Invisible man Davydenko targets Federer

6th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 6, 2007 (AFP) - Nikolay Davydenko is happy to leave the Russian razzmatazz to Marat Safin and Maria Sharapova if it guarantees him victory over Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals.

PARIS, June 6, 2007 (AFP) - Nikolay Davydenko is happy to leave the Russian razzmatazz to Marat Safin and Maria Sharapova if it guarantees him victory over Roger Federer in the French Open semi-finals.

The quiet man of tennis, decidedly low-profile compared to his former world number one and double Grand Slam winning compatriots, cherishes his anonymity which has cloaked his rise to four in the world.

But should he pull off a masterstroke and achieve a first career win over the world number one and reach the Roland Garros final, he'll have to reluctantly emerge from the shadows.

The odds are stacked against him; eight times he's played Federer and eight times he's come up short.

"The most important thing for me is to enjoy my tennis. If I am enjoying it then I play well," said the 26-year-old.

"You always need to make good results by getting to a Grand Slam final or a semi-final. You are playing on centre court, people know you. On TV, people watch you.

"But what do I most enjoy? Hitting the ball and making winners."

It's not the philosophy which will make the advertising men drool, but it is the kind of single-mindedness that has taken the frail-looking, 70kg Russian into a second French Open semi-final.

Friday's clash will split the Paris sympathy vote.

There will be those willing on Federer to grab the two wins he needs to claim a first French Open title and so become just the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam crowns at the same time.

However, there will be others who believe Davydenko was cheated out of a place in the 2005 final when he lost a five-set semi-final marathon to Mariano Puerta, the Argentinian who later failed a drugs test and was banned.

Federer has only played Davydenko once on clay. That was a straight sets win in the Hamburg semi-finals in 2005.

But the world number one has the utmost respect for Davydenko whose form now is almost unrecognisable to that of two years ago.

"He's a great player," said the top seed who reached his third successive semi-final with a 7-5, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 win over Tommy Robredo.

"He's improved over the years. He's become more consistent from the baseline and his serve has improved. He's a great runner, it will be a very physical match."


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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