MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Andy Roddick struggled through two sets
against Lleyton Hewitt before pulling out a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4
victory in the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan
Championships on Saturday.
Hewitt won two more points than Roddick, trying to cap a week in
which he started by upsetting No. 3 seed James Blake with a spot in
"I was lucky to get through," Roddick said. "He had me up
against it for the better part of the match. I kind of just snuck
out of the tiebreaker there, and I played my best tennis in the
Roddick advanced to his second final this year and his fourth
overall in Memphis where his lone win came in 2002. He will play
Czech Radek Stepanek, who breezed past qualifier Dudi Sela of
Israel 6-3, 6-1 to reach his second straight ATP World Tour final.
"I'd love to win this tournament again. It's been a long
time," Roddick said.
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus won the Cellular South Cup
championship Saturday night for her second career title, beating
friend Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-1, 6-3 in a match that
lasted 70 minutes only because the Dane talked with her coach twice
and needed a trainer to bandage the inside of her right ankle.
Azarenka, who will be ranked 11th in the world Monday, also won
in Brisbane earlier this year. She improved to 13-1 this year and
2-4 in finals.
"It feels really good because what can feel better than winning
another title, especially the second one ... in the three
tournaments I've played. I feel confident, and I want to keep going
the same way. I think I deserve it because I worked really hard,"
Wozniacki had been 3-1 in finals, winning all three of her
titles last year. But she struggled repeatedly with unforced errors
after long rallies and was broken in the first game to start the
match. Azarenka won 10 straight points before Wozniacki scored off
Azarenka followed up by taking 12 of 14 points and a 4-1 lead in
the second before Wozniacki called for the trainer. When Wozniacki
hit a forehand long on a second championship point, Azarenka
dropped her racket and covered her face with both hands before
meeting her friend at the net.
"She was just playing great," Wozniacki said. "I didn't feel
like I was playing badly. We had a lot of long rallies, and I felt
like whatever I did was just coming even faster back."
The duo then teamed up to play Yuliana Fedak and Michaela
Krajicek in the doubles' final.
In the semifinal between former world No. 1s, Hewitt, working
his way back from major hip surgery last August, was playing in his
first ATP World Tour semifinal since August 2007.
The Aussie broke Roddick in the first game and again in Game 5
while cruising through the first set in 31 minutes.
The second set took an hour as Hewitt fought off six break
points and Roddick two in forcing the tiebreaker. Roddick took
control by winning four of the first five points, shaking off an
overruling that pulled Hewitt within 4-2 after the American passed
on a shot right in front of him because he saw it as out.
Roddick won three of the next four to win the tiebreak and the
"I played pretty well, served well for the majority of the
first set. I returned especially well in the first set and gave
myself some opportunities in the second set and couldn't quite take
the couple of break points I did have the opportunities. He came up
with a couple of big shots at the right time," Hewitt said.
The men currently tied with 26 ATP titles apiece, third behind
Roger Federer (57) and Rafael Nadal (32) among active players,
cruised through the first six games of the third set before Roddick
got a chance at break point following a nice back and forth at the
net. He said he guessed right and broke at the last second to hit a
Hewitt then hit a forehand into the net as Roddick went up 4-3
and served out for match.
Roddick said he settled down in the third set.
"I started hitting my forehand a lot better. That let me down a
lot early especially in the first service game of the first set. I
definitely donated a couple forehands there. I just kind of stuck
around until I started hitting the ball better," he said.
Stepanek, trying to become the ATP Tour's first three-time
winner this year, needed just 57 minutes to get into the finals for
the second straight week. He is off to a career-best 16-2 start
that includes wins at Brisbane and San Jose.
The Czech didn't win his 16th match until May last year.
"I'm feeling great on the court," Stepanek said. "With every
match, the confidence grows and grows. I'm very happy for that. I'm
healthy, I'm not having problems with my body, which is very
important for me, and I can build on that."
Sela was trying to become the first qualifier to reach the final
in Memphis. He won two qualifying matches to play his way into the
tournament this week. But Stepanek handled Sela with his accurate
serve, losing only eight points. He closed out the second set in
just 25 minutes with his eighth ace.