Usually, when Andy Roddick loses his serve early in a match against a player he knows can beat him, he evaporates like money.
He had to overcome a first-set shellacking, managing to win only 53% of his service points; overcome second-set regulation play where he failed to convert 6 break points and had to bite his tongue when the chair umpire made a bad call, only to surge ahead 6-1 in the tiebreak before winning it 7-4; overcome serving second in the decisive set to secure the early break, fail to convert three match points on Lleyton Hewitt's serve at 3-5, and serve out the match at love.
Savannah, who saw the most of the match, said Andy exhibited a "modern tennis" mindset, using his serve as an arrow in his quiver instead the entire quiver.
Over at Talk About Tennis, mmmm8, who also happens to be a Hewitt fan and a Roddick hater, put it like this:
I'll always hold a special place for New Balls Please generation match-ups. Maybe it's just nostalgia, but I feel like you almost never get crappy tennis and all these [double-faults] and [unforced errors] the new kids end up spewing out in some matches.
Hewitt was kicking Andy's ass at that point. But I agree. Didn't matter Hewitt was just back from injury. He had to have played like this was his match to lose. According to my scoreboard watching, he served like a champion and returned Andy's first serve with ease.
I'm impressed my guy turned it around and pulled it off. He used to be Hewitt's pigeon but now Andy has won their last three encounters to bring their head-to-head to 6-4, Hewitt.
Mental victories are so nice. An old rivalry feels new again.
Here's hoping Andy exacts revenge on the snake in tomorrow's final.