Federer beats Roddick
Mason, August 22:
Roger Federer won his 22nd straight final on Sunday, beating Andy Roddick 6-3, 7-5 for the Cincinnati Masters title and his ninth overall victory this season.
Federer improved to 10-1 against Roddick, who tried every tactic but still came up short. Federer has won the last six times they’ve met, including the last two Wimbledon finals. The world’s top-ranked player for the last 81 weeks, Federer heads into the US Open fit, relaxed and on a roll. He took time off after winning his third straight Wimbledon, looking to recharge and rest a sore foot. He needed only one week of matches to get back in form. Federer got $400,000 for the win, Roddick $200,000 for finishing second. Federer’s tour dominance is captured by remarkable numbers — a 64-3 match record this season and 138-9 the last two years with 20 titles; 28 straights wins on hard courts; an 18-match winning streak; the seventh-longest uninterrupted stay atop the ATP list.
Federer countered Roddick’s serve-and-volley strategy by hitting returns at his feet as he came to the net, leaving him in a bad spot. Roddick double-faulted to lose his serve and fall behind 3-2 in the opening set, then uttered a profanity as he left the court.
He knew he was in trouble already. Federer kept the pressure on, making few mistakes and pouncing on every opening. He broke Roddick again to finish out the first set, a bad omen for the American. Roddick had lost only two games on his serve all week; now, he’d lost two in one set.
Kim Clijsters got a big boost heading into the US Open, defeating Justine Henin-Hardenne 7-5, 6-1 in an all-Belgian final at the Rogers Cup. Clijsters made another strong showing on hardcourts. She has won five of her WTA-leading six titles in 2005 on the surface, and will try to capture her first Grand Slam championship at the US Open. The final between two of the world’s best players added some intrigue to a tournament hit by injuries — five of the top eight seeded players, including Russia’s Maria Sharapova and American Serena Williams, withdrew.
In the doubles final, 48-year-old Martina Navratilova and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany rallied past Spain’s Conchita Martinez and Virginia Ruano Pascual 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. Henin seeded fourth, and Clijsters, seeded seventh, recently returned from long layoffs — Clijsters from a career-threatening wrist injury and Henin-Hardenne from an energy-sapping virus. The players had to deal with strong wind, but the match was played under mostly sunny skies following a thunderstorm on Friday and a cloudy Saturday.
Henin-Hardenne couldn’t find her rhythm, struggling with her serve and spraying balls long, wide and even into the crowd. The four-time Grand Slam winner didn’t hit a winner until the seventh game of the first set when she broke Clijsters to tie it 4-4.
Clijsters soon broke back to take the set. Henin-Hardenne double-faulted on break point to give Clijsters a 3-1 lead in the second set. The rest of the set belonged to Clijsters.