Roddick beats El Aynaoui to reach semi-finals
MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Andy Roddick beat Younes El Aynaoui 4-6 7-6 4-6 6-4 21-19 in an epic encounter on Wednesday to become the youngest man in 11 years to reach the semi-finals of the Australian Open.
The 20-year-old American saved a match point and twice came back from a set down to win the longest match at the Australian Open since tiebreaks were introduced to the event in 1971.
Roddick saved a match point on serve in the 10th game but failed to serve out the match after breaking the Moroccan for the first time in the set in the 21st game.
He broke an exhausted El Aynaoui again in the 39th game before serving it out to seal victory one minute short of five hours.
Roddick plays Rainer Schuettler in Fridays second semi-final after the German beat David Nalbandian 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-0 earlier in the day.
El Aynaoui, 31, upset world number one Lleyton Hewitt in the fourth round and somehow managed to summon up the strength to go the distance with a player 11 years his junior.
Although Boris Becker and Omar Camporese played a match over five hours and 11 minutes in 1991, Roddick and El Aynaouis classic encounter was the longest ever in terms of games played.
Their 83 games beat the previous record of 73 when Yannick Noah beat Roger Smith 6-7 5-7 6-4 6-2 16-14 in 1988.
The deciding set, which lasted almost two and a half hours, also broke Noah and Smiths record for the longest fifth set ever played at Melbourne since tennis turned professional.
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