Roddick edges El Aynaoui in Aussie Open classic
American Andy Roddick and Moroccan Younes El Aynaoui played one for the record books at the Australian Open on Wednesday.
In the longest match in Open history, Roddick outlasted El Aynaoui, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4, 21-19, after four hours and 59 minutes of drama at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
The ninth-seeded Roddick prevailed in a remarkable 40-game, fifth set that lasted two hours and 23 minutes. The epic fifth stanza was the longest of the Open era, beating Mark Philippoussis' 20-18 victory over Sjeng Schalken in the third round at Wimbledon in 2000.
Roddick closed out the quarter-final match by winning the last three games, including a vital service break in the 39th game of the final frame. The American then secured victory by holding serve.
The pair embraced at the match's conclusion after El Aynaoui kncocked a forehand volley into the net.
"Oh, man, he looks like he's ready to go another set," Roddick said after the match. "Younes is a class act and I'm truly humbled by this victory.
"I'm not even thinking about the next match. I'm going to play Friday and give it my best. It was really special playing that fifth set."
The 20-year-old Roddick is the youngest semifinalist at the Australian Open in 11 years.
El Aynaoui, who was trying to give Morocco its first-ever Grand Slam semifinalist, had a match point against Roddick in the 10th game of the fifth set. But the American star fought back to hold serve, as the two would press on for 30 more games.
Roddick's semifinal opponent will be surprising 31st-seeded German Rainer Schuettler, a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 upset winner over David Nalbandian of Argentina.
The men's semifinals get underway Thursday, when second-seeded and three-time champion Andre Agassi takes on veteran South African Wayne Ferreira. Roddick and Schuettler take to the court on Friday.
with files from Sports Network