Andy Roddick overcomes another court hiccup to reach semis

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former champion Andy Roddick fumed over another snafu regarding court conditions Thursday before shifting to another court to book his place in the U.S. Open semi-finals.

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open winner, beat fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3 6-4 3-6 6-3, completing the quarter-final on distant Court 13 after a wet spot behind the baseline on Louis Armstrong Stadium court could not be fixed.

When they called Roddick and Ferrer back to the court, after using a vacuum cleaner and thin rubber hose and towels to try and fix the problem, the American was angered to see water still bubbling up to the surface.

"I'm baffled, I'm baffled. Why are we out here?" he railed at tournament referee Brian Earley. "Find us a court."

Roddick went back into the hallway and continued to vent his frustration at not getting on with his match, given the compressed schedule forced by two successive washouts at Flushing Meadows.

When the players were asked whether they would be willing to move to Court 13 rather than wait for a chance to get on the grandstand showcourt, Roddick said: "Let's go play, let's go play. We just want to play."

Wednesday, Roddick, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray together lodged their complaints about being asked to compete in damp conditions to tournament officials before play was halted for the day.

Once resettled Thursday at Court 13 after a delay of about one hour, Roddick played some of his best tennis to set up a last four showdown with Spaniard Nadal.

It was a rare trip outside the confines of the main courts for Roddick, who as the leading U.S. player for most of the last decade has exclusively played on the showcourts.

"I enjoyed it," said the 29-year-old Roddick. "I like playing kind of the smaller, more intimate stuff when I can.

"It was a little bit of everything. We had some Van Morrison wannabe playing music in the courtyard...there was a guy scaling the fence in the back for a second...(and) a couple of people wanted to do commentary from the service line.

"There was a repetitive screaming from the courtyard at one point. It was actually kind of shrill. It was a little stressful. It sounded like someone was getting hurt. So I don't know if that's what it's always like out there."

(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)