Friday, May 09, 2008

Andy Roddick, Last American Standing

That's usually the headline in January, if Serena Williams isn't playing the Australian Open, in early July, if Venus Willilams isn't playing Wimbledon, or in September during the US Open. But the silly season continues.

Andy Roddick advanced to his second career semifinal at the Foro Italico with a hard-fought 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(5) victory over a determined Tommy Robredo, who's trying to get his career back on track.

Andy took a page from Radek Stepanek's book by serving big and smothering the net at every opportunity. He exhibited his trademark red clay fluster late in the second set when he dropped serve to drop the set and also in the third set when he surrendered his early break lead with a double fault. The crowd urged him on as he fought his way into a tiebreak.

I forgot how popular Andy is in Rome.

Robredo, showing know signs of his long match last night against Nikolay Davydenko, ran coast to coast to loop and lob back all that Andy threw at him and almost walked away with an upset.

I say upset because before today Robredo had never won a set against Andy which included a loss right here in Rome six years ago. The same year Andy advanced this far.

Tomorrow, the American will face Stanislas Wawrinka, a clay court specialist who needed three sets to defeat James Blake who was a mere two or three points away from his own milestone at a claycourt Masters event.

Will the silly season continue?

Stay tuned.


tangerine said...

2008 is on crack.

oddman said...

Whooo-Hooo! Go Andy! He owns Robredo, clay or not. Knew he'd win that one.
Can he beat Wawrinka tomorrow? I say yes. I think he's got something to prove in Rome. And maybe Brooklyn loves the Italian shopping et al that goes along with her trip, and is encouraging him to stay... in various ways, lol.

Helen W said...

I thought Andy played a great match. If his backhand gets any better, he'll have to start running around his forehand :) He served & volleyed very effectively and he stayed with it when it didn't work. He has good hands, and he moves way better than he is given credit for. He took just a bit off the serve for reliability ahd great placement, but he still brought it once in awhile to keep Tommy honest.

Go Andy!

Craig Hickman said...

helen w, Roddick seemed to want to hit his backhand. He didn't run around it nearly as much as I thought he needed to, but hey won, so what do I know.

Roddick's a claycourt player by nature (he grew up a grinder and his first two titles were back-to-back on clay!) but not by mentality. A big old paradox.

That's why his frustration on clay is so palpable.

He fought through all that today, though, and stayed the course instead of folding the tent.

That's required on any surface but especially on clay.

rabbit said...

Congrats Andy!

I am too heartbroken to say anything about Roger. I just hope he gets back his confidence soon. It's the worst thing to lose.

Helen W said...

Well rabbit, as a Nadal fan, I feel your pain :). But Rafa was clearly injured, whereas the problem with Roger is harder to put one's finger on. If it is indeed his confidence, then I agree with you -- that is a hard one to fix.

It hurts to realize that Djokovic is gaining real ground on both of them through it all.

Go Andy!

oddman said...

Yep, helen w, that does hurt.

rabbit said...

Thanks, helen_w and oddman. And I agree, go Andy!! :)

Karen said...

Hey Craig, think your guy about to retire. You can see that he is clearly injured. I hope he retires because if he continues to play it is not going to be good for him at all.

oddman said...

WTH? Too bad. Andy's hurt his back and retired? And Stepanek is out too? This is indeed the silly season. A very strange tournament.

Despite Andy's not having played for a couple of weeks, all these injuries may be some fodder for Rafa's complaints at the scheduling, no?

Well, I don't think Stan the Man is up to the challenge of taking down Mr. Clown from Serbia. It's a pity, lol.

Craig Hickman said...

Looks like Andy did what I do on a monthly basis. One false move and the muscles in your neck and upper back near the spine spasm up to protect the spinal column.

Two days or so, and he'll be fine.

Helen W said...

Now Djokovic is also slamming the schedule. I may not be crazy about the guy, but I am glad that he is speaking up.