Roddick incites the best in Federer

Updated: 18 November 2007 17:32 IST

Unfortunately for Andy Roddick, there's something about his game that brings out the best in Roger Federer.

Roddick incites the best in Federer

Shanghai, China:

Unfortunately for Andy Roddick, there's something about his game that brings out the best in Roger Federer.

Even the top-ranked Federer was surprised by how well he played in every phase of his game as he overwhelmed the fifth-ranked Roddick 6-4, 6-2 in just 61 minutes on Friday in a Masters Cup round-robin match to raise his career record against the American to 15-1.

Next up for both men are the semifinals.

"I know that my game matches up well with his, but that doesn't mean I'm going to beat him all the time," Federer said.

"Andy has been trying many, many different things out against me. It's dangerous for me to play against him, especially with the guy having such a big serve. Today, I read it well," he added.

Federer, who is the defending champion, landed 83 percent of his first serves, never faced a break point and had 33 winners to just 13 unforced errors.

Roddick was so frustrated that he battered a racket to extinction for the second time in the tournament, bashing it against his left foot five times after Federer broke his powerful serve for the third time to pull ahead 3-0 in the second set.

Federer wasn't ready to say he's sorry for his domination, clearly recalling his one loss to Roddick, four years ago in Canada.

"I lost it 7-6 in the third, and that was my first opportunity to become Number 1 in the world," Federer said. "He didn't feel sorry for me back then either."

Some skeptics were speculating that Federer might be starting to slip when he lost his first round-robin match to give him a two-match losing streak for the first time in 4 1/2 years.

Roddick certainly wasn't among the doubters.

"It seems like most times we play, he's on top of his game, which is a little annoying," Roddick said.

"I guess I just have to figure out what about my game brings out the best in him and try to adjust. Some of the guys who beat him are quick.

"Unfortunately, that's not my strength. You kind of have to go with what you're good at, try to make adjustments," he added.

Roddick said he was a little disappointed that the day's marquee matchup ended up being mostly for pride after the fourth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko, already out of contention with two losses, beat Number 7 Fernando Gonzalez 6-4, 6-3 earlier to eliminate the Chilean from the Red Group.

All that was at stake was determining the semifinal pairings in the year-ending tournament for the top eight men in the rankings.

"I probably would have preferred it if there was something to play for," said Roddick, who looked sharp in winning his first two matches after an injury layoff.

"It had a weird feeling out there tonight. I think maybe a little bit of the excitement was maybe taken away," he said.

Not for Federer.

"I always enjoy playing against Andy, not just because I'm winning but because of the character he is on the court," he said.

"He's great for our game. He's got an entertaining game, as well. He keeps on attacking, even though sometimes he gets passed over and over again. He doesn't lose belief," he added.

Now Roddick's belief in himself will be challenged.

He has just 20 hours to get his confidence back before he faces Number 6 David Ferrer, who went undefeated in the Gold Group, in the semifinals.

Federer gets a couple of extra hours of rest before playing the second-ranked Rafael Nadal.

"I'll have my hands full," Roddick said. "I still feel like I'm hitting the ball well. I just can't let my disappointment from tonight spill over into tomorrow."

Davydenko was inconsistent again, with 33 winners offset by 35 unforced errors.

But so was Gonzalez, who has developed a reputation for being brilliant one match, as he was in beating Federer on Monday, then letting down.

Davydenko's victory gives him a little confidence after two earlier losses here.

Now he's looking forward to a couple of days in the sun in the Maldives before starting preparations for Russia's Davis Cup final against the US team led by Roddick.

"I try mentally to recover and to be a little bit brown," Davydenko said. "And then it's my happy face coming to Davis Cup final."

Gonzalez's frustration boiled over when he netted a forehand on break point while serving at 4-5 to concede the first set to Davydenko.

"I was a little bit disappointed with myself after losing that set," Gonzalez said.

"I give everything that I have. I was running a lot. I was playing good tennis, but it wasn't feeling like I want," he added.

He received a code violation after smashing his racket on the court, then bashing the net post as he walked back to his chair.

Topics : Tennis Andy Roddick
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