Tennis: Roddick edges Nadal in Key Biscayne semis
AP Sports Writer
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Andy Roddick pressured Rafael Nadal by rushing the net and won their semifinal Friday at the Sony Ericsson Open, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Roddick became more aggressive when he fell behind and began coming in more behind his serve. The match turned when he won the last 11 points of the second set, including a 143-mph serve — fastest of the tournament — for a winner on the final point.
That snapped a steak of seven consecutive sets Roddick had lost to Nadal over the past two years.
Spectators included Tiger Woods' wife, Elin, and their son Charlie. South Florida's polyglot population made for a crowd divided in its support, with chants of "An-dy!" and "Ra-fa!" drowning each other out. "Vamos, Andy!" one fan shouted.
Roddick took the lead when he broke in the third game of the last set, and he broke again in the final game. He won 12 points at the net in the final set and finished with 15 aces.
Nadal had four break-point chances but converted only once. Roddick has saved 12 of 14 break points in the tournament, and over the past six matches he has held in 62 of 64 service games.
When Nadal sailed a forehand long on the final point, Roddick hunched over as though in disbelief. He then walked slowly to the net, where Nadal was waiting with a handshake.
Seeded sixth, Roddick advanced to the Key Biscayne final for the first time since winning the title in 2004. He'll try for his first Masters 1000 title since August 2006 in Cincinnati when he plays Sunday against the winner of Friday night's match between Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych.
Roddick improved to 25-4 this year, and he leads the men's tour in victories. The No. 4-seeded Nadal remains without a title since winning at Rome last May.