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Tour report - Roddick rules in Atlanta

Andy Roddick calls a shot out during his third round match against David Ferrer.
by Alexandra Willis
Monday 23 July 2012

Andy Roddick would be the first to admit that 2012 hasn't necessarily been his most stellar of years. The former world No.1 and former US Open champion has fended off questions at almost every press conference about when he might contemplate giving up the day job. Roddick, unabashed as ever, has refused to fan any retirement fires. 

Entering the summer hard court season with just seven wins to 11 losses in 2012, as injuries and other events have consipred against him, it looked as though Roddick's day might finally be dawning. But there has always been something of the wounded tiger about the American, one of those reasons why it is perilous to ever count him out. 

Following a disappointing first-round loss at The Queen's Club, Roddick revved up his serve to blast his way to the Eastbourne title, could only make the third round at Wimbledon, but travelled over to Atlanta for the first event of the Emirates US Open Series. 

Facing Gilles Muller in the final, Roddick's 52nd tournament final, the American overcame a slow start to win his 32nd title 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in the East Coast heartland, and kick off the summer swing in the best possible fashion. 

“I’ve won 32 times now and every one of them, I’ve never assumed I was going to win again,” Roddick said. “I’ve always appreciated it... I go through the process of playing, work hard, and hope that I can put myself in position enough times to create some success.”

The 29-year-old has won the US Open Series, the North American bonus challenge standings, twice in his career, and with many players slackening their US hard court schedules to accomodate the 2012 Olympic tennis at Wimbledon, he has a fair chance to get close to a third. 

The ATP's other title last week took place in rather different surroundings, in Hamburg on clay, defeating home favourite Tommy Haas 7-5, 6-4 in the final. The Argentine, who only recently recovered from an ankle injury, is rewarded with a place in the world's top 10 as a result.

"It's amazing [to break the Top 10], it's a dream come true," Monaco said. "I will always remember this great week because it's very important for me and my team. It was a big goal we had pre-season when we were practising very hard."

Thomaz Bellucci won the week's third men's event, defeating Janko Tipsarevic to win in Gstaad. 

Over on the WTA, it was the week that wasn't for Marion Bartoli, the top seed in Carlsbad, San Diego, as the Frenchwoman battled through three-setter after three-setter, only to fall to Dominika Cibulkova at the final hurdle, the diminutive Slovak winning 6-1, 7-5. In a tournament full of headlines, such as Yung-Jan Chan's self-annointing with the name 'Latisha,' it was Bartoli's unfathomable late-night epics that drew the most attention, the top seed on and off the boil. But her record in finals worsened to 7-11 as Cibulkova put in a perfect tactical display to win her second title. 

"I have to say, this was the first WTA final where I played really well," Cibulkova said. "In the first set everything was going my way. My forehand was working today 100%, and also my serves and returns. So everything was just fine.

"In the second set I was up 1-0 and 40-0 on her serve, and I got a little bit nervous, starting to think about getting closer to the title. She's a great player and was fighting for every ball and went up 4-1, but I realized I was leading in a few of those games, so I knew I could turn it around again. And I just kept going."

Bartoli meanwhile admitted she struggled with the conversion from night to day match, but maintained she was pleased at having been able to make it to the final in the first place. 

"The toughest part for me was to play three matches at night and then come to the day session," Bartoli said. "I played well to get the lead in the second set, but from there I started to feel a bit tired and wasn't moving so quickly anymore. And she was playing extremely well, which made me feel uncomfortable too.

"I really fought extremely hard on the court, and being in the final this year obviously means a lot to me before heading to Montréal and Cincinnati."

The final win of the weekend came for Polona Hercog, who successfully defended her title in Bastad, Sweden, with a 0-6, 6-4, 7-5 win over Mathilde Johansson. 

With just one week to go to the Olympic tennis here at Wimbledon, there is just one WTA event this week, in Baku, while the ATP are in Kitzbuhel and Los Angeles

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