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Roddick withstands Open challenge for the ages

Andy Roddick was given a challenge for his 21st birthday and the American responded with a tie-breaker rally for the ages.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2003 10:33 IST

Andy Roddick was given a challenge for his 21st birthday and the American responded with a tie-breaker rally for the ages at the US Open as the clock struck midnight on Ivan Ljubicic's upset bid.

American fourth seed Roddick battled past the 43rd-ranked Croatian 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) here in a match that lasted three hours and five minutes and ended here early Saturday morning, minutes into Roddick's 21st birthday.

"I've been 21 for nine minutes now. I think I deserve a beer," Roddick said moments after the match. He was presented a cake and led the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium in a rendition of "Happy Birthday to You".

Roddick trailed Ljubicic 5-2 in the final tie-breaker when midnight struck. He turned 21 as his fortunes turned in the match when Ljubicic double faulted and went on to win eight of the last 10 points.

After saving four set points, Roddick fired a 138-mph ace to earn his first match point. Ljubicic hit a forehand volley winner to save it but Roddick followed with a forehand winner and Ljubicic fired a final lob long to end it.

First Published: Aug 30, 2003 10:33 IST