Tennis Server ATP/WTA Pro Tennis Showcase - W&SFG Men's Masters Cincinnati 2010 - Fish Swims Past Roddick, Roger Rolls Over Baghdatis - Marcos Baghdatis, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish
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August 21, 2010

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W&SFG Men's Masters 2010, Cincinnati (Mason), Ohio, USA
August 21, 2010
Editorial by Vince Barr with photography by Pablo Sanfrancisco.

Vince Barr Photo
Vince Barr

Fish Swims Past Roddick, Roger Rolls Over Baghdatis
 
The first semifinal of the day featured Andy Roddick against one of his best friends on tour, Mardy Fish. It has been a well-documented fact that when they were playing junior tennis, Mardy actually moved into Andy's parents' house in Florida and they were on the same high school basketball team. Their friendship goes back many, many years, but I asked Andy if it was difficult playing against a good friend. "We've done it enough. I think we both understand that once you get in between the lines, it's business, and we're trying win a tennis match," Roddick explained. "When we were younger and probably a little bit less mature, we probably had a little bit more attitude against each other in our matches. We would get a little snippy with each other. But I don't think we have to worry about that anymore. That's something we haven't done in a long time," Roddick noted. Going into the match, Andy had a commanding lead in their head-to-head series of 9-2, but Mardy had just beaten him a few weeks ago in Atlanta in the semifinals prior to winning the title there. So, being the competitive person that he is, you can bet that he wanted to play well and see what happened in their match today. Unfortunately, Mother Nature must have had other plans because rain interrupted play twice in the match and it swung the momentum both times the players had to leave the court. Fish ultimately won the match, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-1.
 
The first delay came in the first set while they were both on serve after Andy held to go up, 5-4. That delay lasted a little over an hour. The second rain delay came in the second set when Roddick had already broken Mardy's serve and led 5-3. That put Andy up a set and a break and, even if Mardy held serve as expected, Andy was going to serve for the match leading 5-4. Only, that never happened. Although the second rain delay was extremely short, perhaps only eight minutes or so, it must have thrown off Andy's rhythm as he was promptly broken to go back on serve at 4-3 in the second. The ATP has a rule where if a rain delay lasts longer than 15 minutes, players are entitled to a five-minute warm-up prior to the resumption of play. Since this delay was less than 10 minutes, both players returned to the court without a warm-up. Andy agreed that the timing of the delay had a direct impact on the outcome of the match on both occasions. "The first one really helped; the second one obviously didn't," Roddick explained. "That's the thing with rain delays. The momentum can shift really fast. I benefited from it the first time for sure. He came out and served kind of a sluggish game right away, and I kind of matched that. Then, once he got back into it, he completely outplayed me in the third set," Roddick continued. "He was swinging from the hips, even in the breaker. I didn't play a bad tiebreaker as I made my first serves and he continued to play well. A lot of it comes down to one of the most important points where I missed a ball in the first point of the game where I was serving it out. You know, it was a short ball. I kind of think I over-hit it. I probably attempted to go for too much on that shot because he had been hitting his passing shots pretty well. If I make him play there, it might be a different story," Roddick noted.
 
Mardy's serve was unbelievable: 17 aces with only 6 double faults but perhaps most importantly, he won 91% of all his first serve points in play. If there is any criticism to offer in his service games, it was that his first serve percentage was only 46%, so he will need to tighten up that aspect of his game in order to give himself a chance against Roger Federer tomorrow. "My serve has always been a weapon in my game, and I've always had a high percentage of winning first serves," Fish said. "It's just that I don't get very many in. I don't think I served at a ridiculously high level today. I can feel it when I'm having an off day serving. I know when I don't serve at a high percentage. I know when I'm serving and winning points on my first serve, and I can feel when I'm getting a lot of free points," Fish continued. "I didn't really feel like I was getting a ton of free points; I don't feel like I had a ton of aces. So I didn't serve as well as I had against Gasquet maybe. I served almost 70% against him (he was at 66% first serves in the Gasquet match), so it's kind of one of those things that goes up and down for me," Fish observed. As a matter of fact, Andy actually out-served him in terms of first serve percentage in the match today with Roddick recording a 60% first serve vs. Fish's 46%. Andy was not quite as dominant in terms of first serve points won with 67% (41 of 61 points).
 
