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Roddick leads U.S. to Cup semi-finals

Written by: Staff

RANCHO MIRAGE, Apr 10 (Reuters) Andy Roddick defeated Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-2 to guide the United States into the Davis Cup semi-finals with an unassailable 3-1 lead.

''I guess I'm at the right place at the right time,'' world number four Roddick told reporters yesterday. ''There's no better feeling than to win with all these fans cheering you on.'' The American refused to get overawed and served brilliantly throughout the contest and dominated from the net on the slick grass surface.

The contest turned at the end of the third set.

Roddick broke Gonzalez to lead 5-3 with a forehand volley winner, but the Chilean continued to push in the final game of the set, which was marred by controversy.

Gonzalez received three questionable calls during the game and each time threw his racket and argued with umpire Pascal Maria, but to no avail.

After Roddick won the set with a volley winner, Gonzalez broke his racket against the net post and received a code of conduct warning.

''It's really strange,'' Gonzalez said. ''I play nine sets, I play almost at least seven hours, and the same umpire didn't give me never an overrule, and he did it on really important moment for them, maybe twice.'' In the final set, Gonzalez, who needed more than four hours to upset Blake on Friday, lost nearly all his energy while Roddick upped his level of play.

After clinching the victory with a forehand volley winner, Roddick slid across the grass court in celebration.

''This has definitely been the best weekend for me so far [this year],'' said Roddick.

'' I've been looking for something good. Maybe this was it. I came up pretty big this weekend.'' Roddick played an impeccable match hitting 50 winners in the match including 14 aces and committing only 17 unforced errors to 22 from Gonzalez.

''I was shocked,'' Roddick said of his numbers. ''They said after the first two sets, when I still felt like I had my best stuff ahead of me, I was plus 21 in winners to errors. To hear I was plus 33, that's a lot better than I've been this year'' The U.S will meet Russia, who beat France, in the semi-finals in September.

Reuters VJ DB0737

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