Vol. 4 Num 77 Tue. August 12, 2003  

Fast & furious Roddick

Andy Roddick tips himself as a title contender at this month's US Open after defying a rain interruption on the way to a 6-1, 6-3 triumph over David Nalbandian in the final of the 2.45-million-dollar Masters Series Sunday.

It took 56 minutes of work on court for the 20-year-old to lift his fourth title from seven tournaments.

Roddick also moved up to second alongside Spain's French Open and Monte Carlo champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in match wins this season on 49. Wimbledon winner Roger Federer, who beat Roddick in the semifinals on grass, leads the table with 57 victories.

"I'm a favorite," Roddick said of his hopes for Flushing Meadows, which begins in a fortnight. "Winning four out of seven titles was something I never thought I'd do.

"To win two titles before the Open and have match point in the match you lost, I'm feeling pretty good about my game."

But he warned: "On the day the Open starts, no other results matter."

Roddick, the sixth seed, and Nalbandian, Argentina's 2002 Wimbledon finalist, had to wait for 90 minutes to get onto court after a morning of storms in Quebec.

After the delayed start of play at Jarry Park, Roddick, got straight down to business, grabbing control of the first set and winning it On his second opportunity after double-faulting away the first. It took just 26 minutes.

Roddick, who flew via private jet to Cincinnati for a reunion with his Florida-based family prior to next week's Masters Series, had to endure another weather setback.

That one lasted an hour and came as the American led a set and 4-2 with Nalbandian complaining of slippery lines. That forced the contest off court for drying which took another hour.

The second match delay only postponed the inevitable as Roddick returned to repeat the victory he took over Nalbandian at the Canadian event last year in the quarterfinals.

Roddick spent just a few more minutes in clinching the title, improving his Canadian match record to 14-2.

The American struck six aces and broke Nalbandian five times. The Argentine produced 27 unforced errors.

"I tried to keep going. I thought we needed to stop in the second set, it was getting too slippery," said the South American.

"I didn't play my best tennis, I couldn't get my game going, it didn't work too well today."

Roddick won 400,000 dollars and a skydiving bet with new coach Brad Gilbert, who now has to jump out of a plane. Roddick has done that four times -- Gilbert is afraid of heights.

"Brad's scared to look off a second-floor balcony," said Roddick.

"This should be fun -- he might mess his pants."

Roddick's other titles in 2003 have come at St. Poelten, Austria, Queen's and Indianapolis.

"I feel excited, this is my first Masters title," said the winner.

"I played well this week -- it's pretty simple." Despite the one-way scoreline, Roddick added: "It never feels easy."

Nalbandian, without a title this season, is the fourth consecutive unseeded player to reach a Canadian final after compatriot Guillermo Canas last year -- who beat Roddick for the title -- Romanian Andrei Pavel in 2001 and Israeli Harel Levy, a 2000 finalist against Marat Safin.