I was surprised that Andy had more unforced errors in his forehand (15) than he did his backhand (10) which was a bit unusual. For the match, his winner to unforced error ratio was negative at -12 (20 winners to 32 unforced errors). So, what was the issue with his forehand today in the match with Fish? "The shot just wasn't falling for me today," Andy said. "I was trying to put good swings on the ball, and it was extremely erratic today. I was pretty happy with almost everything else in my game, even the net stuff. He hit a lot of great passing shots. You know, a lot of times I put myself in positions I wanted to, and he came up with the goods. My forehand was something that I was in complete control of but I tended to donate some points a little bit. So that's something that I need to work on. But, you know, ten days ago I feel like every shot I had felt that way. Now we're down to one, so it's a good thing," Roddick explained. As far as his serve in general, Andy thought that "My percentages weren't where I wanted them to be all week. You know, as far as the other thing, he was doing a good job of serving today. He wasn't really being aggressive on first serves. Also, Mardy was putting the ball in play (more than he usually does). I think he was also hitting the second ball real well from a defensive position and he was neutralizing my serve really well. The part of his game that's changed the most is his ability to neutralize off that second ball and really dig in and then get back to even terms," Roddick explained.
 
Despite the loss, Roddick exceeded all his expectations for this week in just getting to the semifinal because of his recovery from mononucleosis. He was careful not to blame his loss on not feeling well as he has virtually overcome any effects from that particular diagnosis. "I feel okay. You know, to be honest, I came here and I had no expectations. For me to get in five really tough matches is more than I could've asked for going into the Open. Honestly, when I came here I was thinking maybe two matches and then we'll see. I hadn't really put too much time in (on the practice courts because of his illness). So, beyond the disappointment that's gonna linger for the next couple of hours, I think this week has been a complete positive considering how I felt and kind of where I was at 11 or 12 days ago," Roddick noted. I pointed out that Andy managed to only win four points on Mardy's first serve (4 for 43 all day which converts to 9% success rate on his first return opportunities). I asked him that not to be critical, but to find out what it was about Mardy's serve that might have made things more difficult for him today than it usually was. "Well, you know, a lot of times that's a credit to him. He's mixing it up well and he did not have a predictable pattern. I didn't do that well against his first serve in Atlanta when we played either, so that's something that I probably I need to look at. But he's doing a good job controlling that first ball, also," Roddick thought.
 
On the positive side for Andy's game, I noted that he only had four double faults, which meant that despite the phenomenal amount of pace he puts on his serves (mid-130s with a high degree of consistency), he was putting it largely where he wanted it to go. "I normally keep my double faults pretty low. I've actually double faulted probably a little bit more this week than I normally have," Roddick opined. "But overall, I'm a lot further ahead than I was 10, 11 days ago where I didn't know what the hell was going on with myself. It's a miserable spot to be in when you have that many questions, physically, mentally and whatever else. So, to kind of come here and actually be talking about how I let a final slip away is a position I didn't think I would be in. I'm gonna have to try to have a positive perspective about things, because I'm a lot further ahead than I was this time last week. To be sure, I'm disappointed that I let this one get away today. But overall, I feel like it was a very positive week for me," Roddick concluded.
 
It had been reported that Mardy Fish's coach. David Nainkin, was not here this week. So, my first question to Mardy was what did he tell himself during the second rain delay that really turned the match around? He was down a set and a break and looking like he was only going to be playing a few more minutes, but that was all he needed to get back into the match. "He is here, actually. We talked about trying to hold serve and make him serve it out. I mean, you're almost done, so there's not much you really can say. That's the only thing you can do. You know, they sort of threw us out there right away after that second rain delay. I didn't know how long the wait was gonna be so I was lucky to even get out of that game, to be honest. You know, you don't want to be serving in that spot, and you don't want to be in that spot at all. I was lucky to get out of it," Fish said. So what did he tell himself to keep from getting discouraged being down a set and a break? "You could see that in that situation, guys are gonna are nervous. And, you know, trying to serve it out, as big of a service game as Andy has, you know you don't real feel too confident," Mardy said. "I just tried to make him play as much as I could. I tried not to make too many errors on that game. I think I missed a second serve return and maybe missed a passing shot to lose the two points that I lost in that game. I made him play four points," Fish said.
 
Mardy has now won the last two matches he has played with Andy, breaking a trend that he set in losing to Roddick nine of the first 10 times that they had played. So, what has he been doing differently in these last two matches (counting today's match with Andy) that he hasn't been able to do in all those other matches? "I think he's played better matches against me in the past. I got him at a good time in Atlanta when he was not as confident as he usually is. I think, you know, the way he's felt in the past month or so was a contributing factor in my ability to pull through," Fish said. "We were both in a really good position in the semis of a Masters Series. I felt great. I've never felt better on the court and I've never been more confident and I've never played better. So I kept that in the back of my head, you know, that I've won a lot of matches this summer. I just tried to take as much confidence from that as I can, which helped me today," Fish thought.
 
