Andy Roddick fancies his US Open chances after ending a one-year slump in the ATP Cincinnati Masters this morning.
The revitalised American, who will move back into the top 10, defeated former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-4 in little more than an hour.
Roddick finished with a flourish with three straight aces to run his match total to 17.
"The way I'm playing now, I like my chances as well as anyone else not named Roger," said Roddick, in reference to defending champion Roger Federer at the grand slam which begins next Monday.
Roddick planted a kiss on the sweltering hard court in victory, then raced a victory lap around the sold-out stadium, exchanging high fives with any spectator who could reach him in from the first row.
"It hasn't hit me yet, but I'm so excited," said Roddick, the 2003 Cincinnati winner who also beat Ferrero for the US Open crown a few weeks later during that magical year.
"I haven't had my best year. But I'm so happy to be back and playing good tennis again."
Roddick said he got a stern talking-to over the phone from senior adviser Jimmy Connors after struggling through a first-round match over Italian Daniele Bracciale.
"I had been hitting well in training with him last week in Austin," said the player who earned his first trophy since Lyon last October.
"I just couldn't apply what I'd learned in that match.
"It was frustrating - and Jimmy let me know he was frustrated also. There's not much I can say to Jimmy Connors.
"But after getting through that match, I wasn't questioning any more if I could again play well. That was a huge relief.
"I'm excited to win here and hopefully it will carry over to the Open."
Roddick improved to 38-13 on the year as he won his fourth Masters Series shield with his third defeat of Ferrero, who stood atop the rankings in early 2004 before his form hit the skids through injury.
"I don't know if Juan Carlos gets all the respect he deserves," Roddick said.
"He's been number one and it's good to see him playing well again."
Roddick Storms into 2nd Straight Cincinnati Final
Rejuvenated Ferrero Cruises into Final