Fri, Aug 26, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Roddick, Isner power into quarter-finals

AFP, WINSTON-SALEM, North CAROLINA

Andy Roddick of the USA returns to Santiago Giraldo of Colombia during the Winston-Salem Open at the Wake Forest University Tennis Complex in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

Americans Andy Roddick and John Isner scored a winning home double into the quarter-finals of the ATP Winston-Salem Open, advancing in straight sets on Wednesday.

Top seed and former No. 1 Roddick — playing outside the top 20 for the first time in a decade — posted a tidy 6-1, 6-3 win over Santiago Giraldo. Isner, the No. 4, advanced 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 against Finn Jarkko Nieminen.

Roddick is pushing hard to return to his former glory, with the 2003 US Open champion forced to withdraw with his long-running abdominal injury from Washington and Montreal this month and losing in the Cincinnati first round last week. The American went through in 66 minutes with five aces and never faced a break point. He is now into his fourth quarter-final of the year, and first since the grass court lead-up event in Queen’s Club in London. Roddick insists he has still got good tennis left.

“I’ve read a lot and heard a lot about a slump, but this is only my third event in five or six months. It’s tough to win when you haven’t been playing,” he said. “My focus is on competing, not compensating for something.”

He will get a further test when he plays Argentine seventh-seed Juan Monaco, who beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori 6-0, 6-3.

Isner, who was born in the North Carolina, sent over 10 aces in his 64-minute home victory over Nieminen to run his total so far from two matches to 27.

“I’m very fortunate to have this serve,” said the No. 28, who will play Marcos Baghdatis after the Cypriot eighth seed beat Belgian Steve Darcis 7-5, 6-0. “It puts a lot of pressure on opponents to try and just stay even with me.”

Isner is showing his powers of recovery after losing early in the Masters events this month in Montreal and Cincinnati. He played the Atlanta final last month and reached the finals of Washington in his tune-up events prior to next week’s start of the US Open.

“This match was pretty similar to yesterday,” said Isner, playing in front of family and friends at an event located 50km from his native Greensboro. “The feel of both matches was the same. It took me while to get used to how he [left-hander Nieminen] was playing. But once I got up in the [first-set] tiebreaker my game kicked in. Getting cheap points on serve is important.”

“I’m feeling very confident right now and I like my chances in tiebreakers,” he said after going 3-0 career over Nieminen.

Third-seed Alkexandr Dolgopolov, who grew up as a toddler on the ATP as his father coached 1999 Roland Garros finalist Andrei Medvedev, needed more than two hours to hold off Bulgarian 14th-seed Grigor Dimitrov, 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (9/7).

Nikolay Davydenko’s summer campaign stalled as the 39th-ranked Russian fifth seed fell to No. 9 Sergiy Stakovsky 6-4, 6-4.

Frenchman Julien Benneteau ended the run of Igor Andreev 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/5) a day after the Russian clay-courter, ranked 79th, put out second-seed Jurgen Melzer. Dutch tenth-seed Robin Haase beat Canadian Pierre-Ludovic Duclos 6-4, 7-5.

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