Mardy pointed to his improved play in the tiebreakers this season as one reason he has been able to play so well. "I've been 500 for most of my career, pretty much even. It certainly helps to win tiebreakers to win matches. That's been a huge part of my success this year, is winning tiebreakers. I mean, if I don't win the tiebreaker today, I lose the match in straight sets. Confidence is a big thing. I've won quite a few this summer as well. And a lot of it is luck, too," Fish observed. Mardy also said that, even though he's only won one match against Roger (back in Indian Wells in 2008), he'll try to take some confidence from that and try to forget the other five losses against him. Win or lose tomorrow, Mardy will probably be seeded for the first time at the U.S. Open, which is huge for him. "Well, it was a goal of mine after Newport. I was ranked right around 80 after Newport. It seemed like a tough goal, but that's what goals are. You've got to set 'em high and try to figure it out. Like I said, I think this win (today over Roddick) puts me into the top 32 since I was ranked 36 before this event. So it's great. I mean, that being said, I could play someone and lose in the first round. I know how that works. I've played well here and gone into the US Open and lost in the second round a few times. So I won't take anything for granted," Fish said.
 
Roger Federer's match against Marco Baghdatis was almost anti-climatic. Despite the fact that Marcos had been playing well, it did not take long, actually, just over an hour, for Roger to completely destroy Baghdatis. Federer was so dominant that it was almost scary. Roger even laughed a bit when I told him after the match that I could not find much to criticize about his game, so I asked him to do it for me. Was there anything about his 6-4, 6-3 match with Baghdatis that he was unhappy with? Anything? In a word, No. "Look, as long you're moving on you get a chance at the title, and that's what counts," Roger said. "I was able to play the way I want to play and that's what it's about for me. I want to have enough fun out there and play my style of tennis and get the chance to move on in the tournaments I play. There's always things you could have done a bit better, but I thought I kept him guessing, was able to play offensive. The match was over quickly, you know, best of three set matches. It was barely an hour match, so there's not much tennis in those kinds of matches," Federer said.
 
He served at 58% on first serves compared to only 39% for Baghdatis. Roger was also his typical, dominant self when it came to dominating first serve points won. He lost only three such points in the entire match (27 of 30) but he only served 7 aces. So that meant that Roger dominated most of the rallies on his first serve points. That fact alone ought to give Mardy some nightmares tonight prior to their match tomorrow. Federer also won 62% of his second serve points (13 of 21) and his return game was also solid. He won 48% (11 of 23) on his first returns and 37% (13 of 35) of his second returns. So I asked Roger if there was anything that Marcos was doing that allowed him to have so much success in his return game (against Baghdatis' serve). "I thought I read his first serve well, and that kind of put pressure on him," Federer noted. "I used the chip and charge here a bit because I know he's struggled with that in the past. The playing conditions (on court) are quick here, you know. I thought it was tough to control the ball today. So I kind of felt comfortable returning his serve. It worked on a couple of key moments, and that's what I was trying to do (control the points). So I'm happy it all worked out. And yesterday I think he served something around almost 20 aces, and today he was only able to maybe get 3 or so. It's funny how it goes. You know, that's what tennis is. You never know what to expect the next day against the next opponent. I'm happy I was able to beat such a good player like Marcos today," Federer concluded.
 
Roger and Mardy have not played each other all that often over the course of their careers, so to some extent, Roger is perhaps not as comfortable against him as he would be playing someone like Roddick who he has played more often. "Six (matches against Fish) in a 10, 11-year career for me is not that much," Federer noted. "I've played against other guys 20, 25 times. Mardy has been injured sometimes and obviously he likes to play the American hard courts where we (himself and Nadal) stay more in Europe, so we kind of miss each other at times," Federer continued. "But the time we played in Indian Wells (in 2008), I thought he came out and played the perfect match really. It was a good match from his side and I was really never into it. It was kind of like tonight (against Baghdatis), only I was on the loser's side. Those matches go quickly. Mardy seems like he's playing well, and I'm sure he must be confident. But I'm ready for that, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow," Federer observed.
 
