Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Down a set, Roddick finds game in time


Mirnyi battles before late fade

By Dustin Dow
Enquirer staff writer

MASON - Andy Roddick provided some nervous moments Tuesday night for Western & Southern Financial Group Masters tournament officials, who almost saw their top two seeded players go down on the same day.

PHOTO GALLERY
photo gallery
Photos of Tuesday's action
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But the No. 2 seed Roddick fought back from a one-set deficit and defeated Max Mirnyi, saving the tournament from losing the two biggest names in men's tennis in the first round. Earlier Tuesday, No. 1-ranked Roger Federer suffered a stunning defeat to Dominik Hrbaty.

Roddick's 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory hinged on a second-set tiebreaker he nearly lost.

Down 5-4 in the tiebreaker, Roddick was two points from meeting the same fate as Federer.

"I'm not out there playing to avoid the upset," Roddick said. "I'm out there trying to win a match."

Roddick took the next three points of the tiebreaker to win the set and eventually the match.

"The breaker, I think he definitely could have closed me out there," Roddick said. "I played a really sloppy forehand at four-all. At that point, I felt like I maybe deserved to lose. I just hung around and hit a couple really good returns there, and the match turned for me."

The shocker of the day came when Federer lost for the first time in 24 matches, to No. 21 Hrbaty. It ended Federer's bid to win his fifth straight tournament as well.

Federer was one of four seeded players to lose a first-round match.

Nine of the 16 seeded players advanced to the second round, while third-seeded Guillermo Coria and sixth-seed David Nalbandian withdrew before the tournament. Last year, only seven seeded players moved on to the second round.

For two-thirds of the Americans, the first round brought an early exit, but the big guns, Roddick and Andre Agassi, are still alive, as is wild-card entry Jeff Morrison.

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E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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Federer is frustrated again
Photos of Tuesday's action
Down a set, Roddick finds game in time
Hrbaty downs No. 1 player - again
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