SONY ERICSSON OPEN
Roddick Overcomes Slow Start To Reach QFs; Tsonga Cruises
Andy Roddick recovered from a near-calamitous start to charge into the Sony Ericsson Open quarter-finals Tuesday with a 7-6(4), 6-3 victory over German Benjamin Becker.
Roddick found himself on the verge of being a double break down in the first set when he trailed 1-4, 0/40. But the big-serving American clawed his way back into the set, which he won in a tie-break, and then broke for a 4-2 lead in the second. Roddick hit his eighth ace on match point to seal victory.
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Not surprisingly, Roddick said that his fightback in the sixth game of the first set was the turning point of the match. “Down 4-1 and love-40 on your serve, that's not the way you draw it up as far as starting a match. But in a weird way, if you're gonna be down a break at 4-2, it's almost better coming back from love-40 on your serve where he's thinking about, ‘I probably could have closed this set out’.
“He came out aggressive and ready to play from the first ball. I was maybe looking to work my way into the match a little bit more than he afforded me. He was more ready to play than I was.”
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Roddick, who improved to a 4-0 record against Becker, claimed his 23rd match win of the season by advancing to the Sony Ericsson Open quarter-finals for the seventh time in 11 appearances, which included his title run in 2004.
Roddick next plays Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, who battled for 2 hrs., 37 mins. to defeat Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3). Bellucci forced a deciding set after saving all six break points he faced in the second set and converting on his lone break point chance against Almagro.
Earlier, eighth-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga needed just 59 minutes to overpower Spanish former World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 6-2, as he dropped just four points on his first serve en route to the quarter-finals for the second straight year.
The Frenchman, who fell to Novak Djokovic in the last eight of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tennis tournament last year, broke serve five times and surrendered just four points behind his first serve to record his second victory over the 12th-seeded Ferrero.
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The 24-year-old Tsonga, who won his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title in Paris two years ago, improved to a 14-5 mark on the season, highlighted by semi-final efforts at the Australian Open (l. to Federer) and the Open 13 (l. to Benneteau) in Marseille.
Russian Mikhail Youzhny was leading American Mardy Fish 6-1, 1-0 when Fish retired with a back injury related to a fall in the first set.
“I just fell right down on my sciatic nerve, apparently. Lost feeling in my leg for about a minute, and then got it back at the changeover. Just excruciating pain.
"They tried to loosen it up. I just thought it was like a bruise, and give me some hot cream and let's go. I honestly thought it would just maybe take two games to get it back, because I was probably gonna lose that set anyway… [but it] never loosened up. It tightened up so much I could barely walk.
“I don't think I've ever felt that much pain on a tennis court. I've had to retire a couple times for my ankle and my knee one time, but nothing like that.”
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