Roddick, Blake Washed Away in Miami; Sharapova, Kuznetsova Win

Posted on March 31, 2006

Andy Roddick falls againRoddick, Blake Exit in Quarters at Miami as Federer, Ferrer Reach Semifinals

When you're playing a Spaniard on hardcourts, and you're standing farther behind the baseline than he is, there could be a problem. Or when the Spaniard comes to the net more than you, and you're a two-time Wimbledon runner-up.

Andy Roddick suffered all these problems and more Thursday in a quarterfinal exit at the Masters Series-Miami, losing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to Spaniard David Ferrer.

"Yeah, the first set was a wash," said Roddick on putting in only 35 percent of his first serves in the opening set. "That was pretty bad."

Roddick won the second set, but found himself down an early break in the third. The American then broke back to even the match at 4-4, but then the 23-year-old, who has held serve 91 percent of the time in 2006, dropped his serve and the match.

Ferrer will climb back into the Top 10 after the win, and says the results are due to a dedication to hardcourt play.

"On the last two years I didn't play too badly on hardcourts, so this year we decided to change my schedule a little bit because if you want to go higher in the rankings you have to play well on all surfaces," Ferrer said through a translator, also commenting on a warning he received from the chair umpire for receiving coaching from the stands. "I don't really understand because, you know, he was saying like, Vamos,' 'Venga,' 'Come on,' trying to encourage me. That's not really coaching. Maybe the umpire himself, he can hear that himself and he could cover that."

It was also the third straight win for Ferrer over a Top 10 player on hardcourts.

In the semis Ferrer will face world No. 1 Roger Federer, who dismantled James Blake 7-6(2), 6-4.

Federer turned in another Federer-like performance, mixing in an array dazzling shots and the occasional shank. Blake who was trounced by the Swiss in the Indian Wells earlier this month, played much better and it seems only Federer can stop the resurgent American.

"It was a good match. Once again, I thought it was a tough match, as expected really. He's really tough out of the blocks. It's really tough to get a hold of him because he really takes a lot of chances and usually also serves well in the beginning and everything,” Federer set after winning his 46th straight match in the U.S.

Kuznetsova Mauls Mauresmo, Sharapova Next

World No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo was pummeled 6-1, 6-4 Thursday in the semifinals of the NASDAQ-100 in Miami by resurgent Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova who has put herself in position to win her first title since the 2004 US Open.

Mauresmo could not keep the ball deep on a consistent basis, and credited Kuznetsova with giving her no time to find her rhythm.

"She played really well. She hit very hard on both sides and very long," Mauresmo said. "You know, when you hit hard, sometimes it's not enough. But I think today she played really well, so I started in the second set to change a little bit, started to serve and volley, started coming a little bit earlier in the points. I couldn't play deep enough for her to really be annoyed. So all the credit to her."

While Mauresmo commented on power being the Russian's main weapon, Kuznetsova said the key to the match was not overhitting, and keeping her head in a good space.

"I didn't want to go over shot," Kuznetsova said. "I didn't want to overhit the ball. I think I was pretty well playing the shots, the selection of the shots, I was doing it pretty well. Because sometimes I can see balls easy and I know I can do so much, so many things with the ball, that I like want to break it, you know. Today I was just playing the space I have to play. I was choosing the right shots and I was pretty calm with myself. I just was staying there, playing the match."

In the final Kuznetsova will face countrywoman Maria Sharapova who also beat a Frenchwoman on Thursday. In a battle of teen blondes, it was Sharapova earning the victory when Tatiana Golovin turned her left ankle late in the third set trailing 63, 67, 43.

"Maria is a very tough opponent," Kuznetsova said. "She played the final last week [at Indian Wells]. It's gonna be very tough. She hits it very hard, very flat. I'll have to move her around. The tactics are gonna be different from today.”

Muster Rebounds with Cash-Money Win at Doha

Thomas Muster rebounded from a shellacking at the hands of Marcelo Rios in his opening match at the Merrill Lynch Tour of Champions senior tour stop in Doha, on Thursday beating Pat Cash 3-6, 6-3, 19-17.

The win was drama-instilled after the pair last met in 2005 in a match-up at Essen that featured a heated on-court argument, with Cash exiting the victor. Muster saved three match points in the win which was another affair with no friendship gestures offered across the net.

"It was very exciting," Muster said. "I didn't start off too well but found my game and my rhythm. It was unfortunate for Pat because a tiebreak can go either way, but I'm happy it went my way. Leading up to Hong Kong next week it would be great if I could win another match and still be here on Saturday."

On Thursday Cedric Pioline finished a rain-delayed match against Sergi Bruguera with a 6-1, 6-1 stomping, then took out Carl-Uwe Steeb 6-2, 6-3 to put himself in strong contention for the final.

Richard Krajicek was also a winner over the struggling Bruguera 6-2, 6-0, and will now face Pioline for a final berth.

"It's going to be a completely different match because he is a big server," said Pioline of Krajicek. "There will not be too many rallies from the baseline so I have to try to return well. We both have two wins so the winner will reach the final. It's going to be extra motivation but also a little bit of pressure."

Marcelo Rios brough his career senior tour record to 2-0 with a straight-set win over Henri Leconte, and will face Pat Cash in a potential fireworks match to clinch his berth in the final.

"Having played Leconte, now I have a chance to play Pat Cash (for the first time)," Rios said. "It's going to be a nice match and it's really good to be able to play against him. It's a new experience for me. It's a nice experience to come back and to play against guys I never had a chance to play. They have all made tennis history and it's pretty fun to be back."

Friday's complete schedule is Rios vs. Cash, Pioline vs. Krajicek, Bruguera vs. Steeb, and Muster vs. Leconte.

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Roger Federer
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