Nadal eliminated; Roddick cruises into Cincy semis

MASON, Ohio -- Andy Roddick walked onto the court with an
equipment bag slung over his shoulder and a stinging loss in the
back of his mind.

A rejuvenated Roddick advanced to the semifinals of the Western
& Southern Financial Group Masters with a 6-3, 6-4 victory Friday
night over Andy Murray, ending the British teenager's whirlwind

It also evened a score. Murray had beaten Roddick in both of
their matches this year, including a straight-set victory at
Wimbledon that has stuck with the American.

"With losing at Wimbledon and him playing great this summer, I
really put a lot of stock in this match and knew I had to be
intense in order to win," Roddick said.

The 19-year-old Murray provided the tournament's signature
moment two days earlier, stopping Roger Federer's 55-match winning
streak in North America with a stunning straight-set victory.

When No. 2 Rafael Nadal also lost in straight sets to fellow
Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero on Friday, the tournament had turned
into an ATP rarity.

No Federer, no Nadal. It doesn't happen often.

The last 15 times Federer and Nadal were entered in the same
tournament, one of them won it -- a streak that began after the 2005
Australian Open. This time, the world's top two players are heading
into the U.S. Open off big upsets.

And players like Roddick sense opportunity.

Roddick reached his first final of the year in Indianapolis last
month, then strained his left side and had to drop out of three
tournaments. He started serving the day before his first match in
Cincinnati, and has gotten better as he's gone along.

"I've had a lot of bulletin-board material," he said. "It's
nice to get back to form and show I can still play this game a
little bit. It's weird to be kind of given up on at 23 years old.
To be playing good tennis again feels very good, very rewarding."

His next opponent is Fernando Gonzalez, who beat David Ferrer
6-2, 6-4 to reach the semifinals for the second week in a row. He
also did it at Toronto.

Using his 135-mph serve and attacking style, Roddick never let
the up-and-coming Murray get a toehold. He broke him to go up 5-3
in the first set, then let out a scream when he closed out the next

Murray, in only his second year on the tour, was exhausted by
his run of top-notch tennis -- 14 matches in 17 days, much more than
his norm. He could barely stand at the end of a three-set win over
Robby Ginepri on Thursday.

He still felt tired when he took the court again.

"I went into the match not expecting to win," said Murray, who
plans to work with a trainer to build muscle and stamina in the
next few months. "I considered pulling out when I woke up this

Instead, he played -- and not all that well.

Murray was downcast after his weak drop shot landed several feet
short of the net in the second set, allowing Roddick to break his
serve for a 3-2 lead. Murray shuffled to his courtside chair,
picked up a towel and covered the side of his face, staring
straight ahead.

Then, he cracked for the first time all week.

Serving with a 40-0 lead in the seventh game, Murray dropped the
next five points to give Roddick a 5-2 advantage. Murray walked to
the sideline, smacked the chair with his racket, then slammed the
head of the racket on the ground three times in frustration.

His remarkable run ended in anger.

"He was getting pretty fired up and saying things across the
court to me at the beginning of the match," Murray said. "It's a
little bit annoying to lose matches like that."

In the day's first quarterfinal match, the unseeded Ferrero put
together one of his best performances of the year, making few
mistakes during a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (3) victory that was delayed because
of rain in the second set.

"It's very special to win today," Ferrero said.

Nadal was simply outplayed by Ferrero, who won the French Open
and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 2003 and is trying to regain
his touch.

"He played his best match against me, for sure," Nadal said.
"I don't play the best match of my life, but I wasn't playing very

Everything seemed to be in Nadal's favor at the outset. He had
played well this week and was 4-0 career against Ferrero, all of
those wins coming last year.

Plus, Ferrero hadn't even reached a tournament quarterfinals
since April, an indication of how far he had fallen in the past
three years.

"I think I can play like this a lot of matches," said Ferrero,
now No. 31 in the world rankings. "I hope to do well at the U.S.
Open. I'm ready to have another good result."

He'll face No. 7 Tommy Robredo -- another of the four Spaniards
who reached the tournament's quarterfinals -- on Saturday. Robredo
beat No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic 7-6 (6), 6-2 to reach the semifinals, and
is the highest remaining seeded player in the tournament.