INDIAN WELLS: Andy Roddick beat Ivan Ljubicic 7-6(7), 7-6(8) to move into the Pacific Life Open semifinals on Thursday. No. 3 Roddick will face No. 2 Rafael Nadal, a 7-5, 7-5 winner over Juan Ignacio Chela, on Saturday. The men's final is on Sunday.
On the women's side, 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the semifinals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Nicole Vaidisova. Kuznetsova next faces Sybille Bammer, who defeated Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 6-3. The women's championship match is on Saturday.
In men's doubles, Leander Paes and Martin Damm stormed into the semifinals, defeating fourth seeded Paul Hanley of Australia and Kevin Ullyet of Zimbabwe 6-3, 7-6(4). The Indo-Czech pair will challenge top seeds Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi for a place in the final.
Roddick and Ljubicic, both big servers with powerful groundstrokes, nearly matched each other shot for shot. There were no service breaks, and the tie-breakers were similarly tight.
Roddick finally ended it with a forehand to the baseline that handcuffed Ljubicic, and he hit an awkward backhand wide.
Almost before the ball bounced, the Croatian, who had fought back from three match points during the tie-breaker, began to trot to the net to shake the American's hand.
The first set tie-breaker was much like the second, with Roddick winning it with a backhand passing shot as Ljubicic charged forward.
"I was excited because I was playing the way I wanted to in the breakers," Roddick said."I kept going forward. I won some points, I lost some points. I thought all in all, I gave myself a chance to win and eventually was able to do it." Ljubicic served 12 aces to Roddick's eight, and his fastest serve (143 mph) was a mile faster than his American opponent.
Men: Singles: Rafael Nadal bt Juan Ignacio Chela 7-5, 7-5; Andy Roddick bt Ivan Ljubicic 7-6(7), 7-6(8). Doubles: Leander Paes & Martin Damm bt Paul Hanley & Kevin Ullyet 6-3, 7-6(4).
Women: Singles: Svetlana Kuznetsova bt Nicole Vaidisova 4-6, 6-3, 6-4; Sybille Bammer bt Tatiana Golovin 6-2, 6-3. Agencies