Fish relishes high expectations at U.S. Open

Thu Sep 2, 2010 5:02pm EDT
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By Matt Majendie

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mardy Fish woke up to the news Thursday that his close friend Andy Roddick had bowed out of the U.S. Open prematurely and in acrimonious fashion.

Fish did not stay up late to watch fellow American Roddick get bounced from the tournament by Janko Tipsarevic since he had a second-round match of his own to prepare for.

Roddick's early demise raised the level of home expectation on Fish, who finished third behind Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the recent U.S. Open Series.

But the pressure does not appear to be getting to Fish, who breezed past Uruguay's Pablo Cuevas in straight sets 7-5 6-0 6-2 Thursday.

"I feel like I've been the underdog in most matches in my career but I want to be the favorite and winning a lot," said Fish, who was a runner-up at Queen's and Cincinnati.

"I've never had myself in a grand slam as a guy that people talk about to really do well there. I think my summer has changed that."

Fish, who has lost 30 pounds (13.6 kg) since last season, is no stranger to expectation at Flushing Meadows, where an American man has not claimed the title since Roddick in 2003.

Home hopes were high after Fish captured silver at the 2004 Olympics but he went on to lose in the second round in New York that year.   Continued...

<p>Mardy Fish of the U.S. celebrates his win over Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque</p>