Rusedski falls to Roddick's improved backhand

By Tony Kelshaw
Thursday 10 October 2013 03:35

Tim Henman moved into the quarter-finals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington as his fellow Briton Greg Rusedski lost out to Andy Roddick again.

Henman, the British No 1 and 10th seed, defeated eighth seed Nikolay Davidenko of Russia 6-3, 6-4 and was due to face Paradorn Srichaphan, seeded three, in the last eight last night.

Thailand's Srichaphan beat America's Brian Vahaly 7-6, 6-4 and is in good form having reached the final last week in Indianapolis, where he was beaten by Roddick. However, Henman has a 4-1 record against him. "My record is a good one, but he has come a long way since we played early on," he said. "I'm going to have to play with authority."

Roddick, seeded two, defeated Rusedski for the third time in the past four tournaments. He won meetings at the Queen's Club and Wimbledon, the latter in straight sets.

Rusedski could do little better here, as Roddick won the battle of the big servers 6-3, 7-6, to line-up a quarter-final against his fellow American Mardy Fish.

Rusedski, who had surgery on his left foot last October, and Roddick share the ATP Tour record for the fastest serve at 149 miles per hour, but Roddick was more impressed with his backhand.

"That's definitely my most improved shot from last year," Roddick said. "I hit a backhand lob winner in the first game, and a backhand passing shot to break. And another one in the tie-break. I couldn't hit a backhand into the ocean last year."

Rusedski said: "I think the first two games of the match were quite important. Had I broken him to start the match, it probably would have been a different story. But he's the one who broke me and it set the tone for the first set. The difference in the match was just one or two points here and there - that's tennis."

The world No 1 Andre Agassi also progressed, charging past Armenia's Sargis Sargsian 6-3, 6-2 in 58 minutes, taking his career record to 6-0 against his regular practice partner.

In Los Angeles, the fifth seed Mark Philippoussis knocked out the local favourite Michael Chang 6-2, 6-4 to march into the quarter-finals of the Mercedes-Benz Cup.

Philippoussis, beaten by Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon, was too powerful for the American, who grew up playing on the Southern California junior circuit.

Despite the crowd's support, the Australian's booming 100mph serve proved the undoing of Chang, who will retire after next month's US Open.

In other second-round matches, second seed Sebastien Grosjean, of France, swept aside American Robby Ginepri 6-2, 6-3. Brazil's Gustavo Kuerten, the fourth seed, put out American Eric Taino 6-3, 7-6 while Wayne Ferreira, of South Africa, defeated American Alex Bogomolov Jr 7-6, 6-3.

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