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Tennis: Roddick, Isner Delight Fans at Legg Mason Semifinals


Top seed Andy Roddick and rookie player John Isner of the United States have advanced to the finals of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic hard court tournament here in Washington. As VOA's David Byrd reports, Saturday's semifinals saw some of the best tennis so far this week.

On a day when the temperatures hovered around 36 degrees Celsius, Roddick was able to conquer two-meters, eight-centimeter-tall Croatian Ivo Karlovic in straight sets, 7-6, 7-6. Roddick says he managed the Croatian's power well enough to win.

"You know I think my biggest focus out there was taking care of my own serve," said Roddick. "And then if I do happen to get a 15-30 or something then just make him play. Just get the ball back into the court somehow, find a way to get it back. And in a way, him playing the way that he does almost simplifies your game plan as well."

In the night match between American rookie John Isner and Gael Monfils of France, Isner had a near capacity crowd on its feet. The Frenchman won the first set, 7-6, but then Isner came back to win the second set in a tiebreaker.

The two-meters, five centimeter tall North Carolina native then set off uproarious cheers when he won the third set in a tiebreaker (7-6).

The win was Isner's fifth straight match at this tournament to end with a third set tiebreaker. He had similar results against Britain's Tim Henman, eighth seed Benjamin Becker of Germany, American Wayne Odesnik and second seed Tommy Haas of Germany. Isner, who started his professional career after leading the University of Georgia to the college title, says he is not intimidated by facing Roddick.

"You know, obviously I have been the underdog in every single match I have played. I have played against these great opponents," he said. "But when I get out on the court it is just another tennis match. You know his resume goes out the window. Obviously he has made a little bit more money than me in his career, but other than that we just go out there and it is just another tennis match"

Roddick has won this tournament twice -- in 2001 and in 2005. The event is a key warm-up for the last major tournament of the year, the U.S. Open, which gets under way August 27 in New York.

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