Roddick holds off No. 1 seed Isner

ATLANTA — Andy Roddick knows John Isner's serve is one of the toughest to face on the ATP World Tour.

To have a chance to beat Isner, Roddick had to protect his own serve.

"I did what I was supposed to," Roddick said. "You're not going to beat John if you get broken a lot. I was able to fight off a little bit of trouble early in the first set. I just competed well tonight."

Roddick, the No. 4 seed, beat top-seeded John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-4 in the semifinals of the Atlanta Open on Saturday night.

Roddick will play Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, who knocked off No. 8 Go Soeda of Japan 6-4, 6-3, for his 32nd ATP World Tour title today.

A victory over Muller would give Roddick his 32nd tour title and second in his past three events.

Isner was attempting to win his second straight event for the first time in his seven-year career, but fell short in Atlanta for the third straight year. He lost to Mardy Fish in the past two Atlanta finals.

"It's pretty disappointing," Isner said. "(Fish and Roddick are) good friends of mine. It's tough. I've always wanted to win this tournament, but it just wasn't to be. There's really no shame in losing to either of those guys. That's for sure."

Roddick, who has won nine of his past 10 matches, will team up with Isner as U.S. doubles partners when the Olympics begin next week at Wimbledon.

The first set was delayed 44 minutes after Isner took a 3-2 lead. When play resumed, Roddick won four of the next five games and took the set as Isner struggled with his forehand accuracy.

Despite ending the match with 26 aces and winning 81 percent of his first-serve points, Isner was out of sync with his returns. It's a label that's stuck with Isner during his seven-year career.

The 6-foot-9 Isner matched his fastest serve of the match, at 140 mph, late in the third, but his footwork looked sluggish as he moved side to side, and his forehand kept falling wide or into the net.

Mercury Insurance Open

At Carlsbad, Calif., top-seeded Marion Bartoli rebounded from a poor first set for a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory over qualifier Chan Yung-Jan that sent her to the finals of the Mercury Insurance Open.

Bartoli had 20 unforced errors and seven double-faults in the first set before she straightened out her game to win her third straight three-set match this week.

The Frenchwoman will face second-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, a 7-6 (8), 6-1 winner over Russia's Nadia Petrova in the other semifinal.

Bartoli had to overcome her inconsistent serve, which produced 14 double-faults after having 29 in her first two matches.

The combination of Chan's solid ground strokes and Bartoli's sporadic play made the first set a rout for the Taiwanese woman. But Bartoli began to play noticeably better in the second set and Chan became tentatively.

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