How mentally tough is 20-year-old Milos Raonic? How does back-to-back third set tiebreak wins over two formidable players sound? In his Wednesday opener the Canadian took out Fernando Verdasco 7-6 in the third, and he did it again yesterday afternoon toppling Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-7(10), 7-6(1) in Memphis.
The near-unstoppable Raonic now meets qualifier Robert Kendrick in just a few hours in the quarterfinals. The pressure has slightly shifted for Roanic against Kendrick as the youngster will assume the unfamiliar role of being the favorite. Kendrick, who beat Raonic in Canada last year, has a huge serve himself and we could very well see a few more tiebreaks.
Tonight in the main event, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt meet for a 13th time. The two former No. 1s have split their prior 12 encounters but Roddick has won the last five, and I give him the slight edge tonight in what could be a matchup of two guys unable to hit winners off the ground! Roddick got through Janko Tipsarevic 6-1, 7-6(8) yesterday while Hewitt needed three to beat Adrian Mannarino.
“I think I’ve won six in a row, but they’ve all been brutal,” said Roddick. “We had 6-4 in the third here, 6-4 in the fifth in the quarters of Wimbledon, 6 and 6 somewhere along the way, so they’ve all been very, very tight matches.
“I think we have a lot of respect for each other. There are not a lot of guys out there that have accomplished and been around for as long as we have. I respect him and I think we always look forward to playing some good matches.”
America will be assured of at least one semifinalist in either Sam Querrey or Mardy Fish (the American girls all lost in the WTA event). The two are even 1-1 in their head-to-head. Querrey, the Memphis defending champion, just snapped a 6-match losing streak on Wednesday. Fish is recovering from a thyroid infection.
And in the last match of the day, Juan Martin Del Potro battles Michael Russell in what could be a much tougher test than most think. Be warned!
Over in Marseille, Marin Cilic is already a set up on Tomas Berdych. Robin Soderling v. Michael Llodra, Dmitry Tursunov v. Jurgen Melzer and JW Tsonga v. Mikhail Youhzny are still to come.
The Buenos Aires QFs feature the Top 4 seeds including Nicolas Almagro and David Nalbandian.
And with her win today over Shahar Peer in the Dubai quarterfinals, Caroline Wozniacki will return to the No. 1 ranking next week. Kim Clijsters took it back Monday, but only for a week.
MEMPHIS FRIDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 10:00 am
[Q] R Kendrick (USA) vs [WC] M Raonic (CAN) – ATP
 S Querrey (USA) vs  M Fish (USA) – ATP
Not Before 12:00 PM
M Rybarikova (SVK) vs L Hradecka (CZE) – WTA
E Rodina (RUS) vs  R Marino (CAN) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
 A Roddick (USA) vs L Hewitt (AUS) – ATP
[Q] M Russell (USA) vs [WC] J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
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