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Roddick extends his recent upswing

Andy Roddick serves during his 7-5, 6-4 victory against Tomas Berdych in the final.

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Andy Roddick serves during his 7-5, 6-4 victory against Tomas Berdych in the final.

KEY BISCAYNE — Andy Roddick launched his pro career here a decade ago as a 17-year-old, which left him feeling nostalgic and a bit emotional Sunday after beating Tomas Berdych 7-5, 6-4 in the Sony Ericsson Open final.

But it seemed to offer a dose of hope: Could the title offer another liftoff for his career?

Sunday's win, reaching the Indian Wells final two weeks ago and a tour-best 26-4 record in 2010 seem to signal Roddick is ready to add to a lone Grand Slam victory, the 2003 U.S. Open.

"He's put in the time and decided to make changes," said Larry Stefanki, his coach since late 2008. "He could be similar to (Andre) Agassi, where his best years are 27, 28, on."

Roddick, ranked No. 8 in the world, still has a 135-mph serve, but he no longer relies solely on power. Two days after beating Rafael Nadal in the semis with a serve-and-volley approach, he hung near the baseline and used crafty serves and shots like a "great major-league baseball pitcher," Stefanki said.

"The last month has been real good for me," Roddick said. "I've played really well in the big moments; haven't had an off day mentally. I've been able to have a game plan and execute it regardless of what kind of shots it takes."

Even so, asked if he believed he was primed for a strong summer, Roddick ducked.

"I've stopped getting ahead of myself," he said. "If I can continue this, there'll be some exciting moments. But that's an if. You have to earn that if."

Roddick extends his recent upswing 04/04/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 4, 2010 9:21pm]
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