Cincinnati: Baghdatis Ousts Nadal as Americans Progress, too
Thus, the 20th-seeded Baghdatis progresses into the semis where he’ll face former world champion Roger Federer, who also comes after a long period of rest, very good form and last week’s Toronto final lost in front of the Scott Murray. The Cypriot, who provided 22 unforced errors, but 18 aces in front of Nadal, claimed his playing focused especially on serves, thing which went perfectly for him. “Basically, I took chances. Other times, I had chances and didn’t take them. I served pretty big tonight. It was much better. I was more aggressive. I knew Rafa wasn’t going to give me the match, so I had to go and take it.” On the other side, Rafa complained his own poor backhand which cost him lots of points. “My game can improve, that’s for sure. I have to keep working to improve my confidence with the backhand. My feeling with the forehand is good, but I still had too many unforced errors. For a lot of reasons, I played badly at important moments.” However, the Cypriot announces nothing but big surprises for the US Open, too, despite his poor performance last week in Toronto where he was expelled by less known French Jeremy Chardy from the very first round. Baghdatis reached the final though in Washington at the beginning of the month, but failed in holding the trophy to Argentinean David Nalbandian.
Despite the quarter finals in Cincinnati were played by all the first four-seeded, the semis include just Federer, who progressed into the best eight after defeating Russian Nikolay Davydenko in two sets to face Baghdatis in the first semi final. Apart from Cypriot’s performance against Nadal, US Mardy Fish passed Andy Murray in the quarters, after the Scott even asked the officials to play the match on Friday night, but this wasn’t possible because of Fish’s double match which determined the meeting to be scheduled early on Friday. “They said that, because Fish had to play doubles, they wanted us to play early, but I’m not sure that’s the way tennis works. I don’t think matches should be scheduled around the doubles, because it’s the singles that’s on the TV,” Murray said, while referring to his failure of reaching the semis, this claimed that “in the third set, I wasn’t really using my legs at all on my serve. It was all arm. Every time there was a long point, I felt tired for two or three points afterward. When you get to the end of the match, you just try to finish as best you can,” the Scott added after the 6-7, 6-1, 7-6 defeat.
“I usually like to play the first-up match, because you know exactly when you’re going on. I’m sure there have been times when Murray was playing the night match and would like to be done and go to dinner. I can understand where he’s coming from, but what can you do? It was bad luck for him today. Physically, it was hot, but nowhere near the humidity of, say, D.C. or Atlanta. It was every bit as hot as there. It feels great to win a match like that. It could easily be 1-2. I’ve won two tiebreakers in the third [set]. I’ve had a lot of trouble with him. He serves so well and returns so well that he usually gives aggressive players like me a lot of trouble,” Fish commented as well. But Murray added the he has considered the retirement during the game, before the doctor cooled him with ice. “It does cross your mind a little bit when you’re struggling like that, but the doctor and the physio did a good job with the ice and cooling me down a little bit,” the Scott ended.
The quarters ended once US Andy Roddick also made the progress into the best four, after he defeated world number three Serbian Novak Djokovic in two sets 6-4, 7-5 to meet compatriot Fish in the semis, the only two US remained on course for the American Masters. Despite his aggressiveness of hitting 28 winners to Roddick, Djokovic didn’t follow the same performance to the other chapters, this providing 29 unforced errors unlike Roddick’s 15. “I just played a very bad match. Every time I needed to play well, I made mistakes, especially on my forehand side. He was getting a lot of balls back — not doing anything special, just making me play extra shots,” the Serb said, while Roddick inferred his opponent’s bad day to take advantage of it and take finally the win. “Novak probably didn’t play his best match. He was missing balls he normally wouldn’t miss. I probably would expect him to play a little better.”
As for the Swiss, Federer claimed he got a bit nervous after failing to transform the first two match points in the second set against Davydenko, but struggled to remain focused on his playing though. “It was a bit scary. You’re wondering, ‘Do I have enough play on these courts?’ It was sort of a relief. That was a tough match for me, but I felt like I played really good, especially since I hadn’t played. I tried to play offensively and mix it up – make it hard for him to get some rhythm.”11