World No. 1 Roger Federer punked Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-2 in the final round-robin match of the Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup. With Federer securing a semifinal berth earlier in the day after Nikolay Davydenko lashed Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 6-3, the match against Roddick determined the final Red Group seedings.
Roddick would have been the top seed, and would have faced Rafael Nadal in the Saturday semifinals with a win over a Federer. But the loss means Roddick now faces the surprising David Ferrer, while Federer must tangle with his chief rival, Nadal.
Did Roddick dump the match to play Ferrer (he’s 2-2 against) and avoid Nadal (he’s 1-2 against)? Did he decide to save his energy for the semifinals after losing the first set?
“Let’s not overrate today’s match, because we both qualified, both could play freely,” said Federer. “I know that my game matches up well with his, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to beat him all the time. Look what happened with González. You think you have a guy under control. It turns around.”
Federer hit 33 winners with just 13 unforced errors, and the five-time Wimbledon champion put an alarming 83 percent of first serves into playing while never facing a break point. The Swiss equaled Roddick’s ace total with seven.
Fed broke Roddick in the third game of the opening set, and in back-to-back games in the second set en route to a 4-0 lead.
“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. You see some of the guys who beat him are quick, Nalbandian types who can run a little bit more. Unfortunately, that’s not my strength.”
Federer has now won 15 of 16 against the American, and the victory earns him his sixth consecutive Masters Cup semifinal, where he’ll play Nadal in a rematch of his win over the Spaniard a year ago. It will be their first meeting since the Wimbledon final. Nadal leads the head-to-head 8-5.
“I’m very excited to actually play against him (Nadal). It’s always nice for the best two to be playing against each other in the last tournament of the season,” said Federer. “It’s a nice thing for everybody here. Of course, there’s the final after, so you definitely have me or Rafa in the finals, which I think is a good thing, too.”
While Roddick suffered first loss at the Masters Cup, Davydenko picked up his first win. The embattled Russian denied Gonzalez, who failed to win a set after shocking Federer in the opener on Monday, a semifinal berth. Gonzalez would have made the Final Four with a win and a Federer loss.
“For me always is tough to play against Davydenko,” Gonzo said. “He play really fast and both sides are really good, have really good return. But today I give my best, and I think wasn’t enough. I was really excited because I still having chances to go to the semis, but it was really tough. I didn’t feel like on the first day.”
Davydenko will now prepare for the upcoming Davis Cup final against the U.S.
In the semifinals, Roddick will face Ferrer at 5pm local time followed by Nadal vs. Federer.
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