Andy Roddick claimed the 600th singles win of his career to reach the Eastbourne final on Friday when Belgian Steve Darcis retired after receiving treatment to his back.
Roddick was leading their semifinal 6-3, 3-1 when Darcis stopped, leaving the US player to face defending champion Andreas Seppi of Italy in his first final since winning Memphis in February last year.
The third-seeded Seppi defeated US player Ryan Harrison 7-5, 6-1.
Unseeded Tamira Paszek of Austria rallied to beat women’s defending champion Marion Bartoli 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, and in the final will play fifth-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany, who beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-0, 6-3.
Players had great difficulty in gusts up to 80kph.
Sixth-seeded Roddick always held the upper hand against Darcis, and after an exchange of service breaks midway through the opening set he broke to lead 5-3 when Darcis made a forehand error.
The Belgian then dropped his serve at the start of the second set after leading 40-0, and retired after playing three more games.
“I can’t remember much tougher conditions that I’ve played in,” Roddick said. “That wind out there is frightening. It’s tough. It’s not as much as about tennis today as just kind of getting through it.”
Harrison earned the first break to lead 2-1, but Seppi immediately broke back and broke again for the set.
After Seppi broke to lead 2-0 in the second set Harrison became increasingly frustrated and several times bounced his racket or hit the net.
Paszek will be playing in her first final since winning at Quebec City late in 2010.
Fourth-seeded Bartoli led 4-0 in the second set before Paszek dug deep to turn the match around.
After leveling the match at one set each, Paszek dropped her serve in the opening game of the final set.
However, she broke back in the next game, and after Paszek held serve to lead 3-2 Bartoli called for medical attention and had her left thigh heavily strapped.
Games then went with serve until Paszek broke in the final game to reach her first grass-court final.
Bartoli said the conditions contributed to her injury, but she believes it should not hinder her at Wimbledon this week.
In earlier quarter-finals postponed from Thursday, Roddick defeated Fabio Fognini of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, Seppi advanced when Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany retired with a left ankle injury as Seppi led 7-5, 2-1, Harrison beat Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, and Darcis ended the run of Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic 6-2, 7-6 (7/4).
AP, DEN BOSCH, Netherlands
Kim Clijsters withdrew from the UNICEF Open with a stomach muscle strain on Friday, saying that she did not want to jeopardize playing in her last Wimbledon before retirement.
Clijsters’ physiotherapist Sam Versleghers said the 29-year-old Belgian felt the injury a day earlier in her tough two-set quarterfinal against Francesca Schiavone. The announcement came just hours before Clijsters was due to play Urszula Radwanska in the semi-finals.
“This is a decision taken with my head, not my heart,” Clijsters said in a statement. “But preventatively withdrawing from this tournament is the right decision. I am definitely going to play at Wimbledon.”
The four-time Grand Slam winner is unseeded at Wimbledon for the first time since 2000 and has a tough first-round draw against 18th-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia.