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Roddick earns US semi-final spot

April 14, 2008 11:25 IST

Andy Roddick took out his frustrations on Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu on Sunday to seal a place for the United States in the Davis Cup semi-finals.

The holders had been expected to wrap up their quarter-final tie in Winston-Salem against France on Saturday but a rare defeat for top-ranked doubles pair Bob and Mike Bryan meant the Americans had to put their celebrations on ice for 24 hours.

But as soon as Roddick stepped on court on Sunday, it was clear that he was in no mood to hang around and pulverised Mathieu in 97 minutes, clinching the match with two aces.

A ruthless 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 exhibition handed the Americans an unbeatable 3-1 lead and a semi-final date with Spain.

"We were a little disappointed after the doubles yesterday but Andy played his heart out today," American captain Patrick McEnroe said courtside.

"He doesn't get enough credit for how savvy he can be and today, it was a great performance," said McEnroe about the world number six who lost just 13 points on serve in the contest. Looking ahead to their next tie in Spain, McEnroe added: "Obviously we'll go as underdogs, we beat them last year so they will want revenge. For us it's the ultimate challenge."

The US ended 4-1 winners over France after James Blake beat Richard Gasquet in the dead singles rubber 6-7, 6-4, 6-4.

Spain, who were the only nation to reach the last four on Saturday, completed a 4-1 win against Germany in Bremen and felt they had silenced critics who accused them of being poor performers away from home.

"We've got out of this habit of always losing away from home," Spain coach Emilio Sanchez told reporters.

"We've now won twice away from home this year [after a 5-0 win over Peru in the first round] and we have the confidence to show what we can do anywhere."


Before this year Spain had not won a quarter-final, semi-final or final outside their own country since 1987.

Russia and Argentina will contest the other semi-final in September after wrapping up their ties with a match to spare.

For the second tie running, Russia benefited from the misfortune of one of their opponents to earn the winning point.

Czech number one Tomas Berdych injured his ankle and was forced to quit midway through the fifth set of his tussle against Nikolay Davydenko.

Russia had led the tie in Moscow 2-1 going into the reverse singles and Berdych's plight secured them a place in the last four for a fourth successive year.

Berdych was left in agony when he fell while lunging for a forehand shot and eventually limped off to hand Davydenko a 6-3, 2-6, 6-7, 6-3, 1-2 victory.

In February, Russia were gifted their first-round tie when Serbia's Novak Djokovic abruptly retired while leading Davydenko by two sets to one, complaining he felt breathless and dizzy.

In Buenos Aires, David Nalbandian capitalised on an unexpected hold-up in the fourth set to sneak past Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-4, 1-6, 4-6, 6-4, 9-7.

The match swung in the Argentine's favour after play was interrupted by a scuffle in the crowd which led to at least one person being ejected by security men.

Soderling appeared to lose concentration and Nalbandian gathered his wits to complete victory in just over four hours.

"Luckily I was able to turn the game around thanks to the crowd, which helped me in key moments," an emotional Nalbandian, who won all three of his matches over the weekend, told the fans.

Juan Monaco defeated Thomas Johansson 6-3, 6-3 to round off a 4-1 win.

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