Federer's serve solid, Roddick loses at Cincinnati

Roger Federer held serve throughout a 6-3, 7-5 win over Jose Acasuso in the second round of the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters.

updated: August 20, 2009 09:27 IST
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Mason (Ohio):

Roger Federer held serve throughout a 6-3, 7-5 win over Jose Acasuso in the second round of the Western and Southern Financial Group Masters, facing only one break point in his opener.

The Swiss star made 70 per cent of his first serves and piled up 14 aces while getting accustomed to the tournament's heat, humidity and famously fast courts on Wednesday.

"The transition to Cincy is always a difficult one," Federer said. "I've had very up and down results here. But it just showed sort of how hard it is to get used to these kind of courts. We don't usually play on these fast courts, you know. That's why I'm happy with today's match."

Parts of his game were a little slow, but his accurate serve pushed the speed limit and carried him through a star-packed day.

His match was the second of four in a row on centre court involving top-ranked players - Federer, No 2 Andy Murray, No 3 Rafael Nadal and No 4 Novak Djokovic.

"That's the sort of thing I would love if I were a tennis fan," Federer said. "Just keep the same seat, you know. They come rolling in. It's like going to the movie theaters and seeing five, six great movies."

Djokovic, Federer, Murray and Nadal each won two-set matches.

Fifth-seeded Andy Roddick suffered a stunning 7-6 (11), 7-6 (3) loss to fellow American Sam Querrey in his first match of the tournament.

Querrey matched the fifth-ranked Roddick shot-for-shot and made the biggest ones in a pair of tiebreakers.

Roddick blew a 5-2 lead in the first-set tiebreaker, then lost his cool in a back-and-forth second set. It was Querrey's first victory in four career matches against Roddick. "That first set was key for me," said Querrey, who has won 16 of his last 20 matches.

After winning his record 15th Grand Slam at Wimbledon, Federer took time off to become the father of twin girls. He got back on court last week in Montreal and reached the quarterfinals. He's trying to get his game in shape to defend his US Open title in two weeks.

Murray won his first match as the world's No 2 player, a ranking he reached for the first time after winning the Montreal title last week. Rather than fly to Cincinnati, he decided to make a 13-hour drive for the fun of it.

His 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over Spain's Nicolas Almagro wasn't much fun. Rain delayed the first set and ratcheted up the humidity.

Murray took control by winning a 16-point game early in the second set, converting his first break opportunity of the match.

Winning the long game seemed to give Murray a lift - he lost only two points off his serve all set.

"If you can get ahead early in the second, it makes a big difference to both players' confidence," said Murray, who won his first Masters title in Cincinnati last year.

"I think his head went down a little bit after that. He struggled on his serve afterwards, and he had been serving great up until then. It made a big difference."

Nadal is recovering from two months off to let his aching knees heal. He reached the quarterfinals in Montreal, and took another shaky step in his comeback by beating Italy's Andreas Seppi 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) in a match twice delayed by rain.

Nadal was on the defensive in the second set, surviving eight break points to hold serve. At 3-2 in the tie-breaker, he pulled off the next three points - one on an emphatic crosscourt backhand - to finally take control. He had 24 unforced errors.

"It's going to be tough to be at my best the second week (back)," Nadal said. "I need to play more aggressive. I need to play more inside of the court."

Djokovic beat Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (5), 6-4, making only seven unforced errors. By contrast, Ljubicic made mistakes at the worst time. He hit three shots long and dumped another into the net during the first-set tie-breaker.

"I got a feeling it was a pretty fast court," Djokovic said.

"He was serving really well, and he was going for shots. He didn't really care to play too much (in) long rallies. It was not easy to hang on, but that's what I did."

Seventh-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Federer last week, was upset himself by Australian qualifier Chris Guccione 7-6 (12), 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko improved to 3-0 against fellow Russian Igor Kunitsyn with 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win.