From Steve Tignor's blog:
Keys to the Key
4. Andy Roddick:
Whatever happens against Federer, Roddick has been an entertaining presence in Miami. The man gets around. His relationship with Jimmy Connors ends one day, and the next he’s engaged to a model and playing cards with Terrell Owens, which has to constitute one of the cooler, and stranger, cross-sports friendships out there. For whatever reason, I like the fact that T.O. is following tennis.
5. As for Roddick's game
, I’ve seen more of it than anyone else’s this week. I’m struck again by his split-personality out there: Monster serve to start, then grinding small-ball the rest of the time. It works on slow hard courts, but why not on clay? I actually don’t think he generates enough pace with his forehand for clay. Andreev drove him into the ground from the baseline at the French Open last year.
What really wins Roddick matches, though, is attitude. He takes losing to lower-ranked or younger players as an affront to his position, his status, even his seniority. It may not be realistic—why shouldn’t his opponents try their best or get fired up against him?—but it’s effective.
6. Now Julien Benneteau is the opposite case
. He tried his best to project toughness and desire against Roddick on Tuesday night. It worked for a set and a half, but there was something a little staged and unconvincing about his fist pumps and “allez”’s—he snuck a few glances to see how Roddick was reacting to them. (You're not supposed to care, Julien; that's what being a badass is all about!) Sure enough, trying to hold at a crucial juncture late in the second set, he bailed out with a foolish, and hopeless, serve and volley. Roddick won that point and rolled from there. Proof again that self-belief can't be acted or even willed. It has to be earned first.
10. A friend and I assessed Roddick’s fiancée the other day.
“Is she that hot?”
“She has that kind of weird model’s face.”
“Yeah, and she’s almost too skinny.”
We looked at each other and smiled. Who were we kidding?
Almost in unison: “She’s hot.”
Yahoo Sports Blog
Andy Roddick's Big Week
Roddick-Federer among the best, worst of Sony
April 7, 2008
Great tournament, Butch Buchholz. But didn't we say that a year ago? And a few years before that? Maybe this offers up the appearance of shameless pandering, but the Lipton-Ericsson-Nasdaq-Sony Ericsson is a great 12 days, and so it deserves to win, once again, the Best of Show award for this fortnight.
Now, herewith, the rest of the post-tournament bon mots and boneheads.
Best match (men): Andy Roddick defeated Roger Federer in three sets in the quarters in a serving performance for the ages that paired so well with Federer's late-match collapse.
Worst match (men):
No. 1 U.S. prospect Sam Querrey went down without a break point 6-1, 6-2 to Tomas Berdych in the second round.
Best match (women):
Jelena Jankovic, not quite adjusted from her run at Indian Wells, fought off five match points to win an 11-9 third-set tiebreak in her opener.
Worst match (women):
Nathalie Dechy with a double-bagel over Japan's Aiko Nakamura.
Serena Williams got a 10.0 for form and damage after power-slamming her stick into the concrete at 5-3 in the third set against Jankovic. They're not making those Wilsons like they used to.
Mikhail Youzhny, who repeatedly whacked himself in the head until blood trickled down his face. The clip on You Tube has more than a half-million hits, not counting the hits on his head.
Emerging star (men):
Kevin Anderson, the 6-foot-7, 195-pound South African by way of the University of Illinois, took down defending champion Novak Djokovic in the second round — Djoko's opening match. Anderson reached the third round, where he lost in three sets to Igor Andreev.
Emerging star (women):
Caroline Wozniacki, 17, of Denmark. She'll reach No. 39 when the new rankings come out today after winning three rounds and losing to Venus Williams in the round of 16.
Best eyes (men):
Rafael Nadal, who issued nine challenges and was right seven times. That's 78 percent, well above the overall men's average of 38 percent.
Best eyes (women):
Svetlana Kuznetsova, who was right on five of eight challenges (63 percent). Overall women's average was 35 percent.
A farewell to arm:
Gustavo Kuerten, the three-time French Open champion, added another loss to his lineup of goodbye tour defeats. He hasn't won a match in 13 months and finally gets off the court after he goes down at the French Open.
No. 1 women's upset:
Lindsay Davenport stunned No. 2 Ana Ivanovic in the third round. The Old Lady is back and the young stars got the message.
No. 1 men's upset:
I'll take Anderson over Djokovic in a close call over the Roddick-Federer match.
Davenport's return to Key Biscayne after a four-year absence.
Biggest disappointments (men):
Djokovic and Richard Gasquet.
Biggest disappointments (women):
Justine Henin and Ivanovic.
Best shot: Roddick hustling after a volley from 5 feet wide of the doubles sideline to backhand the ball with his back to the net and caress a clean winner crosscourt vs. Viktor Troicki.
How the Yanks fared (men):
Eight Americans entered the quallies and three got through to the main draw — Bobby Reynolds, Ryan Sweeting and Sam Warburg. All three won a main-draw round. Roddick was the last Yank standing, reaching the semis.
