A star-studded cast highlighted the day session of Wednesday’s Western and Southern Financial Group Masters Open, including fan-favorites Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick.
Top seed Rafael Nadal was given an early test by American qualifier Taylor Dent. Dent broke the Spaniard during the second set, blasting a 149 mph serve in the process. Despite the hiccup, Nadal managed to bounce back to secure the set and the match 6-2, 7-5. Nadal will meet Frenchman, Julien Benneteau, Thursday in the third match on Center Court.
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic was the opening act on Center Court, putting on quite a show as he defeated fellow Serbian Viktor Troicki to reach the Round of 16. The two-time Cincinnati finalist converted on all four break points to snatch the match 6-3, 7-5. Djokovic will face David Nalbandian in Round of 16 action Thursday in the second match on Grandstand.
Nalbandian advanced when John Isner was forced to retire with an ankle injury up 5-4 in the first set. In the very first point of the ninth game, Isner was shuffling along the baseline to return a volley when he landed awkwardly on his right ankle. Isner immediately dropped his racket to the ground and hobbled over to the bench.
After receiving treatment from the trainer, Isner went out and finished the game but was clearly unable able to move laterally with any speed. Isner attempted to serve in the tenth game but retired after falling behind 0-30.
Isner was scheduled to play a doubles match with partner Sam Querrey against No. 4 seed Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi in the last match of the day on Court #3. This match has been cancelled and Bhupathi and Mirnyi will advance in a walkover.
The third match on Center Court turned into a marathon as Frenchman Jeremy Chardy stole the second set from the 2008 champion Andy Murray. Murray was quick to come back, grabbing the early break in the third and ending the two-hour-nine-minute endeavor 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-2. Murray will collide with Ernests Gulbis tomorrow. Gulbis upset the No. 13 seed Jurgen Melzer on Wednesday in three sets, 6(8)-7, 6-3, 7-6(3).
Two-time tournament champion Andy Roddick wrapped up the day session on Center Court as he squared off with Thiemo de Bakker. The first set was perhaps too close for comfort for Roddick who was forced into a tiebreak. The second set went smoother for the American as he was able to break de Bakker and claim the match 7-6(4), 6-4. Roddick will face the winner of the Robin Soderling and Lleyton Hewitt match played on Grandstand Wednesday night.
Center Court wasn’t the only venue for fans looking to enjoy some world-class tennis. The Grandstand and outer courts featured some big names including American wild card Mardy Fish, who enjoyed a straight set upset over No. 8 seed Fernando Verdasco. Fish outlasted the Spaniard 7-6(1), 7-6(4). Fellow American Robby Ginepri almost pulled off an upset of his own over No. 6 seed Nikolay Davydenko. Ginepri forced the Russian into a third set, but Davydenko righted the ship, winning 6-2, 6(5)-7, 6-2.
In night action, Roger Federer advanced with qualifier Denis Istomin retired due to an ankle injury late in the first set. Federer will meet Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth match of the day on Center Court on Thursday.
The match of the night, however, occurred on Grandstand where No. 5 seed Robin Soderling got all he could handle from former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt and Soderling went back in forth throughout the match with Hewitt taking the first and Soderling the second. The third set was a nail-bitter to the end with Soderling eventually triumphing 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. Soderling will meet No. 9 seed Andy Roddick in the 7 p.m. match on Center Court Thursday.