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Forget the stats, I can beat Federer: Roddick

Stats indicate that the American sixth seed has little chance against the rampant world number one in Thursday's marquee semi-final.
None | By Agence France-Presse, Melbourne
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2007 02:42 PM IST

As the saying goes there are lies, damn lies and statistics. Andy Roddick is hoping the weight of evidence won't prevent him from upsetting Roger Federer to reach the Australian Open final.

The stats indicate that the American sixth seed has little chance against the rampant world number one in Thursday's marquee semi-final on Rod Laver Arena.

'A-Rod' has won only one of his 13 matches with the Swiss superstar and has to go back nine matches to Montreal in 2003 for his last success.

Federer, the top ranked player since February 2004, is in his 11th successive Grand Slam semi-final, he hasn't dropped a set in five matches here and is on a hot streak of 34 unbeaten matches.

He has tormented Roddick in recent years, denying the power-server three major titles in losses in the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finals and last year's US Open final.

But Roddick is tuning out the doomsdayers. He says there are signs that the gap between him and the incomparable Federer is closing.

Since hiring tennis great Jimmy Connors as his coach last July, Roddick has been making steady improvement and came within a point of beating Federer in a second set tie-breaker at the Masters Cup in Shanghai last November.

He also downed Federer in a exhibition event at Kooyong here just days before the Australian Open, but that does not count on the official match records.

It has given the 24-year-old American optimism that something special is around the corner, starting with tomorrow's showdown.

"With the match in Shanghai, I'm going to go in with a shot. I like going up and competing against him, I really do. I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

"I feel like I'm in good form. I'd love to see where I match up."

Roddick knows he must attack Federer and not allow the sublime Swiss to dictate the points as he has done for much of their history.

"I don't feel you can sit back and let him create, that's when you get in trouble," he said.

"I'm going to have to go with what I do well and try to attack him, at least make him come up with shots from uncomfortable positions. If he's comfortable and set while hitting the ball, that makes it tough."

Federer has once again looked the part in his five matches, dismantling seeds Mikhail Youzhny, last year's US Open semi-finalist, rising Serbian star Novak Djokovic and Spain's number seven Tommy Robredo.

The undisputed king of tennis makes litte fuss or fanfare about his domination of the game and expects Roddick to come at him with all guns blazing.

"We've had some really close matches. We're about the same age. He's been number one. Now that we've played over 10 times, I think it gets always very interesting," he said.

"The record is good for me, but I think it's still a great match with Andy.

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