Roddick to meet Ljubicic at Indian Wells final

March 21st, 2010 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Andy Roddick Indian Wells (California), March 21 (DPA) Outsider Ivan Ljubicic and crowd favourite Andy Roddick will reprise their 2007 match-up at the Indian Wells Masters as the pair meet for the title after hard-fought semi-final wins.
Each will be competing in a first final at the desert resort. Roddick leads Ljubicic 7-3, with their last meeting an Indian Wells quarter-final in 2007, which the American won in two tiebreak sets.

Croatian Ljubicic stunned Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(1) to snap a five-year losing streak against the defending champion here Saturday.

Roddick put aside two previous losses to Swede Robin Soderling, producing a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 defeat of the sixth seed in one-and-three-quarter hours a day after the Swede trounced 2009 finalist Andy Murray.

Roddick will be competing in his third final of 2010 after winning Brisbane in January. The 26-year-old stands 4-3 in Masters 1000-level finals.

“It would be great, this is probably the only, you know, real big tournament in North America that I haven’t won. So I definitely would love to win it,” said Roddick.

“I feel like the crowd was on my side today, and, you know, I would hope they’re there tomorrow again. You know, they certainly have an effect on a match.”

Roddick and Soderling struck 25 aces between them with the last set a thriller.

French Open finalist Soderling, who also recovered from a break of serve in the second set to win it, did the same in the third after Roddick took a 2-0 lead.

But the former number one Roddick regained control 4-2 and took victory three games later as a Soderling electronic linecall challenge on match point went in Roddick’s favour to end the afternoon.

Ljubicic, who turned 31 Friday, will be play his first Masters 1000 shield after three losses.

“It was great, great match, probably the best I’ve ever played in my career. I enjoyed it, really,” said the winner.

“I didn’t feel like he was in control of the points. I felt if I could find the rhythm of the return then I can have the match, and that’s exactly what happened.”

Nadal stood 5-1 coming in against Ljubicic, with both players having dropped just one set entering the semi-final.

The 26th-ranked Ljubicic added world number three Nadal to a victim’s list this week, which also included second-ranked Novak Djokovic.

“I had the same record against Novak, 1-5,” Ljubicic said of his previous victory. “This is just fantastic. I served great and Rafa played so well off the baseline.

“I tried to really smack the ball when I had it on my racket. And I played what has to be the best tiebreaker of my career.”

Ljubicic’s huge serve paid dividends as the Croatian rained down 17 aces and broke Nadal twice.

“This is a place where I feel comfortable,” said Ljubicic, set for a move back into the ranking Top 20. “Of course, beating Djokovic and Nadal - it’s a fantastic result.

“But I do have one more to go. I would love to have that win tomorrow, because it would mean the world to me.”

Ljubicic becomes the first from his nation to reach the final at the desert venue, surpassing the 1996 semi-final of Goran Ivanisevic. Ljubicic could become the first over-30 champion at the tournament since 30-year-old Andre Agassi in 2001.

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