Roddick rolls US into semi-finals against Spain

April 14th, 2008 - 1:34 pm ICT by admin  

Moscow, April 14 (DPA) Andy Roddick rose to the big occasion with a straight-sets win over Paul-Henri Mathieu to seal a place for the United States in the Davis Cup semi-finals. The American number six, who places Davis Cup high on his annual list of priorities assured an unbeatable 3-1 scoreline with his 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 reverse singles victory, set up and concluded with a 15th and 16th ace Sunday.

The win means the 32 times champion US will travel to Spain in five months to face what will surely be a demanding tie on clay, the worst surface possible for the Americans, who lost the 2004 final in Seville in similar conditions.

But Roddick was momentarily baking in the glow of a job well done for his team.

“I love this team, first and foremost. I’ve been in love with Davis Cup for a long time, since I was a kid,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s a different kind of pressure.

“Around 90 percent of the time we’re playing (ATP tennis) for pretty selfish motives. It’s nice to be part of a team atmosphere. I really, really do enjoy it.”

Roddick’s last-day heroics were made necessary after the Bryan brothers crashed out in doubles to Arnaud Clement and Michael Llodra Saturday, the twin’s second loss in 16 Davis matches.

Two-time winner Spain, with Rafael Nadal active only on Day One last Friday, defeated Germany in Bremen Saturday, with the visitors eventually winning 4-1 as Nicolas Kiefer earned a consolation point.

Argentina and Russia will play a re-run of the 2006 Davis Cup final after David Nalbandian advanced the South Americans with a marathon reverse singles win over Swede Robin Soderling.

Nalbandian worked for four hours, nine minutes in Buenos Aires before securing the winning rubber 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-4, 9-7. The big-hitting Soderling fired 16 aces and broke eight times on the way out.

The South Americans secured a 3-1 scoreline to advance into the final four after losing to Russia in Moscow to end the 2006 season in the worldwide team competition.

In Moscow Nikolay Davydenko booked Russia’s last-four spot for a fourth consecutive year, sending his side to victory as Czech opponent Tomas Berdych quit injured as he rolled an ankle while going for a return.

The 6-3, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 1-2, victory gives last year’s runner-up to the US, its 16th straight home Davis Cup ties at home.

“It’s not the way I would have wanted to win,” said Davydenko. “I just hope he will be okay.

If his ankle’s not too bad then maybe he might be back in a couple of weeks, but if he’s broken something, then obviously it will be a lot longer.”

Lukas Dlouhy earned a consolation point for the visitor, beating Marat Safin 6-3, 6-3 to end the weekend 3-2 for the home side in Moscow.

Russia was last beaten at home in the 1995 final against the Americans.

Berdych, ranked ninth to the fourth of last weekend’s Miami champion Davydenko, rolled his ankle in the fourth game of the final set with the score at deuce and was forced to retire.

“I really felt I had a chance today,” said the disappointed Czech. “But I couldn’t even walk. If I move my leg, it’s not good at all.”

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