Blake Storms into First Final in
James Blake - USA
Los Angeles - American No. 2
seed James Blake secured his spot in the CountryWide Classic
final, beating Korean Hyung-Taik Lee in a roller coaster ride
three set match 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis
After making quick work of Lee in
the first set, the Korean stole the early first game break from
Blake to give him all the lead he would need to send the match
to a decisive third set.
In the third set and after fighting through an 18-point game to
hold serve at 4-3, Blake got his golden opportunity. Down 00-30
on Lee's serve, Blake rallied to win the next three points,
setting up a break point. While exchanging cross court ground
strokes, Blake changed up the tempo, crushing an aggressive
forehand towards Lee's backhand, which was dumped into the net,
resulting in a 5-3 Blake advantage.
With the chance to serve out the match, Blake took control,
forcing Lee into difficult shots from the baseline that gave the
American the victory and a shot at the winner of the Nicolas Kiefer vs Radek
Stepanek match later tonight.
"It is such a good feeling to make it to the finals," Blake
said. "I have been preparing since the clay court season. I feel
really fit and am excited about tomorrow."
With the win, Blake improved his already amazing consecutive
semifinal win total to 14 straight on hard courts
Commenting on his highly aggressive style of play and how he is
able to sustain that kind of level from start to finish:
"I am not going to get lazy and be defensive late in a match,
that's not me," Blake said. "I know that there is always going
to be a lot of hard work, but I feel prepared...I am ready."
In the first doubles semifinal of the day, the tandem of Scott
Lipsky and David Martin overcame a first set deficit to secure a
4-6, 6-3, 10-3 victory over the Ratiwatana brothers and a chance to meet the No. 1 seeded
Bryan brothers, who play later tonight.
Kiefer Defaults Semifinal Match
In the top half of the draw, German wild card Nicolas Kiefer
defaulted his semifinal match with Radek Stepanek due to a knee
"I felt pain in the morning when I woke up," Kiefer said. "I
tried to practice but I couldn't do it."
Kiefer who has been victim to injury for the the past year was
making his first appearance since and had not dropped a set over
the entire tournament. Playing in his first Los Angeles final
against Blake will be Stepanek Sunday at 2 p.m.
Bryan's Advance to Second-Straight Los Angeles Final
No. 1 seeds Bob and Mike Bryan overcame four set points in the
second set to advance to the finals tomorrow against fellow
Stanford alums Lipskey-Martin. After winning the first set 6-4,
the Bryan brothers found themselves down 00-40 to tandem Jeff
Coetzee and Wesley Moodie, before Mike Bryan served the team out
of trouble, preventing a third set. Known for his returning
ability, Mike Bryan took a page out of his twin brother Bob's
book (known for his powerful serve), reaching the 130mph mark on
Able to send the second set into a tiebreaker, Bob and Mike
Bryan's experience took over, as the duo emerged victorious
"We really just love playing here," Bob Bryan said "We're going
for our fourth (L.A.) title, so it's going to be special. It is
going to be an all-American, all-Stanford (alum) final."
Matt Osias can be reached at