Roddick advances to semis

Associated Press

Houston, April 17:

Andy Roddick was lucky he had a day off before facing Austrian Jurgen Melzer. Roddick had to run down an exhausting number of drop shots before finally beating Melzer 7-5, 7-6 in the quarter-finals of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships. The top-seeded Roddick has won 11 straight matches to improve his season record to 31-5. He has reached the Clay Court final the past three years, losing to Andre Agassi last year and winning twice. Roddick will face Luis Horna of Peru, who beat Todd Martin 7-5, 6-3. In the other quarter-finals, Andrei Pavel of Romania beat American James Blake 6-4, 6-4, and Tommy Haas of Germany routed Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov 6-2, 6-0. Family Circle Cup CHARLESTON: Venus Williams advanced to her first semi-final of the year, beating Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-4 in the quarter-finals of the Family Circle Cup. Patty Schnyder of Switzerland beat fourth-ranked Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-2. Schnyder needed just 52 minutes to dispatch Davenport. Williams won four straight games after falling behind 4-2 in the second set to Zvonareva.

In the semis, Williams plays Jelena Kostanic of Croatia, a 7-6, 6-2 winner over Petra Mandula of Hungary. Schnyder meets Conchita Martinez of Spain in other semi-final. Martinez celebrated her 32nd birthday with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Russia’s Nadia Petrova, the No 8 seed.


Open OEIRAS: Marat Safin squeezed past Tommy Robredo 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 into the semi-finals of the Estoril Open. Robredo double-faulted on match point to eighth-seeded Safin, who moved into his first Estoril semi-finals. Safin will play Irakli Labadze of Georgia, who advanced after Spanish Rafael Nadal withdrew because of injury. Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina will meet German Florian Mayer in the other semi-final. In the women’s quarter-finals, Emilie Loit ousted Czech Klara Koukalova 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. Loit will play Marta Marrero, who trounced Barbara Schett of Austria 6-0, 6-2. In an all-Czech matchup, Iveta Benesova downed Denisa Chladkova 6-2, 6-2, and booked a spot against France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro, who beat Slovakia’s Martina Sucha 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Valencia Open

VALENCIA: Top-seeded Juan Carlos Ferrero beat Croatia’s Mario Ancic 6-4, 6-4 at the Valencia Open to help set up the first all-Spanish semi-finals since 1997. Ferrero will face Fernando Verdasco, who beat seventh-seeded David Ferrer 6-2, 6-3. Alberto Martin beat last year’s Valencia runner-up, Christophe Rochus of Belgium, 6-1, 6-2, and will play Albert Montanes. The last ATP event with four Spaniard semi-finalists was at Umag, Croatia in 1997.