Let’s not beat around the bush, Andy Roddick hasn’t really had a great start to 2012. The American finished 2011 as the world number 14, three months into 2012 he is ranked 34, his first time outside the top 30 since 2001! You can’t knock Roddick’s consistency in rankings but his level in tennis has continually dropped over the last few years and his early exit in Memphis and shock defeat to Denis Istomin in San Jose hasn’t restored any confidence I once had in his chances to finally win another Grand Slam.
The American had only won 2 of his previous 23 meetings with the Swiss world number 3, including their 2008 meeting in Miami, with Federer winning all 6 meetings after 2008. When the Miami draw came out, I did predict a Federer-Roddick match up, however I couldnt be more wrong about the result.
Both players started strongly on serve with Federer using a lot of slice to take the pace off of the ball and Roddick using his booming forehand, that was reminiscent of his best tennis, to save 2 break points and take them to a first set tie break. With his crushing serve Roddick was able to take the first set tiebreak and when they rose from their chairs, he seemed the fresher of the two players. The Fed Express wasn’t about to be ousted easily though, he adopted a chip and charge technique effectively and broke Roddick’s serve 3 times in the second set and seemed to have taken control of the match. The American didn’t start the third set well, a couple of unforced errors and a cross court Federer backhand had him scrambling to save 3 break points, though he managed the save all 3 and go on to break Federer’s serve in the next game. Roddick seemed very comfortable towards the end of the match and knocked out last years semi finalist!
The world number 34 said afterwards “It was kind of a game of chess, I stayed back on the returns, which is something I have not done with him often early on. He might have been a little bit surprised by it.” The swiss decided to applaud Roddick’s performance and also drew attention to the Americans ranking slide, “I feel like I lost against a former Number 1, not that I lost against a guy ranked 30 in the world, I’m happy to see Andy play really well. He’s a great champion and enjoy him while you have him. It was a great night for him and America’s tennis.”
Roddick will play 21st seed Juan Monaco in the 4th round later today, with the American winning their only previous meeting last year at Winston-Salem. If Roddick plays the way he did against Federer then I can see him setting up a potential quarters meeting with fellow American and current American number 1 Mardy Fish, but we will see whether his consistency is back or if he caught Federer on a bad day.