Roddick loses in quarters, Haas advances
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Roddick loses in quarters, Haas advances

French qualifier Julien Benneteau upset the top seed 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Friday.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 17:13 IST

French qualifier Julien Benneteau upset top-seeded Andy Roddick 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) in the quarterfinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Friday.

Benneteau, ranked 122nd in the world, had lost twice previously to Roddick, including in the Australian Open last month in straight sets. But he kept the world's No 3-ranked player from reaching the semifinals for a second consecutive week by serving more effectively.

Benneteau will play sixth-seeded Tommy Haas, a 6-7 (7/9), 6-4, 6-4 winner over Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, on Saturday.

Britain's Andy Murray, who won his first ATP title last week at San Jose, fought off seven match points before losing 6-1, 6-4 to Robin Soderling of Sweden. Soderling will play Kristof Vliegen of Belgium, a 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 winner over qualifier Paul Capdeville of Chile.

In women's play, Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden swept past Amy Frazier of the United States 6-2, 6-2, and will play Marta Domachowska of Poland, a 6-1, 6-0 winner over Jill Craybas of the United States, for the Cellular South Cup on Saturday. Either player will win their first WTA Tour title.

Roddick thought he played well against Benneteau. "It's just a little frustrating right now. I felt like tonight I actually hit the ball better than I have over the last two weeks," Roddick said.

"I came off the court not really thinking I did a whole lot wrong. The guy was pretty much ripping winners from all angles."

Benneteau, who turned pro in 2000, got the biggest victory of his career.

"It's a lot of joy. I'm very happy for sure," he said. "I'm very proud of me. I'm very happy for my coach, for all the effort we make together to try to be the best."

Benneteau showed early that he might be ready to beat Roddick for the first time when he took a 3-1 lead in the first set. But Roddick broke Benneteau twice and won the last five games of the set.

Benneteau broke Roddick to take the second set, and in the final set the American wasn't happy with several line calls, including one which prompted him to say, "Everyone but the person who's paid to do it" after pointing out two perceived misses.

Benneteau dominated the tiebreaker as Roddick double-faulted and hit several shots long. Benneteau had one of his 18 aces to go up 6-3. Roddick hit a forehand winner, then watched the Frenchman hit a backhand down the line for the win.

Benneteau converted 78 percent of his first serves. "Apparently I served 71 percent, and I'm a chump," said Roddick, who won the Memphis tournament in 2002.

Roddick's loss easily overshadowed Haas' victory, which left the German as the only seeded player left.

Haas, who won the first of eight career titles here in 1999, broke Tursunov once in the second set and twice in the third to win. Tursunov had 14 aces while Haas finished with 13.

But Haas was more effective on his second serve, which included a 106 mph (170 kph) ace in the tiebreaker. Still, he blew three set points on his way to losing the first set.

"It was tough to stay focused in the first two games because I was still thinking about the first set," Haas said. "I thought, 'Let's see if he can maintain his level of play."'

Murray beat Soderling in the San Jose quarterfinals last week after losing the first set in that match. He couldn't find similar magic on Friday. His serve was broken twice in the first set and Soderling, who beat defending champion Kenneth Carlsen on Thursday, finally won on his eighth match point.

"The difference between today and last week was that I served a lot better, especially in the first set," Soderling said. Vliegen reached his second semis this year by breaking Capdeville only once— for 5-4 in the final set, and then serving out. "I wasn't playing that well but I was fighting hard and hustling shots," Vliegen said.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 13:53 IST