It was a late, but very exciting, night of tennis for fans in D.C. yesterday, with our great quarterfinal field now set.
In the highlight match of the evening, Andy Roddick became the 36th player in the Open Era to reach 500 career match victories, after he pulled the win over Sam Querrey 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the third round of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. He became only the fourth active player to join this club, which includes Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, and Carlos Moya.
“You know that’s the equivalent in baseball of something like 500 home runs. And that’s kind of a milestone in tennis,” Roddick said after the match. “So, it’s certainly a pleasure to do it here in Washington. And it’s a very humbling experience, and who knows, maybe we’ll try for 500 more.”
When asked if he remembered his first win, nine years ago against Fernando Vincente, Roddick didn’t hesitate, “[It was] 6-4, 6-0, first round of Miami in 2000. It was cool because it was about 45 minutes from where I went to high school, and I actually was still in high school. A bunch of my friends came down. I just thought I was the coolest person on the planet.”
In his very next match, Roddick was schooled up by Andre Agassi, whose torch at the Legg Mason he now bears. In his 500 matches, Roddick has definitely learned some lessons throughout his career, and brought them to the fore last night, despite his less than best performance.
Roddick’s usually trusty service weapon was not working for him last night. He doubled six times, lost his serve twice, and threw in just three aces. But he put together three BPs and put in a high percentage of first serves and groundies to keep the pressure on Querrey to eventually get the W. He’s now 3-0 over Querrey, with all of their match-ups coming on hard court. After the match, a commemorative cake decorated with a big “500″ was delivered to him on court.
Roddick will take on big man Ivo Karlovic in the first night match at 7pm. Karlovic took out qualifier Somdev Devvarman 7-5, 6-1. It was a sad end of the road for the UVA grad, who had another great run at the Legg Mason after surviving the qualies. In ten service games, Dev managed to win just six points off Karlovic, and never got to deuce. He brought a great level of excitement to the tournament, and everyone looks forward to seeing him back next year.
Two incredible 3-set matches led the day, starting with veterans Tommy Haas and Juan Carlos Ferrero, who, despite their “advanced ages”, have surprisingly only met on four other occasions. This was their first hard court match. Though he struggled a bit with his first serve, with the crowd behind him, Tommy grabbed the 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 win, almost bageling JC in the third.
Haas will take on Fernando Gonzalez, who pulled in the win over American lefty Wayne Odesnik, in the Noon match today. Odesnik had a strong partisan red bandana-wearing crowd cheering him on, and he played a well-fought match, but eventually lost 2 and 4. Gonzo is also still rolling in dubs. He and the still coachless Tommy Robredo will take on Danny Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic in late afternoon action in the stadium.
Roddick, Karlovic, and Gonzalez are the only singles quarterfinalists who have yet to lose a set in the tournament.
Next up was 2004 Champion Lleyton Hewitt against defending champ Juan Martin Del Potro, who both grabbed their DC titles in Olympic years. This was probably the most thrilling match of the day. Delpo dropped the first set for the second straight match before rallying in the second, and was then serving for the match at 5-4 in the third. In true Elfish fashion, he lost the game at love, but both players held their final service game, setting up the TB. Tied at 2, DelPo grabbed a mini-break with a backhand winner down the line that started a run of five consecutive points. Lleyton is still in dubs though, and with partner Chris Guccione will take on Travis Parrott and Filip Polasek in the grandstand at 4pm today.
In other third-round matches, (5) Robin Soderling topped Marc Gicquel 7-5, 5-7, 6-3; (8) Tomas Berdych edged past Philipp Petzschner 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; and John Isner took out French veteran and qualie Sebastien de Chaunac 6-2, 6-4 in a match that must have lasted past midnight. Your humble reporter was tucked in by then.
Live television coverage begins today at Noon:
12:00 – 2:00pm ESPN2
2:30 – 4:30pm Tennis Channel
7:00 – 9:00pm ESPN2
Starting at 12:00 noon
 T Haas (GER) vs  F Gonzalez (CHI)
Not Before 2:30 PM
 R Soderling (SWE) vs  J Del Potro (ARG)
F Gonzalez (CHI) / T Robredo (ESP) vs  D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB)
Starting at 7:00 PM
 A Roddick (USA) vs  I Karlovic (CRO)
J Isner (USA) vs  T Berdych (CZE)
GRANDSTAND start 4:00 pm
[WC] C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS) vs T Parrott (USA) / F Polasek (SVK)
Full OOP (pdf)
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