Mason: World number two Roger Federer comfortably beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to set up a meeting with American Mardy Fish in the final of the Cincinnati Masters.
Fish had earlier pulled off a surprise turnaround win over fellow American Andy Roddick to claim a 4-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory and advance to his third Masters series final.
Federer had had an easy route to the last four after a bye, a retirement and a walkover allowed him into the last eight without a full set of tennis.
But the Swiss, the defending champion and a finalist in Toronto last week, looked in good form, playing with the ease and flow for which he is noted, and at the perfect time in his preparation for the US Open.
Federer’s serve was particularly impressive, winning 90 percent of his first service points, which is exactly the part of the game that Fish has been thriving upon this week -- setting up a fascinating final.
The Swiss has met Fish six times, with the American winning just once, in their most recent meeting in Indian Wells in 2008.
“I thought he came out and played the perfect match really. Yeah, it was a good match from his side. I never really got into the match,” Federer said of their last encounter.
“He seems like he’s playing well and he must be confident. I’m ready for that. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow,” he added.
Fish had been on the verge of defeat against Roddick before a short rain-break offered him a glimmer of hope.
Ninth seed Roddick had served for the match at 5-3 up in the second set before Fish’s unlikely comeback began.
The game had been tight in the first set until a 40 minute rain-break disrupted proceedings and on the return to the court Roddick broke and took the set.
The big-serving Roddick, who will re-enter the top 10 in the world rankings next week, then put himself in a powerful position by grabbing a 5-2 lead in the second.
With Fish about to serve to stay in the match, rain returned, albeit only for 10 minutes, but once again the stoppage had an impact when they resumed.
Fish held serve then broke Roddick and pushed the set to a tiebreak which he won in style against a floundering opponent.
A visibly riled Roddick never regained his composure and there was only ever one winner in the third set as Fish cruised to a 6-1 victory.
Fish lost both his previous Masters finals, including to Roddick in Cincinnati seven years ago, but has five ATP tour title wins -- the most recent in Atlanta last month.
First Published: Sunday, August 22, 2010, 12:39