Roddick, del Potro breeze into final

August 10, 2008 12:27 AM

LOS ANGELES (AP)—Andy Roddick overpowered Denis Gremelmayr 6-2, 6-2 Saturday night to set up a showdown against Juan Martin del Potro for the Countrywide Classic title.

Del Potro, a rangy 19-year-old Argentine who’s on a roll, made quick work of Mardy Fish in taking a 6-2, 6-1 victory in their afternoon semifinal.

The top-seeded Roddick, looking for his third ATP championship of the year and 26th of his career, rode his serve-and-volley game and solid groundstrokes to the easy win over his 26-year-old German foe.

Roddick is ranked ninth and Gremelmayr is 89th, and the match went to form. The American broke service when Gremelmayr double-faulted in the fourth game of the opening set and was in command the rest of the way.

The match, which lasted just an hour and two minutes, ended when Gremelmayr hit a volley into the net. Roddick gave a quick arm pump and waved to the crowd.

The 25-year-old Roddick, looking sharp again after battling nagging injuries much of this year, also mixed some drop shots in with his usual power game to keep Gremelmayr off-balance.

“I saw early on that he was playing way back on my first serve,” Roddick said.

Looking ahead to the match against the 6-foot-6 del Potro, Roddick said the Argentine is a bit awkward, but still can get to shots by using his long reach to lunge at the ball, adding, “I’m going to have to pressure him in the corners.”

Winning his 13th consecutive match and aiming for his third victory in less than a month, del Potro needed only 1:22 to finish off his American opponent.

The third-seeded del Potro played almost flawlessly in dominating the sixth-seeded Fish, sending him scurrying back and forth before finishing off points with powerful, well-placed groundstrokes.

Even at 6-6, del Potro chased down virtually everything Fish hit at him.

“He’s 19 years old, which is scary,” Fish said. “He looks like he’s 25. He’s got a huge game.”

Del Potro even impressed himself.

“I played unbelievably today,” he said. “Mardy is an incredible player.”

Del Potro captured his first career ATP title by upsetting Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-5 in Munich on July 13, then beat Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-1 for a win the following week in Kitzbuehel, Austria. Both those wins came on clay.

He has moved up to 24th in the rankings.

Fish, who had beaten del Potro 6-1, 7-6 (9) at Memphis last year in their only other meeting, said, “He’ll be in the top 20 in no time.”

The 26-year-old Fish has struggled after making the final at Indian Wells in March with a run that included upsets of No. 1 Roger Federer and two other top-10 players. Novak Djokovic beat him in the title match.

Fish felt better about his game after making the Los Angeles quarterfinal.

“This was a nice week to build on. It definitely turns the summer around,” he said.