A day removed from a three-set win over Rajeev Ram, top seed Andy Roddick went the distance again on Friday with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over Xavier Malisse to reach the semifinals in Atlanta Tennis Championships.
I caught most of the match and I though Roddick played pretty bad overall. He upped his serve after the first set but his groundstrokes, court positioning and even thought process looked weary, and even he agreed with some of that.
“Larry wanted me to work on getting the first strike in this week and quite simply I wasn’t able to execute that strategy tonight,” Roddick said. “I think my legs won me the match. I just grinded out the second set and then in the third set I just toughed it out. There wasn’t anything great about my execution tonight. I started serving a lot better and in the third set I got my forehand to come down a bit. I wasn’t spraying it as much. And that’s what turned it for me.”
Malisse served at 4-4 in the third set before the Belgian donated a couple miscues giving Roddick the final break. It wasn’t pretty, but Roddick does get the W.
Andy now faces his good friend Mardy Fish in the night semifinal on Saturday. Fish, who’s been bothered by an ankle injury, blitzed fellow American Taylor Dent 6-3, 6-0.
The way Roddick has looked – remember he lost a set to Sampras-clone Rajeev Ram – I might give the edge to Fish in this one. Mardy has the bad ankle but he’s won eight straight matches including Newport. It should prove a good test for both players.
And for Roddick, he as to know he’ll need to play a lot better than what he’s shown this week if wants to make any kind of impact this summer and/or at the US Open.
In the early semifinal John Isner meets Kevin Anderson in a true battle of giants. Isner stands at 6-foot-9, Anderson at 6-foot-8. They way these two trees and former college rivals serve the match could easily be decided in a third set tiebreaker.
In Hamburg, the semifinals feature Jurgen Melzer v. Andres Seppi and Andrei Golubev v. German Florian Mayer.
And it does look like Juan Martin Del Potro will not be ready to defend his US Open title. Yesterday, the USTA said that they expected him to play and revealed the Argentine was back hitting on the practice courts.
However, Del Po has set the record straight:
From his twitter: “I haven’t picked up a racquet yet so I can’t tell an exact date. When I know I’ll tell you the news here. I’m improving, that’s a good thing.”
Robin Soderling has also announced that he has pulled out of Washington.
And rumor is another Top 10 star will also withdraw from an upcoming US event with another star taking his place in the barn.
ATLANTA SATURDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM COURT start 1:30 pm
K Anderson (RSA) vs  J Isner (USA)
S Lipsky (USA) / R Ram (USA) vs J Blake (USA) / J Isner (USA) – After Suitable Rest
Not Before 7:00 PM
 [WC] A Roddick (USA) vs  M Fish (USA)
R Bopanna (IND) / K Vliegen (BEL) vs S Huss (AUS) / A Sa (BRA)
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