The Reuters global sports blog
The Cincinnati Masters Series was the last big event before the US Open begins. It is closer to conditions in New York than those in Toronto, but slightly hotter than New York. The ball traveled even faster through the air because of the climate.
Andy Roddick was back in action after having complained about being lethargic in Washington. Having withdrawn from the Toronto tournament, Roddick was out of the Top 10. However, if he got to the semi-finals or better he would make his way back in the top 10. It is the first time since the rankings have started that an American has not been in the Top 10. There were quite a few interesting stories this week: Could Roger Federer defend his title? Would Nadal’s form improve from Toronto? Could Murray keep the aggressive play up and continue the role? Would there be any big shocks?
The first big match of the week was Roddick vs world No. 5 Robin Soderling – it was a great match and Roddick was back to his best – winning 7-6 in the third. He has worked hard over his career, but since getting together with Larry Stefanki, he’s really improved his game. Roddick has added a slice backhand for variety and started mixing serves and volleys and is now willing to come forward more. He has also gone back to the fighting weight he was when he was world No. 1. If you don’t keep improving, you only go one way in men’s tennis and that is backwards. At the start of the week Roddick was 25-1 to win the US Open, but after beating Soderling in the third round and then going on to easily defeat Novak Djokovic, his odds will be going down dramatically.
Federer on the other hand has had a relatively easy week. He had a bye in the opening round, followed by a retirement in the first set and then a walk over in the third round to play Nikolay Davydenko in the quarter finals. This was his first test of the week and he passed with flying colors. He won in straight sets and was starting to look like the old Roger Federer. It set up a semi final match with Marcos Baghdatis. Baghdatis caused the biggest upset of the week, beating world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarters.