Ah, it’s raining in Cincinnati this Saturday afternoon, interrupting the Mardy Fish vs. Andy Roddick semifinal at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. So it’s the perfect time to review some of Friday’s exciting quarterfinal action, which featured Roger Federer completing his first full match of the tournament and Rafael Nadal being upset by resurgent Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis. (Is that an exaggeration? Sorry, I just like the way “resurgent Cypriot” sounds.)
The following photos and report come from our gal in Cincy, Andrea Nay. Check out more of her work at Andrea Nay Photojournalism: www.andreanayphoto.com.
Don’t Cry For Me, Cincinnati
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Don’t judge a player by his pictures. Despite losing to unseeded Marcos Baghdatis 5-7, 7-5, 76(4) in the Cincy quarterfinals Friday night, Rafael Nadal is not in tears. “It’s true I had unforced errors, but the positive thing is I finish the tournament better than I started,” he said in a post-match press conference where he appeared almost cheerful.
Rafa graciously complimented Baghdatis as well: “Just 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 again.”
Baghdatis had the crowd – and fireworks from nearby Kings Island amusement park – behind him as he out-aced Rafa 18-4. “I was serving pretty big,” he said.
This was the seventh time the Greek Cypriot has played Nadal, his first time winning, and the result had nothing to do with luck. “Other times I played him I had chances and I didn’t take them.” And, this time? “I was more aggressive. I know that Rafa will not give me the match, so I had to go and take it.”
Baggy’s reward for the upset win? A date with Roger Federer in the semis Saturday night.
Defending champion Federer, who’d only played a total of 37 minutes coming into the quarters because of opponents’ injuries, powered over Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 in a match which wasn’t as close as the score. “I just tried to play offensive,” Federer said. “Mix it up, you know, make it hard for him to get any sort of rhythm. I was able to play really well when I wanted to.”
Fed conducted post-match interviews in fluent English, French, and Swiss-German. Is there anything Roger can’t do? “I can’t cook,” he told a pair of junior reporters from Cincinnati.com. “I can’t even boil an egg.” Thankfully, he said, wife Mirka is an excellent cook, as is his mother Lynette. “I’m lucky to have them. . . . Otherwise, I’m making restaurant reservations.”
Saturday’s first semi-final match will feature an all-American battle between best friends Mardy Fish and Andy Roddick.
Fish withstood on-court temps soaring to 108 degrees to knock off No. 4 seed Andy Murray 6-7 (7), 6-1, 7-6 (5) in a nearly three-hour match, the tournament’s longest so far. In celebration, he gave air hugs to all four sides of the stadium. “I was just excited to . . . beat one of the best players in the world in that fashion on that court,” he explained. “The crowd was incredible. Just wanted to let ‘em know.”
Roddick reached the semis by outlasting Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-5. What’s his strategy for playing his pal Fish Saturday? “I think we both understand that once you get in between the lines, it’s business, and we’re trying to win a tennis match.”
Ed. note: Right now Roddick and Fish are just trying to play a tennis match, which may be coming off its second rain delay sometime soon. Federer vs. Baghdatis are scheduled for the night match.