Roddick serve sees off dogged Hewitt
Andy Roddick was made to work for his place in the semi-finals of the Morgan Keegan Championships, needing three sets to see off the challenge of Leyton Hewitt in Memphis.
Roddick, who is going for his third victory in the competition, was broken in his very first service game as the first set got away from him, but fired 21 aces over the course of the match as his touch quickly returned to him - eventually winning through 4-6 6-3 6-4.
"He was playing better early on," Roddick said. "He just keeps plugging away. He definitely makes you earn it if you want to get a win.
"A match can turn quickly, and it did tonight in the third set. The end of the second set and the third set was probably the best I've played in this tournament so far."
Roddick will now face Juan Martin Del Potro in the semi-finals, after the Argentine disposed of qualifier Michael Russell in relatively comfortable fashion, 6-4 6-2.
The other semi-final will involve last week's winner in San Jose, Milos Raonic, and American Mardy Fish. Raonic was pushed all the way in his 6-4 3-6 6-3 victory over qualifier Robert Kendrick, while Fish dumped out defending champion Sam Querrey 6-3 6-4 after Querrey gave away a crucial break in the second set after double-faulting.
Elsewhere, Robin Soderling produced a supreme display to beat last year's runner-up Michael Llodra 6-1 6-4 in the quarter finals of the Open 13.
Llodra has a superb record in the tournament, having won 11 of his previous 12 matches in Marseille, but he came up against the Swede at the top of his game.
Soderling was imperious in the first set, as he broke serve on the two occasions he fashioned break points. Llodra improved in the second set but he was up against a player who dropped just one point behind his serve in the second set, powering down six aces. And the pressure eventually told on Llodra who slipped to defeat in little over an hour.
Soderling will face Dmitry Tursunov, who powered through the final set to beat fourth seed Jurgen Melzer 6-4 2-6 6-1.
The home crowd were dealt a further blow following Llodra's defeat, as Mikhail Youzhny withstood a fightback from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to claim a 6-4 2-6 6-4 win.
Marin Cilic's fine run in Marseille continued as he proved far too good for No. 2 seed Tomas Berdych, running out a 6-3 6-4 winner.
World No. 28 Cilic had never before beaten Berdych in two attempts, but rectified that stat in superb style. Berdych, who was forced to withdraw in Rotterdam on account of illness, did not look entirely at ease.
Berdych powered down eight aces in the match, but that did not aid him in any way as Cilic got a handle on his serve from early in the match and broke on three occasions to close out victory in an hour and 22 minutes.