Record-chasing Roddick into semis at Queen`s

Andy Roddick kept his bid for a record fifth Queen`s title on course as the American raced into the semifinals with a victory over Fernando Verdasco.

London: Andy Roddick kept his bid for a record fifth Queen`s title on course as the American raced into the semifinals with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Spain`s Fernando Verdasco on Friday.

Since his last Queen`s triumph back in 2007, Roddick has been trying to break the record for most singles` titles at the Wimbledon warm-up event which he currently shares with six other players including John McEnroe, Boris Becker and Lleyton Hewitt.

Roddick remains in the running to secure that elusive fifth title thanks to a ruthless demolition of Verdasco in between rain delays in west London.

Next up for Roddick is Britain`s Andy Murray, who lost to the American in the 2009 Wimbledon semifinals.

Roddick`s wealth of grass-court experience and a dominant record of nine wins in his previous 12 meetings with Verdasco meant it was little surprise to see the third seed stamp his authority on the match early on.

Rain delayed play by 90 minutes but Roddick clearly wasn`t perturbed by the later than expected start. He was quickly into his stride and broke for a 2-1 lead.

Finally feeling close to 100 percent after a shoulder injury forced him to miss the French Open, Roddick was able to cement his advantage with some thunderous serves.

Verdasco couldn`t stem the tide and the seventh seed conceded another break that effectively ended the first set.

The difference in class on grass was clear to see as Roddick broke again early in the second set before more rain forced another break with the three-time Wimbledon finalist leading 3-1.

The interruption had no negative effect on Roddick and he returned to break again before serving out the match with ease.

Meanwhile, Murray reached the semifinals after his last-eight opponent Marin Cilic was forced out by injury.
World number four Murray has been struggling with ankle ligament damage since the French Open, but it was Croatia`s Cilic who was unable to recover from his own ankle injury just hours before the start of their match.

Murray could be joined in the semifinals by compatriot James Ward as the British wildcard ended Sam Querrey`s reign as the king of Queen`s.

Ward, ranked 216th, won the final set of their rain-delayed third-round match to clinch a shock 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.

He had just levelled the tie at one set all in the gloom on Thursday when play was suspended due to bad light.

A tight deciding set swung Ward`s way when he broke the American 13th seed in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead.

Ward, who revealed after his surprise win over Swiss fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka in the second round that he is trained by a former cage fighter, just had to hold serve twice to complete his latest giant-killing.

Querrey staved off one match point and then had a break point of his own, but Ward kept cool to earn a second match point, which he converted to the delight of the crowd.
There was little time for Ward to celebrate one of the best results of his career, however, as the son of a London taxi driver was due to return to action for his quarterfinal clash with France`s Adrian Mannarino later on Friday.

Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski were the last British players to reach the last eight in the same year, in 2001.

Ward, 24, said: "It has been unbelievable. The last two matches have been the best two wins of my career so far. You have got to be pleased with that."

Bureau Report

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