Indian Wells Flashback: Rafael Nadal edges Andy Roddick and reaches final



by JOVICA ILIC

Indian Wells Flashback: Rafael Nadal edges Andy Roddick and reaches final

Rafael Nadal advanced to his second Indian Wells final in 2009 following the semi-final victory over Andy Roddick. Nadal claimed his first Australian Open title at the beginning of the season and reached his fourth consecutive semi-final in the desert in March.

Rafa battled past David Nalbandian in the fourth round, delivering a bagel in the decider and setting the clash against another Argentine. The Spaniard took down Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets to move into the semi-final and arrange the meeting with Andy Roddick.

Rafa prevailed 6-4, 7-6 in an hour and 50 minutes for his fifth triumph in seven encounters against the American. Also, he reached his second title match in the desert in the last three years. Nadal won five points more than Roddick, playing better on the second serve and fending off three out of five break chances.

World no. 1 earned three breaks of serve to seal the deal in straight sets and remain on the title course.

Rafael Nadal defeated Andy Roddick in the 2009 Indian Wells semi-final.

The 2007 champion had 29 winners and 24 unforced errors, reducing Andy to nine aces and taking the upper hand on the rival's second serve that forged his victory.

Roddick held in the encounter's first game with a service winner and created a break chance in game two. Nadal denied it with a service winner and brought the game home to avoid an early setback. The American blasted an ace in the third game for a hold at love, and the Spaniard followed that in the next one to lock the result at 2-2.

Both players held easily in games five and six before Rafa drew first blood with a break at 15 at 3-3. Nadal held with a service winner in game eight to move 5-3 up and force Roddick to serve to stay in the set. Andy brought the ninth game home at love to prolong the action before Rafa wrapped up the set with four winners in the next one for 6-4 in 40 minutes.

Nadal stayed focused and grabbed a break at 1-1 in the second set to move closer to the finish line. However, Roddick pulled the break back in the next one to return to the positive side and bring more drama. Facing the ultimate challenge in game seven, Andy fended off three break chances with powerful hitting.

However, Rafa seized the fourth with a backhand down the line winner to take a big step toward the finish line. Nadal denied two break points in the eighth game and brought it home to open a 5-3 gap and force the opponent to serve to stay in the match.

Roddick held in the ninth game and broke back in the last moment at 4-5 thanks to Nadal's loose forehand to extend the encounter and his chances. Both players produced fine holds in games 11 and 12 to introduce a tie break.

Rafa grabbed two mini-breaks and opened a 5-2 gap with a volley and service winners. The Spaniard secured the triumph with two points on serve at 5-4 to advance into the final, his third of the season.

Indian Wells Rafael Nadal Andy Roddick