Roddick on a mission

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER

Friday 2012 Round-Up by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Roddick races through to final

Final countdown: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick squares off against reigning champion Andreas Seppi in the Eastbourne final, having only been served one difficult match on his Devonshire Park debut.

The world no33 collected much-needed grass court practice to capture his 600th ATP Tour victory courtesy of back-to-back wins.

With rain delaying the quarter-finals by a day, the eight competitors had their work cut out – especially with the blustery weather conditions – as the semi-finals needed to also be played.

Italian Seppi was first to step onto the stage and began delivering a perfect act when leading 7-5, 2-1, only for German Philipp Kohlschreiber to be forced to retire because of an ankle injury.

Seppi next opponent was 20-year-old American Ryan Harrison, was held off Denis Istomin in the opening tiebreak 7-5 to register a slender 7-6 6-4 triumph.

But despite his youthfulness Harrison was outplayed by wily Seppi, the contest completed in 75 minutes with Seppi soaring through to his second Eastbourne final on the bounce with a comfortable 7-5 6-1 success.

Roddick squeezed through to the semi-final stafe with a fiercely fought contest against Fabio Fognini.

The Italian handed the 29-year-old a number of scares before succumbing to the three-time Wimbledon finalist 6-3 3-6 7-5.

Belgian Steve Darcis saw off Australian qualifier Marinko Matosevic courtesy of winning the second set tiebreak 7-4, booking a showdown with Roddick after sealing a 6-2 7-6 triumph.

American ace Roddick appeared untroubled by the windy weather, and marched through the games as though it was a practice match. But Darcis was forced to retire with a back injury when trailing 6-3 3-1.

Roddick confessed:

It was tough out there, some of the toughest conditions to play in. But you know you’re going to have some lucky points.

“I can’t remember much tougher that I’ve played in. That wind out there is frightening. It’s not as much as about tennis today as just getting through it.

“This week has worked out. Regardless of what happens in the final I will go into Wimbledon with some wins behind me and some confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on – so I got my game back a little this week.”

Normal service resumes

Andy Roddick, Fabio FOGNINI

Roddick’s back by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd

Andy Roddick at the double

Double trouble: Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick, who only arrived at Devonshire Park courtesy of a last-gasp wildcard on the eve of the AEGON International, has waltzed into the final.

And apart from Friday’s quarter-final battle against wily Italian Fabio Fognini he has been hardly tested on his Eastbourne debut – and been handed some good fortune with two opponents retiring with injured backs against him.

Big server and American compatriot Sam Querrey retired after 24 minutes in their 1st round contest and brilliant Belgian Steve Darcis threw in the towel during their one-way semi-final clash that Roddick was easily winning.

Roddick arrived at Eastbourne on the back of his worse ever run on the ATP Tour, suffering six defeats on the bounce – partly due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him for three months.

On his return to the circuit he lost all three Round Robin matches in Dusseldorf and made immediate exits on the clay at the French Open then on the grass at Queen’s Club in London.

The 29-year-old, who chalked up his 600th win on the ATP Tour, will be aiming for his 31st Singles title on Saturday – his first final appearance since February 2011 when he beat Milos Raonic to claim the Memphis crown.

Roddick admitted:

There’s a lot of times when you make plans where you draw the perfect scenario and you draw up a script and it doesn’t work out – but this week has worked out.

“Regardless of what happens I will go into Wimbledon with some wins behind me and some confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on – I got my game back a little bit this week.

“If you’d have asked me last week after I lost at Queen’s I was probably a lot more negative than I would be right now.

“I don’t know that I can play 26 events a year anymore or be on the road 45 weeks a year with my body the way it is, but fortunately for me Grand Slams are only two weeks long.”

2012 Friday Men’s Preview

Andreas Seppi, Andy Roddick, Bernard TOMIC, Denis Istomin, Fabio FOGNINI, Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER

AEGON InternationalThe quarter-finals at the AEGON International feature the no3, no6 and no7 seeds.

Three of the players remaining have won at least one ATP World grass court title, and four are looking for a first career title on the surface.

Subject to confirmation, and obviously the weather, the men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals will be contested on Friday – delayed from Thursday because of rain and rain breaks at Eastbourne on Thursday.

No7 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber, who beat Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal on the grass at Halle last week, is up against no3 seed and defending champion Andreas Seppi.

The German no2 has a 3-2 career mark over the top Italian, although Seppi won the last meeting in the 2nd Round at Rotterdam in February. This will be their first meeting on grass.

Kohlschreiber comes into his sixth ATP Tour quarter-final of the season with a 27-13 match record, and his best result was a fourth career title in Munich last month.

And last week he opened the grass court circuit with a run to the semi-final in Halle, losing to countryman and eventual champion Tommy Haas.

Seppi is also making his sixth quarter-final showing of the season, and last month he picked up his second career title in Belgrade.

Italian Fabio Fognini and no6 seed Andy Roddick square off for the first time.

Fognini, appearing in his first career ATP World Tour quarter-final on grass after back-to-back three sets wins over Albert Ramos and no4 seed Bernard Tomic, is playing in his second quarter-final of the season. On April 29, he reached his maiden ATP Tour final in Bucharest. The 25-year-old Italian is 11-11 win-loss ration this season.

Roddick came into Eastbourne losing six consecutive matches, the longest streak of his career, and world ranked no33. But a retirement win over fellow American Sam Querrey ended the losing streak and on Wednesday he only lost eight points in 10 service games en route to a 6-2 7-6 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.

The former world no1 and three-time Wimbledon finalist is appearing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final of the year. But the 29-year-old American is trying to reach his first semi-final since last August in Winston-Salem, USA. 

American Ryan Harrison looks to even his record against Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. In their previous meeting on the ATP Tour at San Jose in February 2010, Istomin won in straight sets. Harrison’s win-loss record is 16-14 on the season and he’s already surpassed his match wins total from last year of 14.

The Texas resident, aged 20, is playing in his third ATP Tour quarter-final on as many surfaces – clay, grass and hard – this year. His best result was the semi-finals at San Jose in February.

Istomin comes into his fourth ATP Tour quarter-final this season with a 20-18 win-loss record.

Aussie qualifier Marinko Matosevic takes on Belgian Steve Darcis for the first time.

Matosevic is also playing in a third ATP World quarter-final on as many surfaces. He reached his first ATP final at Delray Beach in March.

Darcis’ win-loss record is 10-10 on the season, and this is his third quarter-final. His last ATP Tour semi-final came in July 2008, when he was runner-up in Amersfoort.