Roddick routs Kiefer to defend title at RCA Championships

July 25, 2004 06:52 PM
Kiefer hp
After barely surviving his semifinal match, top seed Andy Roddick made short work of Nicolas Kiefer in the final of the $600,000 RCA Championships.

The 21-year-old Roddick routed Kiefer, 6-2, 6-3, in just 59 minutes on Sunday to become the first repeat champion here since Pete Sampras in 1991-92.

Germany's Boris Becker also won the tournament twice, but not in consecutive years, doing it in 1988 and 1990. Roddick's victory marked the third time he has won consecutive titles, also accomplishing the feat at Houston (2001-02) and Queen's club (2003-04).

"I'm the low man on the totem pole," said Roddick, who survived three match points in his semifinal win over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic that lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours. "It's cool to accomplish things and be able to throw out names and stats like that. It's pretty humbling for me."

Tuning up for the defense of his U.S. Open title later this summer, Roddick claimed his fourth title of the year. The American also won crowns in San Jose, Miami and London and will defend another title this week at the Tennis Masters Toronto.

Roddick had 25 winners and broke Kiefer three times to improve his record to 49-9 this year, including an ATP Tour-best mark of 33-5 on hard courts.

"I came to this match ready to play," Roddick said. "I turned the tables quickly and forced my game on him."

The loss continued a frustrating stretch for Kiefer, who dropped to 0-4 in finals this year, all in the United States. Kiefer has lost six straight finals since capturing his sixth and last title in Hong Kong on October 8, 2000.

"I have to stay positive," said Kiefer, who committed 21 unforced errors. "I've worked hard to reach the final, but I was unable to raise my game to another level."