Roddick reaches final of RCA Championships

July 24, 2004 05:53 PM
Andy Roddick returns a shot to Ivan Ljubicic during the semifinals of the RCA Championships© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS (Ticker) -- Defending champion Andy Roddick overcame three match points Saturday to defeat Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic, 1-6, 7-6 (10), 7-6 (3), in the semifinals of the $600,000 RCA Championships.

The top-seeded Roddick fought off elimination three times in the second set and also withstood 24 aces by Ljubicic to reach his third straight final and sixth of the year. The 21-year-old American defended his title last month at the Queen's Club tournament before reaching his first Wimbledon final.

Roddick, who needed 2 hours, 20 minutes to defeat Ljubicic, credited the support of the crowd for rallying him. He dropped the first set in just 25 minutes.

"The fans were huge for me today," Roddick said. "They bring everything for me every day here. It's humbling but very nice. You feed on it."

It was the fourth match in three days for Roddick, who cruised past Dominik Hrbaty of Slovakia in Friday's quarterfinals after having to win twice Thursday due to rain delays earlier in the week.

Ranked second in the world behind Switzerland's Roger Federer, Roddick improved to 50-9 this year, including an ATP Tour-best 32-5 on hardcourts.

"He (Ljubicic) outplayed me in the first set," said Roddick, who served only 11 aces. "But I found a way to win the second-set tiebreaker. He outplayed me for two-thirds of the match. He deserved to win as much as I did. I was just a little luckier."

Ljubicic was denied his second final of the year and third career. The 25-year-old was playing in his first ATP Tour semifinal in the United States.

"Unfortunately, there are no ties in tennis," Ljubicic said. "It's difficult to say why I lost, but I don't actually feel like I did. I cannot say I'm disappointed. I think I did everything well."

In Sunday's final, Roddick will face No. 12 seed Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, who defeated unseeded Gregory Carraz of France, 6-2, 6-2. Kiefer is 4-0 in semifinal appearances this year but 0-3 in finals. He is coming off a runner-up finish in last week's Mercedes Benz Cup in Los Angeles.

Carraz was stopped short of his first career ATP final. Prior to this week, the 29-year-old had won only one match in his last seven tournaments.