Brit Murray stomps Roddick
Calm replaces sick
SAP Open Andy Murray almost threw up last year at the SAP Open on his way to defeating Andy Roddick. This year he thumped Roddick with a stomach full of calm.
Murray needed 90 minutes Saturday night to oust the top seed 7-6 (8), 6-4 during a SAP Open semifinal. The Brit relied on a consistent return of serve and efficient passing shots to offset Roddick's blasting style. The youngster will need much of the same tomorrow when he goes up against hard-serving Croatian giant Ivo Karlovic in the final.
Roddick fell to Murray in the semifinals of the 2006 SAP Open. That win marked a turning point in Murray's career, leading to his first ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour title.
After last year's win Murray remarked, "I was almost a little sick because of nerves but in the end I came though."
This time around Murray displayed constant poise even during some rocky moments.
With a break on his side, Murray had a chance to serve out the first set at 5-3. The Scotsman, however, committed three unforced errors and dumped a backhand volley into the net, allowing Roddick to break back.
The pressure increased as the first set went to a tiebreaker with Roddick leading 6-4. Showing his resolve, Murray equalized the breaker at 6-6 and then went on to take the set 10 points to 8.
Murray then secured a break against Roddick early on during the second set to go up 4-2. Roddick had one break opportunity at 4-3 only to see Murray nail a volley winner taking the game to deuce. Murray followed up the volley with two aces, and Roddick never challenged again.
Earlier in the week, Murray fretted that the super fast SAP Open court could hurt his chances at a repeat. The court – 50 per cent faster than in 2006 – seemed to favor aggressive players such as Roddick and James Blake.
But Murray's mix of counter punching ground strokes, deep balls and an effective serve proved more than enough to overwhelm Roddick on the slick hard-court.
The match statistics show Roddick's ineffectiveness against Murray's cool. The American won only 24 per cent of his points when Murray tackled a second serve. Murray also saved 83 per cent (5 out of 6) of the break points he faced.
Following the match, Murray noted that, despite playing an American, the San Jose crowd seemed happy enough to cheer him on.
"I have great support here," he said. "I like the atmosphere." ®
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