Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Well, well! Former World #1 Andy Roddick shocked almost all observers by defeating World #3 Roger Federer 7-6(5) 1-6 6-4 in the 4th round of the Sony Ericsson Open, almost exactly 4 years after he had last beaten the Greatest of All Time in an ATP tour match (coincidentally) at this same tournament.
Federer came into the match sporting a record of 40 wins, 2 losses since his heartbreaking semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic in the 2011US Open Semifinals and had won last week's ATP Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells for a record 4th time, defeating arch-nemesis Rafael Nadal in the process. The Swiss Maestro was on a 16 matches winning streak and had won 77 consecutive matches against players outside the Top 20.
But Monday night belonged to the American, who served a bucketful of aces and exhibited uncharacteristic aggression on his return games coupled with surprisingly tenacious defense. Both were pivotal to Roddick's win Monday night. In the first set tiebreaker Roddick returned a surprisingly weak Federer ovehead on a sitter and tracked down an angle volley to hit a winner and clinch a mini-break which he nursed to claim a razor-thin 7-6(7-5) first set. In the 2nd game of the 3rd set, after losing 7 consecutive games, Roddick was down 0-40 on his serve when he suddenly stopped missing first serves and was able to save 4 break points and hold serve. Roddick followed up the momentum change by forcing 0-40 in Federer's very next service game by playing the most aggressive return game of his career I have ever seen, hitting four forehand winners to break serve. With his win, Roddick improved to 3 wins and 21 losses against Federer, but showed the rest of the field that even though the former top American is now over 30 and his ranking is in the 20s he can still string together enough strong points to make an impact at any tournament.