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Saturday, September 25, 2004 - Page updated at 12:23 A.M.
By Bruce Smith
CHARLESTON, S.C. Andy Roddick hit a world-record serve of 155 mph in his 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Vladimir Voltchkov yesterday to help the United States to a 2-0 lead over Belarus in the Davis Cup semifinals.
Olympic silver medalist Mardy Fish served 19 aces to defeat Max Mirnyi 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in the second singles match.
Roddick's serve in the final game of the match surpassed his own record of 153 mph set at a tournament in England in June. Even with the record speed, Voltchkov managed to get his racket on the ball. But he was unable to return it.
The crowd at the Family Circle Tennis Center stood and cheered when the record speed of the serve was shown.
"I hit a good one. That's about it," Roddick said. "I think it's fun for the fans. To me, it's still a point. It's something I'll be able to tell people about one day. But I'm happier with the win serving well overall."
Earlier in the match with Voltchkov, who is ranked 162nd in the world, Roddick had serves of 151 and 152 mph.
"I know I serve better than most guys on Tour," Roddick said. "I'm not so much worried about intimidating someone as I am about beating someone."
Roddick had 17 aces in the match.
"I didn't get down 0-30. I think the closest was 30-30," he said. "I put myself in a position to serve well by not putting myself under pressure a lot."
"When you play against the top players, the first thing you want to try to do is get into a fight where it doesn't matter anymore who's No. 1 or who's No. 150," Voltchkov said. "Unfortunately, I had a slow start and, all credit to Andy, the way he started huge serves it was just tough to catch up."
In the second match, it appeared the momentum was swinging to Mirnyi when he took the third set.
But Fish broke his opponent in the fourth game of the fourth set and then held serve to go up 4-1.
"It's big to break and even bigger to hold that next game and, you know, consolidate it," Fish said, adding it put the Americans in a favorable spot in the competition. "It was just nice to go up 2-0. It is just nice to have the Bryan brothers to be able to clinch."
The American team of Bob and Mike Bryan is scheduled to play Mirnyi and Alexander Skrypko today in the best-of-five competition between the two nations.
"I don't know if it's fortunate or he was that good today," Mirnyi said of his match with Fish. "But every time I had a break point, he seemed to come up with an ace."
Reverse singles matches are tomorrow.
In the other semifinal, France led Spain 1-0 in Alicante, Spain. Paul-Henri Mathieu upset sixth-ranked Carlos Moya 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero was leading Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-1, 1-6, 3-3 when play was stopped because of darkness.
Spain, the champion in 2000, is trying to reach the final for third time in five years.
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