Roddick vs. Soderling Today in Memphis

Posted on February 29, 2008

Top seed Andy Roddick, fourth seed Radek Stepanek and eighth seed Robin Soderling feature in quarterfinal action on Friday at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis, a $769,000 event.

The first quarterfinal out on Stadium, starting not before 12pm, is an all-unseeded clash between Belgian Steve Darcis and Benjamin Becker; the two have never played before. World No. 81 Darcis is through to his first ATP-level quarterfinal since í07 Amersfoot where he went on to claim his maiden career ATP singles title (d. Eschauer). This is the first time that Darcis has won back-to-back ATP-level matches since Amersfoot last season; he came into Memphis on 2-5 for the campaign. The 23-year-old, who is making his debut in Memphis, defeated Vincent Spadea and No. 7 seed Jurgen Melzer to reach his second (1-0) career ATP singles quarterfinal. World No. 112 Becker is contesting his second quarterfinal of the season, having fallen to Michael Llodra in the last eight in Adelaide at the beginning of the year. The 26-year-old made his debut in Memphis last year, falling to Andy Roddick in the second round. Victories over Kristof Vliegen and No. 3 seed Tommy Haas this week have improved his seasonís match record to 5-4.

Not before 2pm on Stadium is another all-unseeded clash, between Swede Jonas Bjorkman and American Donald Young. At opposite ends of their respective career spectrums, the two have not played before. The 35-year-old Bjorkman is through to the Memphis quarterfinals for the first time since his debut in 1997, where he went on to reach the semifinals (l. to Woodbridge). Ranked No. 85 (former No. 4, 3-Nov-97) in the South African Airways ATP Rankings, Bjorkman is contesting his first ATP singles quarterfinal since Nottingham last year where he went on to reach the semifinals (l. to Clement). He defeated Paul Capdeville and No. 5 seed Sam Querrey in the first two rounds this week. The 18-year-old Young, who had lost first round in his three ATP events this season prior to Memphis, is through to his career first ATP singles quarterfinal; he has only been past the second round in an ATP-level event twice before, and has won back-to-back matches just once (l. to Lopez US Open 3rd RD). Making his debut in Memphis, World No. 102 Young defeated Sam Warburg and Alejandro Falla to reach the quarterfinals.

Beginning the evening session at 6.30pm, top-seeded American Andy Roddick challenges eighth-seeded Swede Robin Soderling in a first time meeting. Roddick came into Memphis fresh off the back of claiming his 24th career ATP singles title, and his first of the season, in San Jose last week (d. Stepanek). Wins this week over Gilles Muller and Mardy Fish have taken his season total to 10-1, his only loss coming to Philipp Kohlschreiber in the third round of the Australian Open. Ranked No. 6, Roddick is bidding for his second Memphis title after capturing his first in 2002 (d. Blake). The 25-year-old has twice been a finalist since then, finishing runner-up to Taylor Dent in 2003 and Tommy Haas last year. Making his eighth appearance here, his tournament lifetime stands at 23-6. World No. 42 Soderling has a 7-19 record against Top 10 players, his most recent victory coming against No. 7 Richard Gasquet in the second round in Memphis. This week he has defeated Frederic Niemeyer and Victor Hanescu to reach his third quarterfinal of the season; his first came in Marseille where he lost to Mario Ancic and his second came last week in Rotterdam where he defeated Andreas Seppi in the quarterfinals before going on to reach the final (l. to Llodra). The 23-year-old made the final in Memphis (l. to Haas) on his debut two years ago.

Rounding out the quarterfinal action fourth-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek takes on unseeded Australian Chris Guccione. The two met for the first time in the semifinals in Sydney earlier this year, where Guccione won in three sets. World No. 31 Stepanek will contest his third (2-0) quarterfinal of the season; he reached his seventh career ATP singles final last week in San Jose (l. to Roddick), in addition to his semifinal appearance in Sydney. The 29-year-old Stepanek, who is making his debut in Memphis, defeated Jesse Levine and Florent Serra in the opening two rounds this week. World No. 86 Guccione will appear in his second ATP-level quarterfinal of the season, having also reached the final in Sydney (l. to Tursunov). The 22-year-old has a 2-0 career record in ATP-level quarterfinals, reaching his first in Adelaide last year where he went on to reach the final (l. to Djokovic). Having lost first round on his debut in Memphis last year, the big serving Australian has fired 32 aces in defeating Robert Kendrick and No. 6 seed Thomas Johansson this week. (ATP Digital Services)