Gaudio Bageled, Safin Injured at Rome; Clijsters Injured at Berlin

Posted on May 6, 2005

Nice-Guy Roddick Finishes Last at ATP Rome

At least it was a nice gesture.

Top seed Andy Roddick, leading Fernando Verdasco 7-6(1), 5-3, 40-0, voluntarily reversed the call on Verdasco's match-point double fault before the Spaniard came back to win the game, then the set, then the match.

After storming back from 0-40 on serve, Verdasco then broke a shaken-looking Roddick who was serving at 5-4 to begin the American's downhill slide.

"Maybe I should have stood on the mark," said Roddick, who also blew four match points. "I don't think I did anything extraordinary, the umpire would have come down and said the same too. I just saved him the trip. When he hit it, before I saw the mark, I thought it was out. On a hardcourt I wouldn't have done anything but then I walked back and saw it was good."

Roddick led the parade of seeded upsets Thursday, including reigning French Open champ (3) Gaston Gaudio (l. to Ferrer 0-and-1, tanking after being distracted by lights on the scoreboard), and (4) Tim Henman (l. to Hrbaty in three).

"My frustration comes from the fact that having turned it around, and playing some good tennis in the second set, the match should turn on a couple of points," Henman said. "But that's how it is on clay. You get some momentum and you have to do everything you can to keep it going. Every point is a battle."

Other seeds advancing were tournament favorite (5) Rafael Nadal (d. (11) Canas), (6) Andre Agassi (d. (12) Ljubicic), (9) Guillermo Coria (d. (WC) Sanguinetti, bagel in the first), and (15) Radek Stepanek (d. (Q) Almagro from a set down).

"(Ljubicic's) been playing well the whole year, so to come here and play a great match against him feels like a real achievement," said Agassi, coming off a loss to the Croat in their last meeting at the Davis Cup.

Coria, who recently fell out of the Top 10 on the ATP Rankings, says his game is coming around in time to defend his runner-up points at the French.

"I feel I'm getting better and better. This is the first time I've got as far as the quarters," said Coria, who didn't get his wishful semifinal opponent when asked who he'd rather meet in the quarterfinals, Andy Roddick or Spaniard Fernando Verdasco. "I think I'd prefer to play Roddick."

In the only all-unseeded meeting Thursday, Spanish lucky loser Al Martin rolled past Peru's Luis Horna in straight sets.

Friday's quarterfinal line-up in Rome is (LL) A.Martin vs. Ferrer in an all-unseeded all-Spanish (Ferrer leads career meetings 3-2), Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty vs. (6) Agassi (tied 2-2), (5) Rafael "The Prodigy" Nadal vs. (15) Stepanek (Prodigy leads 2-0), and in the night match Fernando "Hot Sauce" Verdasco vs. (9) Guillermo "El Mago" Coria (El Mago leads 1-0).

Clijsters Clipped by Injury at WTA Berlin, French Open in Doubt

At least it's not the wrist.

Kim Clijsters retired from the German Open on Thursday after suffering a right leg injury in the third round against Switzerland's Patty Schnyder. The former No. 1 blew four match points before retiring leading 7-6(4), 5-6, receiving treatment on her right knee before deciding to throw in the towel on what has proven to be her least-favorite surface.

Clijsters injured herself doing the "splits" after retrieving a ball on the red dirt, the same circus move that resulted in her injured left wrist that she previously jammed performing the slide.

"I just have to wait two days for the MRI," Clijsters said. "Hopefully, if it shows that I haven't torn anything, I will be back for the French Open -- but if it does, well, I don't even want to think about that."

The withdrawal makes it all the easier for top seed Maria Sharapova, who must win Berlin to climb to No. 1.

Thursday the top-seeded Sharapova ripped through Chinese comer Shuai Peng 6-2, 6-1 to set up a marquee match-up with No. 12 seed Justine Henin-Hardenne, who won her third three-setter in two days, defeating Czech qualifier Kveta Peschke from a set down 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

"I feel relaxed and good, but I haven't had a real test yet," Sharapova said. "Personally, I don't like this cold weather I'd rather have it sunny and warm."

Henin-Hardenne says she will be glad to revisit the stadium after being relegated to the side courts.

"I'm glad Sharapova and I are playing on Center Court," Henin-Hardenne said. "It's difficult on Court 1. It's noisy and people are moving all the time."

Others into the quarterfinals on the red dirt were (2) Amelie Mauresmo (d. Razzano), (4) Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. Martinez from a set down), (6) Nadia Petrova (d. Pierce), (8) Elena Bovina (d. Shaughnessy), and quiet riser (13) Jelena Jankovic (d. (WC) Schruff).

Friday's quarterfinal in Berlin line up as (6) Petrova vs. (2) Mauresmo (Frenchwoman won their lone career meeting earlier this year at the Paris-indoor), (4) Kuznetsova vs. (7) Schnyder (Kuzy leads 2-1), (1) Sharapova vs. (12) Henin-Hardenne (Russian won their lone meeting in three sets earlier this year in Miami), and (8) Bovina vs. (13) Jankovic (first meeting).

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