Sunday, August 3, 2003

Roddick steams; Henman wins

Clijsters ousts Davenport in Acura semifinal

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Andy Roddick lost his composure, a match point and, eventually, his semifinal against Tim Henman.

Roddick's eight-match winning streak ended with a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (1) defeat at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic Saturday to Henman, who reached his first final of the year.

"It's just a matter of time before he starts playing good tennis again," Roddick said. "He knows how to win tennis matches."

Henman, 1-4 on hard courts in 2003 before this week, will face the winner of the night match between five-time champion Andre Agassi and Fernando Gonzalez today for the title.

Roddick breezed through the first set in 24 minutes, facing just one break point. It looked for a while as if the only time the No. 10-seeded Henman would be a threat was when he hit a close-range forehand that forced Roddick to duck behind the net.

"I didn't make the best of starts and against someone of Andy's style it's really important that you concentrate on your own style," Henman said. "When I lost the first set, I wasn't unduly concerned. I knew that I had to dig my heels in, raise my game, and that's pretty much what I did."

No. 2 Roddick wasn't as in control in the second set.

Henman broke to take a 3-1 lead in the second set with a forehand return winner that Roddick thought landed out. Angry at the ruling, Roddick swatted a ball that landed in the upper deck, three rows from the top of the stadium.

In the third set, Roddick lost just five points on his serve but failed to take advantage of his lone break chance - a match point when he was up 5-4 with Henman serving - by sending a forehand passing try into the net.

Roddick took the first point of the tiebreaker with an ace, then proceeded to lose the last seven points of the match.

ACURA CLASSIC: Kim Clijsters defeated Lindsay Davenport 6-3, 6-3 in a semifinal match at Carlsbad, Calif., to move one victory from her second straight hard-court title.

Clijsters hasn't lost a set in four matches en route to the final, and none lasted more than an hour. She leads the WTA Tour with five titles.

The Belgian will face countrywoman Justine Henin-Hardenne or unseeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in today's final.

"I feel like I'm reading the game very well," Clijsters said. "I already know where my opponent is going to hit the ball before it's hit."

She has won three straight matches against three-time major champion Davenport to even their career series record at 6-6.

In the second set Saturday, Clijsters won 12 straight points to take a 3-1 lead. Davenport made it 3-3, though, thanks to her only service break of the match.

But then Clijsters broke Davenport's serve on the way to winning the final three games.

Davenport "tried to serve and volley a little, tried to keep the rallies shorter," Clijsters said. "Those are signs that she's not as comfortable out there."

Clijsters prevailed on her fifth match point, when Davenport hit a shot into the net. Earlier in the final game, Davenport had two of her six double-faults in the match.

"I felt OK. I just didn't come out with my 'A' game," Davenport said.

Effective from the baseline, Clijsters finished with 28 winners and 21 unforced errors. Davenport had 15 winners and 34 unforced errors.

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