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  • Roddick edges Ram, Lacko upsets Hewitt

    7/23/10 3:45 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Roddick edges Ram, Lacko upsets Hewitt Andy Roddick advances to the Atlanta quarterfinals on Thursday, ousting Rajeev Ram in three sets. Lleyton Hewitt is not as fortunate, however, as the No. 3 seed goes down to Lukas Lacko.

    Andy Roddick survived a minor scare in his Atlanta Tennis Championships opener on Thursday, getting past Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-7(1), 6-3 in one hour and 56 minutes. Roddick finished with 15 aces and never dropped serve on his way to the quarterfinals.

    After easing through the first set, however, the No. 1 seed ran into serious difficulty. Ram raised his level considerably in the second and faced no break points en route to a tiebreaker. The world No. 149 seized an immediate mini-break for 2-0 and raced through the 'breaker seven points to one.

    Ram almost took control of the match early in the third, but Roddick fought off two break points and survived multiple deuce games before earning a break of his own for a 4-2 lead. The ninth-ranked American soon served out the proceedings with ease at 5-2.

    "I've felt better during tennis matches," Roddick said. "He breaks in the first game in the third set and I think it's a long way back. I started sticking my returns a little bit more."

    Next up for Roddick is Xavier Malisse, who ousted Ilya Marchenko 6-3, 6-3. The Roddick-Malisse showdown will be a rematch of the 2001 Atlanta final, in which Roddick--on clay--captured his first ATP title.

    While Roddick managed to fend off an upset bid, Lleyton Hewitt failed to do the same in Thursday's nightcap. Lukas Lacko knocked off the No. 3 seed 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 24 minutes.

    A back-and-forth first set saw Lacko lead by a break at 3-1 only to give back a pair to trail 3-4. The 76th-ranked Slovakian then promptly broke back twice, winning the set with his third break of the night. From there it was all over for Hewitt, who collapsed in the second set and finished with seven double-faults and 38 percent serving.

    "It was not that good of a game," Lacko explained. "But the result is definitely one of the best of my career."

    Lacko will face Kevin Anderson in an all-unseeded semifinal. Anderson took out Atlanta resident Donald Young 7-5, 6-3.

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