• Stepanek on fire, into Memphis final

    2/22/09 5:23 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Stepanek on fire, into Memphis final Radek Stepanek destroys Dudi Sela in the semifinals of the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships on Saturday afternoon. Stepanek will now play for his third title of this young season.

    Saturday afternoon in Memphis confirmed that Radek Stepanek is the hottest player on the ATP Tour right now.

    Stepanek, who hoisted the San Jose trophy last week and already has two titles this season, crushed Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-1 in 57 minutes to reach the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships final. Top seeded Andy Roddick will meet Stepanek on Sunday.

    Sela, who had to qualify just to get into the main draw, stayed on serve until 2-2 in the first set. When Stepanek broke for 3-2, however, it was all downhill for the 5'9'' Israeli after that. Stepanek, who lost a mere four points in four service games, broke again at 5-3 to take a one-set advantage.

    The fourth-seeded Czech continued to put pressure on his opponent throughout set two. Sela played well in three main-draw wins when he was allowed to slug it out in baseline rallies with Bobby Reynolds, Florent Serra, and Igor Kunitsyn, but Stepanek's aggressive style and net-rushing took him off his game. Once again Stepanek dropped only four points in four service games and used two more breaks to dominated the second frame of play.

    "I knew going in that Dudi was not a big server and I wanted to be aggressive," said the winner. "I did that pretty well today and it's always enjoyable when you win. Every match I'm feeling good and hope to get another title tomorrow."

    Stepanek needed just 57 minutes to set up a Sunday showdown with Roddick. The two finalists also battled just last week in San Jose, where Stepanek prevailed in a three-set semifinal encounter. Overall, however, Roddick leads the head-to-head series 4-1.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
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