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ATP Indian Wells Semis: Roddick vs. Soderling

The home crowd will be out in full force to spur Andy Roddick against Robin Soderling in the pair’s upcoming clash at the Indian Wells semi-final round.

Indeed, Roddick will be the favourite to advance where the peeps are concerned. However, where the bookies are concerned, he isn’t the favourite – interestingly enough.

The market cast, especially where Soderling is concerned, is a function of his big win over Andy Murray yesterday in the quarters. Soderling has a 2-0 edge over Roddick as well, but both victories are out of date, earned in 2008 when Roddick was arguably struggling with his game.

Since Roddick and Stefanki began their partnership last year, Roddick 2.0 emerged – a better, sleeker, faster version of his old-self. Today, Roddick continues to impact the ATP Tour and one need only look back to the Wimbledon Final account he opened against Federer to appreciate the extent to which he does. To respect and applaud him as a player, even during his losses because he does bring something special to the game – grit and heart.

For Soderling to beat Roddick he will have to come up with something special. Because let us face it, he didn’t need to against Murray. Muzz forgot to show up yesterday, lost the plot, struck a barely audible chord – you decide but for me it was all of the above.

I expect Roddick will be dialled into this match. Don’t think Roddick doesn’t know what is at stake here and how badly he wants it. It has been four years since he has won a Masters Shield and he would like nothing better than to snap that trend.

Roddick will be present in the match, in the moment from the first point. There will be no capitulating a la Murray. Similarly, Soderling will be present. He will aim to impose his game and bully Roddick out of the proceedings.

The way I see this head-to-head battle going down is the way of the American. Starring down both A-Rod and the crowd might be too much for Sod. Then again, no player has as much healthy disrespect for the opposition as does Sod. He might not be fussed about the crowd or Rod. And maybe I am not reading enough into his win over Murray.

Whichever way you decide to slice this match, there is value to be had. The market on this match is tight and theoretically, this is a match for the taking. There is no clear-cut favourite or underdog in my opinion. Obviously, since I disagree with the bookies casting. So, it remains to be seen whether the bookies or I is right and which player will rise to the occasion.

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