Miami – Round 3rd + 4th

Fourth round

Mardy Fish [8] had to work very hard in his fourth round match to achieve the best result of the season. The American squandered a 4:2 lead in the 2nd set, and was forced to save break points in three consecutive games of the decider (on the last break point in the 5th game he won a 31-stroke rally finished with a gentle drop-volley) before prevailed against Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-3 in 2 hours 35 minutes. Last year’s semifinalist Fish, who is playing tournament No. 200 in his career, complains that officials don’t designate his matches on Stadium court (all three matches this week played on Grandstand).
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are on a collision course in semi-finals. On Tuesday they won demanding two setters, Nadal outlasted Kei Nishikori 6-4, 6-4 in two hours 10 minutes, Murray overcame Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-4 in one hour 46 minutes. Both favorites won very long opening games of their matches; Nadal needed 12 minutes (five deuces), Murray 17 minutes (seven deuces). The latter improves his H2H against Simon to 9-1, winning the last nine meetings pretty easily. In my opinion they belong to a group of players of the same type, but the Scot just executes better everything. “The beginning was a very tough match for me,” said Nadal about his fourth win over the Japanese, “I think I start playing more aggressively. At the end of the first set, I felt that I started to win my serves easier than him.” Last year they met in Miami as well (second round), and Nadal went through after identical scoreline.
Andy Roddick didn’t consolidate his sensational victory over Federer. He led 4:2* in the 1st set against Juan Monaco, but lost his serve, later on had a game point to enter a tie-break – the Argentine played three tremendous points then (forehand passing-shot, backhand down the line after a long rally, backhand passing-shot) and took the set in 70 minutes. Roddick ran out of gas in the 2nd set, Monaco only needed to keep the ball in play, looking at unforced errors of the heavily sweating Roddick… 7-5, 6-0 before sunset, and Monaco secures his spot in unexpected quarterfinal against Fish, whom had beaten on the last occasion (Paris  ’11). “I just didn’t have it physically,” Roddick admitted. “I got to about 4-all, and I was – you know, I’m out of shape. That’s it.”

Third round

After several disappointing months, a gifted 20-year-old Grigor Dimitrov [101] perhaps is finally playing a breakthrough tournament. He advanced to the last 16 as the only unseeded player, notching his first win over a Top 10 player. In the third round, Dimitrov ousted Tomas Berdych 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 on Stadium court. In the 3rd set at 3:4 Dimitrov staved off two mini-match points, the first one with a service winner, the second with a 2nd serve ace, he looked tired but after holding the serve the momentum swung and the young Bulgarian took the next two games pretty convincingly. “Today was a great match, a great day for me,” said Dimitrov. “I didn’t expect to play that well. I didn’t make enough first serves, though. [I] got a bit lucky at 4:4 in the third [set], and I was happy to close the match.”
Milos Raonic unfortunately withdrew from his highly anticipated match against Andy Murray due to ankle injury. “Yesterday, at the end of practice, we finished doing an hour long practice, and I was just moving back and I rolled over my ankle and ended up spraining it,” explained Raonic, who after that practice session played a doubles match retiring at 1:2 in the 1st set.
Richard Gasquet was ousted by Albert Ramos at Indian Wells 6-3, 5-7, 1-6. He made a quick revenge, but after first two sets he could afraid of repeating the scenario. The Frenchman won 6-2, 5-7, 6-3, in his previous match against Stebe (6-3, 6-7, 6-2) got the final three games of the match playing with cramps. He is 0-7 this year in sets which went to 5:5.
Never occurred in the Open era a H2H in which one player won 20 matches more than the other #. Everything indicated that it should have been happened in Miami’s third round as Roger Federer playing great tennis lately, faced Andy Roddick [34], who has been struggling with problems for months, playing tight matches with much more inferior opponents. Federer as usual held service games comfortably, but didn’t bother to give his best in return games. It’s his standard and understandable tactics because he’s one of the biggest specialists of playing tie-breaks in history, but Roddick is too, and with a couple of strong serves and a bit of luck managed to hang in there taking the tie-break 7 points to 4. Federer stepped up and notched a streak of 7 consecutive games, he could expect extending the streak as he led 1:0 (40-0) in the 3rd set. In that moment Roddick rediscovered his form characteristic for the times he was a serious threat, with a bunch of aces and smashes withstood four break points, and broke Federer in the following game with four astonishing forehand winners. It pumped him up as well as the favorable crowd. To the end of the match he was keeping high 1st serve percentage and uncompromising ground-strokes. Federer had a ray of hope leading 30-15 in the 10th game, but the former 2-time champion responded with 3 service bombs to clinch a 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-4 victory in exactly two hours, snapping Federer’s 16-match winning streak. All of a sudden with Juan Monaco, Almagro and Fish in his section, Roddick is a slight favorite to reach the semi-finals. In a concurrent match to Roddick’s, on Grandstand, Monaco erased a 2:4* (15-40) deficit in the 3rd set to beat Gael Monfils 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

# The most lopsided H2H’s in the Open era:
Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick  21-3 (2001-2012)
Bjorn Borg vs. Vitas Gerulaitis 17-0 (1974-1981)
Ivan Lendl vs. Tim Mayotte  17-0 (1980-1990)
Ivan Lendl vs. Brad Gilbert 16-0 (1982-1991)
Ivan Lendl vs. Scott Davis 16-0 (1980-1991)
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