- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2005

A rested Andy Roddick seemed poised to make a run at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic after his second-round victory yesterday. Two hours later, his road to the final became a bit easier.

Roddick, the top seed at this week’s tournament, breezed past Giovanni Lapentti 6-3, 6-4 in muggy conditions at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Third-seeded Tim Henman followed him on stadium court, but South African Wesley Moodie stunned the Brit 7-6 (4), 7-5.

“I didn’t really play badly tonight but I ended up losing,” said Henman, who was in line to face Roddick in the semifinals. “That’s sometimes the way it goes.”

Roddick, who took last week off to prepare for the hardcourt season leading up to the U.S. Open, had his game in order despite the layoff. He dazzled fans with everything from his forehand to a well-placed drop shot to cap a long rally in the second set to a serve that registered as high as 149 mph.

It also was a contrast to his sluggish performance two weeks ago at Indianapolis, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Robby Ginepri. That came shortly after a grueling two-month stretch that included the French Open and Wimbledon.

“I felt like I was in control of everything I was doing out there,” said Roddick, who will meet either 14th-seeded Juan Ignacio Chela or wild card Brian Baker in the round of 16. “It didn’t feel like I was struggling at any point. I felt like I was putting the ball where I wanted to, so I’m cautiously optimistic.”

Both players efficiently held in the first seven games, with neither doing much with the other’s powerful serve. Roddick squandered a break point early in the eighth game, but earned another later in the game and belted a forehand winner to Lapentti’s left to go up 5-3.

Roddick delivered an ace at 30-15 of the next game, then closed out the set with a forehand. He broke Lapentti in the opening game of the second set before the two held serve the rest of the way.

“I thought it was a pretty good all-around performance,” said Roddick, who yielded only 10 points in 10 service games and was 74 percent on first serves. “He’s a little bit tough to play because he doesn’t give you a whole lot of rhythm. He serves big and the point is often done in the first couple of hits. But I felt good out there.”

Henman wasn’t upset with his performance, either, though he would have preferred staying longer at the event he won in 2003. Playing in his first tournament since Wimbledon, Henman dropped the first set tiebreaker, but quickly broke Moodie in the second set and eventually built a 4-2 lead. Moodie broke back, and earned three match points on Henman’s serve that were ultimately saved in the 10th game.

Two games later, the aggressive Moodie continued to push Henman, earning a 0-40 edge. Henman clawed back to 30-40, but his errant shot gave the 113th-ranked Moodie a spot in the third round.

“I don’t think there was an easy shot I missed to win the match,” Moodie said. “I tried not to think about it too much. The pressure was on him to come out serving at 5-6, and I started serving very well at the end. I was a little worried at 30-40. I thought I was going to lose my shot there.”

Joining Henman as an upset victim was seventh-seeded Max Mirnyi, who fell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to 6-foot-10 Croatian Ivo Karlovic.

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