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Sports Then and Now



Roundup: What the Cincinnati Masters Means For … 1

Posted on August 25, 2010 by Rob York

Roger Federer tuned up for the U.S. Open with a win in Cincinnati.

Roger Federer: One could point to Federer’s easy start to the week, with Denis Istomin quitting in the first set and Philipp Kohlschreiber not even picking up a racket, and call it luck. But, as Thomas Jefferson said, “I find the harder I work the more I have of (luck).”

With a runner-up performance in Toronto and the win in Cincy, The Great Swiss has put forth his best pre-US Open summer hardcourt season since 2007, when he achieved the same results. He has not looked quite as dominant as then, when he steamrolled through Cincinnati and Novak Djokovic needed a third-set tiebreak to beat him in Canada, but he continues to compete well.

Despite losing the first set against Mardy Fish in the final, Federer managed to hold serve throughout the match before finally breaking the big-serving American in the second to last game.

He isn’t winning as easily as during the middle of the decade, but with Rafael Nadal playing uninspiring tennis at the moment, Juan Martin del Potro injured and Andy Murray yet to prove he can win 21 sets, competing well may be all he has to do.

Mardy Fish: And that fact that Federer had to turn to those competitive instincts to win on Sunday showed how far his opponent had come. Now 29 (less than a month younger than the Swiss), Fish lost their first five meetings, taking just one set. But in Cincinnati he not only pushed the most decorated player of the Open Era deep into a third set, he improved to 3-0 against Andy Murray this year and 2-0 against Andy Roddick.

Fish has always had the serve, the backhand, the return and the volleys of a top flight player, but in a game where top 10 players must erase all weaknesses, he had three: his movement, his fitness, and his forehand.

Having lost 30 pounds since last year, Fish is now moving and striking the ball better than ever, and may have emerged as the best chance, not only for American tennis at the Open, but for attacking tennis in general. This is happening just in time, too, with the major with the slickest surface just ahead. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

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