Radek Stepanek eyes upset againstSwiss master

The experienced and wily Czech recovered from 7-5, 3-2 down to Michael Russell of the USA in his first-round match on Tuesday afternoon to win 10 of the next 11 games and book a second-stage encounter with the Swiss here.

By Alex Leach (alex@khaleejtimes.com)

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Published: Wed 26 Feb 2014, 12:12 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:53 PM

Radek Stepanek hopes his experiences in crunch Davis Cup deciders can help boost his bid to knock out the five-time Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship winner Roger Federer on Wednesday.

The experienced and wily Czech recovered from 7-5, 3-2 down to Michael Russell of the USA in his first-round match on Tuesday afternoon to win 10 of the next 11 games and book a second-stage encounter with the Swiss here.

Stepanek is under no illusions as to the difficulty of the task at hand now, although he has twice proven his ability to handle the big-game occasion when representing his country and that should stand him in good stead today.

“Those Davis Cup matches are a beautiful history and you definitely take those experiences with you,” the 35-year-old said.

“The best experience is to play the toughest matches under the biggest possible pressure as that’s what makes you stronger.

“I know I’ve played a few of those in my career and I’m trying to take those experiences with me on a daily basis. It’s not going to be any different tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Stepanek didn’t watch much of Federer’s Monday evening match with Benjamin Becker as he recovered from the after-effects of a bout of illness.

However, he knows only too well what to expect from the 17-time Grand Slam champion now that he has installed Swedish legend Stefan Edberg as part of his coaching team.

“It depends what he’s going to come with, but — since he has started working with Stefan – he’s coming more to the net again. I’ve seen that change and I have to be ready for it,” he added.

“It’s always a great challenge playing against one of the best of all time. I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ve played with Roger in many matches (14 times — Federer leads their head-to-head 12-2), it has always been great tennis and I will do my best against him again tomorrow.

“You always have to expect the best from Roger, so you definitely have to hold your service games to have an opportunity to break his serve and put him under pressure a little.


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