Andy Roddick noted that Mardy is in that second group of contenders for the U.S., aside from the favorites, who has a chance to do some damage in that tournament. Roger agreed with that point to some extent but pointed out that causing an occasional upset was much different than winning the U.S. Open. "He can definitely cause the upset. Now, if he can go all the way, that's a completely different story, because that's seven matches over five sets and that's not something he's used to doing, you know," Federer explained. "I don't think he's ever been past a quarterfinal or into a quarterfinal of any slam. But he's definitely got the game, especially on the American hard courts. I think this is where the Americans pick up most of their points (on the summer hard court circuit)," Federer continued. "So I'm not surprised to see Andy playing Mardy in the semis of Cincinnati. However, I hope that Mardy is not in my section of the draw at the US Open. It's like John Isner or Querrey or all those guys. You don't want to see them around too early, because they're hard court players who are tough to beat and they all have big games with big serves," Federer observed.
 
In tonight's match with Baghdatis, Federer did not need to save any break points on his serve because he never got close enough to facing one. In my opinion, Marcos never really had a chance tonight and that was an assertion that even Baghdatis agreed with. "I was feeling okay out there, but Roger was serving well. He didn't give me any chances. I was a little unlucky at 5-4, and he broke me there and then he was more relaxed in the second set. He played very well. He didn't give me any rhythm and my serve was not working all that well. He deserved to win this match tonight," Baghdatis opined.
 
It was noted that Marcos played the late match last night (against Nadal), so was there any part of today's match with Roger that might have been influenced by the late end to his match with Rafael? "Not really. I was ready today and even though I had a great win yesterday, I don't think last night was the problem today," Baghdatis said. "Roger just played too well for me. I was hitting the ball well, but he made me feel like I had no options. He played really smart and a lot differently tonight than he did at Indian Wells (where Marcos won this year against him in three tough sets). There (at Indian Wells), he was playing backhand to backhand. Tonight, he came to the net more, and I wasn't expecting that. He played really aggressive and it wasn't my day today and I couldn't push him to making mistakes," Baghdatis lamented. However, Marcos chose to look on the bright side, when he considered all that he had accomplished with a week's play here in Cincinnati. "It was a great week for me and now I'm back in the Top 20," Baghdatis explained. "I felt great. I am fit and playing well against the top guys. I played three Top 10 guys and one Top 15 (Cilic) in the first round this week. Playing those matches without any pain is a bonus for me. I have to continue the way I'm playing and just be patient with myself and more success will come as a result. I don't have to think about any points or rankings and my ranking will go up by itself," Baghdatis concluded.
 
Roger was asked if having a family helps him deal with an occasional loss. "Well, look, I've had an incredible career, so when I lose, I'm sad for five minutes, regardless if I have kids or not," Federer said. "So that's something for me that's always been easy to digest since the last seven, eight years since I won my first Wimbledon and became No. 1 in the world. For me, that completed my career really. That's all I've ever wanted was to hold the Wimbledon trophy, and I was able to do that already in 2003. So I could have walked away then feeling a very happy man, because I did something all my idols did," Federer continued. " Obviously today it's nice to win so much. Then when you lose, you have to take the positive out of those matches, because usually you learn a bit more when you lose. I'm happy sometimes for that information as well, you know. Kids definitely help on a daily basis. They keep me very grounded. I love the family life. I love spending time with them and I love spending time with Mirka, too. So it's just nice that they're healthy and they're happy babies," Federer said.
 
I then asked Roger what he tends to learn from his losses, especially since they don't happen all that often. "Well, you go back to the drawing board much quicker and you analyze those kind of matches much more than I would analyze this Baghdatis match," Roger explained. "This one is here today, gone tomorrow. If you lose, you sit on a loss for, you know, a long period of time. So you have also more time to analyze those and go through what didn't go so well. Sometimes also you can walk away from a loss thinking it wasn't all that bad. It's worse what people write than what an actual loss really involves. Then you sometimes start believing what is written about you. That's why it's good to analyze it for yourself and remember your feelings, remember what happened, why did you lose, and hopefully next time against that player you'll be able to adjust it and make it better," Federer concluded.
 

 
[WC] Mardy Fish (USA) d [9] Andy Roddick (USA) {blue cap} 46 76(3) 61
 
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Andy Roddick Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Mardy Fish W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
 
[3] Roger Federer (SUI) {pink shirt} d Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) 64 63
 
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Roger Federer W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis
Marcos Baghdatis W&SFG Masters Cincinnati Tennis

 
Earlier Coverage from this Event:
 
August 20, 2010 W&SFG Men's Masters: Nadal bounces out, Federer & Roddick On Collision Course - Rafael Nadal, Marcos Baghdatis, Roger Federer, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish, Andy Murray
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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