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Roddick reaches Key Biscayne quarterfinals

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KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. --- Since arriving on Key Biscayne, Andy Roddick has played H-O-R-S-E with D-Wade, hung out with T.O. and helped organize a charity event to benefit Chilean earthquake victims.

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Andy Roddick returns the ball to Benjamin Becker during Roddick's 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals. Roddick improved to 23-4 this year to lead the men's tour in wins.  Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Andy Roddick returns the ball to Benjamin Becker during Roddick's 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals. Roddick improved to 23-4 this year to lead the men's tour in wins.

He's also squeezing in a little tennis. Roddick advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sony Ericsson Open by beating Benjamin Becker 7-6 (4), 6-3 on Tuesday.

Seeded sixth, Roddick improved to 23-4 this year, and he leads the men's tour in wins. He seeks his first Key Biscayne title since 2004 and hopes to prevent a potential showdown Sunday between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Roddick's hoops contest against Dwyane Wade was for laughs, as were brief get-togethers with Terrell Owens, a friend and tennis fan. The Chilean benefit is a doubles match in which Roddick will take part Saturday -- the evening before the men's final.

"Even if things go great and I'm in the final, I'll still play Saturday, just because it's necessary and what needs to happen," he said. "It's a bigger cause than my tournament."

Nadal, who could face Roddick in the semifinals, advanced by beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6 (5), 6-4.

To get past the unseeded Becker, Roddick rallied on the strength of his dominating serve. He dug out of a 1-4, love-40 hole in the first set and won 34 of his final 39 service points, including all six in the tiebreaker.

Three-time champion Venus Williams became the first women's semifinalist by defeating No. 6-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-1.

The woman with the best chance to beat Venus Williams at Key Biscayne watched the women's quarterfinals from the photo pit. Serena Williams had no camera but used her connections to secure a front-row seat as she watched her sister beat Radwanska.

Top-ranked Serena has been sidelined by a knee injury since winning the Australian Open in January. In her absence, Venus has become the woman to beat as she bids for her fourth Key Biscayne title and her first since 2001.

"When I'm executing and playing my best, it's great," Venus said. "It feels good, and I feel like I'm definitely dictating the points and that I don't give my opponent as many chances to have a say."

The oldest women's quarterfinalist at 29, Venus is the hottest player on the WTA Tour. She has won 14 matches in a row, and two more would give her three consecutive tournament titles for the first time since 2002.

In the men's fourth round, Mardy Fish retired with a sciatic nerve injury trailing Mikhail Youzhny 6-1, 1-0.

No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earned a shot at Nadal in the quarterfinals by beating No. 12 Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 6-2 and No. 5 Robin Soderling defeated No. 9 Fernando Gonzalez 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-2.


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