Three-time champion Andy Roddick defeated bullet-serving Ivo Karlovic 7-6, 7-6 on Friday to book a spot in the semi-finals of the Washington Classic.
Roddick won the tiebreakers 7-4 and 7-5 to set up an all-American affair with John Isner, who beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 at the US$1.4 million hardcourt event.
Fernando Gonzalez knocked out Tommy Haas of Germany 7-5, 6-4 and will face holder Juan Martin Del Potro, who progressed to the last four when Robin Soderling withdrew with an elbow injury.
Roddick weathered 13 Karlovic aces on the way to his fifth win against the Croatian in a match featuring unusually long rallies for two of the hardest-hitters in the game.
The 26-year-old American said the unseasonably cool weather in Washington on Friday evening may have made the court slower.
“The ball felt a little dead,” said top-seeded Roddick, playing his first tournament since losing to Roger Federer in an epic five-set final at Wimbledon last month. “It seems to be playing quicker in the day than at night. We haven’t gotten the typical Washington heat yet. I think that’s on tap for the weekend.”
Having never previously broken Roddick’s serve, 30-year-old Karlovic went up a service break in each set, but Roddick battled back both times to force a tie-breaker.
“If you would have told me I’d break him twice, I would have thought it would have been a lot more comfortable than the end score,” said Roddick, who managed only seven aces against Karlovic.
Gonzalez needed an hour and 23 minutes to subdue the 10th-seeded Haas, who was bidding to reach his fourth successive semi-final.
“He was hitting the ball pretty hard from the forehand side,” said Haas. “He is a very tough player to face. It is really hard to do anything when he starts hitting forehands.”
Gonzalez, 29, scored the only service break of the opening set in the 11th game before serving it out.
The Chilean then broke the 31-year-old German twice to take a 5-2 second-set lead before securing the win, his third in four hit-outs with Haas.
“I lost focus during a couple of games in the match and dropped serve a few times which probably made the difference,” Haas said.
AFP, LOS ANGELES
Aussie Samantha Stosur continued her impressive play at the Los Angeles Women’s Tennis Championships on Friday, rallying to beat China’s Zheng Jie 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals.
Stosur has enjoyed a good run of success the past few months, improving her world ranking to 18. Stosur moves on to the semis where she will face Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, who beat eighth seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 7-5.
Russia’s Maria Sharapova also advanced to the semis, beating Poland’s Urszula Radwanska 6-4, 7-5.
Sharapova will next face Italy’s Flavia Pennetta, who beat second seeded Vera Zvonareva 6-4, 6-2.
The 13th seeded Stosur is known more for her talent in doubles but was knocked out of the hardcourt doubles draw on Thursday.
Zheng’s loss came less than 24 hours after she stunned top seed Dinara Safina in three sets on Thursday night.
This is the second time Zheng and Stosur have met in singles this season, with Zheng winning their last meeting at Dubai in February.
Stosur saved five of eight break points and was good on 77 percent of her first serves in the two-hour match against Zheng at the Home Depot Center tennis facility in south central Los Angeles.
Sharapova clinched her win on a challenge after her forehand to the corner was initially called long. She challenged and won to move on to play Pennetta.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on