Britain will have to wait at least another year to end its 70+ year drought at Wimbledon as a determined Andy Roddick ended Andy Murray’s campaign 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in the Friday semifinals.
Roddick’s sometime-suspect backhand and volleying skills must have gotten lost with his luggage in the trip from the U.S. as the American continued to put on a Stefan Edberg-like display at the net, and drove the backhand low on approaches to consistently create opportunities against Murray.
“Today I was able to come in, I think it was 68 times,” Roddick said, noting his approach shot was on song. “I felt like I was doing the right things and picking the right shots.”
Roddick with his vaunted serve is the tiebreak king, and the two tiebreaks were key for the American who edged the Brit in a match where he overall hit less aces and fewer winners. Roddick was 2-6 against Murray entering the match, including a straight-set loss at Wimbledon in 2006.
“It just came down to a few points here or there on his serve,” Murray said. “And he served really, really well…He came up with some good volleys…I’ll come back next year and try and do better.”
Roddick will face Roger Federer in their third meeting in the Wimbledon final. Federer was flawless in dismissing a determined former No. 2-ranked Tommy Haas 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-3. It was another solid performance from Haas who has shown he can play the former world No. 1 close, but perhaps doesn’t have the deep-down belief he can beat the Swiss. Last month Haas led Federer by two sets to love before losing in five at the French Open.
It was the first-ever Wimbledon semifinal for Haas, who has now lost nine in a row against the Swiss.
“I thought Tommy was on a great run, I couldn’t even get close to breaking him for two sets,” Federer said. “I came up with some good stuff when I had to. Tough match, because Tommy was playing great.”
Federer is one match away from shedding the “former world No. 1” tag, as a win over Roddick in the final would see him reclaim No. 1 from Spaniard Rafael Nadal. Nadal made an early exit from the French Open with a knee injury that forced him to skip Wimbledon, which he won last year.
The Swiss has won the Wimbledon title in five of the last six years, and with the 2009 crown would overtake Pete Sampras as the all-time Grand Slam singles leader with 15 titles. This is Federer’s 20th Grand Slam final, another record, after setting a record earlier this week with 21 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals.
Federer likely breathed a silent sigh of relief at the Roddick-Murray result, as the Swiss’ game has been a poor fit against Murray, who has dominated him in recent meetings.
“It starts from zero,” Federer said about playing in Slam finals. “It’s the same thing with Murray’s record, which he has a good one against me, but then he’s never been in a Wimbledon final before…At the end of the day, you have to let the racquet do the talking.”
Federer is 3-0 against Roddick in Slam finals, and 18-2 over their careers. It will be another chance for Roddick to solve the Federer riddle, likely as he’s attempted throughout his career by throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the Swiss. And as few critics gave Roddick a chance against Murray, the American will again play with nothing to lose.
“He’s always played me quite differently every time I’ve played him,” Federer said of Roddick. “I enjoy how he leaves everything out on the court.”
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