Nadal and Federer Lose in Cincinnati Quarterfinals, Semis Next for Mardy Fish

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Nadal and Federer Lose in Cincinnati Quarterfinals, Semis Next for Mardy Fish
MASON, OH - AUGUST 19: Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after a lost point to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during the Western & Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 19, 2011 in Mason, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are out of the Cincinnati Masters. Both players were soundly beaten in straight sets by inspired opponents in an entertaining Cincinnati quarterfinals day.

To the sheer delight of the home crowd, American Mardy Fish began the day's proceedings on the men's side of the draw by defeating world No. 2 Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4. The Spaniard was considerably below par and after the match admitted it:

I lost because Mardy played much better than me. I  had a few chances. A little bit unlucky for moments. But that's tennis. [In New York] I have to play my game. I have to play aggressive. I have to move faster. I have to play with more intensity and less mistakes.

In winning, Mardy Fish continues an excellent run of form that has seem him rise up the rankings to a career-high No. 7. Fish, 29, has reached three straight ATP World Tour finals. He picked up the Atlanta Tennis Championships title, then finished as runner-up at the Farmers Classic in Los Angeles and in last week's Rogers Cup in Montreal.

Fish had this to say about his first victory over Nadal:

[I've been] taking advantage of the opportunities, making a lot first serves in key moments, not giving away many free points. Look, those three guys [I've played] return extremely well, so if I don't lose serve, I am usually pretty successful.

Fish now goes on to play Britain's Andy Murray, who defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-3.

Elsewhere, Roger Federer lost to Czech world No. 9 Tomas Berdych 6-2, 7-6 (3) in a contest that lasted just over 90 minutes.  In what was a relatively tight contest, Berdych's clinical approach was contrasted by a rugged often shaky performance by Federer who was the defending champion. Berdych now advances to the semifinals where he will face the winner of the last men's quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils.

Heading into the US Open, the signs do not look good for either Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal. From here on in, the ball is firmly in Novak Djokovic's court. 

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