Mason: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will meet in an All-American semi-final at the Cincinnati Masters after knocking out top four opponents Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray Friday.
Roger Federer defeated Russian Nikolay Davydenko 6-4 7-5 and will face the winner of the match between world number one Rafa Nadal and Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis.
The prospect of the US’s top two men battling for a spot in the final is a timely boost for the American game which is currently without a top ten male player -- although Roddick’s win assures he is back to at least ninth in next week’s rankings.
Roddick and Fish are close friends who, since their high school days, have spent many hours together practicing.
“There won’t be many secrets that’s for sure,” Roddick said after beating third-ranked Serb Djokovic 6-4 7-5, his booming serve looking back to its best.
“We know each other probably better than any other two guys on the tour,” added Roddick, who has been struggling for fitness and recently revealed he has been hampered by mononucleosis.
But, after his win over fifth-ranked Swede Robin Soderling Thursday and his confident display against Djokovic, the Texan is looking in good shape for the US Open.
“Once you decide you are playing you forfeit any excuses,” Roddick said when asked about his health.
Fish took advantage of an exhausted world number four Murray, who struggled in 100-degree heat (38 Celsius) and lost 6-7 6-1 7-6 to the unseeded American.
Fish, ranked 36th in the world, has now beaten the Briton in three successive meetings following victories in Miami and at Queen’s Club, London.
Fourth seed Murray won the opening set tiebreak despite producing his first double-fault at 5-5 but the tired Scot then struggled in a one-sided second set.
Both players held serve throughout the decider and Fish emerged victorious against a frustrated Murray who, after losing a rally on the penultimate point, thrashed the ball out of the stadium.
“I clearly feel like I played a lot better than I had in the previous matches that I played against him,” said Fish, who owns a career 4-3 record over Murray.
“I’ve had a lot of trouble with him. He returns so well and moves so well that he gives aggressive players like me a lot of trouble. It’s a great win for anyone.”
Federer, who had a walkover in the third-round after having had his opponent retire in the first set of his second-round match, was pleased to have quickly adjusted to the slick surface at Cincinnati and book his place in the last four.
“I wondered if I had enough to play on these kind of courts in a match moment,” Federer told reporters. “I was really hoping to get a decent match in today, play solid, and come through and then feel like I am really in the tournament.
“Because before it didn’t really feel that way. So there’s a sense of relief from my side. Right off the bat kind of beating a top 10 player is not so easy, you know.”