Roddick enters semifinals; Srichaphan out

INDIANAPOLIS, JULY 25. Defending champion Andy Roddick did his job by defeating sixth-seeded Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-3 in their quarterfinal match on Friday night. But the 2003 runner-up, Paradorn Srichaphan, was ousted by 12th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer.

Germany's Kiefer saved four set points in the first set tie-breaker to beat the fourth-seeded Thai 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in a match that lasted 2 hours, 33 minutes.

"He's such a good returner that every time I serve I have to put it deep to make a difference," said Srichaphan, who converted only three of 18 break points.

In the other semifinal matches, Ivan Ljubicic beat Sebastien Grosjean 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 and Gregory Carraz defeated Noam Okun 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

As usual, Roddick's booming serve was crucial to the outcome. He had 14 aces and won 96 per cent of his 26 successful first serves.

"I don't know if he's the fastest starter," Roddick said of Hrbaty, who snapped the American's 19-match winning streak in Davis Cup play last year. That loss was on clay, and Roddick said the biggest difference between Friday's match and that one was "the stuff beneath the feet," referring to the different surfaces. Roddick's victory here last year started a 27-1 streak on hard-court surfaces that included winning the U.S. Open.

Ljubicic took a medical timeout in the 12th game of the opening set after a bee stung him in the buttocks before returning to upset the third-seeded Frenchman to set up a semifinal clash with Roddick. Ljubicic said the bee that stung him had been trailing him for some time before it struck.

"It went behind me and I thought it was OK, but it followed me. All of a sudden I hit a forehand, I missed it and then I felt a sharp pain," he said.

Carraz came to the net on 40 points and it paid off 25 times, including eight volley winners. Okun, meanwhile, had 22 unforced forehand errors and only 10 forehand winners.

Okun recorded the only break of the first set in the fifth game. He was broken for the first time in the second game of the second set and three times in the final set, winning just three points in the final four games after taking a 2-1 advantage.

Serena, Elena rally

Top seed Serena Williams rallied to beat Russian eighth seed Vera Zvonereva 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a quarterfinal of the JP Morgan Chase Open at Carson.

Serena Williams lost six of the final seven games in the first set yesterday, but broke Zvonereva's first service game in set two and never looked back, firing 11 aces in the triumph.

Williams booked a semifinal against Russian fourth seed Elena Dementieva, who shook off a mild foot injury midway through her match and reeled off 11 of the final 13 games for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 victory over fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova.

Second seed Venus Williams fought off feisty upset-minded Francesca Schiavone of Italy 7-5, 6-1 while Davenport demolished eighth seed Nadia Petrova of Russia, 6-1, 6-1.

The results: At Indianapolis (RCA Championships): Quarterfinals: Gregory Carraz bt Noam Okun 4-6, 6-3, 6-2; Ivan Ljubicic bt Sebastien Grosjean 5-7, 7-5, 6-2; Andy Roddick bt Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-3; Nicolas Kiefer bt Paradorn Srichaphan 7-6(7), 7-6(5).

At Carson (JP Morgan Chase Open): Quarterfinals: Elena Dementieva bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 5-7, 6-2, 6-2; Lindsay Davenport bt Nadia Petrova 6-1, 6-1; Venus Williams bt Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-1; Serena Williams bt Vera Zvonareva 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. — Agencies

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