Sat, Jun 13, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Roddick barely edges out Hewitt

PLAYING IT SAFE The opponents struggled to gain an edge over each other in a match delayed by ‘technical issues’ that turned out to have been a bomb threat

AP , LONDON

Lleyton Hewitt of Australia falls after making a return to Andy Roddick of the US during their match at the Queen’s Club grass court championships in London on Thursday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Andy Roddick defeated Lleyton Hewitt 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) to advance to the quarter-finals at Queen’s Club on Thursday after the start of the match was delayed by a security alert.

Tournament officials, after initially saying the match was being delayed because of technical issues, disclosed that a spectator had discovered a bomb threat pinned to a wall. However, a security sweep found nothing.

While waiting for about 20 minutes, the two former champions chatted at the net.

“Obviously your concern is making sure everyone is safe,” Roddick said. “There wasn’t really much to be done and I know they were trying to decide what they were going to do. Obviously we were hoping we were going to get a chance to stay out there and play the match, but that [the bomb threat] was a first for me.”

When play did begin, neither player was able to gain an edge over the other, with only one break point in the entire match.

Roddick was briefly threatened on his serve in the first set, taken to deuce twice before holding to lead 4-3. In the second set, the second-seeded American faced a break point as Hewitt led 4-3, but the 15th seed was pressured into hitting a forehand long.

The Australian then was taken to deuce for the only time in the match when he double-faulted before holding his serve to lead 5-4.

After trailing 1-3 in the tiebreaker, Roddick closed out the match with his 18th ace to earn a clash with former finalist Ivo Karlovic.

“It was tough out there today,” Roddick said. “The wind is blowing pretty good, and it’s gusting. So I don’t know if I ever felt comfortable, but I was able to just focus on holds and played all right in the breakers.”

Andy Murray also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

The top-seeded Brit needed just one break in each set to secure a comfortable win over an opponent who rallied well but never offered a serious threat.

Murray began by firing three consecutive aces, and then broke to lead 5-4 when Garcia-Lopez sent a forehand wide. In the second set, Murray broke to love to lead 3-2 by forcing a backhand error, and went on to concede just one point in his remaining three service games.

“He started off well and served well, but after I got a break at the end of the first set I felt more comfort and went for my shots more,” Murray said.

James Blake outlasted Sam Querrey 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a clash between the Americans.

Sixth-seeded Blake appeared to be on his way to an easy straight-sets victory after breaking to lead the first set 5-4 and then building a 3-0 lead in the second.

But Querrey leveled at 3-3 and broke again for 5-4 by forcing a backhand error. After Querrey served out the set, just one break of serve at 2-1 in the third set was enough to earn Blake the decider.

“He actually did a good job of being down and still fighting and battling back,” Blake said. “He really kept his head up and kept working, which is a good sign for a young player. That will hopefully get him a lot of wins throughout his career, but luckily for me it wasn’t good enough to give him a win today.”

Fellow American Mardy Fish joined Blake in the quarter-finals when he defeated Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-1, 6-4.

Juan Carlos Ferrero also reached the last eight with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win over Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, and Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic fired 19 aces as he beat Nicolas Mahut of France 6-3, 6-4.

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