Story last updated at 7:43 a.m. Monday,
September 27, 2004
finish off Belarus
Post and Courier Staff
balls toward either end of the net in between points, forcing the ball crew to
scramble. He drew a laugh from the crowd by faking a service toss. He tried to
smash a serve so hard that his racket slipped out of his hand, and then stabbed
at his opponent's return shot with a foot.
was clearly enjoying himself Sunday at the Family Circle Tennis Center. With the
United States' Davis Cup semifinal over Belarus
clinched the day before, his mood was light and loose. The world's No. 2-ranked
player toyed with both the crowd and 18-year-old Alexander Skrypko before
finishing off a 6-4, 6-2 victory that gave the Americans a 4-0 lead in the
That wound up
being the final score when rain clouds rolled over Daniel Island, washing out
Mardy Fish's singles match against 15-year-old Andrei Karatchenia with the
American ahead 3-0 in the first set. The rain did nothing to dampen what was a
spectacular three days for the Davis Cup, which drew 9,036 for Sunday's two
meaningless matches and 27,652 for the tournament.
captain Patrick McEnroe gave Roddick, now en route to an event in Thailand, the
opportunity to sit out Sunday's "dead rubber" against Skrypko, a freshman at
Southern Methodist University in Dallas. But Roddick felt the crowd deserved an
about it, but there was no reason for me not to play," said Roddick, who
improved to 14-3 in Davis Cup matches, good enough for 16th all-time among
Americans. "I'm going to be here anyway watching the guys, and Charleston
has been great for us so far. They've come out every day. Even today, it was a
packed house for what is essentially an exhibition. I felt I owed it to the fans
to go out there and give it a whirl."
came as no surprise to McEnroe. Roddick is passionate about Davis Cup, hosting a U.S.
team camp prior to the semifinal, and willing to adjust his schedule in any way
to be ready for the Americans' next step: the final Dec. 3-5 in Spain.
understands his position in the game, particularly in this country. We've had
tremendous support here from the fans, and he feels like he owes it to them come
out and play," McEnroe said.
"That's just a
great sign of someone who gets the bigger picture. A lot of times you're up 3-0,
and it's a little wind taken out of the sails. But he understands the bigger
picture, that people bought tickets and there are almost 10,000 people here. It
was still a great crowd here today. I think they get extremely excited to see
Andy, and Andy is obviously happy to play for them."
close early before Roddick got serious and pulled away. Roddick won 40 of 56
service points and slammed five aces, one clocked at 151 mph late in the final
set. Skrypko was a long way from SMU, where he went 21-5 last season.
"It was my
biggest game, in my opinion," said Skrypko, who won a Davis Cup match against
Wayne Black of Zimbabwe last year. "He's a very good player, and I was very
excited. I was a little bit nervous in some moments, but I need more experience
to play against players like this."