Djokovic Out, Isner Escapes, Roddick Advances

Sony Ericsson Open 2010
By Hiland Doolittle, March 28th, 2010
Andy Roddick of America

Andy Roddick of America

A remarkable day of men’s tennis was capped late Friday night when American Andy Roddick steadied the ship in time to oust Russian Igor Andreev 6-4, 6-4. The 27-year old American only faced one break point and fired 12 aces to hold serve throughout the match. Roddick felt the Miami humidity was slowing the ball and adjustments were needed after the relatively fast conditions at Indian Wells.

The day was loaded with unexpected and tense matches, the most stunning of which was the ouster of number two seed Novak Djokovic’s at the hands of Belgian perennial pest Adam Rochus. The Belgian almost closed that match in straight sets just two points from victory, but Djokovic rallied to hold the second set tiebreaker.

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In the final set players held serve until the pivotal 10th game when Rochus fired two shattering winners to finally subdue the world number two. After conquering at Dubai, Djokovic has not had a successful run in the U.S.

Americans James Blake and Same Querrey won their fist sets but that was it as two of America’s top players bit the dust. The match of the day involved tow other Americans, resurgent Michael Russell and young John Isner who battled tooth and nail for more than 2 hours 30 minutes.

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Isner eeked out a grueling, nerve-wracking 7-6(5), 2-6, 7-6 (5). Isner had 27 aces compared to just two by Russell but Russell won 83 percent of his first serves and seemed in control, threatening Isner at every service game. Russell won 22 more pints in the match than did the victor.

In the third set tiebreaker, Isner threw in three of his aces to keep the pressure on Russell. It was an impressive win against a savvy player and may be just the spark Isner needs to prepare for a possible showdown with last week’s three set conqueror Rafa Nadal.

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The fourth seeded Nadal knocked off American Taylor Dent 6-4, 6-3 as 11 seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga knocked out Spaniard Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 6-3. Last week’s impressive winner at Indian Wells, Ivan Ljubicic, the eleven seed, was forced to retire against Benjamin Becker. Ljubicic was leading the German 6-4, 1-0 when a back injury sidelined the hot player.

Nadal will next face hard playing David Nalbandian, who has shown no signs of last season’s hip surgery. Nalbandian was the first player to ever defeat Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer in the same tournament. The former number three will not be an easy out. Nalbandian put away Serb Viktor Troicki in three sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

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