Federer, Ferrero fall as Argentines prosper
Updated: 2003-08-14 14:22
Wimbledon champion Roger Federer and French Open winner Juan Carlos Ferrero joined the remarkable exodus of seeds in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters Series on Wednesday.
Federer, the Swiss third seed, lost 7-6 7-6 to Argentine David Nalbandian, whose compatriot Gaston Gaudio had earlier stunned second seed Ferrero 6-7 7-6 6-4.
The defeats, under a fierce sun as temperatures in Ohio soared, ended Federer and Ferrero's hopes of overhauling Andre Agassi as world number one by the end of the $2.45 million event.
The surprise results also left only four seeds still alive, led by number six Guillermo Coria of Argentina and number seven Andy Roddick, a 6-1 6-4 victor over Croatian Ivan Ljubicic.
Roddick's win set up a mouth-watering third-round clash with James Blake after his fellow American's 6-1 6-4 triumph over 11th-seeded Dutchman Sjeng Schalken.
Wednesday's results also ensured the last 16 is comprised of five Argentines and, after an evening session win for Mardy Fish over Belgian Xavier Malisse, five Americans.
World number two Federer had saved seven match points in his epic first-round win over Scott Draper but Nalbandian made sure he did not become the victim of another great escape.
He took the first set tiebreak 7-4 and then surged into a 5-2 lead in the second set.
Federer found his last reserves of energy to break back and force another tiebreak but Nalbandian immediately slammed the door shut again.
The 2002 Wimbledon runner-up took a 3-0 lead in the tiebreak and clinched a place in the third round on his second match point.
"I guess I have a problem with him," Federer told reporters in a reference to his 0-4 head-to-head record against Nalbandian.
"I'm not happy with my game -- today I missed too much. But it happens. It isn't a drama."
Normally such a demure character, Ferrero's displeasure was evident from his anguished cries as Gaudio steadily exposed his deficiencies on centre court.
|Juan Carlos Ferrero at Cincinnati Marsters.
The world number three overcame Russian Nikolay Davydenko for the loss of only two games on Tuesday.
But the longer Gaudio delayed Ferrero on Wednesday -- his misery ultimately lasted two hours 41 minutes -- the more the Argentine loosened the Spaniard's grip on the match.
Gaudio managed to sneak the second set tiebreak 7-5 and his patience in the deciding set was rewarded in the 10th game.
Serving to stay in the match, Ferrero's concentration wavered once too often and Gaudio secured a deserved victory on his second match point.
"That last game was everything," said Gaudio. "I was 40-love in a matter of seconds and that was that."
Ferrero said: "I started to feel tired because it is so hot and humid out there. It's not easy to play."
Coria's victory over Yevgeny Kafelnikov -- the Russian retired hurt trailing 6-0 5-4 -- helped provide another day to remember for burgeoning Argentine tennis.
As well as Gaudio, Coria and Nalbandian, Mariano Zabaleta and Juan Ignacio Chela also made it through.
Coria's win was his 17th in 18 matches -- the only blemish an injury which forced him to pull out of a first-round match at the Montreal Masters last week.
Roddick, Blake and Fish were joined in the third round by fellow Americans Robby Ginepri and Todd Martin.