Moya poses challenge for Roddick

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The Independent Online

Now that Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have departed the Nasdaq-100 Open, Andy Roddick may be primed to make his mark on the season.

Now that Andre Agassi and Roger Federer have departed the Nasdaq-100 Open, Andy Roddick may be primed to make his mark on the season.

"I've kind of been knocking on the door of a big result all year long," the American second seed said after defeating Guillermo Canas, of Argentina, to advance to the quarter-finals.

Roddick also reached this stage of the Masters Series event here in Florida in 2001, stunning Pete Sampras on the way. Last September Roddick confirmed his potential by succeeding Sampras as the US Open champion.

While keen to progress here, Roddick does not need to see Agassi's fourth-round loss to the Argentinian Agustin Calleri or Federer's second-round defeat by the 17-year-old Rafael Nadal, of Spain, to put him on his guard.

The 21-year-old resident of nearby Boca Raton, who enjoys huge local support, is due to meet Carlos Moya, the Spanish former No 1, who is a test for anyone if fit and in form.

"I kind of cheesed through both matches I played against Carlos before," Roddick said. "In one of them he actually served for the match. I had already tapped out mentally. I was freaking out. But I kind of got through it somehow. He kind of just let up and gave me the last couple of games.

"Then, in Houston, it was a dogfight," he added. "I was just scrapping and clawing through it. They've both been close three-set matches."

The 33-year-old Agassi, a winner of the title six times, reacted with characteristic sharpness when asked if defeats like the one to Calleri, by 6-2, 7-6, changed his thinking about his future. "No," he said. "Those questions do, though."

He added: "I played well in Australia, played well in Indian Wells, and was playing well this week but just ran into a guy who played a lot better."

At one point Agassi and Calleri glared at each other across the net after the Argentinian questioned a service call and the American pretended to rub out a mark as if they were competing on clay rather than concrete.

"I thought the serve was in, because I felt the ball had skidded," Calleri said. "Of course, nobody would give you a point like that. You have to earn it."

"That was a crucial point," Agassi said. "He was sort of just standing there, looking beyond what I consider to be a reasonable length of time, so I wanted to make it clear that the ball was out."

Calleri's quarter-final opponent is the unseeded American Vince Spadea, whose three-set win against the ninth seed, Paradorn Srichaphan, of Thailand, was his 10th victory in his last 11 matches. The 29-year-old Spadea, who was a contender for a place in the United States Davis Cup team to play Sweden over the Easter weekend, impressively disguised his disappointment at being overlooked.

Patrick McEnroe, the United States captain, watched Spadea's match against Srichaphan. "I saw Patrick," Spadea said. "He said, 'Good match, well played the way you stepped it up in the second set'."

However, McEnroe decided to rely on the younger legs of Mardy Fish for the tie. "My five-set record is pretty good, actually," Spadea said. I've played pretty well at the French Open in some five-setters. I don't think fitness or speed is lacking because of my age. Maybe it's just whatever my limitations are in general."

Nadal's impressive contribution to the tournament was terminated in the fourth round by the big-hitting Chilean Fernando Gonzales, who won, 7-6, 4-6, 6-2. Gonzales, the 21st seed, next plays the unseeded Romanian Andrei Pavel.

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