Roddick weathers five-set match; Spaniard sweeps away Safin

Saturday, June 25, 2005

WIMBLEDON, England -- The light was fading, the wind was swirling, and Andy Roddick was pacing behind the Centre Court baseline before the start of the fifth set, all too aware he had lost his past five matches of that length.

Determined to end that drought, he decided a change in tactics was in order. He began charging to the net more, and thanks in part to one picture-perfect diving volley, the second-seeded Roddick pulled out a 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 6-3 victory over Daniele Bracciali on Friday to reach the third round at Wimbledon.

"I wanted to prove something out there today, for sure. There was definitely a chip on my shoulder," Roddick said. "It was big to get through. It would have been a devastating loss."

Australian Open champion Marat Safin did taste defeat Friday, but he didn't sound all that disappointed at being on the wrong end of a 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-3 score against No. 26 Feliciano Lopez of Spain in a third-round match.

"I'm satisfied. I found my game on grass. I have nothing to complain about," said Safin, who changed his tune after vowing to quit trying to succeed on the surface after last year's first-round exit at the All England Club.

Lopez, into Wimbledon's round of 16 for the third time in four years, next faces 2004 semifinalist Mario Ancic. Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 champion, will play No. 24 Taylor Dent of the United States in the fourth round. Hewitt beat Justin Gimelstob 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-5, while Dent was a 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3 winner over Tomas Berdych, the Czech who upset Roger Federer at the Athens Olympics.

Federer, the two-time defending Wimbledon champion, and No. 1 Lindsay Davenport were among the players whose matches didn't start Friday because of rain. Before the tournament's first patch of bad weather, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo beat Shenay Perry of the United States 6-0, 6-2, and four Russians made the round of 16: U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, two-time major finalist Elena Dementieva, and No. 13 Elena Likhovtseva.

Roddick's match was suspended by darkness Thursday night, right after the third set, which angered Bracciali. And it was halted for 33 minutes Friday by rain.

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