Andy Roddick will get a shot at the AEGON International men’s singles title after securing his place in the final when Steve Darcis retired injured during their semi-final clash.
The three-time Wimbledon finalist was leading the match by a set and a break and looked good to record his 600th professional career win when Darcis threw in the towel suffering from a back problem.
It’s the second time this week that Roddick has been gifted a place in the next round after his opening match also ended abruptly after Sam Querrey picked up a strain.
Take nothing away from the American though, for he was dominating the semi-final contest up until that point, despite it being his second match of the day.
He’d been tested to the limits by Fabio Fognini in their quarter-final meeting this morning after yesterday’s rain forced the postponement, eventually winning in three sets after an hour delay and a court change.
After only a short break, he stepped back out onto court again, this time faced with the challenge of world number 72 Darcis who had seen off Marcos Baghdatis in the second round.
The Belgian, who had also played this morning albeit in less disruptive circumstances than his American opponent, failed to get into gear in the semi-final, losing two of his service games in quick succession to see Roddick take the opener 6-3.
Roddick then took the first two games of the next set and was holding a 3-1 advantage when Darcis felt he couldn’t continue and surrendered the match.
He’d had a physio on court prior to his decision but didn’t feel up to the fight-back required if he was to proceed to the final.
Instead, Roddick got off court a lot earlier than planned and will no doubt enjoy the rest before his final with either Andreas Seppi or Ryan Harrison tomorrow.
Speaking after his win, he said, “I can’t remember as tough conditions that I’ve played in - the wind out there was frightening. I think it was less about tennis today and more about just getting through it.
“It’s been a frustrating day, yeah, but it’s rewarding too. The court change… Well, what can you do? I just feel bad we kicked the juniors off their court in the third set!”
About the final, he said. “Seppi and Ryan would provide very different matches for me. Seppi and I respect each other and I’m sure he’s a nice guy but I don’t know him that well.
“On the other hand, Ryan and I train together in Austin. I feel like a lot of the decisions he’s made in his career, I’ve had a part in and I know his game very well. His coach is my golfing buddy back in Austin too, so yeah, the two would be very different matches for me.
“You go into tournaments with a perfect scenario, a perfect script and 90% of the time in sports they don’t come off, but here I’m getting the wins and the confidence on a surface I’m very comfortable on.”