It was a much-anticipated match but it hardly lived up to the hype. In their US Open rematch Roger Federer played one of the best matches of his season easily dispatching Juan Martin Del Potr 6-3, 7-5 in the second round last night at the Cincinnati Tennis Masters.
As Tennis Channel commentator Justin Gimelstob pointed out, Federer did “zilch”. But Del Potro appeared to have no belief and no urgency. After such a strong, promising first half to the season the Argentine has effectively been a bust this summer after his third straight early exit.
Still, credit to Federer who served impeccably, moved gracefully and attacked Del Potro with ease.
“I expected a tough match with Juan Martin for obvious reasons, and it went better than I thought,” said Federer who improves to 7-2 against Del Potro. “I thought I played a wonderful first set and a very good second set, too. That was obviously enough tonight. I don’t think I really allowed Juan Martin to be able to play the game he usually plays.”
Del Potro surprisingly played so well at the start of the year, but this summer – now that we are expecting him to do well – he has had straight set losses to Ernests Gulbis, Marin Cilic and now Federer. And for me, I just don’t think he’ll factor anymore at the US Open. Something seems off.
“I feel well tonight, but Roger played like No. 1 in the world,” said del Potro. “He was very confident with his serve, and it’s very important against top players like him. Also I feel [it was] like when we played in the semi-finals in the French Open; he played unbelievable and he beat me in fifth set. I think he played like that match.”
“I will try to train hard to be 100 per cent for the Open,” he said. “I love this tournament. I want to be there. I want to just play the US Open this year, and then I will have time to take a rest, to think about this season, and to fix all my physical problems.”
Physical problems, Delpo?
Federer now plays fellow 30+ James Blake tomorrow in rematch of their 2007 Cincinnati final.
Other winners yesterday were JW Tsonga, who showed no arm issues in thumping Marin Cilic, Gilles Simon, Nicolas Almagro and Radek Stepanek who outlasted John Isner in a third set tiebreaker.
The Wednesday schedule is massive with Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. This evening Djokovic will get his first look at pesky American teen Ryan Harrison. Nadal will try to avoid a third straight defeat against Julien Benneteau, a man who held matchpoints against Rafa at Cincinnati a year ago, and Murray has the tricky David Nalbandian in maybe the best match of the day.
Mardy Fish and Nikolay Davydeko kick things off on Center Court in just over an hour.
For the women, world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki faces American Christina McHale and Serena Williams plays Sam Stosur in a good one.
Tennis Channel will against have live TV coverage throughout.
WEDNESDAY CINCINNATI SCHEDULE
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
 M Fish (USA) vs N Davydenko (RUS) – ATP
[Q] J Benneteau (FRA) vs  R Nadal (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 2:30 PM
S Williams (USA) vs  S Stosur (AUS) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs [WC] R Harrison (USA) – ATP
Not Before 8:30 PM
 V Azarenka (BLR) vs S Peer (ISR) – WTA
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 C Wozniacki (DEN) vs [WC] C Mchale (USA) – WTA
D Nalbandian (ARG) vs  A Murray (GBR) – ATP
 D Ferrer (ESP) vs [WC] G Dimitrov (BUL) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
 A Petkovic (GER) vs [LL] S Arvidsson (SWE) – WTA
S Lipsky (USA) / B Soares (BRA) vs  M Fyrstenberg (POL) / M Matkowski (POL) – ATP
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