Roddick, Murray Remain on Collision Course in San Jose

Posted on February 16, 2007

Defending champion Andy Murray and two-time former champion Andy Roddick are one win away from a repeat of their 2005 semifinal at the SAP Open. Third seed Murray is scheduled to play Korean No. 7 seed Hyung-Taik Lee in the quarterfinals, while top seed Roddick must negotiate the challenge of American compatriot and No. 8 seed Vince Spadea in the first match of the evening session.

In the first quarterfinal of the day on Center Court, fifth seed Mardy Fish – appearing in his third quarterfinal of the season – looks to improve his 9-2 match record for 2007 against Croatian Ivo Karlovic in the pair’s third ATP-level meeting. Karlovic, who knocked out No. 2 seed James Blake on Thursday, won their two previous clashes at the 2004 Australian Open and 2005 US Open. Fish who reached the 2004 San Jose final (l. to Roddick), is playing at the HP Pavilion for the sixth time. The Florida resident has played two tournaments in 2007 with runs to the Auckland semifinals (l. to Ferrer) and the Australian Open quarterfinals (l. to Roddick). Karlovic, currently No. 103 in the ATP Rankings, has reached the Chennai quarterfinals (l. to Moya) in 2007. The Croat, who celebrates his 28th birthday on February 28, was knocked out in the San Jose first round last year (l. to Wilson). Karlovic is looking to reach his first ATP-level semifinal since Las Vegas (l. to Blake) in February 2006.

In the second quarterfinal, sixth seed Benjamin Becker of Germany looks to gain revenge over fellow San Jose debutant Marat Safin, the No. 4 seed, who beat the 25-year-old in the Australian Open first round last month. Safin is playing his second tournament of the year, after a third round exit at the Australian Open (l. to Roddick). The former World No. 1 (Nov. 20, 2000) is currently No. 24 in the ATP Rankings. He has won 15 career titles – the last of which came at the 2005 Australian Open (d. Hewitt). Safin’s last ATP-level semifinal in Moscow, when he reached the final (l. to Davydenko) in October last year. Becker, at a career-high No. 49 in the ATP Rankings, was placed No. 334 on February 13, 2006 – the same week he reached an ATP Challenger Circuit final in Joplin, MO. The 25-year-old Becker reached his first career semifinal at Tokyo (l. to Federer) in October and has amassed a 6-7-match record in 2007 – highlighted by a semifinal exit at Delray Beach (l. to Blake) two weeks ago.

Two-time former champion Roddick, who also reached the 2002 (l. to Agassi) and 2006 semifinals and holds a 9-1 match record so far this year, kicks off the evening session against Spadea in the pair’s ATP-level meeting. The pair split their 2004 semifinal clashes: Spadea winning in Scottsdale and Roddick at ATP Masters Series Miami. Roddick is playing his second ATP-level tournament of the year having reached his third Australian Open semifinal (l. to Federer) three weeks ago. Spadea, who reached last year’s semifinals (l. to Hewitt) has enjoyed a strong start to 2007 with one semifinal appearance at Delray Beach (l. to Malisse) and a quarterfinal exit at Adelaide (l. to J. Johansson). The 32-year-old Boca Raton resident is 8-4 this year in his 15th season as an ATP pro.

Defending champion Andy Murray, with an 8-0 record in San Jose, meets Lee for the first time. Murray plays his 101st ATP-level match with a 63-37 career record – 9-2 in 2007. The 19-year-old has risen from No. 60 (Feb. 13, 2006) in the ATP Rankings to a career-high No.13. The Scot started the year with a run to the Doha final (l. to Ljubicic), which included a first career win over Nikolay Davydenko in the semifinals. Lee, making his sixth appearance at the tournament, won back-to-back ATP-level matches for the first time since a run to the Tokyo semifinals (l. to Henman) in October 2006 with victories over American qualifier Phillip King in the first round and German Simon Greul in the second round this week. (ATP)