As I said at the start of the tournament, I thought something or someone would get Roger Federer. Turns out it was Andy Roddick, circa 2003 Roddick.
Playing like it was turn back the clock night, Roddick stunned a red-hot Roger 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 in the third round at the Miami Tennis Masters. Roddick had won just twice in 23 career attempts against the Swiss, but this marked his second win over Federer in South Florida and one of his biggest victories in recent memory.
After a tepid opening set, which he dropped in a breaker, Federer seized complete control of the match destroying Roddick 6-1 in the second set. Roger continued the momentum taking the opening game then leading 40-0 on Roddick’s serve. And that’s when Roddick went 2003.
Suddenly, as if he had been playing possum the last two years with his passive mindset, Roddick changed gears, several gears. He managed to save the breakpoints with some timely serves to hold then blitzed Federer in Roger’s next service game behind a bevy of fercious forehands to break and lead 2-1.
Playing an old school grip-it, rip-it style, Roddick continued to crack his serve and crush his forehand to cruise past the finish line, ending Federer’s 16-match win streak.
“It was kind of a game of chess,” said Roddick. “I stayed back on the returns, which is something I have not done with him often early on. I think he might have been a little bit surprised by it. He made the adjustment like he does because he’s Roger. He started coming in a lot and putting the pressure on me, and it was 6-1 in the second and 0/40 early in the third. It was apparent that that wasn’t going to work much longer.
“So I said, ‘Well, all right. Let’s kinda go over the top aggressive.’ I was able to get out of that game and play that really good game to break, and then my serve held up from there.”
Watching the match, one has to ask why Roddick doesn’t play “over the top aggressive” more often? He finished off Nadal in 2010 in similar fashion and now Federer. It sure seems to work.
For Federer, who admitted he came out flat in the first set, I thought the numbers, the streak, the matches would eventually catch up to his 30-year-old body. While he played well in the second set also I think he was simply shell-shocked from the bombs Roddick was dropping in the third after losing those break chances. And by the time Federer knew what hit him it was too late.
“I had my chances. I thought Andy did well to get the first, and then to put me in the situation I guess in the third,” said Federer. “I could have been up a break early in the third, but he did well also to fight off those break points. He served really well.
“I think he had a good overhead. He played aggressive and clutch served when he had to. It was his credit. For me, it was obviously a tough loss. The one service game where I got broken, he really goes for it and it all works out.”
And again credit to Roddick, while retirement talk swirls he’s managed at least one last great win. There may be more and the draw has really opened up for him.
Other results on a very maniacal Monday was an incredible choke job by Dominika Cibulkova who led World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 5-2 but STILL LOST! Azarenka somehow pulled it out winning 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 to improve her win streak to 26 on the season.
“The turning point was [at] 6-1, 5-2 on my serve, and I just didn’t finish the match,” said Cibulkova. “Until then, I was killing her [with] the return and the forehand. After that, I just didn’t want to go for so much. I just wanted her to beat herself. That didn’t happen.”
Surprise!! No, it didn’t happen. In fact, when you are playing a hot No. 1 it hardly ever happens!
And when you are on such a run as Azarenka’s been on, things like this tend to happen. Amazing.
Also on the women’s side, Serena Williams avenged her US Open final loss to Sam Stosur by smacking 20 aces in a 7-5, 6-3 win. “Every time I step up to serve, I pretty much want to hit an ace,” she said.
“Every match for me is a joy to win,” said Serena. “Every time I go out there and win it’s good for me. I like it and I enjoy it. It makes me really happy.”
Serena will play former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki Tuesday night on one women’s quarterfinal.
“I really, really, really, really like Caroline as a person and as a girl and as someone on the tour,” Williams said of the Dane. “I like her a lot. She’s a good girl and it will be a tough match. It will be like going out there against a good friend. I always said if I can play Venus, then I’m okay playing anybody.”
In a battle of Slam champions, Li Na takes on Maria Sharapova in the other quarter. Li Na has won the last four meetings with her Russian foe.
Back to the men, my tournament pick Juan Martin Del Potro advanced as did Novak Djokovic, Mardy Fish, David Ferrer and Juan Monaco who beat Gael Monfils to set up a meeting with Roddick on Tuesday.
Del Potro meets Ferrer tomorrow night while Djokovic clashes with Richard Gasquet. Rafael Nadal opens play against Kei Nishikori.
“He’s got a lot of experience and a lot of variety in his game,” Djokovic said of Gasquet. “He can play equally well defensively and offensively. [He’s] going to be a very tricky opponent, obviously. I just need to go out on the court and be aggressive, because that’s where I feel most comfortable.”
As for some picks, Nadal shakes off an early start to beat a very pesky Nishikori. I like the Serbs Djokovic and Tipsarevic and I’ll take Tsonga. Roddick should be able to consolidate against Monaco, who never seems to get that “big” win (or none that I can recall). And Fish gets through.
Murray struggles but advances over Gilles Simon and Del Potro overpowers a very tough Ferrer in the best match of the day. I’ll also take Serena and Sharapova to get the women’s semifinals.
Tennis Channel will again have complete coverage starting at 11am.
STADIUM Start 11:00 am
 Kei Nishikori (JPN) v  Rafael Nadal (ESP)
Not Before 1:00 PM
 Na Li (CHN) v  Maria Sharapova (RUS)
 Novak Djokovic (SRB) v  Richard Gasquet (FRA)
 Andy Roddick (USA) v  Juan Monaco (ARG)
Not Before 7:30 PM
 Serena Williams (USA) v  Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 9:30 PM
 Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) v  David Ferrer (ESP)
GRANDSTAND Start 11:00 am
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) v  Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)
 Nicolas Almagro (ESP) v  Mardy Fish (USA)
 Gilles Simon (FRA) v  Andy Murray (GBR)
 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) v  Florian Mayer (GER)
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