Federer survives Ginepri scare

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Top seed Roger Federer survived a major scare to get past Robby Ginepri at the Masters event in Cincinnati last night and helped his efforts to cling on to the world No 1 spot.

With Rafael Nadal hot on Federer's heels, a slip-up by the Swiss in the second-round tie would have paved the way for the Spaniard to overtake. But Federer battled back from losing the first set to triumph 6-7, 7-6, 6-0 over his unseeded rival, although Ginepri served for the match in the second set.

Federer broke serve in the seventh game but Ginepri hit back to level at 4-4. The former Wimbledon champion again broke the American to go 5-4 up but failed to serve out for the first set and Ginepri again restored parity at 5-5. Both players then held to force a tie-break which Ginepri stormed 7-2.

The first break of the second set went to Ginepri as he went 6-5 up and then served for the match, but Federer showed his class and levelled at 6-6. The defending champion held his nerve to edge the tie-break and then breezed through the third set without losing a game to give himself hope of stretching his 235-week reign at world No 1.

If Nadal can win the title and Federer goes out before the semi-finals, the 22-year-old will rise to the top of the rankings.