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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

    • Drew Pearson: Mr. Clutch
      August 7, 2021 | 6:59 pm

      Drew Pearson

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former NFL wide receiver know as “Mr. Clutch” for his penchant for making big receptions at crucial moments of the game. After waiting for more than 30 years, he is finally earning his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class.

      During his decade with the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Pearson had a habit of making the big catch at the right moment to help the Cowboys time and again snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

      The favorite target of Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Pearson was widely recognized as one of the great receivers of his era. Though at the time of his retirement many expected Pearson to easily breeze into the Hall of Fame, his enshrinement was derailed by changes to the game which artificially inflated receiver stats and made the numbers he produced during a time when wide receivers weren’t catching 100 passes a season seem inferior.

      Read more »

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