Fed­erer wins Cin­ci­natti opener, oth­ers drop out

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY JOE KAY AND MARK SCH­MET­ZER

Roger Fed­erer took a first step to­ward a sev­enth Cincinnati ti­tle on Tues­day night, beat­ing Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-4 in his open­ing match.

The Swiss star won the Western & South­ern Open last year for his un­prece­dented sixth ti­tle at the long­time ATP Tour stop. He got a good start by easily han­dling the Spa­niard, whom he has beaten in straight sets in all four of their matches.

On the women’s side, Maria Shara­pova and Venus Wil­liams dropped out of the tour­na­ment. Shara­pova is still both­ered by an in­jured right leg, and Wil­liams came down with a virus.

Fed­erer worked out at his home in Switzer­land in­stead of play­ing in the Rogers Cup last week. He was a lit­tle rusty at the out­set on Tues­day, but got into a rhythm as the match went along. He didn’t face a break point dur­ing the 1-hour, 9-minute match, and lost only three points off his serve in the sec­ond set.

“It’s been a while since

I’ve had a match,” Fed­erer said. “So that’s what gets you in a dif­fer­ent mood, dif­fer­ent think­ing. You know, I can switch it on very quickly. I only need lit­er­ally like 10 min­utes to re­ally get ready for the match.”

John Is­ner’s sum­mer surge ended with an open­ing- round loss to friend and dou­bles part­ner Sam Quer­rey, leav­ing the top-ranked Amer­i­can with some things to work out be­fore the U.S. Open. Quer­rey was steady through­out a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over the 11th-seeded Is­ner, the first up­set on the men’s side.

Is­ner had won 11 of 13 matches on hard courts this sum­mer, win­ning the ti­tle in At­lanta, reach­ing the fi­nal in Washington and ad­vanc­ing to the quar­ter­fi­nals in Mon­treal. He’ll rest head­ing into the Open.

Is­ner was worn down from the stretch of matches in those three tour­na­ments.

“I have def­i­nitely felt bet­ter,” Is­ner said. “That’s the thing: You put some good weeks to­gether, it can put you in a bit of a deficit the fol­low­ing week. But re­gard­less, it’s dis­ap­point­ing to lose.”

Quer­rey i mproved to 4- 1 against Is­ner. He also beat him in straight sets in the quar­ter­fi­nals at Mem­phis this year.

The Amer­i­cans have teamed up in dou­bles for at least two tour­na­ments each year since 2008. They had never played each other in the first round of a Mas­ters event.

“It’s not that fun, but you know it hap­pens all the time,” Quer­rey said. “It’s just part of the game. Af­ter in the locker room we talked like noth­ing hap­pened, so ev­ery­thing is all fine.”

Sixth- seeded To­mas Berdych and sev­enth-seeded Marin Cilic ad­vanced with straight-set wins.

The women’s bracket lost two play­ers who were hop­ing for re­ju­ve­nat­ing weeks in Cincinnati.

Shara­pova with­drew from the Rogers Cup last week be­cause of a strain in her up­per right leg. She had hoped to get some matches in Cincinnati to get ready for the U.S. Open, but the leg was still both­er­ing her.

“I have been prac­tic­ing here the last few days and I’m just look­ing at the U.S. Open in, you know, 11 or 12 days,” Shara­pova said. “It’s a tough de­ci­sion to make, but I think a wise one, in or­der to give my­self the right amount of time to be as healthy as I can be for the Open.”

Venus Wil­liams with­drew from her evening match against sixth­seeded Ana Ivanovic be­cause of ill­ness. Since los­ing to sis­ter Ser­ena at Wim­ble­don, she has made first-round ex­its at Is­tan­bul and Toronto and had to with­draw from Cincinnati af­ter one match.

“Af­ter warmups, I get a feel for how the match might go or how much you can give or you can’t give,” she said. “I def­i­nitely would have liked to have more matches, but I have to use my ex­pe­ri­ence now.”

Sloane Stephens got started to­ward a sec­ond cham­pi­onship, beat­ing 10th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-2. She won her first pro ti­tle at the Citi Open on Aug. 9 in Washington.

“(You’re) al­ways like search­ing and try­ing to find that next great mo­ment, and like that was like one Sun­day where I had a great mo­ment,” said the 22-yearold Stephens, a first-round loser at Toronto last week. “Now, I’m like, ‘ I need another Sun­day. Come on.’”

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