Roddick's resilience too much for Srichaphan

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The Independent Online

Andy Roddick, the bookmakers' favourite, advanced to his first quarter-final here with a convincing 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Paradorn Srichaphan, of Thailand. As stop-start-matches go, this was among the smoothest. Rain interrupted play after only two minutes. The players resumed one hour nine minutes later but were uninterrupted thereafter.

Roddick, who has now won his last nine matches on grass, having taken the title at Queen's Club three weeks ago, looked confident early in the match and dropped only three points on his serve in winning the opening set after 24 minutes.

The 20-year-old American's net play was suspect, his touch rather uncertain when drawn so far into the court. But his serving was crisp and powerful as usual, and he pounded his groundstrokes.

Srichaphan had enough supporters to make themselves heard, shrilly at times, and he did his best to entertain them. Indeed, his followers had reason to cheer loudly in the second set after the Thai broke Roddick for 4-2, the American netting a forehand from behind the baseline. Srichaphan served the set out with a service winner after aceing Roddick in the ninth game.

Roddick saved a break point with an ace at the start of the third set, and did well to escape unscathed in the third game, in which Srichaphan created four break points.

The Thai did not fare so well when Roddick applied pressure on his serve in the sixth game. Srichaphan managed to salvage three break points but netted a forehand drive on the fourth to go 4-2 down. The remainder of this set was memorable chiefly for a service return by Srichaphan on the first set point with Roddick at 5-3, 40-0. Srichaphan took a shortish backswing and cracked an unstoppable forehand past the American, who could not have been more astonished if he had been on the wrong end of one of his own mighty serves. Roddick netted a backhand on the second set point but converted his third opportunity with an ace down the middle.

Roddick now began to play with the authority he displayed in the opening set. Srichaphan netted a forehand drive to lose his serve in the third game, and at that point he was less of a threat. The Thai started hitting out in hope rather than expectation and his errors began to mount. He was broken a second time for 4-1, Roddick lofting a lob as his opponent moved forward at 15-40. Srichaphan gave chase and tried a shot between his legs, putting the ball into the net. Roddick held to love in the next game, and Srichaphan held to 30 in the seventh game. His last meaningful contribution was a forehand drop volley which rolled along the net cord before dropping on Roddick's side. The American served out to love to win the match after one hour and 54 minutes.

The German Alexander Popp reached the men's singles quarter-finals for the second time in two Wimbledon appearances with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 defeat of the Belgian Olivier Rochus.

Despite 6ft 7in Popp's 14-inch height advantage over his opponent, he was forced to battle it out and lost the first set. But after that Rochus, by far the smallest player on the men's tour at 5ft 5in, had no answer to his giant rival's booming first serve and gradually lost heart.

The 26-year-old Popp, who is ranked 198th in the world, will face Mark Philippoussis for a place in the semi-final.

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