Roddick reaches Dubai semis
The sixth seed will play Novak Djokovic after splitting with coach Jimmy Connors.
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2008 06:48 GMT

Andy Roddick showed that his split with coach Jimmy Connors wasn't going to affect his game [AFP]

Andy Roddick, tournament sixth seed, is through to the Dubai Championship semi-finals after a straight-sets 7-6, 6-2 victory over world number two Rafael Nadal, and will meet third seed Novak Djokovic in the last four.
Roddick, who has parted ways with coach Jimmy Connors, will take on Djokovic for a place in the final after the Serb made easy work of Russia's Igor Andreev in a 6-2, 6-1 thrashing.
The other semi-final will be between fifth seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who defeated Britain's Andy Murray 7-5, 6-4, and unseeded Spaniard Feliciano Lopez who upset compatriot and fourth seed David Ferrer 6-4, 6-3.

Roddick and Nadal both saved numerous break points in their opening set, with the American eventually taking it in a tie-break which the Spaniard had led 3-0.

"I wasn't going to get better conditions for myself against Rafa."

Andy Roddick

The number six in the world surprisingly faced little resistance to win the second set, with a 241 kph ace setting up match point and yet another finishing the match.

"I felt I was getting the best of him throughout the set, and then all of a sudden I'm down 3-0 in the tiebreaker pretty quick and that was a little discouraging," Roddick said of the first set.

"It's a fast court, the crowd was really into it and the atmosphere was great. I wasn't going to get better conditions for myself against Rafa.

"I knew that and tried to take advantage."

Rafa under pressure

Nadal admitted that Roddick's powerful serve had put his own game under pressure.

"You feel a lot of pressure when you are serving because if you lose any serve, the way he was serving tonight it's tough," said Nadal.

"But in a way I am not disappointed with my game tonight. I didn't play badly."

Murray, who knocked out top seed Roger Federer in the first round, began brightly against Davydenko and had chances to win the first five games, but the Russian fought off a break point in the second game and another at 2-1.

The Russian earned a crucial break at 5-5 when Murray netted a double-handed backhand and went on to take the set 7-5.

In the second set the Scot had an opportunity to turn the match around, breaking to love as he raced to a 3-0 lead, but his advantage was short-lived as Davydenko broke back in the fifth game and once more to lead 4-3 on his way to victory.

Later, Djokovic needed just 56 minutes to defeat Andreev in straight-sets, winning the last five games of the first set and the final four games in the second.

Connors splits with Roddick

After his quarter-final triumph, Roddick spoke of his split with Connors, an eight-time grand slam champion, and said the pair still shared a friendship and respect for one another.

"Jimmy resigned, probably about a week ago," Roddick said.

"We're amicable, we're friends. I have so much respect for him as a person."

Andy Roddick

"I still have the utmost respect for Jimmy and thank him for his time. I think it was tough for him to do it part-time and maybe not getting exactly the results we wanted, but at the same time he was retired before we got together.

"We're amicable, we're friends. I have so much respect for him as a person."

Connors was the one who walked away from the partnership, but Roddick said he felt it was coming.

"I think we did the mentor role as well as you can from a distance. But when I'm going from Australia to Austria to California to Memphis to Dubai, it becomes difficult. It was a matter of logistics as anything," Roddick said.

"He ended it officially but it was something we both might have been feeling. It's tough to ask him to come on the road for two, three, four weeks at a time.

"He's got a great family and he likes walking his dogs every morning, and I'm keeping him away from the golf course a little too much.

"I'm sad about it, as much from a personal standpoint. I really enjoyed my time with him."

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