Roddick returns from brink after Moya cracks

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The Independent Online

Andy Roddick had been taken to the edge in his two previous matches against Carlos Moya. The pattern continued yesterday, with Roddick eventually tipping the Spaniard over again to reach the semi-finals of the Nasdaq-100 Open here.



Andy Roddick had been taken to the edge in his two previous matches against Carlos Moya. The pattern continued yesterday, with Roddick eventually tipping the Spaniard over again to reach the semi-finals of the Nasdaq-100 Open here.

The US Open champion prevailed, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, after Moya hit a forehand long to be broken when serving for the match at 5-4 in the final set. Roddick saved a break point in the next game before hitting a winning smash on Moya's serve on match point.

The transformation followed periods of frustration for Roddick, who threw down his racket towards the end of the opening set and belted his chair with it after losing his serve at 2-2 in the final set. In the end, Moya, who played brilliantly at times, had reason to be disappointed with himself.

Serena Williams let out a roar that echoed way beyond Crandon Park to announce that she is back in business even if her older sister, Venus, continues to struggle to build her confidence and stay clear of injuries.

The Californian sisters had not played in a tournament together since Serena's triumph against Venus in the Wimbledon final last July marked her last court appearance before arriving here.

They were seeded to meet in tomorrow's final, but that prospect evaporated when Venus was defeated by Elena Dementieva, of Russia, in the quarter-finals, twisting her right ankle in the process.

Serena, the defending champion, restored family pride by defeating Eleni Daniilidou, of Greece, in the semi-finals, 6-4, 6-4. Daniilidou, the 25th seed, ended Jennifer Capriati's chances of returning to the final in the third round, but she was unable to do more than hinder Williams in windy conditions.

Daniilidou broke Williams three times ­ as the American served for the opening set at 5-3, as she served for a 3-0 lead in the second set, and as Williams served for the match at 5-3. Each time, the Greek was unable to hold serve and capitalise.

In the final, Williams will play the winner of last night's second semi-final between the fifth-seeded Dementieva and her fellow Muscovite, Nadia Petrova, the eighth seed.

Dementieva has been guided by Olga Morozova, one of the coaching casualties when the Lawn Tennis Association's training department was revamped last year. Not that Morozova, an attacking player who in 1974 was defeated by Chris Evert in the final at both Wimbledon and the French Open, was impressed with Dementieva's serving while nudging Williams out of the quarter-finals, 6-3, 5-7, 7-6. "I'm going to have a tough conversation," Dementieva said. "Olga said that I was serving much better when I practised in Moscow."

Dementieva hit two aces and 42 double-faults in four matches, 11 of the errors strung together against Williams, whose serve also fell apart in the final set on Wednesday. The second-seeded American committed four double-faults to be broken when serving for the match at 5-3 in the third set. Williams compounded that by hitting a backhand long on match point four games later.

Williams twisted her right ankle while trying to intercept a forehand in the final game of the second set, the former world No 1's latest set-back after missing much of last season due to an abdominal strain and being hampered by leg and back problems earlier this season.

* Denmark confirmed yesterday that they will not play their Davis Cup first-round tie in Algeria later this month because of security fears. Algeria will now face either Slovenia or Poland in the second round on 16 to 18 July.

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