Atp Masters: Cincinnati, U.s. Open Series
A Finals Preview
Rodger Federer vs. Mardy Fish.
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This spring Rodger Federer looked like he was in top form winning the Australian Open vs Andy Murray to take his 16th Grand Slam Title. After that he fell off precipitately. He was knocked out in the third round of the Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, the second round of the Masters Series in Rome and only managed a Semi Finals appearance in a small clay court tournament in Portugal. Despite the fact that Federer has never been as dominant on Clay he was having a down year. He fell out of first and all the way down to 3rd place on the rankings thanks to losses in tournament after tournament against players he use to dominate such as Lleyton Hewitt, and Thomas Berdych. Last week Federer begain to show signs that he was turning things around however, he reached the finals of the Masters Series in Toronto and despite losing in the finals to Andy Murray he was demonstrating new and effective tactics and an increasingly up tempo and aggressive approach. His run thus far in Cincinati has been less impressive if only because two of his victories came at the hands of injured opponents but because of this he has reached the finals remarkably fresh. His semi finals victory over Marcos Baghdatis was dominant and reaffirmed the success of Federers new tactics.
Mardy Fish’s 2010 season has been by far and away the best of his career. Fish had fallen all the way down to 108th on the ATP rankings in March of 2010 but since has skyrocketed to 36th. Fish had a total of 3 titles in his career coming into the 2010 season, and had only won 1 tournament since 2006. Then suddenly while Federer was faltering Fish went on a role, he won 5 matches in a row to take the ATP 250 title in Newport and followed that up with another 5 consecutive victories including a semi final drubbing of his good friend Andy Roddick in the ATP 250 in Atlanta. Fish’s streak of victories ended at 12 when he was finally defeated in the ATP 500 in Washington in the round of 16 vs. world #13 Marin Cilic. But that loss did not result in Fish returning to earth. Instead Fish lifted his game even further and in the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati he won his first round match before upsetting the world #8 in the second round, winning the 3rd round and pulling off another incredible upset by defeating world #4 Andy Murray in the quarter finals. After beating Murray Fish pulled off another upset this time once again against his good friend Andy Roddick. The victory was certainly made possible by a second rain break but Fish showed remarkable poise and maturity to come back from a 5-2 break in the second and finished off an exhausted and obviously unfit Roddick in the 3rd set 6-1. Fish has won 17 of his last 18 matches and has posted a 5-1 record vs. players in the top 20 during that run.
Rodger Federer appears to be once again playing like one of the two best players in the world and Mardy Fish is without a doubt the hottest player on the tour right now. That said Federer is clearly the better player. If Federer continues to play with his new aggressive style Fish simply doesn’t match up well. Fish is an intelligent, gritty player who plays with great maturity. He was able to capitalize on Murray’s immaturity and Roddicks lingering mono. Federer on the other hand is quicker and more talented than Fish and is also an incredibly mature player. Look for Fish to put up a good fight and keep it close but to still lose in straight sets.