Lawn Tennis
Rafael Nadal Powers Into London Final
By Ken Miller, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2008 9:58am CST USA
Rafael Nadal Powers Into London Final, Andy Roddick
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
LONDON, England (—Saturday at the Artois Championships in the semifinals, world number two Rafael Nadal of Spain defeated world number six Andy Roddick 7-5, 6-4 in a striking display of power tennis. Roddick was the defending champion and had won the title four of the past five years, but was no match for Nadal today.

Nadal roared to a 6-5 set one lead before facing three breakpoints on his serve.

Nadal has won his last 14 matches in a row.

However a Roddick backhand long and an ace out wide set Nadal up for set point. A forehand dropshot winner on set point sealed the set for Nadal 7-5.

In set two Nadal executed more of the same gameplan: a big, attacking baseline game anchored by an overpowering lefty serve to the backhand. Roddick oftentimes found himself on the defense several feet behind the baseline.

Four quick holds of service placed the score at 2-2 with Roddick serving. Down 15-40, an ace down the tee from Roddick drew the score to 30-40. At which point Nadal ran down an aggressive Roddick down the line forehand, sliced it back and watched as Roddick floated a forehand long.

With the Roddick forehand error, Nadal broke serve to reach 3-2. Several extremely angled forehand crosscourt winners from Nadal put him up another hold of service and 4-2.

Roddick posted a 40-0 lead in his next service game after making a backhand volley winner. Always the entertainer, Roddick raised both arms and blew a kiss to the crowd in a mock celebration as he reached 4-3.

Nadal only steamrolled in the next game however as he hit two forehand down the line winners, an ace out wide and a backhand crosscourt winner to hold serve to reach 5-3. Roddick then held serve to draw to 5-4 after two groundstroke forced errors from Nadal.

In the final game of the match, an overhead winner put Nadal at 15-0. Two netted Roddick backhands set up matchpoint. Nadal would make no mistake as he closed out the match 7-5, 6-4 on his first matchpoint with a final forehand crosscourt winner.

Nadal has won his last 14 matches in a row and faces 2nd seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia or 4th seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina in Sunday's final.

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