Andy Roddick passed a key test Thursday night, edging No. 5 Robin Soderling in a tight three-set win at the Cincinnati Masters, 6-4, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (5). Coming off a string of unimpressive results, due in part to recovering from a bout of mono, Roddick built some positive momentum going into the U.S. Open -- though it wasn't without its moments of tension.
After relatively cruising through the first set 6-4, Roddick found himself at 7-7 in the second set tiebreaker, two points from closing the match. At 7-7, a Soderling shot was called out, then in, then was challenged by Soderling and ruled in. Roddick, however, was upset at how long the umpire apparently gave Soderling to make his challenge, and laid into him in typical Roddick fashion, according to FanHouse's Chris Sesno.
Roddick managed to regain his composure though, and closed out the match in another close set, taking the third-set tiebreak. Roddick advances to the quarterfinals, where he'll meet No. 2 Novak Djokovic. Still, the bigger story for Roddick was dispatching a higher-seeded player after weeks of sub-par results that had left Roddick looking for answers, before finding out that he was still recovering from a previously undiagnosed case of mononucleosis. As SB Nation's tennis blog, The Daily Forehand, explained:
A few months of disappointing results have left many wondering if Roddick relly was feeling the effects of mono, or is it the start of a slow decline in his game as he nears 30. a bad loss to Soderling tonight will send Roddick and his coach Larry Stafanki back to the drawing board. I think Roddick does need to attack more against the top players, that is what brought him success earlier in the year at Indian Wells and Miami.
Roddick will see if he can continue his strong play Friday afternoon against Djokovic.