The Andy Roddick slide continued last night in Cincinnati. Roddick, who was playing his first summer hardcourt match after missing time with an ab injury, crashed out in the first round in glorious fashion losing to Phil Kohlschreiber 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-1.
Roddick played steady early edging his German counterpart in the first set. But after blowing a break lead, things began to unravel for the American late in the second culminating with Roddick double faulting in the break game that gave Kohlscreiber the set.
In the third set Roddick went into full free fall. The tempestuous former No. 1 had been warned earlier for his behavior by chair umpire Carlos Bernardes and after given Kohlschreiber a break point Roddick smashed a ball into the stands. Except the umpire didn’t take kindly levying a point penalty on Roddick giving Phil the break and a 2-0 lead. And that was that. Roddick went volcano and you know the rest.
“Obviously a split-second thing,” Roddick said of the ball hit sent into the stands. “Soon as I did it I want it back. Um, you know, it was a judgment call for him. Pretty sure I saw an eight-year-old girl catch it on the way down. He was telling my I hit it as hard as I could.
“It just sucks. I can’t blame him, but I’m sitting here turning a six-week injury into a three-week injury, rehabbing eight hours a day, and a split second decision he interjects himself and it’s done,” he added. “It’s so frustrating. I certainly accept what I did. I put him in a bad situation out there. But I do think it’s stupid in tennis that — I mean, in football if someone throws a helmet on the sideline, it’s there helmet. We wonder where we lose our ratings battles to the WWF, Monday Night Raw.”
In the bigger picture, this just isn’t a good sign for Roddick who desperately needed few good wins this week in Cincinnati, a place where he’s had success before.
“For two sets tonight I actually hit the ball well considering. I hit the ball a lot better than I thought I would, if I’m being totally candid,” said Roddick. “I probably will wake up tomorrow morning feeling a little bit better about where I’m at than I did when I woke up this morning. I’m not that concerned about New York right now.
“I got to get to Winston Salem and try to get a couple matches. That’s it. For me it’s silly to think about New York yet. Obviously if I go and win Winston Salem then it’s a different ballgame, or final of Winston Salem it’s a different ballgame. So a lot can change in a matter of two weeks.”
Not concerned, Andy? He should be. The loss will send Roddick, who was a semifinalist a year ago in Cincinnati, out of the Top 20 in the next ATP rankings. Roddick still has that big serve, super model wife but his game is on the decline and he’ll turn 29 at the end of the month.
And Roddick hasn’t beaten a Top 20 player all year as he heads into Winston Salem next week on a 3-match losing streak.
As for Roddick’s replacement, Ryan Harrison, the teen took care of business yesterday impressively eliminating Juan Ignacio Chela. Harrison now meets World No. 1 Novak Djokovic tomorrow and the 19-year-old is fearless.
“I think if you look at the matches I’ve played against guys in the Top 10, I’ve had a history of just getting blown out in the first set and then settling down and playing really competitive from then on out,” Harrison said. “Whatever happens, I’ve started slow against these guys just because I’ve gone in with like a feel it out mentality. Wednesday it’s going to be about going in there knowing that my game is good enough, and try to take it to him.”
Two other notable results from Monday were David Nalbandian’s win over Kei Nishikori and Fernando Verdasco had a good victory beating Tomasz Bellucci.
Tuesday, the focus will be on the big showdown tonight between Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro. Federer has won six of eight career meetings with the Argentine, but Delpo has won their last two in 2009 at the US Open and in London. Two losses that still haunt the Swiss.
“I thought both matches were really good, right?” Federer said. “They were both very close. There was a lot on the line in both matches, qualifying for the semis, was it, in the World Tour Finals? It came down to games, that whole crazy scenario, with Murray involved. And then US Open obviously having all the chances, you know, it was a tough one to lose, definitely one of the bigger losses in my career, I think, because I really think it shouldn’t have gone away.”
But coming into this match I don’t think either player is at the level they were at when they played in 2009.
Now 30, Federer just isn’t the same guy and I don’t think Del Potro is back to 100% full strength, yet. Still, it should be an interesting match and for Federer it’s bordering on a must-win.
After recent losses to JW Tsonga, Federer, who has won Cincinnati four times including last year, needs a big statement win like this would give him. And he needs to show that he can still handle the power. But Delpo can bring even more heat to the table than the Frenchman and if he gets his game going I think he wins. If Federer has to play defense all night he’ll lose.
Then again if Federer can get Del Potro on the run and cut out those shanks, then I think the odds swing in the Swiss’s favor. Plus, Del Potro hasn’t done much this summer. After really postive first half to the season, Delpo’s had two poor losses this summer to Gulbis in LA and Cilic last week in Montreal.
That said, I picked Delpo at the start here and on a whim I’m actually going to pick him again for tonight.
Also today, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are in action along with John Isner, Tsonga and Tomas Berdych.
Tennis Channel will have live coverage all day and all night.
TUESDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
 N Li (CHN) vs L Safarova (CZE) – WTA
 J Tsonga (FRA) vs M Cilic (CRO) – ATP
Not Before 3:00 PM
L Hradecka (CZE) vs S Williams (USA) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
[Q] A Rodionova (AUS) vs  [WC] M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 8:30 PM
 R Federer (SUI) vs J del Potro (ARG) – ATP
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs [Q] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) – ATP
[Q] R Stepanek (CZE) vs J Isner (USA) – ATP
Not Before 2:30 PM
J Monaco (ARG) vs  T Berdych (CZE) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
[WC] J Blake (USA) vs F Fognini (ITA) – ATP
K Jans-Ignacik (POL) / A Rosolska (POL) vs N Llagostera Vives (ESP) / A Parra Santonja (ESP) – WTA
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