Haas beats Roddick to reach semifinal

Fifth-seeded Tommy Haas dominated Andy Roddick on clay again, beating the number one seed a fourth straight time in a quarterfinal at the United States Men’s Clay Court Championship on Friday.

Haas rallied from one set down to win 6-7 (1), 6-4, 6-4 in a matchup that Roddick said could have been the final. It was two years ago.

Roddick had two chances to break Haas in the final game, but he was unable to return Haas’ serve and got aced on the second opportunity. Haas closed out the match two points later.

“In some ways you wish it was a final,” Haas said.
“When you play in front a full crowd that’s what you work for. That’s why it’s fun.”

Haas will play American Mardy Fish in one semifinal on Saturday. Seventh-seeded Paul Goldstein of the United States plays Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in the other semifinal.

Haas, from Germany, beat Roddick twice on clay in 2002 in Monte Carlo and Rome, and again in 2004 in the final here.

Roddick failed to reach the finals for the first time in six years. The big points of the match were won, not lost, he said.

“This is the first time I’ve left Houston on Friday,” he said, adding that he’d be on his boat on Lake Austin on Saturday. “I’m mad but I’m not upset, if that makes sense. There are minimal questions I asked myself after that match.”

Roddick led 4-3 in the second set and had two chances on Haas’ serve in the eighth game—the longest of the match—to set up himself to serve for the match. But Haas stiffened to win the game and then won eight straight points to close out the set, 6-4.

In the final set Haas needed just one break chance to go up 4-3 and he did it in flashy fashion. Haas barely returned the serve to his backhand and Roddick volleyed the ball wide to the other side.

The German sprinted the width of the court and hit a down-the-line winner on the run.

“I managed to get there and sneak a few by him which didn’t give him confidence to continue serving and volleying,” Haas said. “It’s always nice to beat Andy, especially here where he’s won so many times.”

Roddick watched helplessly as Haas’ accurate groundies went past.

“I don’t know how many passing shots he hit from eight feet behind the baseline,” he said. “All I can do is put myself in the best position and if he comes up with the goods, he wins.”

Fish beat fellow American Vince Spadea, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in a match that saw its share of service breaks. Fish got the first one in the deciding set when he hit a backhand winner down the line on his fourth chance to break Spadea for 3-2.

Spadea, who won only five more points in the match, reached the quarterfinals when fourth-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus retired on Thursday because of lower back pain.

Fish, who did not have a match on Thursday, said it looked to him that Spadea got tired as the match wore on.

“He got a break but he still had to work hard in the first set [on Thursday], and I was fresh.”

Fish, who jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the tiebreaker before going for a big forehand return of serve that went long, said he felt he had the momentum going into the breaker.

“I had chances before and just had some stupid points at key times,” he said. “I still felt I had a chance to win. I just had to play more aggressive on the big points.”

Fish’s first ATP semifinals effort since June 2004 continued the former top-20 player’s comeback from two wrist surgeries last year. He won a minor challenger event last week in Florida, and was using a wild card entry this week.

Goldstein struggled occasionally with his serve but he was steady enough to beat Albert Montanes of Spain 6-3, 6-4.

Goldstein was broken in the third game of the first set but he broke back in the fourth game and survived a challenge by Montanes to hold serve in a lengthy fifth game.

Goldstein wrapped up the match at the first match point when he ran down a drop shot by Montanes and returned it as the Spaniard made a slap at the ball.

Melzer gained the spot with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Fernando Vicente of Spain.

The two traded breaks twice in the closing set to put Melzer up 5-4. He got to match point on a drop shot winner and closed out the match two points later on an overhead smash. - Sapa-AP

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