Andy Roddick stuns Rafael Nadal to reach Miami final
Andy Roddick made a stunning comeback to beat Rafael Nadal in Miami and make a second consecutive Masters Series final.
The American was outplayed for a set and a half but reeled off 11 straight points to level up the match and eventually triumph 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Roddick’s serve kept him in contention as Nadal was dominant from the back of the court in the first set and for seven games in the second. The Spaniard was hitting forehand winners from all over the court and passing Roddick at will when he ventured half-heartedly into the net.
The American did not hit a single winner off the forehand wing until the eighth game of the second set, but when he did it was decisive. At 30-0 up on Nadal’s serve he smashed a running forehand down the line and then followed that up with an inside out winner.
A bewildered Nadal quickly found himself in a deciding set with Roddick playing very aggressive tennis. The Spaniard managed to create a break point in the second game when Roddick netted a backhand but a couple of big serves put an end to any hope of a Spanish resurgence.
Then in the following game the American played the point of the match to create an opportunity to break. After digging out a superb defensive lob to get himself back in the rally, Roddick hit a perfect forehand lob off a less than decisive backhand volley from Nadal, whose subsequent between the legs effort flew long. The world number four then netted a forehand to give Roddick the break.
This prompted bizarre and almost unheard-of outburst from the Spaniard, who threw his racket down and shouted his disgust to the empty court at the changeover.
Nevertheless, it looked like world number four might mount a comeback in the eighth game, when Roddick wobbled on his serve, dumping a clinical volley in the net. But a backhand slice from the Nadal drifted limply into the net, prompting more racket slamming and ranting.
It was a decisive hold for American as the dogged Spanish fighter then disappeared with his tail between his legs. Serving to stay in the set, Nadal put a backhand volley in the net to give Roddick match point and concluded his demise with a forehand error.
“Anytime we got neutral [in the point] he was pushing me around,” Roddick said of the first set and a half.
“I knew I had to be more aggressive. My heavy forehand doesn’t work against him, so I had to hit it flatter, which is higher risk… I took really, really ridiculous cuts at a lot of forehands. They found the purple part [of the court].”
“The best thing I can think of is I rolled the dice a lot and came up Yahtzee a couple times.”
Nadal admitted to being shocked at Roddick’s very sudden turnaround. “Later in the second set Andy was serving well; I didn’t have a lot of chances on the return.
“He started to play more aggressive in the game where he broke me. It was a change, and it was surprise for me.”
The American now faces either Tomas Berdych or Robin Soderling in the final. He will be looking to go one better than he did in Indian Wells a fortnight ago, when he lost to veteran Ivan Ljubicic.