Roddick, Berdych in Sony finals
Advertiser News Services
Andy Roddick resisted the impulse to retreat. Or surrender. Instead, finding himself overpowered by Rafael Nadal, Roddick began to charge the net.
"It's kind of like driving into head-on traffic," Roddick said.
Though counterintuitive, the tactic worked, and Roddick rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory yesterday in the Sony Ericsson Open semifinals at Key Biscayne, Fla.
Once Roddick fell behind, he became more aggressive, even following his second serve to the net on occasion. Momentum turned when he won the last 11 points of the second set, including a 143-mph serve — the fastest by any player in the tournament — for a winner to even the match.
Roddick kept coming, winning 12 points at the net in the final set. He also put more oomph into his forehand, especially on returns.
"I took a lot of risks there in the last two sets," he said. "I rolled the dice a lot and came up Yahtzee a couple times."
To the delight of traditionalists, Roddick played serve and volley 10 times. Rumors are he'll use a wood racket in tomorrow's final against 16th-seeded Tomas Berdych, who beat Robin Soderling, 6-2, 6-2.
Berdych is riding the momentum of his upset against top-ranked Roger Federer in the fourth round. The Czech will play in his first U.S. final.
"You feel well on the court and build your confidence — that's what's happening," Berdych said. "It's small things put together, and that makes a pretty good game for me."
Despite 15 aces and 39 unreturned serves against Nadal, the sixth-seeded Roddick said his big serving wasn't the difference.
"Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it," he said. "But I don't think that's the thing that won it for me today."
FINALLY, THE REMATCH
Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. each blame the other for the delay, of course.
Nearly 17 years after two up-and-coming middleweights fought at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on the undercard of a heavyweight title defense by Riddick Bowe, Hopkins and Jones finally will meet again at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas tonight.
"He didn't want to fight me because after 1993, I got better, but he didn't," said the 45-year-old Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs), who lost a unanimous decision to Jones on May 22, 1993.
"I love the fact that he hates me so bad," the 41-year-old Jones (54-6, 40 KOs) said. "He hates me so bad, but he still never chose to get back in the ring with me."
OWNER BUSCH WINS
Kyle Busch raced to his first NASCAR victory as a team owner, dominating the Nashville 200 last night at Nashville Superspeedway in Gladeville, Tenn., for his 17th career Camping World Trucks Series win.
"It's a big deal," Busch said. "It's always nice to win anytime you're in anybody's stuff, but especially your own. It seems to set a lot better within yourself."
The Sprint Cup star led 131 of 150 laps on the 1.333-mile concrete oval. Kevin Harvick was second, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr., Timothy Peters and Todd Bodine.