Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Roddick's best not good enough to beat Federer

US OPEN Andy Roddick had his customary loss to Roger Federer a little earlier than usual, while Venus Williams set up a match with Justine Henin to avenge her sister


For two sets against Roger Federer at the US Open, Andy Roddick was very good, quite possibly as good as he can be.

For two sets, Roddick banged big serves at up to 235kph, collecting aces and service winners and never double-faulting, never facing a break point.

For two sets, he conjured up groundstroke winners, strong volleys, impressive returns.

And what did all of that superb play on Wednesday night earn Roddick? A two-set deficit and, eventually, a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss in the US Open quarter-finals, a round or two earlier than Roddick is accustomed to succumbing to Federer.

And accustomed Roddick most certainly is, dropping to 1-14 against the man who replaced him at No. 1 in the rankings three-and-a-half years ago and has been there since.

"I mean, I'm not walking off with any questions in my head this time. I'm not walking with my head down," Roddick said. "I played the right way."

Federer, though, reached his record 14th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final thanks in part by being barely better in each tiebreaker.

So, too, was Venus Williams earlier on Wednesday, when she came back from a set and a break down to push her quarter-final against No. 3 Jelena Jankovic into a third-set tiebreaker.

Williams was solid over those decisive points, Jankovic was slightly shakier, and the US player pulled out a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory to get back to the US Open semi-finals for the first time since 2002.

Next up is a match against No. 1 Justine Henin. Know this: Venus Williams watched Henin beat younger sister Serena Williams on Tuesday and wants to right the wrong.

"I wasn't happy with that result at all. I was sad that she lost. I didn't like to see her so upset," Venus said. "I definitely have to try to win for Williams."

In the other women's semi-final today, 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova will face fellow Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

The last two men's quarter-finals were scheduled for last night, with No. 3 Novak Djokovic playing No. 17 Carlos Moya, and No. 15 David Ferrer -- who upset Rafael Nadal in the fourth round -- taking on No. 20 Juan Ignacio Chela.

Federer, meanwhile, will face No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko in tomorrow's semi-finals. Federer is 9-0 against the Russian -- and knows that full well.

"I've got a pretty good record against him. Never lost," Federer said. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves."

Well, looking ahead a bit, a victory over Davydenko would put Federer in his 10th straight Slam final, adding to another record. And if Federer can hoist the trophy on Sunday, he would become the first man since the 1920s to win the US Grand Slam four years in a row.

He also would up his major title total to 12, trailing only Pete Sampras, who collected 14.

Roddick is still stuck on one Slam, the 2003 US Open, and has lost all six times he's faced Federer at majors. That includes last year's US Open final.

So does Roddick think he can beat Federer?

"Yeah," he said. "If I didn't, I wouldn't be out here."

Early in Wednesday's match, Roddick stayed right with Federer, even strutting a bit while buoyed by a sellout crowd of 23,733 and yells of encouragement from his coach, five-time Open champ Jimmy Connors, who wore a jacket and tie for the occasion.

After holding to 4-4 in the first set with a 222kph ace, Roddick stared down his familiar foe and bellowed. Watching from up high in the USA Network booth, Andre Agassi saw that show of emotion and sounded a word of caution.

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