MONTREAL, Aug 13 - Mardy Fish swept past Serb Janko Tipsarevic 6-3 6-4 at the Montreal Masters on Saturday to reach his third consecutive final and lift the gloom hanging over American tennis.
Fish, who has tapped into a rich vein of form in the build-up to the U.S. Open winning in Atlanta and reaching the Los Angeles final, is brimming with confidence heading into the Flushing Meadows grand slam.
His win ended the prospect of an all-Serbia final with world number one Novak Djokovic set to put his 51-1 season record on the line later on Saturday against Frenchman Jo Wilfried Tsonga in a rematch of the Wimbledon semi-final won by the Serb.
Fish’s resume includes six titles but a win on Sunday would be by far the biggest of the 29-year-old’s career.
No American has won on the Canadian hardcourts since Andy Roddick in 2003 and Fish will be the first to reach the final since Andre Agassi in 2005.
”I know the history,“ said Fish. ”It has been a great week. It has been well documented that I haven’t done well at all in this tournament.
”I win a lot of matches because I can play a lot of different styles.
“A faster surface like this is going to suit my game perfectly. A hard court where I’ve got my footing pretty good.”
A Fish-Tipsarevic semi-final seemed unlikely at the beginning of the week with neither player having ever managed to win a match on the Canadian hardcourts.
Tipsarevic, the only unseeded player to reach the quarter-finals, had an impressive run to the last four having beaten seventh seeded Czech Tomas Berdych and number 15 Fernando Verdasco of Spain but had no answers for the sixth seeded Fixh.
The American broke the Serb at the first opportunity and sped to a 3-0 lead on way to winning the first set.
Tipsarevic also dropped his opening serve in the second set but was quickly back on level terms breaking back at 2-2.
However, Fish was relentless and gained the upper hand again with a break to go ahead 4-3, with Tipsarevic exploding in a fit of frustration and smashing his racket onto the court.
Fish, working mainly from the baseline but mixing in some serve-and-volley, then held serve to win in a tidy 76 minutes.
“Just playing semi-finals in a Masters event is a good result for anyone but I really am not happy about the performance today,” said Tipsarevic, who nevertheless will now break into the world’s top 20 for the first time.
”I felt I was focused too much on fighting for every point rather than being focused on what I needed to do.
“It’s really simple, I said it yesterday: In order to beat Mardy Fish, I needed to play well. I didn’t play well, so the result was 6-3 6-4. Very simple.”
Editing by Ken Ferris