- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2001

Andy Roddick now is unquestionably the brightest young star in American tennis, a title Michael Chang held after becoming the first American of his generation to win a Grand Slam title in 1989.
Roddick, who will turn 19 in 12 days, has yet to win his first Grand Slam, but already he has captivated fans and players alike with his potential.
Players of the past and future will collide tonight when Roddick and the unseeded Chang, marking the farthest he has advanced in a tournament this year, face off following their victories in yesterday's quarterfinals at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Rock Creek Park.
Roddick, who advanced to his first quarterfinal at the Legg Mason last year, blasted the unseeded but dangerous Marcelo Rios 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour. Chang continued his remarkable run through the tournament by waxing No. 4 seed Fabrice Santoro 6-2, 6-4.
Top-seeded Andre Agassi's match against No. 12 seed Greg Rusedski, scheduled to start at 7 p.m., was pushed back to nearly 9:15 after a series of rainstorms hit the area. Sjeng Schalken of the Netherlands, the No. 10 seed, will face the Agassi/Rusedski winner in the other semifinal. Match times were not immediately available.
"It's pretty impressive to beat Rios like he did today, so it's going to be a heck of a tough match," Chang said. "I don't think I'll be expected to win, but hopefully I'll be fresh and try to play the best tennis I can play. At this point I have nothing to lose, so I'll go out and swing away."
In recent years, Chang has faded from the top of the rankings and struggled with injuries and other setbacks, and this year might be his worst yet. But he has paid no mind to his past stumbles in upsetting three seeded players this week.
Chang said he felt very relaxed entering the Legg Mason and in dismissing the wily Santoro yesterday, he displayed much patience and resiliency.
The 29-year-old Chang dominated the Spaniard, who possesses a seemingly endless arsenal of shots chock full of spins and tough angles. He cruised through the first set and led 5-1 in the second before Santoro rallied. Chang served for the match but actually faced a break point before rebounding to get to deuce and eventually win the deciding game.
"Had I lost that last game, the tide would have changed for sure," Chang said.
Chang admits he is in the twilight of his career and said this week that he plans to play only two more years because "we all age." He said he came into 2001 with high goals for himself, both in ranking and Grand Slam finishes, but overall it has been a tough year.
It sounds odd for the man with the third-most career titles among active players to say he has "nothing to lose" against Roddick, but perhaps that indicates the latter's rapid ascent more than Chang's dropoff. Roddick has played well the whole week, but he looked stronger last night.
In the latter stages of the second set, after he had seized control of the match, Roddick just oozed confidence; he walked purposefully and appeared very focused. He was taken to deuce twice on his serve but never faced a break point, dominating Rios with his serve. The Chilean showed little signs of threatening him.
The match was not as competitive as some expected, considering Rios took apart No. 2 seed Alex Corretja relatively easily Thursday and Roddick struggled in his second-round match.
"Today it was clean all the way through," said Roddick, who beat Rios earlier this year at the Ericsson Open. "Once I got that break in the second set, I was feeling pretty good."
After winning match point, Roddick reacted with only a subtle pump of his fist a slight reaction for a victory that put him in his fourth tournament semifinal of the year and less than he exhibited in earlier victories this week.
However, it was probably more an indication of the control Roddick knew he had in the match. After Roddick broke Rios early in each set, his potent service game ensured victory.
"His game is basically his serve," Rios said. "He has one of the best serves, and every time he hit it good, it was difficult to return. It's a different kind of serve. When he serves good, it's tough to beat him."
Roddick uncorked 10 aces and won three-quarters of the points on his serve. Now he must deal with Chang.
"It's going to be fun," said Roddick, who won an epic five-setter against Chang at the French Open this year. "I'm going to remember that match forever. It was pretty memorable."


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide