Defending champion Roger Federer overcame a break deficit in the second set to edge Philipp Kolhschreiber 6-3, 7-6(7) in the second round at the Cincinnati Masters Tuesday night. Federer, a 5-time champion at the tournament, is now 7-0 against the German in his career, and given his recent slump the win was one of his best of the summer.
“I think it was a match where I had to sort of just fight to come through and hope get over the finish line sort of thing,” Federer said. “I was playing really well at times, and then sometimes it was maybe a bit up and down. But assessing the performance overall, I’m very happy. It’s good to be back and playing pain free. My mind’s good. I was in a good place while I was playing, so it felt nice to win at the end.”
Federer, who was using his old, smaller framed racquet in the match, will play the winner of the Tommy Haas/Marcel Granollers on Thursday in the third round.
“I’m going to do more racquet testing when I have, again, some more time after the US Open,” he said. “I was playing for a month with the black one, but it’s a prototype. At the end, I just felt like, you know what, right now I feel like I need to simplify everything and just play with what I know best.”
Earlier in the men’s draw, No. 3 seed David Ferrer held off feisty Ryan Harrison 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 in a 2 hour, 42 minute marathon. Harrison remains winless against Top 10 players in his career, now 0-19.
“I think that anyone who watched the match can see the difference in my game, especially being aggressive with my forehand and looking to dictate points,” Harrison told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Obviously, my backhand I’m still working on developing… You want to have a game where you step up and you can initiate and take the aggressive side of it, and I think that’s where I’m headed.”
Canadian Open finalist Milos Raonic continued his hot summer ousting American wildcard Jack Sock in three sets 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. Other winners were Tommy Haas, Stanislas Wawrinka, Mikhail Youzhny and Grigor Dimitrov who ended Brian Bakers comeback. Canadian Open semifinalist Vasek Pospisil also moved on when his opponent, Gilles Simon, withdrew with a hip injury.
The big story on the day came via the women’s event. Former champion Maria Sharapova made her debut with new coach Jimmy Connors and it didn’t go as planned as the Russian was bounced in her opener by American big match player Sloane Stephens 2-6, 7-6, 6-3.
“It definitely started out rough,” Stephens said. “A set and 0-2, she was killing it. I’m glad I was able to turn it around and start playing good tennis.”
Sharapova had never lost to Stephens until tonight. And rarely does the Russian lost her first match at any tournament.
“Sloane is a really great retriever,” Sharapova said. “She makes you hit a lot of balls, and sometimes you think it’s a really great shot but it keeps coming back.”
Other winners were Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic and Andrea Petkovic who is making a return to tennis. Not so fortunate were Ana Ivanovic, Dominika Cibulkova and Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens.
On tap tomorrow on a big, busy Wednesday are the three men’s Grand slam winners this year – Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray – along with Serena Williams and Juan Martin Del Potro.
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