Back in 2004, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick played in the semi-final in front of the home fans in Cincinnati, a usual scene at the American hard-court events in the last 15 years. At that moment, it was hard to predict this would be a penultimate all-American Masters 1000 semi-final, with only one to come in the next 15 seasons, here in Cincinnati when Roddick and Fish battled for the final spot in 2010!
The crowd in Ohio had the opportunity to witness a thrilling contest between the veteran and the young gun, with Agassi prevailing 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in swift two hours and six minutes to advance into the third and last final in Cincinnati, never returning to the Western & Southern Open.
Roddick was the better-ranked player but Agassi knew how to deal with his serve, beating Andy for the fifth time in six encounters, avenging the third-set tie break loss at Queen’s a year earlier. Roddick unleashed 30 aces and better numbers behind the first serve, losing the edge once he would have missed it and also in the longest rallies that Agassi tailored to his measures, spraying the rival over the court with deep and precise groundstrokes to draw more than 30 unforced errors from the younger opponent.
The veteran lost 19 points behind the initial shot, defending both the first and second serve in a strong way and never facing a break point to attach all the pressure on the other side, the pressure that Andy repelled after saving three out of four break chances, staying in touch until the very last point before settling with the semi-final.
Roddick had more winners and also more unforced errors, a usual pattern in their encounters combined with more points for the younger American in the shortest range up to four strokes, mainly thanks to those unreturned serves.
Still, Agassi was the leader of the pack once the rally would reach more dynamic range, forging the advantage in the mid-range and most extended exchanges to cross the finish line and stay on the title course.