Federer has Roddick’s number again
Vail, CO Colorado
SHANGHAI, China ” Unfortunately for Andy Roddick, there’s something about his game that brings out the best in Roger Federer.
Federer overwhelmed Roddick 6-4, 6-2 Friday in a round-robin match at the Masters Cup in which both players were already assured of reaching the semifinals. Federer raised his record against Roddick to 15-1.
“I know that my game matches up well with his, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to beat him all the time,” Federer said. “Andy has been trying many, many different things out against me. It’s dangerous for me to play against him, especially with the guy having such a big serve. Today, I read it well.”
Federer will play No. 2 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the year-end tournament for the top eight men in the rankings. Roddick faces No. 6 David Ferrer, who went undefeated in the Gold Group.
Also Friday, No. 4 ranked Nikolay Davydenko, already out of contention with two losses, beat No. 7 Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 6-3. That eliminated the Chilean from the Red Group.
Federer, the defending champion, landed 83 percent of his first serves, never faced a break point and had 33 winners to just 13 unforced errors. The top-ranked Swiss wrapped up the match in 61 minutes.
Roddick, ranked No. 5, was so frustrated he battered a racket to extinction for the second time in the tournament, bashing it against his left foot five times after Federer broke serve for the third time to pull ahead 3-0 in the second set.
There was some speculation that Federer might be starting to slip when he lost his first round-robin match to give him a two-match losing streak for the first time in 4 1/2 years. Roddick certainly wasn’t among the doubters.
“It seems like most times we play, he’s on top of his game, which is a little annoying,” Roddick said. “I guess I just have to figure out what about my game brings out the best in him and try to adjust. Some of the guys who beat him are quick. Unfortunately, that’s not my strength. You kind of have to go with what you’re good at, try to make adjustments.”
Roddick, who looked sharp in winning his first two matches after an injury layoff, was disappointed the day’s marquee matchup ended up being mostly for pride.
“It had a weird feeling out there tonight,” he said. “I think maybe a little bit of the excitement was maybe taken away.”
Not for Federer.
“I always enjoy playing against Andy, not just because I’m winning but because of the character he is on the court,” he said. “He’s great for our game. He’s got an entertaining game, as well. He keeps on attacking, even though sometimes he gets passed over and over again. He doesn’t lose belief.”
Federer clearly recalls his one loss to Roddick, four years ago in Canada.
“I lost it 7-6 in the third, and that was my first opportunity to become No. 1 in the world,” Federer said. “He didn’t feel sorry for me back then, either.”
Roddick has less than a day to get his confidence back before he faces Ferrer.
“I’ll have my hands full,” Roddick said. “I still feel like I’m hitting the ball well. I just can’t let my disappointment from tonight spill over into tomorrow.”
Davydenko was inconsistent again, with 33 winners offset by 35 unforced errors. But so was Gonzalez, who has developed a reputation for being brilliant one match, as he was in beating Federer on Monday, then letting down.
Davydenko is now looking forward to working on his suntan in the Maldives before preparing for Russia’s Davis Cup final against a U.S. team led by Roddick.
“I try mentally to recover and to be a little bit brown,” Davydenko said. “And then it’s my happy face coming to Davis Cup final.”
Gonzalez’s frustration boiled over when he netted a forehand on break point while serving at 4-5, giving the first set to Davydenko. His received a code violation after smashing his racket on the court, then bashing the net post as he walked to his chair.
“I was a little bit disappointed with myself after losing that set,” Gonzalez said. “I give everything that I have.”