Posted at 4:48 p.m., Friday, August 3, 2007
Tennis: Roddick reaches Legg Mason Classic semifinals
By ASHTON WILLIAMS
Associated Press Writer
In what he called his best ball-striking night of the tournament, Roddick beat Hyung-Taik Lee 7-6 (6), 6-2, making it the second straight week he defeated the South Korean in the quarterfinals of a tournament.
Roddick had 16 aces and improved to 10-1 against Lee, including last week's three-set win in Indianapolis.
"He gets into a groove and sometimes you kind of just have to stay the course, wait for your opportunities," Roddick said. "I felt like I did a good job of that."
Roddick, who won here in 2001 and 2005, broke Lee twice in the second set after nearly losing the first.
In the tiebreaker, Roddick fell behind 5-4, but Lee missed a forehand volley and sent a forehand wide on the next two points. After losing a point on his serve, Roddick came up with an ace and then won the set when Lee hit a backhand into the net.
Next for Roddick is No. 7 Ivo Karlovic, who had 29 aces in a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) win over Paul Capdeville. It's a match Roddick said could take a while, even if the points don't.
"It's not going to be a lot of rallies. It's probably going to come down to a tiebreaker or two, a couple of points here and there," Roddick said." With him it's difficult, sometimes you can play well and lose, and sometimes you can play badly and win."
The biggest surprise in the semifinals is John Isner, a 6-foot-9 American playing in just his second ATP Tour event.
He had 30 aces to upset second-seeded Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5). Haas was playing in his first tournament since pulling out of Wimbledon because of a torn stomach muscle.
It was Isner's fourth straight win in a third-set tiebreaker. The others were against Tim Henman, No. 8 Benjamin Becker and Wayne Odesnik.
"I have nothing to lose. I can go out and swing away," he said. "I never imagined I would be put in a situation like I've been four times in a row. It's been remarkable."
Isner is 5-2 in tiebreakers this week.
In the final tiebreaker, Isner took a 6-4 lead when a forehand from Haas sailed wide. He closed the match when Haas couldn't handle a serve to his backhand.
"I made one poor mistake in the tiebreak and that cost me the match," said Haas, who also joked that "the tour should come up with a system, where if you're over 6-foot-6 you shouldn't be allowed to play."
Haas never had a break chance against Isner.
Isner will play No. 9 Gael Monfils, who beat third-seeded Marat Safin 6-3, 7-5.
It is the second time this year the Frenchman has reached a semifinal, and the first time this year on hard courts.
Monfils broke Safin in the second set to take a 6-5 lead, and finished off the match with one of his 14 aces.