Tennis Server ATP/WTA Pro Tennis Showcase - W&SFG Men's Masters Cincinnati 2010 - Federer Walks, Roddick Talks, Murray Balks - Nadal bounces out, Federer & Roddick On Collision Course - Nadal, Baghdatis, Federer, Davydenko, Roddick, Djokovic, Fish, Murray
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August 20, 2010

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W&SFG Men's Masters 2010, Cincinnati (Mason), Ohio, USA
August 20, 2010
Editorial by Vince Barr with photography by Pablo Sanfrancisco.

Vince Barr Photo
Vince Barr

Nadal bounces out, Federer & Roddick On Collision Course
 
There was more controversy before Andy Murray started the first center court match against Mardy Fish. Murray requested the evening match since he had been playing so much during the day and was physically exhausted. Watching him walk into the press room yesterday I had serious doubts about whether or not he would even be able to play his quarterfinal match with Mardy today. He had that dazed look on his face when he walked into the interview room yesterday after his match with Gulbis. It was clear to everyone that he was really struggling to recover physically. So, it came as no surprise that he wanted to play the evening quarterfinal in order to rest his body as much as was humanly possible in order to be in top form for his match with Fish. Unfortunately for Murray, his opponent was playing doubles as well which greatly complicated matters. Had Mardy lost his second round doubles match, Murray most likely would have been granted his request to play later today. But Fish won his doubles match, meaning that he was going to have to play two matches on Friday vs. Murray's one.
 
That meant that whenever Murray's singles match with Fish was scheduled, it had to precede Fish's doubles match while allowing Mardy enough rest time to be able to compete in both tournaments. And for scheduling purposes, tournament officials had to concern themselves with the possibility that Fish would win both matches. You might think that the most obvious solution would be to schedule Fish's doubles match first on the grandstand and then schedule the evening quarterfinal on center court to give Andy what he requested as well as enough time to rest for Mardy in between his doubles and singles matches. But that would have put Fish at a disadvantage since he would have already played in the morning and the general rule for scheduling purposes is that when players are entered in singles and doubles, singles scheduling gets the first priority. There is more prize money in singles and for players who want to play both events, points from their singles matches have the most impact on their individual ranking. Many doubles teams play with different players throughout the year though there are some exceptions. For instance, the Bryan Brothers are committed to doubles and neither brother plays singles on a consistent basis. Another possibility would be to play Murray's quarterfinal as the third match on center court and then after appropriate rest, Fish could play doubles in the evening on grandstand. But again, that would have put Fish at a disadvantage since "appropriate rest" can be only 90 minutes long, which would have been unfair to Mark Knowles, Mardy's doubles partner.
 
So, combining all those factors together meant that Andy was not given the match time he requested and he was not happy about that fact in the post-match press conference after Mardy had beaten him 6-7 (9), 6-1, 7-6 (5). Murray pointed out that "I hardly ever request when I play. I don't make many demands at all during the tournaments. However, in light of the circumstances, I just thought yesterday that my request (to play late) was a pretty fair one," Murray said. When he was told that his request had been declined because of the doubles situation I noted previously, Andy replied that "I'm not sure the way the tennis works; I don't think matches should be scheduled around the doubles, because it's the singles that's on the TV. I was more than happy to play on the Grandstand Court; it would not have been a problem," Murray said.
 
I can see both sides of the issue and it does not take a genius to see that Murray would have come down on the other side of the issue had he been the one playing both singles and doubles in this event. Tournament officials are not insensitive to player requests, it's just that they have to balance multiple contingencies and often conflicting interests and they do the best they can. In that regard, they did not schedule Murray's singles match around the doubles; in fact, they did the exact opposite while trying to be as fair as possible to all the players involved. If there would have been any way to accede to Andy's request, they would have done so, especially considering that Murray won the event here in 2008. The match lasted four minutes shy of three hours long and it was amazing to me that Murray competed as well as he did given his physical situation.
 
