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Third time’s the charm. After losing two big matches in a row to Juan Martin Del Potro – that unbelievable five set stunner in the 2009 US Open Final followed by another hit in that year’s Barclays World Tour Finals – Roger Federer turned the losing streak around in the second round of Cincinnati on Tuesday, beating the back-from-injury Argentine in straights: 6-3, 7-5.
Much was made of this marquee second round match-up, and apparently Roger was thinking about the implications, as well, having called that US Open final one of the “biggest losses” of his career.
“I expected a tough match with Juan Martin for obvious reasons, and it went better than I thought,” Federer said (via Cincinnati.com). “I thought I played a wonderful first set and a very good second set, too. That was obviously enough tonight. I don’t think I really allowed Juan Martin to be able to play the game he usually plays.”
Del Potro was suitably impressed, praising the Fed’s form and recalling his own heartbreaking five set experience vs. the Swiss (I still get shivers thinking about that French Open semi.) Via the ATP:
“I feel well tonight, but Roger played like No. 1 in the world,” said del Potro. “He was very confident with his serve, and it’s very important against top players like him. Also I feel [it was] like when we played in the semi-finals in the French Open; he played unbelievable and he beat me in fifth set. I think he played like that match.”
Roger gets James Blake in the third round and another chance for some belated revenge. The Swiss guy’s only loss to the American came in the quarterfinals of the ’08 Beijing Olympics, denying Rog a chance at his precious: a singles gold medal. Guess what, Roger remembers that loss, too (via the ATP):
“That was obviously a pretty big match for me to lose as well,” said Federer. “May be getting a chance for some revenge. I’m looking forward to it.”
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Serena Williams isn’t letting up. After taking the Rogers Cup title on Sunday, she hit the ground running in Cincy, taking out Lucie Hradecka, 6-3, 7-6. Speaking of running, Serena’s seemed to find a new enthusiasm for it. The New York Times has a fascinating article on the revamped fitness regimen she’s developed under New Orelans “fitness guru” Mackie Shilstone.
When reporters in Mason mentioned her “skinny” physique, Serena was hilarious (via New York Times):
“I’ve never used me and skinny in the same sentence,” Williams said. “Maybe me and thick, or me and curvy or sexy, but not necessarily skinny.”
If Serena’s competition were hoping she’d let things slide as she approaches thirty years old, they’re going to be disappointed. . .and losing. (Via New York Times):
“I just decided if I could be fit, maybe that can be a new level in my game,” Williams said last week in Toronto, “because I think I’ve always been, I think, a halfway decent player. I thought, ‘What haven’t I been?’ I have never really been fit.”
“Halfway decent”! Ah, Serena at her most ironic. I’m loving her attitude and her game.
Serena gets fellow Rogers Cup finalist, Sam Stosur in the next round. Maria Sharapova, Li Na and Petra Kvitova also advanced on Tuesday. On the men’s side, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga appears to have recovered from the arm injury that took him out of the Rogers Cup last week – he beat Marin “downward spiral” Cilic in straights. Isner lost to Stepanek, Llodra upset Youzhny, and Berdych also advanced.