- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ivo Karlovic achieved something in the Legg Mason Classic quarterfinals that he had never done before: win a game on Andy Roddick’s serve. Karlovic actually managed to break Roddick twice Friday night.

It still wasn’t enough to defeat the No. 5 player in the world, who pulled out a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory to propel himself into the semifinals. Roddick has yet to drop a set in his first tournament since losing the Wimbledon final, recovering from 4-1 and 2-0 deficits against Karlovic to keep that streak alive.

“Going down an early break against Karlovic is a recipe for disaster,” Roddick said. “I feel fortunate to get out of it one time - much less two.”

Even though Karlovic had a bigger problem with his accuracy than Roddick, the 30-year-old Croatian was encouraged with his performance.

“I was close even though my serve percentage was low,” he said. “I was playing aggressive, and I returned well.”

Getting more opportunities against Karlovic’s second serve was a relief for Roddick. He won more than half the points on it.

“You’re at his mercy on his first serve,” Roddick said. “You’re just reacting and trying to put it anywhere in the court.”

Roddick and Karlovic have gone to a tiebreak in eight straight sets against each other. Though Roddick has won the past six of those - and five of six matches total - Karlovic believes he has merely been unfortunate in the tiebreaks.

“Luck - simple as that,” he said.

Soderling withdraws

After facing stiff challenges in each of his first two matches, defending champion Juan Martin del Potro won in a walkover against Robin Soderling. A right elbow injury caused discomfort during Soderling’s practice session Friday morning.

The No. 5 seed has been bothered by elbow problems for a couple of weeks.

“I am very disappointed,” Soderling said. “I have been feeling some pain in my right elbow since a couple weeks. I played a very long match [Thursday] night, and when I woke up this morning, my elbow was really sore.”

An MRI was scheduled for Soderling’s elbow later Friday as a precautionary measure. If there is not extensive damage, he hopes to play at least one more event before the U.S. Open.

Not having to play Friday should help del Potro the rest of the way. He had to battle back from a one-set deficit to beat Lleyton Hewitt and Yen-Hsun Lu in the previous two rounds.

“I had a very long match against Hewitt, so this day off will help me to recover better for my semifinal match,” Del Potro said.

His next opponent is fourth-seeded Fernando Gonzalez, who defeated Tommy Haas in straight sets in the day’s first match. Gonzalez is 3-0 lifetime against del Potro, though they have not met in two years.

Isner pulls upset

Former University of Georgia star John Isner became the only unseeded player to reach the semifinals when he held on to beat eighth-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-7 (10), 6-2.

In the final match of the night, Isner lost the second-set tiebreak with a chance to finish off Berdych, but he rebounded in the third to set up a matchup with Roddick.

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