Roddick, Safin, Haas Headline Big Friday in Washington

Posted on August 3, 2007

Quarterfinal action on Friday at the $600,000 Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington D.C. boasts the top three seeds: two-time champion Andy Roddick; Tommy Haas, who is one victory away from his 400th career match win; and former World No. 1 Marat Safin.

American No. 1 Andy Roddick and Asian No. 1 Hyung-Taik Lee face off in the quarterfinals for the second straight week. Roddick improved his record against Lee to 9-1 with a 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-1 win last Friday in Indianapolis. With the exception of their first encounter, in the 2001 Houston final, they have faced off solely on hard courts. Lee’s only victory over Roddick came in 2003 at Sydney, when he prevailed in their second round match en route to his first and only ATP singles title (d. Ferrero).

Top seed Roddick is appearing in the Washington quarterfinals for the fifth time in his sixth event appearance. He has a 20-3 event record (3-1 in the quarterfinals), and claimed the title in 2001 (d. Schalken) and 2005 (d. Blake). Roddick, who has now won seven straight matches in Washington, withdrew from last year’s tournament due to an abdominal strain. This is the 24-year-old’s tenth appearance in the quarterfinals this year (6-3). He has a 39-10 season record (25-6 on hard courts), and captured his sole title of 2007 at Queen’s (d. Mahut). Roddick is attempting to win the US Open Series Lever 2000 Challenge for the third straight year, and last week made his 2007 summer hard court debut with a semifinal exit in Indianapolis (l. to Dancevic).

Lee, the No. 5 seed, has a 4-2 record in Washington and is appearing in the event quarterfinals for the first time. He is the only player to have reached the quarterfinals at all three stops of the 2007 US Open Series. He achieved a career-high ranking of No. 38 following his semifinal finish two weeks ago in Los Angeles (l. to Blake), and followed last week by advancing to the Indianapolis quarterfinals (l. to Roddick). Lee also reached the San Jose quarterfinals in February (l. to eventual champion Murray). The 31-year-old Korean improved to a season record of 17-18 with wins over Igor Kunitsyn and Julien Benneteau this week.

Two wild cards, second-seeded German Tommy Haas and American John Isner, face off for the first time. With a victory today, the 29-year-old Haas would reach a career milestone of 400 match wins. Haas is playing his first tournament since Wimbledon, where he was forced to pull out prior to his fourth round match against Roger Federer due to a torn stomach muscle. He eyes his second ATP title of the year, having already won his 11th career title at Memphis (d. Roddick), and will be in appearing in his seventh quarterfinal of 2007 (3-3). Haas has appeared in the Washington quarterfinals once before, in 1997 (l. Korda). In his only other event appearance, he reached the Round of 16 in 2001 (l. to Golmard).

Isner, 22, is appearing in his second career ATP tournament and made his ATP-level debut earlier this month in Newport (l. to Norman in the first round). He advanced to his first career ATP quarterfinals this week by prevailing in the third set tie-break of his three matches (d. Henman, No. 8 seed Becker, Odesnik), each time coming back from a set deficit. The Greensboro, North Carolina, native won the Lexington Challenger title last week (d. Wilson). In June, he won the U.S. Futures #14 title in Chico, California (d. Miranda). The 6’9” Isner is the all-time winningest singles and doubles player in the University of Georgia’s tennis history and led his university to the National Championship team title in May. He is being coached by Ricardo Acuna.

Frenchman Gael Monfils, the ninth seed, takes a 1-0 career record into his quarterfinal match against third seed Marat Safin. He defeated the former World No. 1 last year in their ATP Masters Series Cincinnati opener. Monfils, who is making his Washington debut, will be appearing in his third quarterfinal of 2007. He was a finalist in Poertschach (d. Roddick in the quarterfinals en route to his fifth ATP final) and a quarterfinalist three weeks ago at Gstaad (d. Davydenko in the 1st RD). The 20-year-old has a 17-18 season record. Safin, 27, has a 5-2 event record; he made his Washington debut in 1999 by reaching the Round of 16 (l. to Santoro), and returned last year to reach the semifinals (l. to Clement). He has a 20-14 record this season, and has turned in his best performances in North America, advancing to the semifinals in Las Vegas (l. to Hewitt) and the quarterfinals in San Jose (l. to Becker) and Los Angeles (l. to Lee).

On Grandstand, seventh-seeded Croat Ivo Karlovic will attempt to even the career series against Chilean Paul Capdeville. Capdeville defeated Karlovic last year in second round action at Memphis to reach his only other ATP quarterfinal. Karlovic is appearing in his sixth quarterfinal of the season (3-2), and captured titles in Houston and Nottingham. He also advanced the Washington quarterfinals in his only other event appearance in 2005 (l. to Roddick). The 28-year-old reached a career-high No. 41 in the ATP Rankings on July 9, 2007 (currently No. 41). Capdeville, 24, comes in ranked No. 122 and improved to a season record of 9-7 with wins this week over Ilia Bozoljac, No. 13 seed Amer Delic, and Thomas Johansson.

In the evening’s doubles quarterfinal, top seeds and two-time defending champions Bob and Mike Bryan confront the South African-Australian duo of Wesley Moodie and Todd Perry for the third time. The No. 1 duo topped the first-year pairing in the third round at the Australian Open and in their Las Vegas opener. The Bryans are attempting to collect their eighth title of the season, and won the Los Angeles title in their last appearance. They have a 21-6 event record, and have reached the final four times (runners-up in 2001-02). Moodie and Perry have compiled a 13-6 season record and two titles (Adelaide, Valencia). (ATP Digital Services)