- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 16, 2008

Viktor Troicki shocked top-seed Andy Roddick in a rain-soaked, 1 hour, 41 minute match at William G. FitzGerald Tennis Center to advance to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic semifinals Friday.

“I was believing that I could win,” said Troicki, who toppled the three-time Legg Mason winner 0-6, 6-2, 6-4. “I know that I can play good and compete against the best players.”

After a close call Thursday night against Eduardo Schwank, Roddick again let a lesser opponent test him. Roddick commanded play in the first set, but Troicki couldn’t miss late in the match, spraying forehands across the court and pumping his fist with confidence.

Troicki said the tide turned in the second set, when he broke Roddick twice and regained command of his serve.

“I can beat pretty much anyone if I serve good,” Troicki said.

After recording only two aces in the first set, Troicki recorded five in the second and won 89 percent of his service points in the final set.

“He played really well in the third set, he deserved to win that one,” Roddick said “I just have to bear down when I am cruising.”

Perhaps he should consult Juan Martin del Potro, who scalded John Isner 6-4, 6-4 Friday.

“I mean, the guy is 20 in the world or something but he’s playing like he’s top 10,” Isner said. “You don’t beat guys like that everyday.”

After his victory over Donald Young on Wednesday, Isner said unless he played his best tennis, he “didn’t have a shot” at beating del Potro, who’s riding a 17-match win streak. Isner began the match with a 115 mph ace and took the first game, so the former NCAA All-American appeared up to the task. But Isner lost control of his forehand and broke down on big points throughout the first set - a troublesome pattern that would plague him throughout the match - and allowed del Potro to rally. Back and forth they battled through the first set, but Isner squandered an opportunity to break del Potro and saw the first set slip out of his grasp.

The second set saw more see-saw action as the two took turns rifling shots at one another and charging the net. Del Potro’s solid return game proved the difference, as he tamed Isner’s screaming serve - Isner had only seven aces after recording 17 against Young Wednesday night - and forced his opponent off his game. Shaken, Isner missed two easy forehands and allowed del Potro to break him again. A light drizzle stopped play for 27 minutes, but the afternoon shower didn’t extinguish del Potro. Up 5-4, del Potro aced Isner to seal the match.

“I beat very good players,” said del Potro, who has captured titles at his last three ATP events and has 26 wins on the year. “I am playing very good and I am proud about my game so I have a lot of confidence.”

He now finds himself staring down fourth-seeded Tommy Haas, who aced Colombian upstart Alejandro Falla eight times in his quarterfinals win.

“He seems like the man to beat right now,” Haas said when asked about his upcoming clash with del Potro. “A guy that has a lot of confidence is always tough to track down.”

In the other semifinal, Troicki will meet Igor Kunitsyn, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over Somdev Devvarman in the final quarterfinal last night.

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