Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Federer hits between-the-legs shot in Open victory

NEW YORK (AP)—Roger Federer delivered another YouTube-worthy, between-the-legs shot at the U.S. Open. The five-time champion at Flushing Meadows hit 18 aces in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory over 96th-ranked Brian Dabul of Argentina in the first round, part of Federer’s remarkable 46-4 advantage in winners Monday night.
“There’s nothing you can do when he has those days,” Dabul said. “He’s perfect.” No shot was more spectacular than the one Federer came up with while leading 5-3 in the second set. He was at the net when Dabul sailed a lob high overhead. Federer turned and sprinted toward the baseline.
A few steps from the wall behind the court in Arthur Ashe Stadium, and with his back to the net, Federer smacked the ball through his legs. Article by Howard Fendrich-AP Tennis Writer/Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images & Reuters
The shot cleared the net and landed in a corner for a winner beside Dabul, who raised his eyebrows and shrugged his shoulders. “Only he can do that,” Dabul would say later. At the far end of the court, Federer celebrated the trick shot by raising his arms overhead and lifting his right index finger to signal No. 1.
It was nearly identical to a back-to-the-court, through-the-legs passing winner Federer hit against Novak Djokovic in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals. “This one was incredible again,” Federer said. “I turned around and couldn’t believe the shot landed in the corner.” Asked if Monday’s shot was better than the one against Djokovic, Federer said he’d need to go to the videotape to be sure.
“In terms of difficulty, maybe this one was harder, because I had the feeling I had to run a longer distance and I was further back somehow,” he said. “I had to really give the last big push at the end. I didn’t have time to set it up.”

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