Saturday, January 21, 2006

Roddick Falls To Baghdatis In Fourth Round

There won't be a second career grand slam for Andy Roddick at The Australian Open. The second seeded American was upset by Marcos Baghdatis in four sets 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. The 20-year-old from Cyprus, who entered ranked 54th, outslugged Roddick from the baseline to prevail in two hours 32 minutes.

Cheered throughout by Cyprian supporters, Baghdatis fed off the energy with a great performance to make his first ever slam quarterfinal.

Ripping crosscourt forehand winners and backhand winners down the line, Baghdatis kept Roddick off balance in the first set. After each player held for three all, Baghdatis broke for 4-3 when a Roddick forehand sailed long. He made it stand up when he served out the set for 6-4.

But Roddick turned the tables on Baghdatis in the second set. When Roddick got the better of an extended rally to force an error, he broke for a 2-0 lead and pumped his fist. From there, he would add another break and cruise to an easy 6-1 set to level the match.

However, Baghdatis rebounded strongly to break Roddick in the sixth game to go up 4-2 in the pivotal third frame. Fighting off a break point which would have put it back on serve, he served out the set.

With Baghdatis continuing to slug winners in set four, he broke Roddick for the third time in the fifth game when the normally consistent server double faulted. It would be all he needed. Fittingly, he closed out the match with a running crosscourt forehand winner to finish off Roddick. Then, celebrated with his supporters by raising his arms.

"I'm just in my own world and playing great tennis," an excited Baghdatis proclaimed at the postmatch conference. "I think it's one of the best matches of my life."

Baghdatis finished with 63 winners to just 39 for Roddick. He also had 16 aces and broke Roddick three times. Entering the match, Roddick had only dropped serve once the first three rounds. Despite the outcome, Roddick finished with one more total point than Baghdatis- 117-116. He pointed towards how well his opponent played as the difference.

"I didn't play that badly -plus eight in winners to errors- I looked and I won more total points," Roddick noted. "I think I would have beaten most people today, but credit where it's due; he played a very good match."

"The shots he was able to come up with were very good," Roddick said. "Maybe I was a bit spacey out there. I wasn't totally on top of things. It's tough, it's disappointing, but move on."

Baghdatis will play the winner of Ivan Ljubicic (7)-Thomas Johansson (10) in the quarterfinals. That will be played Sunday night.

Also advancing to the quarters was fourth seeded Argentine David Nalbandian, who took out Spaniard Tommy Robredo (16) 6-3, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2. He'll take on Frenchman Fabrice Santoro, who straight setted David Ferrer (11) 6-4, 7-5, 7-5. It's the first time the 32-year-old Magician has made the quarters at a major.

In third round action late Saturday, top seeded Roger Federer cruised into the Round of 16 with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Max Mirnyi. Federer had 48 winners to only 10 unforced errors. He'll next face German Tommy Haas.

German Nicolas Kiefer (21) also moved on with a four set win over Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero (15) 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. He'll battle Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela in the Round of 16.

Fifth seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko setup a fourth round match-up against Slovak Dominik Hrbaty (12) by eliminating Aussie Nathan Healey 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.

Davenport Into Quarters: Top seeded American Lindsay Davenport advanced to the Elite Eight with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over 14th seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Despite having a twisted left ankle suffered in her last match taped up, Davenport prevailed in straight sets.

"I sprained it a little bit the other day," she said. "It was just a little bit swollen. ... I kind of jammed it on one shot. Hopefully, it will have a little time to get better."

She'll play eighth seeded Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne, who eliminated Spaniard Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-0, 6-3.

Sixth seeded Russian Nadia Petrova also moved on with a 6-3, 6-1 win over countrywoman Elena Vesnina. She awaits the winner of Maria Sharapova (4)-Daniela Hantuchova (17). That match was scheduled to take place Sunday night.

In Saturday's late action, second seeded Belgian Kim Clijsters setup a Round of 16 match against Italian Francesca Schiavone (15) with a 6-1, 6-2 conquest of Italian Roberta Vinci. Schiavone advanced 6-0, 6-0 over Spaniard Maria Sanchez Lorenzo.

Aussie Samantha Stosur also made the Fourth Round with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 win over Austrian Sybille Bammer. She'll play Martina Hingis next for a chance to make the quarterfinals.

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