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Isner Sets Atlanta SF Nightcap With Roddick

Atlanta, U.S.A.

Soeda© Getty ImagesGo Soeda beat Kei Nishikori in the first ATP World Tour quarter-final between two Japanese players.

Fourth seed Andy Roddick defeated Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semi-finals of the BB&T Atlanta Open in evening-session action on Friday.

The 27th-ranked Roddick hit 12 aces to 1 double fault, winning 82 per cent of his service points. He converted two of four break points to clinch the match in 73 minutes, improving to 3-0 against his 34-year-old compatriot.

Roddick is aiming to win his second trophy of the year, having triumphed at the AEGON International in Eastbourne (d. Seppi). He will battle two-time defending finalist John Isner in a Saturday evening blockbuster semi-final. The top-seeded Isner edged 19-year-old wild card Jack Sock 7-6(7), 6-4 in a match that finished at 12:42 am local time.

Rain caused the encounter to be suspended for just over an hour with Sock serving at 1-4, 40/0 in the first set. When played resumed, Sock held and then broke Isner to put the match back on serve. Sock saved numerous set points, before Isner broke through in the tie-break on his ninth opportunity by hitting his ninth ace.

The two continued to duel in a service battle until the ninth game of the second set, when Isner converted his second break to move ahead 5-4. He held to love to take the hard-fought match in two hours and 15 minutes.

Isner is looking to win back-to-back titles for the first time in his career, having successfully defended his crown at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport last week (d. Hewitt). The 27 year old holds a 2-3 record against Roddick and won their most recent clash in last year’s Winston-Salem Open semi-finals.

Eighth seed Go Soeda dismissed third-seeded countryman Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-1 to win the first ATP World Tour quarter-final between two Japanese players. Meeting for the first time, Soeda capitalised on all four of his break point opportunities and saved all seven against his serve to advance in 73 minutes.

Soeda is through to his second tour-level semi-final of the season, after beginning the year with a run to the Aircel Chennai Open last four (l. to Tipsarevic). He is ranked No. 54 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this week, equalling a career high mark he set on 11 June.

For a place in Sunday's title match, Soeda will play Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. World No. 63 Muller advanced to his first semi-final in 2012, defeating Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-4. The 29 year old did not face a break point and won 32 of his 35 first serve points. He broke the Australian once in each set to claim victory in 72 minutes.

Muller is bidding to win his first ATP World Tour title. He is a two-time runner-up, with his last final appearance coming in Los Angeles nearly seven years ago.

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Lionel Maltese


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