Cincinnati Flashback: Andy Roddick beats Juan Carlos Ferrero as the last USA champion

Fifteen years ago, Andy Roddick won the fourth Masters 1000 title in Cincinnati, becoming the third American champion in Ohio in the previous four years and the last one from the home nation before the Europeans took charge. After winning five titles a year ago, Andy lost ground in 2006, with Cincinnati as his only title after losing finals in Indianapolis and the US Open. The American had to give a walkover to Tursunov in Los Angeles two weeks earlier, and his opening match in Cincinnati was anything but easy, ousting Daniele Bracciali in three tie breaks after over two and a half hours to avoid an early setback. Roddick started to play better after that, barely losing serve against Kristof Vliegen, Juan Ignacio Chela, Andy Murray and Fernando Gonzalez to set up the title meeting with another former world no. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero on August 20. It was their third clash and the second in a row in Cincinnati, with Andy prevailing 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 in 2005.

This time, Roddick grabbed a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in 70 minutes for the most significant title since Miami 2004, firing 17 aces and dominating on the return to seal the deal in straight sets. Nothing could separate them in the more extended points with five strokes or more, and Roddick forged the crucial lead in the shortest range up to four shots to emerge as a winner in front of the home fans. The American delivered more efficient numbers on the second serve, got broken twice from the Spaniard’s four opportunities and converted four out of seven break chances to keep the scoreboard under control. Juan Carlos won only five out of 18 points behind the second serve, needing more than that to challenge the hard-hitting server who thrilled the home fans for the second time in three years. Andy held with an ace after deuce in the opening game and broke Juan Carlos at 15 in the next one after a well-constructed attack and a volley winner at the net.

In 2006, Andy Roddick claimed the second Cincinnati title in four years.

The Spaniard pulled the break back in the next game after Roddick’s double fault before giving serve away for the second time in a row when his backhand landed long in game four, sending Andy 3-1 up. The American fired four winners on serve to increase the lead and created another break chance in game six that Ferrero saved with a lob winner, fending off another with a forehand winner and reducing the deficit to 4-2 with an ace. A service winner pushed Roddick 5-2 ahead, and the set was in his hands after a comfortable hold in game nine, bringing the opener home in 38 minutes. Instead of increasing his level, Juan Carlos suffered another break at the beginning of the second set when his backhand landed long, allowing Andy to confirm the break with two service winners in game two.

In those moments, Ferrero was far from his best, netting a forehand in the third game to fall further behind and facing a mountain to climb if he wanted to get back on the positive side. Four service winners sent Roddick 4-0 up, and he blasted three more at 4-1 to move closer to the finish line. The American served for the title at 5-2 and could not wrap up the victory, with Juan Carlos breaking at 15 after a terrible volley from the American to prolong the match and keep himself in contention after a hold at love in game nine. Roddick made no mistakes at 5-4, sealing the deal with four winners and becoming the fourth American multiple Cincinnati champion since 1990 after Michael Chang, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.