Cincinnati: The world's top five players shared top billing on a blockbuster day of tennis at the Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday but Andy Roddick failed to read the script as he was up-ended in the second round.
Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all advanced to round three, but Roddick's US Open preparations suffered a blow with his 7-6, 7-6 defeat to fellow American Sam Querrey in the night match.
The world No. 5 was not the only big-name disappointment, though, with seventh-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga despatched 7-6, 6-2 by Australian qualifier Chris Guccione.
NO STOPPING: Roger Federer returns a volley to Jose Acasuso during their second round match at the Cincinnati Masters.
Roddick, beaten by Federer in the Wimbledon final last month, blew set points in the first-set tiebreak and then led by an early break in the second set but could not press home the advantage.
The world No. 26 Querrey, who clinched his second ATP title at the LA Open earlier this month, will face Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, a 6-3, 6-3 winner over Benjamin Becker, in the next round.
Swiss world No. 1 Federer won 6-3, 7-5 against Jose Acasuso, the Argentine who had all but beaten him at the French Open in May.
"People might think guys ranked outside the top 50 are not a challenge for us," Federer said.
"But I almost lost to Acasuso in Paris, which today probably nobody even remembers anymore. But I was down 5-1 in the third, and looked like I was out of it almost."
Federer will play Spaniard David Ferrer for a place in the quarter-finals.
Murray beat Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 6-2, saving a set point at 6-5 down before easing through the second set to secure a meeting with Czech Radek Stepanek, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 winner over Russian Marat Safin.
"I started to play better as the match went on," Murray said. "It was very fast -- definitely quicker conditions than last week."
Nadal edged out Italian Andreas Seppi 7-6, 7-6 and though pleased with the effort and the absence of any pain in his knees, he immediately wrote off his title chances.
"It's difficult conditions for me. My results here in this tournament say that. My best result was last year, semi-finals. It's always difficult for me to play a good tournament here," the Spaniard said.
Fourth seed Novak Djokovic eased past Ivan Ljubicic 7-6, 6-4, despite 15 aces from the Croatian to secure a meeting with Jeremy Chardy of France.
Tsonga, who upset Federer in the quarter-finals of the Montreal Masters last week, lost an epic first-set tiebreak 14-12 against big-serving Guccione. The 124th-ranked Australian saved five set points and clinched victory with his 20th ace to set up a clash with Czech Tomas Berdych.
Paul-Henri Mathieu set up a meeting with Nadal by beating Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6, 6-4, while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain ousted Russian Mikhail Youzhny.
Garcia-Lopez will play Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who became the first lucky loser to reach the last 16 in Cincinnati since 2004 by beating Austrian Juergen Melzer 6-2, 3-6, 6-2.