Roddick eliminates Lee

July 28, 2007 01:07 AM
-- Nearly nine hours after he began play, Canada's Frank Dancevic reached his first ATP semifinal by rallying to defeat Russian Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 7-6 (3) in a rain-plagued match in the Indianapolis Tennis Championships.

His reward is a semifinal date with top-seeded Andy Roddick, seeking his fourth trip to the finals here in four years. Roddick eliminated No. 6 Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-1 to bring his record here to 19-2 with two championships and a runner-up finish.

Dancevic's match was halted by rain three times for nearly eight hours. It was tied 4-4 when rain halted play at 1:22 p.m. EDT. Officials then labored to dry the hardcourt surface at the Indianapolis Tennis Center, only to have their efforts thwarted by more rain just as the Stadium Court was nearly ready for play. Nearly four hours passed before play resumed.

Dancevic, who hadn't won consecutive ATP matches this year until he arrived here, quickly broke Kunitsyn and then held, ending the set with one of his five aces in the opening set.

Another shower halted play in the second set with Kunitsyn leading 2-1. Play resumed 23 minutes later and Kunitsyn went up 4-1 before another shower suspended the match for the third time. That delay lasted over three hours and Kunitsyn took a 5-1 advantage before Dancevic rallied.

Kunitsyn served twice while losing four consecutive games to the 22-year-old. Dancevic, who had dropped his previous meeting with Kunitsyn in Las Vegas earlier this year, lost only six points in tying the match at 5-5. Kunitzyn then held at love and Dancevic forced the tiebreaker by holding at love, helped by two aces. Dancevic took the first three points of the tiebreaker and won it with service winners on his final three serves.

"I have to admit it was a pretty rough day," said Dancevic, who is the first Canadian to reach an ATP semifinal since Sebastien Lareau on Feb. 24, 2001. "I was getting really stressed after the third time we went out. I tried not to show it , but it was really frustrating. .. I had three showers and was trying to figure how much I had to eat."

Dancevic, curently ranked No. 109, said he had no special plans to prepare for Roddick, who is No. 5 in the world.

"I'll prepare the same way I have every night. I've been eating sushi every night and gone to bed early and drinking a lot of water, he said after bringing his record for the year to 12-12.

As usual, Roddick used his big serve to advance. He had 16 aces, compared to four by Lee. His only double fault came in the tiebreaker when he was up 5-4. Overall, Roddick won 85 percent (40-of-47) of points on his first serve and 81 percent (26 of 32) points on his second serve.The only break points he faced came in the final set and he saved all three.

It was Roddick's ninth victory in 10 matches with Lee, 31, who reached the quarterfinals here for the first time in six appearances.

"I hit the ball well. I was a little conservative in the second set," Roddick said, who was forced to spend the entire day at the facility because of the uncertainity of when the first match would end.

The rain delays forced officials to shift two of the quarterfinals to Saturday. Defending champion James Blake, the No. 2 seed, is scheduled against fellow American Sam Querrey in one of the delayed quarterfinals. In the other, No. 3 Dmitry Tursunov plays amateur qualifier Kei Nishikori of Japan, who at 17 became the youngest quarterfinalist at the Indianapolis Tennis Center since Boris Becker lost in the semifinals to Ivan Lendl in 1985.