When the draw came out for the Masters 1000 Series tournament in Cincinnati, Ohio, I, along with every other tennis fan, were excited about the potential early round showdowns. One of them being a second round matchup between Roger Federer of Switzerland and Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina. Another was Great Britain’s Andy Murray going head to head with Argentine David Nalbandian in the second round as well. With Del Potro coming through in his opening round match, the second round rumble with Federer was set.
Going into the match, Federer had, believe it or not, fallen to the big Argentine two times in a row. The last time they played was in round robin play of the year ending championships in London in 2009, where Del Potro came out on top in three sets. The other time was the most memorable match of Del Potro’s career as it was the U.S. Open finals where he defeated Federer in five sets for his first ever Grand Slam title. For Federer, along with shaking the hangover that was his performance in Montreal, he was also looking to snap that losing streak.
Throughout the whole match, we saw the Federer of old as his serve was nothing but gold, hitting ace after ace, giving him easy service games. Serving that well allowed Federer to put the pressure on Del Potro’s service game, who subsequently, was not serving his best. Consistent play and few unforced errors helped Federer grab an early break in the first set and solidified the break all the way to the set’s end.
The second set was more of a battle than the first as Del Potro made it more difficult for Federer to take charge during the points with his heavy ground strokes. At one point at 3-2 in the second set, Del Potro had break point to go up 4-2, but could not convert. Unfortunately for Del Potro this was his only break point opportunity of the match, further proving how dominant Federer’s serve was. At 5-5 in the second, after a Del Potro double fault on a 30-30 point, Federer seized his opportunity on break point, hitting a forehand winner deep in the corner out of Del Potro’s reach. Federer would go on to close out the match on serve for the 6-3, 7-5 victory.
This was a quality victory for Roger as his confidence should now be up from where it was as he moves on into the third round where he’ll be met by American James Blake. While Blake is no easy contest, Federer should still be able to come out on top without much trouble.
Of the other matches that took place, there were no major upsets. A few notable victories included Legg Mason champion Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic beating American John Isner in three sets, and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga coming through against Croatia’s Marin Cilic. Still left to play in the second round are Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray.
Masters 1000 Series Match Results
► Roger Federer def. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 6-3, 7-5
► Tomas Berdych (CZE) def. Juan Monaco (ARG) 7-6(2), 6-0
►James Blake (USA) def. Fabio Fognini (ITA) def. 6-4, 6-2
► Nicolas Almagro (ESP) def. Albert Montanes (ESP) 7-6(5), 6-4
► Gilles Simon (FRA) def. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-5
► Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) def. Marin Cilic (CRO) 6-3, 6-4
►Michael Llodra (FRA) def.  Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4)
►Andrey Golubev (KAZ) def.  Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
►Radek Stepanek (CZE) def. John Isner (USA) 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4)
►Ivan Dodig (CRO) def. Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 6-3, 7-6(3)
►Ivo Karlovic (CRO) def. Florian Mayer (GER) 6-1, 6-3
►Janko Tipseravic (SER) def. Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 6-0, 3-6, 7-6(5)
►Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) def. Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 6-2, 7-6(5)
►Kevin Anderson (RSA) def. Xavier Malisse (BEL) 6-3, 7-6(6)
►Julien Benneteau (FRA) def. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-3, 1-0 (ret)