With three wins at the Winston-Salem Open under his belt and with his confidence increasing daily, Andy Roddick is now ready for the US Open.
He proclaimed as much on Thursday afternoon after handily defeating Juan Monaco 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
Roddick will face fourth-seeded John Isner in Friday’s semifinals, and he said regardless of what happens he will go to New York in a good frame of mind.
"Regardless of what happens tomorrow, because you’re rolling the dice a little bit against John, I feel like I’ve gotten what I’ve needed out of this event," Roddick said. "I’m certainly looking forward to trying to take it two steps further. I would love to do that here in Winston-Salem. But if I can improve as much next week as I have from last week to this week, I’ll be in good shape for the Open.
"I’ve won three matches pretty handily against capable players, and gotten better each time. That’s what I wanted to do when I talked to you guys (media) at the beginning of the week, and I feel it’s gone true to form so far."
Roddick, the top seed, came to Winston-Salem after losing in the first round at Cincinnati last week, in his return to the ATP World Tour after missing five weeks with an abdominal strain.
He beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-4 in the second round, and Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-3 in the round of 16.
Against Monaco, the seventh seed, he was dominant from the start. He broke Monaco twice to open the match and pulled out to a commanding 5-0 lead. Then he got the break he needed in the second set at 4-4, and served out the match.
"I’ve won the first sets pretty handily this week," Roddick said. "I’ve been anxious to play. I’ve been ready to play. That sets the tone for the match. Then you kinda give yourself a good look in the second set, because he’s feeling the pressure. He kinda had one bad service game in the second set and his day was over."
Roddick knows that in taking on Isner, a Greensboro native, he’ll be going up against the hometown favorite. If the crowd turns out to be pro-Isner, that’s fine with him.
"Even if they’re behind him, I certainly understand," Roddick said. "I certainly appreciate the support I have gotten from this crowd for a long time. There’s only one local boy in the tournament, though."
Roddick owns a 3-1 edge over Isner in previous matches, including a 7-5, 6-2 win in Indian Wells earlier this year. Isner’s one win came in the 2009 US Open, when Isner won a fifth-set tiebreaker.
Roddick expects it to be a battle of big serves.
"I have a game plan, but it’s a lot tougher to execute," he said. "Lots of time it’s out of your hands. He can hit four aces in a game and you’ve done nothing wrong, and it’s your serve again. It is what it is. It’s completely different than the matches I’ve played so far. Last time I played him I went three for three on break points, and that doesn’t happen every time. I felt that was a bit of an aberration. It’s just whoever can scrape a return back on a big point and hope that something good happens. The biggest thing is you’ve just got to take care of your own serve."