How the Yanks fared (women):
Nine Americans entered qualifying and only Vania King got through. She lost in the first round of the main draw. Serena Williams is still standing after winning the tournament.
Bonehead play of the tournament: A tossup between Federer's three consecutive sloppy errors with the Roddick match on the line and Henin's three double-faults in the sixth game of her first set with Serena Williams.
And, finally: Someone tell the ATP and WTA to reduce these draws to 64. With 96, 16 players on each side get seeded 17 through 32. Twenty-one of them were beaten by unseeded players by the third round, and those unseeded players didn't get byes. The 17s through 32s did, and didn't deserve it.
Adding some photos and a new article.
Despite losing streak, Roddick never stopped believing in himself
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. -- It must be love, because most women would not permit themselves to be wrapped in the kind of big, sweaty, clothes-rumpling hug Andy Roddick gave his new fiancée, Brooklyn Decker, on the patio of the players' lounge after he beat Roger Federer for only the second time in 17 aggravating attempts.
"I guess all I had to do was be engaged," he said.
Well, yes. Along with serving exceptionally, and playing clean tennis, and not letting Federer's absurdly good stuff-it-down-your-throat passing shots rent too much space in his head, and converting on the one precious break point Federer offered him.
Roddick's game gives him little margin for error against Federer. He's left everything on the court against the world No. 1 with nothing to show for it on a few occasions. His burdensome 11-match losing streak dated back to 2003; he hadn't taken a set from Federer since late 2006.
No wonder he bent over, drenched in perspiration and relief, after getting the best of Federer 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 in the Sony Ericsson Open quarterfinals. The win snapped a stretch that encompassed some of Roddick's most heartbreaking losses, including finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
When Roddick straightened up, he let his face relax into a wide, easy grin that was reminiscent of the years when he first blasted onto the scene with his nuclear serve. Traces of that hyperkinetic kid remain in Roddick, but he's 25 now and has the perspective athletes gain only after they've run headlong into a few walls. He exuded more quiet satisfaction than wild emotion afterward.
"That's what you wake up for," he said. "That's what you go to the practice court for. You can have the low moments, but those kind of -- those 10, 15 seconds after a big win probably make up for a lot of bad days."
But, he cautioned, "I'm not going to sit here and act like all of a sudden I've fixed the problem. I think I'm batting 2-for-16. Still pretty crappy; it's a little less crappy."
Federer implied that Roddick was due to beat him this time.
"I didn't make it tough enough for him to come up with good shots," said Federer, whose serve lacked its usual pinpoint efficacy, and who shanked two backhands serving at 3-4 in the third set, then swatted a ball into the net to yield the break point that turned things in Roddick's direction with shocking swiftness. "I missed too many, and I think that was the disappointing part about the match today.
"Sometimes the opponent plays well and puts you under pressure. That's why I always said it's tough to play against Andy, you know, that serve. He's always going to have a chance. That's why I'm quite amazed about my record against him."
Yet this result should be seen through a wide-format lens instead of an isolation camera. Roddick has been stacking up the building blocks in the two months since his disappointingly early exit from the Australian Open.
He won a warmup title in San Jose before blitzing through the draw in Dubai, toppling No. 2 Rafael Nadal -- a potential finals opponent here -- and No. 3 Novak Djokovic. He could hit for the cycle Friday if he knocks off No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, who is winless against him in five tries.
It also should be noted that Roddick is 9-1 since what he describes as a cordial split with ubercoach Jimmy Connors in February, with the only blemish a loss to Tommy Haas at Indian Wells. Even that blow was softened somewhat when his close buddy Mardy Fish took out Federer in the semifinals. Roddick had just come off the practice court when he heard the news, and went out for an extra run, charged up with vicarious adrenaline.
Some players would need time to recover from any kind of coaching change. But Roddick has continuity in the form of his brother John, a "court rat," in Andy's words, who has continued his scouting, counsel and general support even as reporters focused on Connors' glitzy presence.
"I think he always believed that, maybe more so than me at times, that [beating Federer] would happen," Roddick said.
John Roddick returned the compliment, giving Andy all the credit for his recent run, observing that his skin has grown thicker in the sometimes obscure crucible of Davis Cup. "He played well -- like a couple other times when he played against [Federer] and didn't win," the older brother said, leaning against a wall inside the stadium after the match.
"To take all the heat he's taken and respond and play some of his best tennis after Australia, when he was really down, sure I'm proud."
The trick now, with the dragon temporarily slain, is not to get so cranked up that he ignores the pesky Davydenko -- recent record notwithstanding. "He's a tough out," John Roddick said. "Look what he did to [Janko] Tipsarevic today -- Tipsarevic has been playing well. But Andy's traditionally handled that fairly well."
No sweat. Roddick admitted his hands were shaking when he first sat down after the match, but he settled down quickly when he walked into the locker room "and the guy said, 'You're playing at 7 o'clock tomorrow,'" Roddick said. One spell was broken Thursday night and the last thing he wants to happen is for Davydenko to wave the same wand 24 hours later.
3 pics from the Fed match and the rest from the Davydenko match.