Tennessee: US top seed Andy Roddick reached his 50th career ATP final by downing Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday in a showdown of former US Open champions at an ATP and WTA indoor tournament.
Roddick will try to capture his 30th career ATP crown on Sunday against Milos Raonic, a 20-year-old Canadian wild card entrant and the hottest player on tour after winning last week at San Jose in only his eighth ATP event.
"To play in the final of 50 tennis tournaments as a professional is a pretty big number," Roddick said. "Better than 50 finals would be 30 wins -- I think that's what I have ahead of me. Certainly a pretty big number.
"Not sure how many guys have won 30 tournaments, so it certainly kind of rounds off the number. It sounds better than 29."
Among active players, only Roger Federer with 67 ATP titles and Rafael Nadal with 43 have more crowns than eighth-ranked Roddick, who hopes to join Jimmy Connors and Tommy Haas as three-time champions at the $1.32 million event.
"He played really well," Del Potro said of Roddick. "He served really well and I think he played much better than me in important moments, especially on the break points."
Raonic smashed 23 aces to beat US fourth seed Mardy Fish 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the other semi-final, taking five of six break points and capturing 47-of-55 points on his first serve.
"I'm playing amazing," Raonic said. "And getting amazing results."
Another Canadian, sixth seed Rebecca Marino, lost the women's final when she stopped due to injury after dropping the first set 6-2 to Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova.
The European captured her second WTA title, having won her only prior tour final in 2009 at Birmingham. Marino had never gone as far as the semi-finals of a WTA event before.
Del Potro, making a comeback after missing most of last year with a wrist injury, had beaten Roddick in three prior meetings but managed only two break points in the match, in which Roddick fired 13 aces.
"This is probably the best match I've played this year," Roddick said. "I played one bad game."
The South American will rise to about 164th in Monday's ATP rankings after back-to-back semi-final runs and Roddick said he expects Del Potro to return to the top 10 this year.
"I hope so," Del Potro. "It's a long road. Andy will be top 10, I think, forever."
Raonic became the first Canadian in 16 years to claim an ATP singles title last weekend when he won the crown at San Jose, never needing a third set. This week, he has been taken to the third set in every match.
"I'm acknowledging it all and taking as much as I can from it, but focusing on doing what I need to do for the final," Raonic said. "The thing I'm most proud of is my level of development and everything else comes after."
Fish could only retreat behind the baseline and try to put a racket on Raonic's supersonic serves, often without success.
"I was able to move back and at least get my racket on a few and not necessarily have to guess as much, but he hit spots and it doesn't matter," Fish said.