August 7, 2005

Roddick defeats Blake for fourth title of the year

By Steve Ginsburg

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top seed Andy Roddick captured his
fourth title of the year on Sunday as he fired 18 aces to
defeat fellow American James Blake 7-5 6-3 in the final of the
$600,000 Washington Classic.

Roddick won 10 of 11 service games against Blake -- and 63
of 64 this week -- to give notice that he is ready to contend
for the upcoming U.S. Open championship.

Roddick, the 2001 champion here, took advantage of careless
service games by 25-year-old Blake late in each set to with the

The fifth-ranked Roddick, 23 later this month, broke
Blake's serve in the second game of the match to grab a quick
2-0 lead. But Blake returned the favor in the seventh game,
Roddick's first service loss of the week, and the two were back
on serve.

With Roddick leading 6-5 Blake played a loose service game
and when he punched an easy overhead beyond the baseline, the
first set was over.

In the second set Blake trailed 4-3 when he played an
error-prone service game to let Roddick break. Roddick then
closed out the match with an ace, his 67th this week in five

Roddick's powerful serve was the difference in the match.
In addition to the aces Roddick put pressure on Blake with
dozens of serves that he barely managed to reach.

Early last year Blake suffered a broken neck during
practice and then contracted a condition that hampered his
vision and caused facial paralysis.

The New York native, the 2003 Washington Classic champion,
saw his ranking fall off the charts but he should move up some
30 spots to about number 72. His career best ranking is 22,
achieved in 2003.