SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Unbreakable Roddick Rolls To Title
Andy Roddick capped his best American hard court swing since 2006 when he won his second Sony Ericsson Open title to lift the inaugural Butch Buchholz trophy. Roddick defeated Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-4, ending the Czech’s giant-killing run that claimed a trio of Top 10 seeds: Roger Federer, Fernando Verdasco and Robin Soderling.
Roddick took time out during the trophy presentation to pay tribute to Buchholz, the founder and retiring chairman of the event, who gave Roddick a wild card into the event 10 years ago when he was a 17-year-old rookie. “It’s nice that it’s now come full circle,” Roddick said.
Asked what most pleased him about the title run, Roddick said: “I won in different ways. I changed it up against Rafa and today I was smart with chipping and mixing paces, which kept him guessing. I held onto my serve well throughout and played a pretty smart tournament.”
Former World No. 1 Roddick did not face a break point in the match and dropped serve just twice in the tournament, including once during his masterful win over Rafael Nadal in three sets in the semi-finals.
Roddick, who won his first Sony Ericsson Open title in 2004, claimed his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title since Cincinnati in 2006, a year in which he also made a run to the US Open final. Two weeks ago Roddick was the beaten finalist at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. His title run at the Sony Ericsson Open marks the first time since 2003 (Montreal and Cincinnati) that Roddick has reached the final of back-to-back ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments.
“Obviously it's a big title for me,” he said afterwards. “I felt a little bit of pressure to win this one because I had a pretty good opportunity in Indian Wells and didn't come through there.
“But I think just the last month has been real good for me. I've played well on the big moments. Haven't had an off day mentally. I've been able to execute. I've been able to have a game plan and execute it regardless of what kind of shots it takes. So it's all good. It's all encouraging.”
In claiming his fifth ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, Roddick increased his haul of tour-level titles to 29 from 49 finals. The 27-year-old Austin, Tx., resident, leads the ATP World Tour with a 26-4 match record this season.
In the first set against Berdych Roddick twice rallied from 0-30 deficits, although neither player faced a break point until 5-5, when the Czech was the first to crack. Berdych offered up his second break point of the game with a double fault at deuce and then, after almost double faulting again, sprayed a forehand well long to hand Roddick a 6-5 lead. Roddick then served out the set to love, ending with his fifth ace.
Berdych was unable to exert pressure when Roddick missed his first serve, winning just one of 11 second serve points. He also paid the price for 19 unforced errors – most off his forehand wing - to Roddick’s nine.
Berdych began the second set with two tentative net approaches and Roddick earned a break point with a cross-court backhand passing shot and then claimed the early break when Berdych hit another forehand long. That was all the opening needed by Roddick, who won 61 of 63 service games during the tournament.
“He was playing pretty well as you can see on the court,” said Berdych. “He was really good today. He was really strong, serving well. I was really looking for maybe to get one chance or maybe one is enough. But he [held] pretty well. I didn't get any chance during whole match during both two sets. So that's well played for him.”
Berdych was attempting to become the first player in 20 years outside the South African Airways ATP Rankings Top 20 to win the Sony Ericsson Open title.
“I'm happy for this maybe two weeks, ten days, whatever it is, that I played a couple of really good matches,” said the Czech. “I felt great here. Everything was good. So just give me a lot of confidence [for the] next weeks in the season. Just looking forward to it. Go for another tournament.”
Attendance for the 2010 Sony Ericsson Open shattered the previously held mark of 297,011 set back in 2008. This year's tournament saw 312,386 fans pass through the turnstiles. The tournament recorded nine session records, including four straight (sessions 13-16). Overall the tournament recorded 11 session sellouts, breaking the record for most sold out sessions set in 2008. Session 16 marked the first time in tournament history that grounds passes were issued during a non-weekend evening. The men's final sold out on March 8, the earliest sellout for the men's final, in the history of the Sony Ericsson Open.
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