Mardy will have to serve much better than he did today if he wants to stay competitive with Roddick in tomorrow's semifinals. He recorded a 53% first serve percentage in today's match with Andy Murray but he was inconsistent with it. He started the first set with his first serve at 48% then raised that to 68% in the second and then it fell backwards to 52% in the third. He did win nearly all of his first serve points with 78% for the match and he maintained that level throughout the match. His second serve, however, was a different story. While he won 54% of those points in the match, it dropped as low as 29% in the second set, so he will need to tighten that aspect of his game. Fish's return game was fairly solid, though he struggled winning his first return points on Murray's serve, especially in the first set at 17% (3 of 18 points won). Obviously, Murray had something to do with all that as he played well. Given Murray's physical condition, I expected a huge drop off in some aspect of his game as the match wore on and was pleasantly surprised that his level did not drop in the nearly three hours he spent on court. Andy mixed up his serve speeds which threw off Fish's timing. "Sometimes, if guys are just hitting as hard as they can or hitting 125, 130 every time you can get a rhythm on it," Fish noted. "So, if you're mixing speeds up, it's tough to get a rhythm. I missed some second serve returns. I tried to stay as aggressive as I could. But it's all about rhythm, and, you know, he was trying to mess me up a little bit," Fish laughed. After the match ended, Mardy gave the crowd "virtual" hugs which was a little amusing way to celebrate a big win. "I was just happy to put myself in this position again," Mardy said. "This is one my favorite spots of the year, and I have a lot of great memories here, like I've said this week. I haven't played this well since that 2003 tournament here (where he lost in a fantastic final to Andy Roddick) and I do love coming here. So, yeah, I mean, I was just excited to win and beat one of the best players in the world right now. The crowd was incredible and I just wanted to let them know," Fish said. Mardy next plays one of his best friends on the tour, Andy Roddick for a spot in the finals.
 
Roddick's match against Novak Djokovic turned out much different than I expected. Certainly, I hoped that Andy would pull through, I just wasn't expecting him to dispose of the 3rd-ranked player in the world as easily as he was able to do today, 6-4, 7-5. Neither player served exceptionally well with Andy serving slightly worse in his first serve game by a 57% to 59% margin. However, Andy was lights out on winning his first serve points with a figure of 83% (29 of 35) while Novak was unable to match him in that particular category, posting a 59% success rate (22 of 37). Roddick also did well in his return game, winning 41% of those points (15 of 37) where Djokovic really struggled in his first returns by winning only six points all night on 25 chances in Roddick's first serve (17% success rate). I asked Andy if this match with Djokovic went a little easier than he might have been expecting and he replied that "Novak probably didn't play his best today. That's fairly apparent. He was missing balls that he normally doesn't miss. So I probably expected him to play a little bit better," Roddick noted.
 
How happy was he to see the first All-American semifinal since 2004 (when he lost to Agassi)? "I'm excited for a lot of reasons. You know, at the beginning of last week I hadn't played tennis for about six or seven days," Roddick noted. "Mardy came down (to Texas), and my first practice was really bad, and so I didn't really see this coming. Maybe for him, but not the way I was hitting the ball. So it's real nice. Obviously I'm happy for his surge. He's probably my best friend on tour, so I'm really happy to see him playing well. I just hope he doesn't do it tomorrow," Roddick laughed. I asked Andy how he felt about his form this week given the fact that he's recovering from a slight case of mono. "Well, I'm happy. I mean, you know, like I said, I didn't come into this tournament with any expectations. I didn't know if I was gonna play it, to be honest, as late as Thursday or Friday of last week," Roddick explained. "So I mean, the doc told me to probably only practice about an hour a day, and I think I've done more than that this week. So it's all good, regardless of what happens from here on out, I consider it a big success just because I feel like I have some form going into the US Open. So this has been a very, very positive week for me this week," Roddick said.
 
With his win today, Andy moves back into the Top 10 which has been a source of angst by most of the American media here but not the American players, including Roddick himself. "I wish I got to talk about it as much when I am in the top 10 as opposed to when I'm not," Andy laughed. "It only seems to be a story when I'm not up there. I don't care at all, frankly. For me, it hasn't been about my ranking. I mean, I missed the last four months of last year when my knee was all blown up, and then this year's been a little dicey," Roddick explained. "I've had probably four or five good months to put on the board as far as ranking, so it's not really surprising that I dropped out. When I have been on the court, my record speaks for itself. It's 30 some odd wins and 7 losses or something like that. It's not something I'm too concerned with. If I felt like I was playing well and not getting wins, then that would different story. I know if I do the right things, prepare and find form, then I'm still relevant.
 
