Fish nets Roddick win in Cincinnati
Reuters - Sat, 21 Aug 23:56:00 2010
In a rain-interrupted semi-final in the Cincinnati Masters wildcard Mardy Fish came back to beat his friend Andy Roddick 4-6 7-6 6-1.
Fish, who has reached his third career Masters series final, will face Roger Federer who overcame Marcos Baghdatis 6-4 6-3 in the other semi-final.
Ninth seed Roddick had served for the match at 5-3 up in the second set before Fish's unlikely comeback began.
The game had been tight in the first set until a 40 minute rain-break disrupted proceedings and on the return to the court Roddick broke and took the set.
The big-serving Roddick, who will re-enter the top 10 in the world rankings next week, then put himself in a powerful position by grabbing a 5-2 lead in the second.
With Fish about to serve to stay in the match, rain returned, albeit only for 10 minutes, but once again the stoppage had an impact.
Fish held serve to stay in the match before breaking Roddick and pushing the set to a tie-break which he won in style, to three, against a floundering opponent.
A visibly riled Roddick had lost his composure and never regained it and there was only ever one winner in the third set as Fish cruised to a 6-1 victory.
Fish lost both his previous Masters finals, including to Roddick in Cincinnati seven years ago, but has five ATP tour title wins - the most recent in Atlanta last month.
And after his displays this summer Roddick believes Fish has earned the right to be considered a real contender at Flushing Meadows.
"You're going to have the normal cast of characters as the favourites and then that next kind of tier of four or five guys and I think Mardy has played himself into that discussion," Roddick said. "I think with this week I've kind of put myself back in that discussion."
Roddick will re-enter the top 10 in next week's rankings after reaching the last four but Fish has flown up the rankings and will be 21st, even if he loses the final in Cincinnati.
"I think it's fair to say. I've won a lot of matches this summer, more than most guys," Fish said.
"I feel great, I've done some things that I have never done in my career and won more matches this year up to this point than I ever have.
"I have a great opportunity to improve my ranking to where I've never been before."
It is a sign of the growing respect for Fish that Federer, a winner of 16 Grand Slams, said he is hoping to avoid the American in New York.
But the Swiss, while acknowledging Fish's capacity to produce a surprise, is not convinced he has enough of a track record in Grand Slams, where he has only twice reached the quarter-finals.
"He can definitely cause the upset," Federer said. "Now, if he can go all the way, that's a completely different story, because that's seven matches over five sets and that's not something he's used to doing, you know.
"But he's definitely got the game, especially on the American hardcourts ... I hope Mardy is not in my section of the draw."
Cincinnati 1/2Final: Roddi