Monday, January 26, 2009

Roddick Looks To The Semifinals, Djokovic Looks For a Popsicle

Andy Roddick has done it! He has just beaten the defending champion Novak Djokovic and advanced to the semifinals of the Australian Open. Roddick was up 2 sets to one and a service break when Djokovic broke and retired. This is a huge moment for Roddick, who has dropped off most tennis radars, and he did it under some pretty extreme conditions.
The needle on the thermometer was off the edge, the temperature on court was 142 degrees, and Roddick was scrambling around like there was nothing to worry about. Hard to believe what he was able to do under such appalling conditions, which makes it so amazing. Not an ounce of sympathy for Djokovic either, who retired in the fourth set but was clearly out of gas in the second set.
Roddick came into this tournament as something of an afterthought, but after a winter spent putting in roadwork and losing 15 pounds, he's clearly brought his fitness, confidence, and aggressiveness to a new level. He's also still got one of the greatest serves the men's game has ever seen. Now that he's got his fitness up to a world class level, and Djokovic has let his drop to where he can't finish matches, it's gonna be fun to see how this season goes.
As these two slugged it out in the heat, ESPN's crew of Patrick McEnroe and Dick Enberg in the booth, with Cliff Drysdale at courtside provided a fabulous telecast. There was a great sense of the ebb and flow of the match as Djokovic came out strong, then Roddick upped his game along with the temperature. Lots of fun to watch a match like this with such solid commentary.
No way I can stay up to watch the next quarterfinal, but Roddick will face the winner of the Juan Martin Del Potro-Roger Federer match on Wednesday.

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