Roddick Good, Federer Better in Australian Open Semis; Serena, Safina in Womens Final
Federer Douses Hot Roddick in Straight Sets at Australian Open
Andy Roddick wasn’t able to put a dent in Roger Federer’s quest for a record-tying 14th Grand Slam title on Thursday at the Australian Open, falling to the Swiss in straight sets 6-2, 7-5, 7-5 in the semifinals at Melbourne.
The American was in solid form but Federer is peaking after some shaky early-round performances, with Federer even out-acing Roddick 16-8.
“I served well in the first set and that gave me a lot of confidence,” Federer told reporters of his quick start. “I was moving well and getting a lot of balls back and making it difficult for Andy to get the upper hand from the baseline. That was kind of what I was hoping for.”
Now the Swiss prepares for the winner of the other semifinal between world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco — but he already knows his opponent in the final will be Spanish, and left-handed.
“I don’t have to wait to see who wins, I can start preparing for a leftie tonight,” Federer said, adding that the early rounds are over. “Towards the end of the tournament, I think this is where you should judge a great player.”
Federer read the vaunted Roddick serve well in the first set, breaking twice, then in the second set broke the American at love at 5-5 before serving it out. The third set was the same, with the Swiss breaking at 5-5, then serving out the match.
“I hit the ball pretty well.” Roddick said. “He just came up with shots when he needed to. That’s what he does.”
The quality in the match showed in Roddick committing only 18 unforced errors, bested again by Federer’s 15.
In today’s other semifinal, Nadal will attempt to set up a 19th career meeting with Federer. Nadal has never lost to Verdasco, and leads Federer 12-6 in their career encounters, but trails 2-3 in hardcourt encounters.
Serena Williams, Safina to Battle for No. 1, Aussie Open Title
Serena Williams and Dinara Safina will play for the Australian Open championship, and the post-tournament No. 1 ranking, after each advanced in straight sets Thursday in Melbourne.
Williams ended a three-match losing streak against Elena Dementieva, preventing an all-Russian final with a 6-3, 6-4 win, aided by the closed roof at Rod Laver Arena as Melbourne experienced record temperatures.
A win in the final would give Williams her 10th Grand Slam singles title, and she says her focus is on Slam titles rather than the No. 1 ranking.
“Right now that would be just a bonus,” Williams told reporters. “My goal isn’t to be No. 1. My goal is to obviously win one more match here at the Australian Open.”
The result also ended a 15-match win streak for Dementieva, who won titles in her first two events of the year entering Melbourne. The Russian’s nerves were on display as she let out shrieks of frustration and talked to herself after missing opportunities.
“I think I made some double faults at bad time,” said Dementieva, who kicked in eight total, including two in a row in the second set (blowing a 3-0 lead) to hand Williams a break. “I think my first serve was not good enough for her today. I think Serena played really well today. I was maybe not aggressive enough and maybe I wasn’t playing deep enough, which allowed her to be very aggressive and dictate the game.”
Safina likewise ended a three-match losing streak against Zvonareva, breaking serve in the first game en route to a 6-3, 7-6(4) victory.
Zvonareva hit the choke button early in the match, double faulting on the second point of the contest, but got her nerves under control to break back later in the set. She served for the second set unsuccessfully, then was outplayed in the tiebreak.
“Dinara was more consistent today than I was. She served better than I did and that made the difference,” Zvonareva told reporters. “If you look at it overall, it’s my first Grand Slam semifinal. I should be satisfied.”
Safina will be satisfied with one more win and her first time atop the WTA rankings.
“Since I was growing up it has been my dream one day to be No. 1,” Safina said courtside after the match. “To play against Serena and to fight for the No. 1 is just going to be unbelievable.”
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
While attendance is up at the Australian Open, tourism and fans attending from other countries are reportedly way down due to the economy…
Serena Williams passed Annika Sorenstam as the top women’s prize money-earner of all time after gaining the Aussie Open final…
Former Yugoslavia Davis Cup coach Radmilo Armenulic slamming the Serbs, speaking to Reuters: “Djokovic and Jankovic should have gone to Australia much earlier in order to acclimatize, at least one month in advance. One needs as many matches as possible prior to the Open to get used to the heat and players who have done that are doing well in the tournament…[Djokovic] needs to take a look at what he is not doing right and work harder to improve his game. He must raise his fitness and his physical strength to a new level and that means he has to spend more time in the gym. The girls, Ivanovic and Jankovic, should also analyze their below-par performances while the latter really needs to improve her second serve, which is easy prey for her rivals. Especially Ivanovic, who can’t deal with the frenzy triggered by fashion magazines declaring her the beauty queen of the WTA circuit. She is only 21 and it is just too much for someone of her age, she is too exposed to all those unwelcome distractions, including questions about her private life. But what she has to do is hire a full-time coach to improve her serve-and-volley game and rediscover her devastating forehand, which let her down in Melbourne.”…
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