Roddick, Del Potro in final

WASHINGTON: Andy Roddick and Juan Martin Del Potro struggled into the finals of the ATP Washington Classic on Saturday, Del Potro sagging in sweltering heat and Roddick tested by big-serving John Isner.

The US top seed Roddick outlasted Isner 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 7-5 and second-seeded defending champion Del Potro of Argentina beat Chilean fourth seed Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 at the $1.4 million hardcourt event. Fifth-ranked Roddick, playing in his first event since a five-set Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer, fired only nine aces to 20 for Isner but hit 69 per cent of his first serves and made only two third-set unforced errors. It took five break-point chances in the third set before Roddick finally broke compatriot Isner in the penultimate game, then held serve to win after two hours and 31 minutes.

LA C’ship

LOS ANGELES: Italy’s Flavia Pennetta brushed aside a shaky serve to book her spot in the Los Angeles Women’s Tennis Championship final by rallying to beat Russian Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Pennetta, who had lost in her two previous meetings against Sharapova, posted a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 semi-final victory. Pennetta will face Australian Samantha Stosur in final at the hardcourt event. Stosur swept past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-2 in just 62 minutes.

Sharapova, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, was ahead three games to

one in the final set before

she unravelled.

The three-time Grand Slam winner Sharapova committed 61 unforced errors and made 16 double faults. Pennetta clinched the win on the second match point as Sharapova sent a forehand wide.

Just moments earlier Sharapova had survived the first match on her serve but then double faulted on the next point. It will be the first career meeting between WTA veterans Stosur, 25, and Pennetta, 27.