Sun, Jul 25, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Roddick and Kiefer advance in RCA

PRO TENNIS The pair are in the semifinals of the RCA Championships. Sixth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia and 4th-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand folded

AP , INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, CARSON, CALIFORNIA, KITZBUEHEL, AUSTRIA, UMAG, CROATIA, PALERMO, SICILY

Nicolas Kiefer of Germany celebrates his win over Paradom Srichaphan of Thailand in the quarterfinals of the RCA Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana, Friday. Kiefer won 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5). Kiefer will now face Gregory Carraz of France in the semifinals.

PHOTO: AP

Defending champion Andy Roddick did his job Friday night by defeating sixth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty in their quarterfinal match. But 12th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer ousted 2003 runner-up Paradorn Srichaphan in the other quarter.

Roddick defeated Hrbaty of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3, and Germany's Kiefer saved five break points in a tiebreaker before defeating fourth-seeded Srichaphan of Thailand 7-6 (7), 7-6 (5) in a match that lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes and included 131 points.

The first set lasted nearly 90 minutes, including a pair of 20-point games and another that took 22 points before it was completed. Srichaphan opened a 6-2 lead in the first tiebreaker before he double faulted to give Kiefer life and the German eventually tied the breaker at six with another double fault by his opponent.

"He's such a good returner that every time I serve I have to put it deep to make a difference," said Srichaphan, who converted only three of 18 break points.

Earlier, Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia overcame an on-court bee sting and upset third-seeded Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean. He'll meet Roddick in one semifinal Saturday. while Gregory Carraz of France will play Kiefer for the second spot in Sunday's title match.

Ljubicic took a medical timeout in the 12th game of the opening set after a bee stung him in the buttocks. He then returned to beat Grosjean 5-7, 7-5, 6-2.

As usual, Roddick's booming serve was crucial to the outcome. He had 14 aces and won 96 percent of his 26 successful first serves.

Ljubicic's victory over Grosjean prevented French players from claiming two spots in the semifinals. Carraz, who didn't drop a set in the tournament until the quarterfinals, recovered to beat Noam Okun of Israel, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Carraz, who left the tour for nearly two months this year with an inflammation in his right knee, advanced to the semifinals at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.

Okun began the tournament winless this year in ATP events. He was seeking to become the first qualifier to reach the tournament's semifinals since it became a hardcourt event in 1988.

Okun was the first qualifier to advance to the quarterfinals since Tommy Ho in 1997.

Carraz had advanced past the first round of a tournament only once in seven attempts since March. He raised his record to 12-13.

Carraz, in a semifinal for the second time this year, is looking for his first ATP title. He had few problems with Okun's serve.

Okun, currently No. 164 in the ATP rankings, was broken five times and won only 59 percent of his first and second serve points.

"I didn't lose my composure," said Carraz, who was broken three times. "I'd played him before [here last year] so I knew I could win the match with my serve."

JPMorgan Chase Open

Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport advanced to the semifinals with easy victories, setting up a rematch of last week's final at Stanford.

Williams defeated 11th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy 7-5, 6-1, and No. 3 Davenport beat seventh-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia 6-1, 6-1 in the quarterfinals.

Top-seeded Serena Williams was to play No. 8 Vera Zvonareva of Russia in a night match at the Home Depot Center. The winner will play fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva, who beat fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

Williams is playing the Chase Open for the first time since 1997, even though it's located near her childhood home of Compton. She improved to 4-0 against Schiavone, who reached the semifinals last year before losing to eventual champion Kim Clijsters.

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