Before there was Federer-Nadal, there was Roddick-Federer. Roddick has won only one Grand Slam title, the 2003 U.S. Open, but has reached the final four other times — thrice in Wimbledon 2004, 2005 and 2009, and once in Flushing Meadows in 2006 — losing to Federer each time. There's not much of a rivalry in terms of wins and losses, but the two have met time and time again in high-pressure situations, enough that every time they face off is filled with drama, even though Federer is the world's No. 3 player and Roddick is No. 34.
In fact, before Monday night in the third round of the Sony Ericsson Open, Roddick had beaten Federer only twice in their long careers. That all changed in Miami as Roddick took this one, 7-6 (4), 1-6, 6-4. Roddick had taken a massive tumble in the rankings with subpar performance as he struggles with losing a few steps with age — he turns 30 in August this year — but he played like a spring chicken in this one, including an ace and a powerful winning serve in the final game to close this one out.
The key for Roddick was clinching the first set by way of tiebreaker. He was able to coast through the second set while forcing Federer to expend energy trying to tie the match up. Roddick then seemed to be the slightly fresher man. His serve had vintage zip and Federer couldn't break him. When Roddick broke Federer early in the third set, it seemed inevitable considering how effective he had been when the ball was in his hands.
In the grand scheme of things, this means very little for Roger Federer. This is a big tournament, almost every top player is in Miami for it, but he'll still be the world's No. 3 player when he wakes up at the end of it. This could provide Roddick with all-important momentum as he tries for one last run of relevance this year before he hits the dreaded 3-0.
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