Roddick, Raonic, Fish reach Memphis semis
Andy Roddick overcame a shaky start and beat Lleyton Hewitt 4-6,
6-3, 6-4 Friday night to advance to the semifinals of the Regions
Morgan Keegan Championships.
The top-seeded Roddick needed 2 hours, 13 minutes to win his
sixth straight match against the Australian and leads their
all-time series 7-6. Roddick improved to 10-2 this year as he looks
for his 30th career title and third in Memphis. He will play either
American Michael Russell or Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in
the semifinal Saturday.
”He was playing better early on,” Roddick said of Hewitt. ”I
haven’t gotten off to the best starts in two out of three of my
matches. I’m going to have to start playing better from the get-go.
But a match can turn quickly, and it did tonight in the third set.
The end of the second set and the third set was probably the best
I’ve played in this tournament so far.”
Canadian Milos Raonic advanced to his second straight semifinals
with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Robert Kendrick earlier Friday.
He will play American Mardy Fish, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over defending
champion Sam Querrey 6-3, 6-4.
In the Cellular South Cup, Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia beat
Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to advance to
the championship. She will play Canadian Rebecca Marino, a 6-7 (1),
6-4, 6-1 winner over Evgeniya Rodina of Russia.
Only Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have more career titles than
Roddick (29) and Hewitt (28) among active players, and this match
lived up to the challenge. Roddick said he thought Hewitt was
fighting through something Friday night. Asked if something was
wrong with his foot or leg, Hewitt, who had his parents cheering
him from the stands, said he was all right.
Roddick served up 21 aces and hit over 140 mph regularly. But he
opened the match by double-faulting and also double-faulted as
Hewitt broke him in the first game. Roddick double-faulted again to
fall behind 0-30 trailing 3-5 in the first set and groaned to
”He made quite a few unforced errors early on, though, and his
serve percentage probably wasn’t as high as he would’ve liked. From
them on, he served a lot better,” Hewitt said. ”I couldn’t get up
in his service games and put pressure on him from there. He’s one
of the better closers out there with his serve when he’s up in a
In the second set, Roddick broke Hewitt in the fourth game on
his fourth break point when the Aussie came up to the net and put a
forehand into the net. Roddick served out for the set, and he
opened the third set by breaking Hewitt again.
Hewitt fought off four match points in the ninth game of the
third set and held his serve to pull to 5-4. Roddick also had two
more chances to close out the match before he finally converted on
his third by serving up a 135 mph ace.
”I was just trying to make him serve out the match, and I was
able to fight out of that game to my credit,” Hewitt said.
Now Roddick will play in his sixth semifinal here in Memphis. He
hasn’t lost to Hewitt since 2005 in a semifinal at Indian
”He just keeps plugging away,” Roddick said of the Aussie.
”He definitely makes you earn it if you want to get a win.”
Raonic’s latest win assured him of moving into the top 50 in the
ATP rankings after he won in San Jose last week. The 20-year-old
needed 1 hour, 53 minutes and 20 aces to beat Kendrick, an American
who beat him in straight sets in Vancouver last year.
Raonic (rau-nitch) improved to 11-2 this year with his third
three-set match here in Memphis. A year ago, Raonic was ranked No.
361 in the world and lost in the first round of qualifying at a
Challenger event in Belgrade.
”It’s tough after having such an amazing week after last week
to come back and sort of keep up the same level,” said Raonic,
who’s in his ninth career ATP World Tour event. ”I’m very proud I
was able to do that that I was able to stay there mentally and do
what I needed to do to get the wins not playing the brightest of
tennis. But in the end, the ‘W’ is what matters.”
Raonic saved eight of nine break points against Kendrick, but
he’s playing with such confidence right now that not even dropping
the second set bothered him. The Canadian regrouped in the third
set and finished off the match.
”At the end, I think I was getting a bit tight, and he was
starting to pick up my serve a bit better and this was putting more
pressure on me. He played a couple good points, but I was happy
with how I played on the critical points,” Raonic said.
Fish reached his third semifinal in Memphis and will try to
advance to the finals for the first time. He lost in 2004 and 2007.
Fish said he’s feeling better after a thyroid condition caused him
to skip last week’s tournament in San Jose.
”I came in here not knowing what to expect as far as my health
was concerned to be honest,” Fish said. ”I’ve gotten so much
better … I’ve been pleasantly surprised how well I’ve felt every
match and getting through that match a couple days ago, the long
2-hour, 40-minute match, helped me a lot today. … Hopefully that
health stuff is behind me, and I can keep going.”
Fish needed 79 minutes to beat Querrey, serving up eight aces
and winning 17 of his points on his second serve. He also saved
three of four break points.