It seems as if all the talk in recent weeks has been about Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer. Yes, these are the world’s number one, two and three ranked players respectively, but we’re forgetting about world number four Andy Murray of Great Britain. Yes, Murray has not had the successful years like Djokovic and Nadal, but has still maintained a consistent level of quality play throughout the year. After being upset in his opening match in Montreal last week, Murray has made up for it this week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.\
Yesterday in what you would think isn’t an important match at all, or that Murray should have no problem with his opponent, think again. The four seed went toe-to-toe with American Alex Bogomolov Jr. who, not only is having his best results of his career this summer but also embarrassed Andy Murray at this year’s Masters 1000 Series tournament in Miami in straight sets. Yesterday, it was Murray who was able to avenge that loss when he defeated Bogomolov Jr., 6-2, 7-5.
The match of the day though belonged to Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco, two Spaniards who went at it in a three-set thriller. Nadal was able to best Verdasco, 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-6(9). Back and forth these two players went, showing extreme nerves at big stages in the match, but it was Nadal who was eventually able to prevail and improve his record against Verdasco to a perfect 12-0. This match made me reminisce of the Australian Open semifinal in 2009 between these two players that went the distance in five sets before Nadal once again was able to get the victory.
World number one Novak Djokovic continued to roll as he defeated Legg Mason champion Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Djokovic will now meet Gael Monfils of France in the quarterfinals which will be a rematch of the quarterfinal matchup they just had in Montreal where Djokovic simply dismantled the Frenchman.
The nightcap featured world number three, Switzerland’s Roger Federer, take American James Blake to the woodshed in a match that lasted just under an hour. Federer flew through his service games and continuously put pressure on Blake during his service games, forcing him into a bunch of unforced errors. The match was played at an extremely fast pace, with both players taking very little time between points, hence the short total match time.
As we reach the quarterfinals, we will be treated to some exciting matchups like Djokovic vs. Monfils, as well as Federer vs. Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Nadal will have his hands full as well, as he'll face the hot Mardy Fish of the U.S. who has been playing great tennis as of late.
2011 ATP Masters Series Western & Southern Financial Group Masters Results (Thursday, August 18, 2011)
► Novak Djokovic (SER) def. Radek Stepanek (CZE) 6-3, 6-3
► Rafael Nadal (ESP) def. Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 7-6(9)
► Roger Federer (SUI) def. James Blake (USA) 6-4, 6-1
► Andy Murray (GBR) def. Alex Bogomolv Jr. (USA) 6-2, 7-5
► Gael Monfils (FRA) def. Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-2, 6-2
► Mardy Fish (USA) def.  Richard Gasquet (FRA) 7-5, 7-5
► Tomas Berdych (CZE) def.  Nicolas Almagro (ESP) 6-2, 6-2
► Gilles Simon (FRA) def. David Ferrer (ESP) 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4