Roddick recovers to clinch Miami thriller
Originally published on: 02/04/10 22:20
It was the ultimate battle of wills between two of the tour’s most dogged characters, but Andy Roddick worked his finest shift of the season to earn a thrilling three-set victory over Rafael Nadal and reach the final of the Sony Ericsson Open.
The tour’s leading player this year with 25 victories under his belt, Roddick surged back from a set down to defeat the two-time Miami finalist 4-6 6-3 6-3 in two hours and six minutes.
And in downing Nadal, who was favoured to win his first tournament since May 2009 after cutting down on the baseline scampering and throwing in an added attacking intent, Roddick earned a chance to lift the newly-named Butch Buchholz trophy for the first time since 2004.
Regularly penned into the corners before watching Nadal unleash the killer ‘down the line’ blow that has become such an effective feature of his game in Miami, the world No.8 was forced to revert to his own version of all-out attack.
“Anytime we got neutral [in the point], he was pushing me around,” Roddick said. “I knew I had to be more aggressive. My heavy forehand doesn’t work against him, so I had to hit it flatter, which is higher risk.”
It was a risk that paid off for the former US Open champ, who plucked three crushing winners out of nowhere to break the world No.4 in the eighth game of the second set before proceeding to serve out and draw back level.
Last week’s Indian Wells finalist, who had reprimanded the umpire for incorrectly overruling an ace that landed slap-bang on the service line early in the second set, next gave Rafa a dressing-down at the start of the decider.
Breaking his opponent in game three – much to the displeasure of Nadal who responded by berating himself in a rare display of on-court rage – Roddick continued to attack off the front foot. And after raining down 37 winners, the American had his head in his hands after sealing a glorious victory with his third break of the match after Nadal miscued a forehand long.
Attacking improvements aside, Rafa’s still not quite back to his dominant best, but as one observer quipped – and we promise we’ll never say this again – Andy was Roddick-ulous.