Roddick into Memphis semis

Andy Roddick was forced to three sets by young American compatriot Sam Querrey before winning through to the semifinals of the ATP's RMK Championships.

updated: February 21, 2009 19:09 IST
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Top-seeded Andy Roddick was forced to three sets by young American compatriot Sam Querrey on Friday before winning through to the semifinals of the ATP's RMK Championships.

Roddick downed eighth-seeded Querrey 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, setting up a semifinal between two former No. 1-ranked players, as he will face Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, who breezed past Belgian veteran Christophe Rochus 6-2, 6-3.

The other semifinal will see fifth-seeded Czech Radek Stepanek take on Israel's Dudi Sela. Stepanek caused an upset by ousting second-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 7-6 (7), 6-4, while Sela fought back to beat Russian Igor Kunitsyn 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

In the WTA's Cellular South Cup being played at the same venue, the two top seeds _ Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka _ won through their semis to set up a well-matched final.

Roddick, who announced after his win that he would not be travelling to next week's Dubai Tennis Championships after it prevented Israel's Shahar Peer playing on the basis of her nationality, reached his fourth straight semifinal.

Roddick had to overcome an overrule in the second set. He had the advantage in the fifth game when umpire Fergus Murphy ruled a ball out, resulting in deuce. Roddick yelled that the umpire couldn't call a ball on the far side, then Querrey won the next two points to break Roddick's serve and go up 3-1. Roddick threw his racket in the direction of the umpire.

The umpire gave Roddick a warning, prompting Roddick to yell out that Murphy had to have "Go-Go Gadget eyes" to see far enough to overrule.

It was rare match in which he was outserved _ Querrey had 15 aces to 11 _ but Roddick still won 78 percent of his first serve points. He broke Querrey in the ninth game of the first set which he took in 30 minutes. He broke Querrey in the second game of the third set and improved to 16-3 this year.

Roddick has won only three of his nine matches against Hewitt. But the American is ranked sixth in the world and this will be Hewitt's first ATP semifinal since Cincinnati in 2007 as he works back from hip surgery last August. He hasn't beaten a top-10 player since May 2007 in Hamburg _ an 0-10 stretch.

"For me, it's about getting the matches," Hewitt said. "I can't emphasize it enough. I've got to get out there and play week in and week out, and the results will take care of themselves."

Del Potro, ranked seventh on tour, missed the chance to close out the first set tiebreak against Stepanek three times: hitting a forehand into the net at 7-6, another forehand into the net and then hit a backhand off the net cord and long to lose the set. Upset, he smashed his racket against the court at the end of the 1 hour, 25-minute set.

"It was a very tough match," Stepanek said. "It was very important point to the match when I won the tiebreak and broke him mentally as well."

Stepanek came into this event enjoying the best start to a year of his career, having won the Australian Open warmup event at Brisbane. He is 15-2 this year, and reached the semifinals in Memphis for a second straight year despite struggling with six double faults.

Sela became the first qualifier to reach the semifinals in Memphis since 1977, making his second tour semifinal. He lost to Roddick at Beijing last September.

Kunitsyn broke Sela three times in the opening set, but Sela broke back in the first game of the second set. He held serve three games later despite trailing 0-40, and Kunitsyn didn't get another breakback chance. The Israeli broke the Russian twice in the third set.

The women's semifinals were decided in contrasting fashion.

Azarenka of Belarus needed two hours, 12 minutes to beat Sabine Lisicki of Germany 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1), while Wozniacki of Denmark crushed Briton Anne Keothavong 6-1, 6-0.