Roddick Derails Raonic Express in Memphis

by John on February 21, 2011

Top-seeded Andy Roddick outlasted Canadian upstart Milos Raonic 7-6 (7), 6-7 (11), 7-5 yesterday to win the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis for the third time. The win was Roddick’s 30th career title in 50 finals and ended the eight-match winning streak of one of the rising stars on the ATP Tour. “Winning tennis tournaments I don’t ever take for granted,” Roddick said. “I’ve won 30 of them now, but I think every one of them is just as exciting. I get just as much joy today as I did my first one.” The 20-year-old Raonic, in just his ninth tour-level main draw appearance, was looking to win his second title in as many weeks. Last week, Raonic defeated Fernando Verdasco in the final of the SAP Open in San Jose for his maiden tour championship, and edged the Spaniard again on Wednesday in a first-round encounter. With two of the biggest servers in the game going at it, the match figured a good bet to go to three tiebreakers. It almost did, but for a shot that Roddick called “the best shot I’ve ever hit in my life.” With Raonic serving at 30-40, 5-6 in the final set, the Canadian, in reply to a Roddick down-the-line backhand pass attempt, punched a solid forehand cross-court volley that appeared to be well beyond the American’s reach. Roddick sprinted across the court, chased it down, dove head first, and hit a stab forehand winner into the open court to end the match. “I don’t really remember much else besides the fact that I went for the ball, and I hit it,” Roddick said. Both players had their share of opportunities in the two tiebreakers. Roddick sealed the first set with his eighth ace of the match after saving two set points. In the second set, Raonic fought off elimination as he stared down three match points at 6-5, 8-7 and 10-9 and converted on his fourth set point of the tiebreaker. Roddick broke for a 3-1 lead in the final set and had two chances to go up 5-1, but the Canadian rallied to hold. Raonic broke in the next game to get back on serve and continued to scrap, saving a fourth match point at 4-5. “Congrats to Milos. Really, really impressive,” Roddick said at the trophy presentations. “Coming from an old guy who’s seen a lot of players, you have a very, very bright future and you have a lot to look forward to. I think I was very fortunate today. I feel I got outplayed for the better part of two and a half hours out here today.” Raonic pounded out 32 aces to 20 for Roddick. The difference, as minute as it might be, was Roddick winning 29 percent of his return points to 25 percent for Raonic. “It’s been unbelievable. It’s nice to pick up a first win last week,” Raonic said. ” And even here, the finals, not where I expected to be after last week.”


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