Baghdatis Downs Nadal, Fish Quiets Murray

Cincinnati Masters 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, August 21st, 2010
Baghdatis Downs Nadal in Cincinnati Masters 2010

Baghdatis Downs Nadal in Cincinnati Masters 2010

One year ago today, Marcos Baghdatis was ranked number 109 on the tour and it was just a month ago that Baghdatis completed his climb back into the top 20. Today, the sweet swinger will take on third seeded Roger Federer, the only one of the top four seeds to survive Friday’s play, in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters.

On Friday, Baghdatis pitched his best game with 18 aces and winning an astounding 87% of his first serves to outduel top seed Rafa Nadal in the quarters. It was an impressive 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 triumph for the Cypriot.

Baghdatis announced his presence with six aces in the first two games to make sure he had Rafa’s undivided attention. Baghdatis took and made a high percentage of high-risk shots throughout the match. In fact it may have been that constant pressure that caused Rafa to double fault at break point in the ninth game of the third set.

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The French Open and Wimbledon Champion played with his usual determination but there is still some work to do if he will win on the hard court in New York, which is one of his important goals this year.

For Baghdatis, three-time Cincinnati champion Roger Federer awaits semifinal action. Federer has been spared some the weeks’ grueling heat due to the retirement of his round of 32 (Istomin) and run of 16 (Kohlschreiber) opponents. The Swede is ranked second but seeded third here and he made his claim for the second spot in Ne York with a smooth 6-4, 7-5 straight set win over Nikolay Davydenko.

Federer was down two break points in the ninth game of the first set and suddenly exploded to win the next five games, including breaking in the second game of the second set. Davydenko did break back, but the momentum had turned too fast and too far for the Swede who has won 20 of 22 matches played in Cincinnati.

American Mardy Fish won the noontime shootout with last week’s champion and fourth ranked Scotsman Andy Murray 6-4, 7-5. The match featured long points in the midday heat and both players showed signs of exhaustion.

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This was a match the American could not have won a year ago. Thanks to a stringent diet and training program, Murray has shed thirty pounds and resurrected his game and especially his serve. The newly found all court skills have helped him defeat Murray the last three times the two have met.

Fish raised his hard court record to 20-8 to go along with the Campbell’s title and the Atlanta Championship. Fish can no longer be counted out of the conversation about the U.S. Open and may now be the best American hope for a Grand Slam title.

Of course, he will have to prove that today against two time Cincinnati Champion Andy Roddick who played brilliantly in his 6-5, 7-5 triumph over second seeded Novak Djokovic. The win was Roddick’s fourth straight over the Serb who seemed out of sorts at the beginning of the match and was unable to turn the tables when he finally found solid footing in the second set.

The ninth seeded Roddick lost his serve for the only time at 5-4 in the second set. The American bounced back with a timely break and then did not err in serving out the match. The win was important for Roddick who will now return to the top ten after a two-week hiatus. The last time Roddick and Fish met in Cincinnati, Roddick fought off two break points to snatch the title in 2003.


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