Woods watches Federer at Key Biscayne

Woods watches Federer at Key Biscayne

Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin, watched the match from the stadium club level.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) — Tiger Woods has the last tee time Sunday, which is fortunate because Roger Federer kept him out late Saturday night.

Woods waited through a rainstorm to watch his friend play, then stayed until the end of Federer’s 6-4, 6-3 victory over 19-year-old American Sam Querrey in the second round of the Sony Ericsson Open.

“It’s great Tiger watches tennis — a great honor for our sport,” Federer said.

Delayed more than two hours, the match began at 10:18 p.m. and ended at 11:20. Because the top-ranked Federer had an opening-round bye, the match was his first since his 41-match winning streak ended with a loss to Guillermo Canas at Indian Wells on March 11. He hasn’t lost two matches in a row since 2003.

“I came through well and played pretty solid,” Federer said.

On Sunday, Maria Sharapova will play Venus Williams — a third-round match worthy of a final. It will be their first meeting since the 2005 Wimbledon semifinals.

Woods shot a 68 Saturday for a four-shot lead after three rounds at the CA Championship at Doral. Federer said he phoned his friend to let it him know it was raining on Key Biscayne, but Woods decided to make the 15-mile trip anyway.

Accompanied by wife Elin, Woods watched Federer’s match from the stadium club level.

“He told me a couple of months ago he was going to come out,” Federer said. “It was very nice.”

They became friends in the past year, and for the first time, they’re competing in the same city at the same time this weekend. Federer accompanied Woods on a practice round Wednesday but said he won’t return to Doral for the final round, watching on TV instead.

Querrey is ranked 69th after starting the year 127th, but he managed to keep up with Federer for only six games. Federer converted his sixth break-point chance for a 4-3 lead, broke again to go up 3-2 in the second set and lost only one of 26 points on his first serve.

The win was his 33rd in a row over Americans and his 13th in a row at Key Biscayne, where he’s bidding for his third successive title.

“He’s got every shot in the book,” Querrey said. “It was definitely a great experience playing the No. 1 player in the world.”

The top-seeded Sharapova advanced by beating Chan Yung-jan 6-3, 6-2 in her opening match. The unseeded Williams endured two rain delays in the second set totaling 5 1/2 hours before she eliminated No. 29 Maria Kirilenko 6-3, 6-3.

Seeking her first Key Biscayne title, Sharapova faces a difficult draw. If she beats three-time champion Williams, she could face another three-time winner — Serena Williams — in the next round.

“If you want to win a big tournament like this, you’ve got to play against good players,” Sharapova said.

Serena, seeded 13th, beat Anastasia Rodionova 6-3, 6-3. The victory came in her first match since she won her eighth Grand Slam title by routing Sharapova in the Australian Open final Jan. 27.

“I’ve been training every day, and I’m tired of it,” Serena said. “The easiest part of tennis is playing the tournaments.”

Venus needs a victory Sunday for a shot at a fourth-round matchup against her sister Monday. The last time they met was at the 2005 U.S. Open.

Venus won the last time she faced Sharapova, then went on to the Wimbledon title, her fifth and most recent major championship.

“I haven’t forgotten,” Venus said. “It’s a couple of years ago, really. Right now I feel like my second serve is at the top of the top, and my first serve is pretty frightening. I’m playing really well, so for me, it’s just really going to be just as always.”

Slowed by injuries in recent months, Venus is playing in only her third tournament since July. She won a Tier III event in Memphis in February for her first title in 19 months.

While Sharapova is seeded No. 1, her seven-week reign atop the rankings ended this week when she was overtaken by Justine Henin. She began her bid to reclaim the top spot on a windy afternoon, double-faulting eight times against Chan and facing six break points but saving them all.

“I felt like I was in control,” Sharapova said. “With the break points she had, I was able to come up with good defensive play. She had me on the run on some of those break points, and I was able to come up with good shots. But it’s the first match. It’s never completely there. I’m sure I’ll get better.”

The 17-year-old Chan fell to 0-5 this year.

Venus Williams trailed Kirilenko 1-0 in the second set when rain interrupted play for more than four hours. They completed three more games before another shower halted play for 1 hour, 10 minutes.

During the latter delay, Woods hung out in the players’ lounge with his wife, and Federer came by for a visit. Woods declined to talk to reporters.

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