The third quarterfinal of the day matched Roger Federer vs. Nikolay Davydenko. Roger has completely dominated the head to head series between the two players, winning 13 of the 15 matches they had played. However, Nikolay managed to win two of the last three matches they have played, including last year's world championship semifinal and another semifinal in Doha this year. "Well the London loss (2-6, 6-4, 5-7) was a really close match. I had 5-All, Love-30, I think, in the third or 5-4, Love-30, I don't remember. At any rate, I was a couple points away from the match and lost 7-5 in the third," Federer recalled. "It's a bit of a pity not giving myself the chance to make the finals of the Masters, or the World Tour Finals. In Doha, I thought he played well. Right off the bat I think I got broken a couple of times. I think he had like 100% first serves in the first set there I remember. So, I mean, he was just better on the day. I've had some close matches all the way through this year with him actually that haven't been that one sided. I think I beat him over 12 times in a row. So I just tried to play offensively, mix it up and make it hard for him to get any sort of rhythm. I was able to play well really when I wanted to," Federer observed. Roger was not seriously threatened in this match, winning 6-4, 7-5 although Nikolay played fairly well. Roger had 12 aces and dominated in terms of his first serve points won, 78% (32 of 41 points) compared to 54% for Davydenko (29 of 54). Roger's return game was better than Davydenko's as well although Nikolay did better against Roger's second serve than Roger was able to do against Nikolay's second serve.
 
Roger had an unexpected day off yesterday after Kohlschreiber had to retire with his right shoulder injury. After he won today's match against Davydenko, Roger felt a bit relieved but admitted to some anxious moments yesterday. "My biggest concern was whether or not I had enough match play on this kind of faster courts," Roger explained. "So I was really hoping to kind of get a decent match in today, play solid, and come through and then feel really like I am really in the tournament," Roger explained. He had exactly seven games in match play prior to today's match with Davydenko, which is not really enough to feel as though he was fully engaged in this tournament, as Roger noted. "So there's a bit of a sense of relief from my side. Right off the bat, being able to beat a top 10 player is not so easy. Nikolay has been playing well at the beginning of the season. I think had some injuries after that, but I know the danger his game presents. He's the reigning world champion, so it was a tough match for me. But I felt like I played really good considering I had not played well this week yet," Roger observed.
 
I noted that Roger struggled a little bit on his break point opportunities, going 3 of 11 (27%) which is a bit below his standard. So, I wondered whether or not Davydenko was doing something different when he was close to getting broken than he was doing at other points on his serve. "On the second match point, which was a break point, he hit a screamer crosscourt, which I didn't think he would have been able to do," Roger explained. "But that's what Nikolay does. He comes up with shots not many other players can hit. He always stays on the offensive. Obviously on the break points there's a lot to play for, so as the receiver, perhaps you become a touch more passive on those returns. And that gives him an opportunity where he typically takes huge cuts at the ball," Federer observed. "So, I don't think I played poorly on my break points. I think I always gave myself chances, some of which I was able to convert today. At the end of the day, that's what counts as far as I'm concerned (i.e., winning the match) not whether or not I was able to win all of my break point opportunities," Federer concluded.
 
I have to give Federer a lot of credit; even when he's facing criticism from the media or perhaps me specifically, he always gives you a straight answer. To be completely honest, it was tough to find anything wrong with his game. But in a press conference with a top player, you are generally not going to get much in the way of some good observations about how well they played if you are always positive with them, even when those kinds of comments might be merited. For instance, imagine talking about how well he played in his serve, return and volley game and he might respond with something along the lines of "well, the serves went in for me today and I was able to see the ball well on my opponent's serve." End of story and basically, end of press conference as well. On some level, I get the sense that Federer enjoys responding to critical comments when he doesn't perform up to his typical high level of play. But he's not going to start off telling a reporter that he did not play well in X, Y and Z parts of his game. You have to take the risk of making your own observation on how well he did and it helps to have some baseline expectation as to what might constitute an off day for him in a certain aspect of his game. The risk is in asking a stupid question but the reward in asking good ones, which I always try to do, is getting some good insights from one of the best players in the world.
 
The last quarterfinal of the day was Rafael Nadal against Marcos Baghdatis. I was expecting Nadal to breeze through the match given the fact that he had dominated Marcos in the past six meetings, never losing even one match. So much for the hoped for Nadal / Federer semifinal as Baghdatis played aggressively from the outset and managed to win this quarterfinal, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to propel him into the semifinals against Roger Federer. The key difference in this match was that Baghdatis served exceptionally well at 62% on his first serves and hit 18 aces as compared to Nadal's 4. He was also quite dominant in his first and second serve points won as well, winning 87% of his first serve points in play (47 of 54) and 42% of his second serve points (14 of 33). Obviously, this created two problems for Nadal. First, he was not able to sink his teeth into a rally and use his aggressive forehand, which might be the best in the game. Second, Nadal was not able to dictate play on his own terms. In fact, Rafael looked to be on the defensive most of the night which is not his game -- he is usually more aggressive. Really, Baghdatis had nothing to lose. He had lost all of his previous encounters with Rafael so he could play relaxed and free. That doesn't mean that Nadal played tentatively; it's more of a reflection that circumstances did not allow him to assert his own style of play in this particular match.
 
