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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cilic outlasts ailing Roddick in quarters

Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia Andy Roddick made a painful quarterfinal exit at the Australian Open today, playing with an injured shoulder for five sets before losing to Marin Cilic.

The 21-year-old Cilic, who ousted U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round, became the first Croatian man to reach an Australian Open semifinal with his 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3 win.

Roddick needed a medical timeout for treatment on his right shoulder after the first-set tiebreaker and needed more attention while losing the second set, but he rallied surprisingly to win the next two and force a fifth set.

The 27-year-old American told the trainer he hurt his shoulder late in his five-set quarterfinal win over 2007 Australian Open finalist Fernando Gonzalez and that, during the first set against Cilic, it was painful to serve and hit high forehands.

Cilic earned the pivotal service break at the start of the fifth set and held off Roddick, who has not come back from two sets down in a major since his semifinal win over David Nalbandian at the 2003 U.S. Open.

His exit at Melbourne continues a record drought for American men at the majors, extending beyond six years since Roddick's last title at the '03 U.S. Open.

Former No. 1-ranked Justine Henin reached the semifinals in her Grand Slam comeback, beating No. 19 Nadia Petrova, 7-6 (3), 7-5, to take out the last seeded player in her half of the draw.

Henin, unranked and playing on a wild-card entry at Melbourne Park, next will play Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie, who beat Russia's Maria Kirilenko, 6-1, 6-3, to equal her Chinese record for the best run at a major.

Henin went down a break in the second set before finding the range with her powerful groundstrokes and winning seven of the next nine games to finish off Petrova.

"I just went for it with my heart. Finally I could make it, and I'm very happy," Henin said. "At the end I played much more aggressive tennis. I didn't want to go to the tiebreaker. I wanted to close out the match."

Roger Federer and Serena Williams ended local hopes of breaking a three-decade drought at the Australian Open yesterday, the eve of the national holiday.

Federer beat former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 his 15th straight win over the Australian and defending champion Williams defeated No. 13 Samantha Stosur, 6-4, 6-2, in back-to-back fourth-round matches on Rod Laver Arena.

"It's important when you're playing a local girl to not let the crowd get too involved or else they'll kill you," Williams said.