Top seed Andy Roddick continued his fine form on return from injury as he moved into the semifinals of the Legg Mason Classic by beating fellow big-server Ivo Karlovic in Washington on Friday night.
The American, who notched his 500th career win in the previous round, triumphed 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) against the 11th-seeded Croatian to set up a last-four clash with compatriot John Isner. The 26-year-old, playing in his first tournament since suffering a hip injury during his heartbreaking defeat by Roger Federer in an epic Wimbledon final, has yet to drop a set this week as he bids for a fourth title in the hardcourt event. He has now beaten the 6ft 10in Karlovic in eight consecutive tie-breakers, and won more than 50 percent of points against his opponent’s second serve despite being out-aced 13-7. “I wish I had an explanation. I feel like every shot in the tie-breaker is amplified. Luck plays a part in it but after eight in a row, maybe it’s not luck,” world No. 5 Roddick told the ATP Tour’s official Web site. “You’re at his mercy on his first serve. I was feeling good about my chances on his second serve tonight. There is no way to mimic his serve in practice. You try to deal with it and just put it in play, and that is what I did tonight.” The unseeded Isner, who lost to Roddick in the 2007 final, recovered after blowing four match-points to upset Czech eighth seed Tomas Berdych 6-3 6-7(10-12) 6-2.
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Isner, who upset French third seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round, led 40-15 while serving at 5-3 in the second set before Berdych fought back to level and eventually take out an epic 22-point tie-break. However, Isner saved two break-points early in the deciding set and broke in Berdych’s second service game to take a 4-1 lead. “I think I had my chances to close out the match in the second set but didn’t mix the serve as well as I should,” Isner said. “He also picked up his game towards the end of the second set.” In the other semifinal, defending champion Juan Martin del Potro will play fourth seed Fernando Gonzalez. The Argentine second seed was handed a walkover after fifth seed Robin Soderling withdrew before the match with an elbow problem. The Swede, who lost to Federer in the French Open final, is now in doubt for the Rogers Masters in Montreal starting on Monday. Chilean Gonzalez progressed into the last four with a 7-5 6-4 victory against German 10th seed Tommy Haas. Gonzalez, who lost to Tim Henman in the 2003 final, has a winning 3-0 career record against del Potro but they have not met since the 2007 Australian Open, after which the the 20-year-old began his rise up the world rankings.