Andy Roddick and James Blake advanced to the quarterfinals at the Foro Italico today in Roma.
How can it be that these two Americans are both in the last eight of the same clay court Masters series event? In my recollection, this hasn't happened since 2002 when Roddick and Blake joinedAndre Agassi in the quartefinals. Roddick and Agassi both advanced to the semifinals, while Blake lost to Jiri Novak in three tight sets. Agassi went on to defeat Tommy Haas in the finals that year.
Roddick dispatched homeboy Simone Bolelli 7-6(5), 6-3. It was a tough match. Bolelli is a claycourt specialist, so he knows all about the geometry of the court. But Roddick fought from a break down in the first set to capture the tiebreak in a set that seemed to last forever. I was most impressed that Andy was able to win 50% of his second serve points against a man who hit deeper, wider and with more spin.
Blake had the tougher row to hoe against Spaniard Fernando Verdsasco. I saw none of that match, but a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 victory is impressive stuff for a man who tends to mentally check out of claycourt matches when the going gets rough.
Meanwhile in Berlin, Serena Williams blitzed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals where she'll face Dinara Safina who upset Justine Henin.
Good day for American tennis.