KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. - When Andy Roddick tried for an encore, Nikolay Davydenko stole the show.
Seeking a successful follow-up to his breakthrough victory over Roger Federer, Roddick instead lost to Davydenko, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, last night in the semifinals of the
Davydenko's opponent in tomorrow's final will be No. 2-seeded Rafael Nadal, who beat Tomas Berdych, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
Roddick was coming off an emotional win 24 hours earlier, when he ended his streak of 11 consecutive losses to Federer. But he was forced into grinding rallies by the fourth-seeded Davydenko, who chased down shots all over the court and served well, facing only one break point.
Standing 6 feet behind the baseline, the Russian began reading Roddick's booming serves well in the second set and rallied from a break down, winning the final five games.
Davydenko is the first Russian man to reach the Key Biscayne final.
Nadal needed seven set points to close out a 73-minute first set against Berdych, then pulled away. Nadal committed no unforced errors in the second set, won 16 of 17 points on his serve, and swept the final 12 points.
Nadal gleefully skipped at the net when he put away a volley to reach match point. He then hit a forehand winner and sank to his knees in jubilation.
In today's women's final, Serena Williams seeks her fifth Key Biscayne title and second in a row when she plays fourth-seeded Jelena Jankovic.
"I've played a great tournament," Williams said. "I'm just happy to be still in it and doing the best I can do. As long as I'm doing the right thing on the court, I feel like I can come out on top, but I just have to make sure I'm doing what's right."