Roddick, Blake Lead Bad-Record Breaking Day at French Open

Posted on May 30, 2007

The American men led by Andy Roddick and James Blake were looking to set records this year at the French Open, but after an American exodus Tuesday they are on the verge of an all-time record -- the first year that no American man makes it out of the first round at Roland Garros in the Open Era of professional tennis (since 1968).

Every remaining American man lost in first-round play Tuesday except Robby Ginepri, who was at one set all with Diego Hartfield when play was suspended due to darkness. If Ginepri loses Wednesday when play is resumed, it will be the first year that no American man progresses past the opening round.

Among the top Americans, No. 3-seeded Andy Roddick led by a set and a break before succumbing in four sets to Russian Igor Andreev in an outcome that wasn't a big surprise, but James Blake was more of a surprise in a four-set loss to unseeded grasscourt specialist "Dr." Ivo Karlovic.

"Up a set, 4-2 -- actually the game I got broken at 4-3, I didn't miss a ball, and he hit some pretty good shots," Roddick said. "Where it kind of got away from me was the last game of that second set. I played a little bit of a poor game. And then the third set, he just -- he played lights out. I didn't really get a chance to hit many balls. The fourth set, I feel like, you know, he had -- he took his opportunity and broke, and then I had a lot of chances to get it back. I feel like the fourth set was a little bit more even. But, you know, it didn't happen."

Roddick had one forehand winner throughout the four sets.

Other American losers Tuesday were unseeded Mike Russell who fell in straight set to world No. 1 Roger Federer in a match that was resumed from the previous day due to rain; unseeded Amer Delic who won the first set against No. 17 seed and former French Open champ Juan Carlos Ferrero before dropping the next three; unseeded Justin Gimelstob who fell in straight sets to No. 32 seed Nicolas Almagro; Sam Querrey who lost a heartbreaker in five sets to Laurent Recouderc; Vince Spadea who won the first set before dropping the next three to Gilles Simon; and Robert Kendrick who lost in four to Juan Pablo Brzezicki.

Seeded winners Tuesday were (2) Rafael Nadal (d. Del Potro), (7) Ivan Ljubicic (d. Clement), (9) Tommy Robredo (d. Roitman), (11) Richard Gasquet (d. French countryman Mahut), (13) Mikhail Youzhny (d. Hernych, walkover), (14) Lleyton Hewitt (d. Mirnyi), (15) David Nalbandian (d. H.-T. Lee in four), (16) Marcos Baghdatis (d. Grosjean), (18) Juan Ignacio Chela (d. Santoro in four), (19) Guillermo Canas (d. Hanescu), (20) Jarkko Nieminen (d. F.Lopez), (21) Dmitry Tursunov (d. Di Mauro in four), (27) Jurgen Melzer (d. Acasuso), (28) Philipp Kohlschreiber (d. Dlouhy 17-15 in the fifth), (29) Filippo Volandri (d. Capdeville).

Other upsets on the day were orchestrated by Czechs Radek Stepanek (d. (5) Gonzalez) and Bohdan Ulihrach (d. (24) Hrbaty in five), Spaniard Al Montanes (d. (25) Soderling who retired in the second with injury), Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu (d. (31) Mayer), and Argentines Mariano Zabaleta (d. (26) Calleri in four) and Carlos Berlocq (d. (30) Benneteau in four).

Other matches suspended due to darkness were (6) Novak Djokovic leading Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 7-6(3); (10) Tomas Berdych trailing Guillermo "G-Lo" Garcia-Lopez 5-7, 4-6, 2-2; (12) David Ferrer leading Daniele Bracciali 6-1, 6-1; and (23) Carlos Moya leading Andreas Seppi 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 0-4.

Winners in the mind-boggling slew of all-unseeded match-ups were Nicolas Lapentti (d. Peya who retired in the third), Jonas Bjorkman (d. Luczak coming from 0-2 sets down), Mathieu Montcourt (d. Becker), Konstantinos Economidis (d. Guccione in four), Kristian Pless (d. Y.-H. Lu), Juan Monaco (d. Fognini from 0-2 sets down), Martin Vassallo Arguello (d. Falla in four), Ernest Gulbis (d. Henman), Jan Hajek (d. T.Johansson), Stefan Koubek (d. C.Rochus who retired in the fourth), Therry Ascione (d. Cilic), Fernando Verdasco (d. Haehnel in four), Florent Serra (d. Kunitsyn), Edouard Roger-Vasselin (d. Daniel who retired in the second), former French champ/headcase Gaston Gaudio (d. Gicquel in five), Nicolas Massu (d. Horna in five), Kristof Vliegen (d. Udomchoke), Werner Eschauer (d. Sidorenko who retired in the fourth), Ivan Navarro Pastor (d. Pashanski), Gael "Force" Monfils (d. O.Rochus 6-1 in the fifth), Stan Wawrinka (d. Ramirez Hidalgo from two sets down), Olivier "All We Need is Just a Little" Patience (d. Eysseric in four), Michael Llodra (d. Devilder), and Simone Bolelli (d. Verkerk).

Two all-unseeded matches were suspended due to darkness with Juan-Pablo Guzman trailing Oscar Hernandez 6-7(4), 0-6, 1-3; and Flavio Cipolla leading Teimuraz Gabashvili 7-6(6), 6-3.

It will be a physical test as many players immediately return to the court on Wednesday, with highlights including France's (11) Gasquet vs. Vliegen, (18) Chela vs. France's Monfils, (22) Marat Safin vs. Tipsarevic, (1) Federer vs. France's Ascione, and Ginepri vs. Hartfield (to finish).