From Bleacher Report – Tennis http://bleacherreport.com/articles/834238-us-open-2011-results-roger-federer-and-mardy-fish-advance-to-round-of-16
Roger Federer and Mardy Fish moved one step closer to a highly-anticipated quarterfinal clash in the 2011 US Open with victories over Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson, respectively, on Saturday in Flushing Meadows.
How Federer Won
Federer, the No. 3 seed in the final Grand Slam event of the ATP season, moved one step closer to yet another US Open title by dispatching of his Croatian competitor in four sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2, at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 30-year-old Fed Express wasn’t quite able to make quick work of Cilic, once again showing that he is clearly past the prime of his illustrious career in tennis. What Federer lacked in stamina and physical ability, though, he more than made up for in mental fortitude, wresting control from Cilic in the third set and frustrating his 27th-seeded opponent on the way to the 226th Grand Slam match victory of his career.
Four more and Federer will have his sixth career US Open championship in hand, thereby setting him above Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors as the winningest men’s tennis player in the event. A win at the end of play next weekend would also make Federer the first man to win a major after turning 30 since Andre Agassi won the 2003 Australian Open.
How Fish Won
Federer will likely have to overtake at least one American on his way to another US Open crown, with Mardy Fish the most likely such opponent.
Fish, the highest-seeded American in this year’s US Open at No. 8, took care of his end of the bargain with a win over Anderson, his South African competitor, in straight sets, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3). Fish wasn’t exactly dominant against Anderson, requiring three hours and 20 minutes to dispatch his opponent without dropping a set, but kept his early-tournament momentum going nonetheless.
What’s Next For These Two
The 29-year-old American will need to recover quickly with a likely quarterfinal match against 11th-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga just over the horizon.
Federer, on the other hand, will have to prep himself for a date with Juan Monaco after the Argentine survived and advanced past Tommy Haas in four sets, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.
A (Potential) Battle of Aging Tennis Vets
Assuming Federer and Fish take care of business in the round of 16, they’ll meet in a quarterfinal match of two players close in age but far apart in achievement and career trajectory. Federer’s best tennis is already a ways behind him, though he certainly accomplished plenty while at his peak. His 16 Grand Slam titles are the most of any man in the history of professional tennis and are a testament to his bid as quite possibly the greatest male tennis player of all time.
Fish, on the other hand, has never made it past the quarterfinal round in any Grand Slam event. Interestingly enough, though, Fish is playing the best tennis of his career at an age when most tennis players (like Federer) are already well into their twilight. The late bloom of Fish’s career is, in part, a function of his style of play, wherein he relies much more on scrapping and surviving rather than overwhelming his opponents with physical prowess.
Of course, Federer has never been known for demoralizing opponents with strength and athleticism. His game is one of grace and skill, which hasn’t served him quite as well of late.
As such, if and when Federer and Fish meet in the quarterfinals, fans will be treated to a clash of styles and motivations on the hard court at Arthur Ashe Stadium. While Federer will be seeking one last shot at glory after having so many shining moments in his career, Fish will instead hope to continue his strong play and potentially parlay his newfound success into his first Grand Slam title.
Whoever wins, you can bet the result will come down to the wire in a battle of aging racketeers.
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