Novak Djokovic advances, Andy Roddick eliminated at Rogers Cup

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TORONTO - The sky opened up again Thursday at the Rogers Cup, and so did the field.
Another rainy day, another big name eliminated from the $2.6-million tournament.
This time, it was American sixth seed Andy Roddick, who dropped a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 decision to Croatian Marin Cilic, a day after top seed Roger Federer was eliminated by France's Gilles Simon.
Still, none of the day's winners would say they saw an opportunity with two of the six top-ranked players in the world gone before the quarter-finals.
''I just pay attention to my matches,'' insisted defending champion Novak Djokovic, who advanced to the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Sweden's Robin Soderling on Thursday.
Djokovic added that players don't necessarily want to be saddled with the weight of expectation Federer routinely faces.
''Having the role of a favourite in most matches I play, obviously I'm put in a lot of pressure,'' he said. ''I have a lot of responsibilities and expectations, so it's not easy.''
Roddick also said he wasn't tempted to peek ahead at a wide-open, Federer-free bracket before his match.
''I don't know if I'm playing well enough right now to look ahead in the draw,'' he said.
He certainly struggled on Thursday. Cilic broke an indifferent-looking Roddick in the third and seventh games before taking the first set, despite posting a shaky 50 per cent first-serve percentage.
Roddick showed signs of life in the second set, perhaps drawing inspiration from a Rexall Centre crowd that was firmly in his corner. Amid occasional chants of ''Go Andy Go'' and ''Let's Go Andy,'' the 25-year-old played patiently, waiting for Cilic to make mistakes.
''(The) crowd helped him a little bit to get his mental side back,'' Cilic said.
Roddick broke him in the eighth game and again in the 10th, when Cilic's double fault evened the match and earned a fist-pumping Roddick a rousing ovation from the crowd.
But the 19-year-old Cilic wasn't fazed. He broke Roddick in the first game of the next set, and Roddick couldn't return the favour.
''I was moving him around quite good and exposing him on both sides,'' said Cilic, ranked 44th in the world. ''That was working very well. He obviously didn't have a lot of chances to attack, which was a really good thing for me.''
He also said that Federer being out would create an opportunity.
''Because if Roger is playing - obviously he can play much better than he played last night,'' he said.
Of course, there's still Rafael Nadal, who was to play later Thursday, and Djokovic, whose hard-court prowess makes him look like a clear-cut favourite.
''This is where I feel most comfortable,'' Djokovic said. ''This surface just suits my game perfectly. Everything about it.''
Still, he doesn't want to acknowledge that he could be the most dangerous player remaining in the field.
''The upsets are happening because you are put in a lot of pressure, obviously a lot of expectations, and the players don't have anything to lose against you,'' he said. ''You know, they're going for the shots and they're being aggressive.
''They just have so much motivation.''
Djokovic will play eighth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain in a quarter-final. Murray dispatched ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-2, 0-6, 6-4.
Murray said he would have to be on top of his game against Djokovic.
''If I play the way I did in the first set, I have a chance of winning,'' he said. ''If I play like I did in the second set, I'm going to get killed.''
In other action, seventh-seeded American James Blake defeated Russian Dmitry Tursunov 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, and Simon built on his upset of Federer with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Argentina's Jose Acasuso.
Russia's Nikolay Davydenko and David Ferrer of Spain were scheduled to play later.
In doubles play, Frank Dancevic of Niagara Falls, Ont., and Ottawa-born partner Jesse Levine dropped a 6-3, 7-5 decision to Australians Paul Hanley and Jordan Kerr.
Dancevic lost 6-4, 6-4 to Djokovic in the second round of singles play Tuesday night.

Organizations: Rogers, Rexall Centre

Geographic location: TORONTO, France, Sweden Britain Argentina Russia Spain Niagara Falls Ottawa

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