Marcos noted that "I was more aggressive. I know that Rafa will not give me the match, so I had to go and take it. I hit the ball harder. On the break point at the end, he made a double fault because of my aggressiveness which I tried to maintain throughout the whole match and I think he felt that," Baghdatis explained. Someone asked if Marcos tried to go after Rafael's forehand in order to neutralize its effectiveness and Baghdatis disagreed with that sentiment. "I think against Rafa you have to mix up the speed of the balls to disrupt his rhythm," Marcos observed. You have to hit one and then play slow. You just have to make him think. When you play the same speed, he likes it and he starts to get the rhythm which is something you want to avoid if at all possible. That's what I was able to do today. Like I said, I also served very well today and that was the key to the match," Baghdatis said.
 
Rafael thought that he didn't play well but was happy that he came back from being down a set and a break. "I started to play a little better with my backhand. That was a very important, positive thing for me to do," Nadal thought. "I started to serve a little bit better and was in a good position towards the end of the match, wasn't I?" Nadal said. That was in reference that they were on serve at 4-all in the third set and then he was broken in the next to last game of the match, where he just lost it at the very end. "It's true that I had a lot of unforced errors. But the best thing is that I finish the tournament better than where I was when I started. That's what is positive for me. At 4-All, Love-30, I was playing a few good points but I missed two second serve returns. That was the key of the match as far as I'm concerned," Nadal continued. "And he played well. I think his serve was very good today, so I congratulate him. He's very good person, and it's very positive for our sport. I am happy for him. He had injuries and he came back, and now he's playing well, so I will try to beat him on another occasion," Nadal concluded.
 
I asked him whether or not all those forehand errors were simply a matter of him playing perhaps too aggressively when he might have wanted to go with a safer shot. "Sometimes, I think I have to play aggressively but there may be times where I am playing too aggressively with the forehand," Nadal said. "I think that I might be trying to get winner too quickly rather than wait for my opportunities; so that's another thing that I'm going to need to keep improving. When I play too aggressively, I might be trying to protect my backhand. But I think that if I can improve my backhand, that will help my movement since I won't have to cover the backhand with the forehand," Nadal continued. "I could then serve better on the first serve because if I miss it and he has a return, I can play it with my backhand. But right now, when he had a good return to the backhand, I'm in a very bad position. So I think the backhand changes my game, because I have to make too much adjustments to save that shot," Nadal concluded.
 

 
[WC] Mardy Fish (USA) {white shorts} d [4] Andy Murray (GBR) 67(7) 61 76(5)
 
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Murray W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
 
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) {pink shirt} d [6] Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) 64 75
 
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Nikolay Davydenko W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
 
[9] Andy Roddick (USA) {white shirt} d [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB) 64 75
 
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Novak Djokovic W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
 
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) d [1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) {pink shirt} 64 46 64
 
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Rafael Nadal W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
Earlier Coverage from this Event:
 
August 19, 2010 W&SFG Men's Masters: Federer Walks, Roddick Talks, Murray Balks - Rafael Nadal, Julien Bennetteau, Robin Soderling, Andy Roddick, Marcos Baghdatis, Tomas Berdych, Nikolay Davydenko, David Ferrer
August 18, 2010 W&SFG Men's Masters: Roddick Rallies, Nadal makes a Dent
August 17, 2010 W&SFG Men's Masters: Fish Fry & Roger's Reaction To His Critics
August 16, 2010 W&SFG Men's Masters: Americans Take Center Court By Storm
 

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Sony Open Tennis Session 5 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 6 Tickets Miami Men's Singles 1st Round Women's Singles 2nd Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 7 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Sony Open Tennis Session 8 Tickets Miami Men's & Women's Singles 2nd Round Key Biscayne FL Crandon Park Center
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

  Featured Tickets:
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 2 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Session 1 Opening Round New York City NYC NY Flushing Meadows Corona
US Open Tennis Tickets Grounds Admission Pass Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY National Tennis Center 8/26-9/9
Arthur Ashe Kids' Day Tickets Flushing Meadows Corona New York NY
Great American Beer Festival Tickets Denver CO Colorado Convention Center

 
 
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