Roddick leads American move into quarterfinals at RCA Championships

July 21, 2005 11:30 PM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Two-time defending champion Andy Roddick recorded his 12th consecutive victory at the RCA Championships on Thursday night, advancing into the quarterfinals along with three other Americans.

Roddick beat Israel's Noam Okun, 6-3, 6-3 in the evening feature match.

"I'm surprised we didn't get rained on,'' said Roddick, who converted three of his five break points and saved the only one he faced.

Weather conditions changed rapidly during the 68-minute match in which Roddick had nine aces to add to his tour-leading total of 590.

``At the beginning (of the match) it was like a sauna. It was so hot and humid. Then there was a cool breeze and I saw some clouds,'' he said.

Roddick joined No. 4-seed Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri and Paul Goldstein in advancing to the next round at the Indianapolis Tennis Center.

Dent defeated Germany's Bjorn Phau 6-2, 6-2. Ginepri upset ninth-seeded Paradorn Srichaphan 6-0, 6-4 in 46 minutes, and Goldstein beat Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador 6-3, 6-2.

Roddick and Okun, who last met in a quarterfinal match in Las Vegas in 2000, each held serve until the sixth game of the opening set.

Roddick got the edge by winning four consecutive points, and closed out the set by holding his final two games. He went up 5-3 by holding in the longest game of the match. It went 12 points with Roddick surviving a break point with an ace after doublefaulting on the previous point.

``I didn't feel like I was hitting the ball amazingly, and a lot of times I was making errors,'' said Roddick, who had 20 winners and 23 unforced errors.

Roddick is playing in a tournament for the first time since losing the title match at Wimbledon.

``I needed some time off, but now I'm paying the price a little bit,'' he said. ``Each match I go, the better I'll get. I'm sure of that.''

Three other Americans were ousted in the second round. Second-seeded Nicolas Kiefer of Germany, the runner-up to Andy Roddick last year, defeated Kevin Kim 6-1, 6-2. Mardy Fish, seeded 16th as a wild-card entry, retired because of a wrist injury after taking a 2-1 lead in the first set of his match with George Bastl of Switzerland.

Karol Beck of Slovakia ousted Rajeev Ram 6-2, 6-4. Ram, a former ballboy at the tournament, went on to help Illinois win an NCAA doubles title.

In another third-round match, seventh-seeded Greg Rusedski of Britain remained undefeated in head-to-head matches with No. 12 Kenneth Carlsen, winning 7-6 (3), 6-2. It was his fifth triumph for the 2002 RCA winner in five meetings with the Dane since 1995.

Dent lost just 12 points in his eight service games, including three on double faults in the second set. Phau, who had lost in the first round of nine of his last 10 events before arriving with a 2-8 record, managed to save only one break point in the match. He was broken five times.

``My first serve was going very well. The second serve kind of faded at the end,'' said Dent, 24-12 this year and seeking his third title.

Dent was effective at the net, winning 23 of 57 points there. His 19 winners included eight aces and a pair of backhand volleys in the match's final game.

Ginepri needed just 16 minutes to win the opening set with temperatures in the upper 80s on Stadium Court.

``The quicker the match the better it is for the player,'' said Ginepri, who improved to 13-14 this year. ``I trained in Miami last week and the weather down there was brutal. It trains me for the more difficult conditions we'll be facing this summer on the hardcourts.''

The 22-year-old Ginepri lost only eight points in the opening set. He had six aces and a first-serve percentage of 79.

Paradorn, the runner-up to Roddick here two years ago, had only three aces.

``He didn't look like the Paradorn I've seen before,'' said Ginepri, who is 3-0 against him on the tour. ``They were always real close matches. He definitely wasn't on top of his game.''