Ljubicic Ekes Past Roddick to Win BNP Paribas Open

by John on March 22, 2010

Big-serving Ivan Ljubicic edged Andy Roddick 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5) yesterday afternoon to win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells and capture his first Masters Series title after three runner-up finishes. The victory capped off a career defining week for the No. 26-ranked Croatian, who posted upset wins over World No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the fourth round, No. 3 Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and then No. 8 Roddick in the final. “It’s been a fantastic week,” said Ljubicic, who also celebrated his 31st birthday on Friday.. Just a year ago, the Croatian had contemplated retirement after losing in the first round of five straight tournaments. “I had my problems, like everybody else,” he said. Now, with a Masters Series shield in hand, that’s all forgotten. “Looking at my career in general, I did feel like I was missing it,” Ljubicic said. “It’s really fantastic feeling to finally have it. It gives something special to your career.” Ljubicic set up his fourth match point with his 20th and final ace, then sealed the deal with a blistering first serve that Roddick couldn’t return. The match was a 2-hour and 7-minute serving clinic with no breaks of serve. Ljubicic won 87 percent of his first service points while Roddick cashed in on 84 percent of his. Roddick served up 12 aces. The big Croatian had 42 winners to 28 for Roddick, but committed more unforced errors, 29 to 16. Ljubicic put Roddick on the defensive as he took the early mini-breaks in each of the tiebreakers, and held on to edge the American both times. “It’s really a mind game,” Ljubicic said. “When you have two big serves, not a lot of rallies happening, it’s a very mental match. I was fortunate enough to be more relaxed by the end of the match.” The Croatian improved to 4-7 against Roddick, while winning his 10th career title. “I played well. I hit the ball real well, even today,” Roddick said. “I felt like I was winning my fair share of the rallies once we got into them. I just ran into a guy who served great on the big points. Unfortunately that’s probably the one thing I don’t have control over out there. Credit to him. He came up with massive, massive serves when he had to.”

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