Federer Growing Strong at Estoril With Coach Higueras Lead

By: Claudia Beckford

Last weekend just before the beginning of the small clay event in Portugal known as the Estoril Open; a prep for the Master Series in Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg. The world number one player the Swiss Roger Federer announced his possible partnership with Spaniard Coach Jose Higueras who is an expert on the red surfaces and whose background include tennis players such: Pete Sampras, Michael Chang, Jelena Jankovic, and Anna Chakvetadze.

It is indeed great news to learn that Federer is looking to bring in additional force power to his game as he is trying to recover from his three and a half title less spell; a rare happening if you ask me. Both the Swiss and Higueras seem to be communicating and training together. It is a fact the business relationship will not solidify until Federer is put to the test when he meets long time friend Olivier Rochus of Belgium in the first round.

The 12-Grand Slam winner has had a rough year start and he is still recovering from mononucleosis. Federer is aware of his title needs to preserve the number one position in the ATP rankings as his rivals keep closing down the gap between them and the Swiss star.

Later on Tuesday evening Federer's final score of 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 against opponent Oliver Rochus lighten up our hopes of a solid comeback on the clay surface, despite the imminent first set scare; Federer was able to turn the tables around; he admitted he had felt the pressure as this is the first time since 2003 (Munich) that he is part of a non-ATP Masters spring clay event.

His second game against the Romanian world #68 Victor Hanescu of 6-3, 6-2 opened the doors for the Swiss Master to Estoril quarterfinals despite a sudden weather change and a wet court.

Higueras proudly attended the match and watched most closely Federer's single moves in order to evaluate his new student's work. Additionally, Swiss Davis Cup Coach Severin Luethi was also a spectator as he is planning to talk to Federer to become once again part of the Swiss team to defend his country in the Davis Cup tournament.

The next match - a quarter final one against Frederico Gil was easily wrapped up by the right-handed Swiss in two sets 6-4, 6-1. This becomes Federer's third consecutive win of the week and brightens up the possibility for Federer to hold soon his fist title of the 2008 season.

Nevertheless, Federer needs additional practice as well as to define whether to continue with Higueras by his side during the following months until the French Open at Roland Garros. Perhaps; the fact that he is in a tough position might be the push he required in order to win the only Grand Slam he has not been able to lay his hands on yet.

Another top ranking player who is among the last eight at Estoril is the Sony Ericsson winner Nicolay Davydekno who had an outstaying performance throughout the tournament back in Miami and who could end up being Federer's rival in a possible final at Estoril.

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