight should the ninth-placed
Warriors or 10th-placed Parramatta,
which faces the 15th-placed Canberra
Smith left the field with 11 minutes
remaining in the first half with the
injury diagnosed as syndesmosis — a
high ankle sprain which usually means
at least a week out.
The Storm looked in disarray in his
absence, with the Broncos scoring one
try and the video referees over-ruling
an on-field decision to award another to
At the same time Smith was injured,
Brisbane skipper Corey Parker also left
the field for a concussion test after a
heavy knock in a tackle.
He returned in time to convert Jack
Reed’s 33rd minute try for his side to
trail 12-10 .
Reed’s night was cut short soon after
when he dislocated his shoulder while
making a charge in the final play of the
Smith, however, was back into the
fray three minutes into the second half,
although the Storm players did not have
it all their own way.
A Parker penalty tied the match up
and despite the home side’s best effort,
Brisbane’s wall of defence held firm until
the 65th minute.
Melbourne centre Mahe Fonua leaped
high to take a Cooper Cronk bomb and
then muscled his way across the line to
break the deadlock.
Will Chambers, kicking in place of
Smith, was unable to kick the conversion.
In the end it did not matter with Fonua
intercepting a Ben Hunt pass and racing
55m, chased by three Broncos, to touch
Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin, who
will be replaced by Wayne Bennett next
season, said his team’s defence was rock
solid after a costly early lapse when
Ryan Hoffman and Cooper Cronk both
“The jump they got on us in the end
was the difference,” Griffin said.
“I thought from then we were on
top for long periods of the game but
unfortunately a kick and an intercept
and we end up with nothing.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow. ”
Griffin said that Reed would require
his third shoulder reconstruction in as
Despite his injury and absence, Smith
still topped his team’s tackle count with
49, surpassed only by McCullough’s
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he
was hopeful that his skipper would be
available to play the opening final next
“It’s not minor but it’s obviously not
too serious other wise he wouldn’t have
gone back on,” he said.
“Hopefully our physio can get him up
for next week.”
The coach was concerned that his team
might run out of steam after a heavy
travelling schedule leading up to the
match and was proud they held firm.
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