Roddick Batters Way into US Open 2nd Round with Confidence
With Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe in his coaching corner for this US Open, former world No. 1 Andy Roddick looked back to his meat-and-potatoes serve-and-forehand ways in his opener Wednesday night, pounding Fabrice Santoro into submission 6-2, 6-2, 6-2.
Roddick immediately went up a break in all three sets, and was not bothered by the Frenchman’s slice-and-dice theatrics.
“I felt good, that’s the best I’ve played in four or five months,” Roddick said. “Something about this place always gets me energized and the fans are great and I’m just happy to be healthy.”
Only two other Top 10 seeds were in action, with No. 3 Novak Djokovic looking sharp in a straight-set win over Frenchman Arnaud Clement, and No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko likewise straight-setting Israel’s Dudi Sela.
“It’s very surprising that I was playing good for the first round,” Davydenko said. “Because I’m always nervous and my confidence is not so great just at the beginning of the tournament. But I played good all three sets, I was fighting good and I had very good concentration.”
Other winners on a day of no seeded upsets on the men’s side were (18) Nicolas Almagro (d. Frank Dancevic), (19) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (d. Santiago Ventura in four), (26) Dmitry Tursunov (d. Eduardo Schwank in four), (28) Radek Stepanek (d. Potito Starace), and (30) Marin Cilic (d. Julien Benneteau in five).
The 23-year-old Tsonga was playing in his first match since May after undergoing right knee surgery.
Three unseeded Americans advanced in Robby Ginepri (d. an injured Amer Delic), Robert Kendrick (d. Nicolas Mahut in four), and Sam Warburg who benefited when Janko Tipsarevic retired in the second set with injury.
Other winners on the day were Ernests Gulbis (d. Thomas Johansson), former No. 1 Carlos Moya (d. Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi in four), Agustin Calleri (d. American Austin Krajicek), Victor Hanescu (d. Albert Montanes in four), and Aussie Chris “Penthouse” Guccione (d. Jesse Levine in four).
“It was a good experience,” said Krajicek, a cousin of former Wimbledon champ Richard Krajicek and a freshman at Texas A&M. “My goal is to play pro, and I think college tennis is a good route. I’m improving a lot out there and I hope it will make the transition to turning pro easier.”
Highlights Thursday include (9) James Blake vs. Steve Darcis, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Ryler De Heart, (10) Stan Wawrinka vs. Wayne Odesnik, (24) Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. Mardy Fish, and (6) Andy Murray vs. Michael Llodra.
Three Seeds Fall, Jankovic Pooped Wednesday at US Open
World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic, struggling with a handful of players to exit the US Open as the No. 1 player in the world, looked to be struggling the most in an exhausting 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 win over Sofia Arvidsson.
In light of recent injuries, the Serb says she has not been training as hard as she would like and is not in the best of shape. In the third set Jankovic went down, but not for the entire count, falling then lying still on the court.
“I was just tired, and I couldn’t get up,” said Jankovic, who cramped after the match. “I was so exhausted at that moment. I was breathing hard, and I didn’t have the energy to get up. That was the reason I was just lying there without, you know, kind of moving. I was just trying to come back to, you know, normal position where I can just stand up and regroup again and play the next point. That was it…I would have loved to, you know, take a nap on court, because I was really exhausted.”
Other Top 10-seeded winners were (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. Sorana Cirstea), and (5) Elena Dementieva (d. Pauline Parmentier).
“I think this girl, the French girl, I think maybe she was not playing at her best,” Dementieva said. “Maybe she was a little bit nervous. But it was quite difficult because of the wind, you know, and the sun.”
Other seeded winners were (12) Marion Bartoli (d. Virginia Ruano Pascual), (14) Victoria Azarenka (d. Iveta Benesova), (15) Patty Schnyder (d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova), (21) Caroline Wozniacki (d. Maria Camerin), (23) Lindsay Davenport (d. the rotund Alisa Kleybanova), (28) Katarina Srebotnik (d. Yvonne Meusburger), and (29) Sybille Bammer (d. Aravane Rezai), all in straight sets.
Orchestrating upsets Wednesday were Tatiana Perebiynis who ousted No. 8 Vera Zvonareva, Brit Anne Keothavong who oustlasted No. 25 Francesca Schiavone in three, and China’s Jie Zheng who eased past No. 26 Anabel Medina Garrigues.
Thursday’s highlights includes the Williams sisters, Ana Ivanovic, and Dinara Safina in action, and (17) Alize Cornet vs. Bethanie Mattek.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
MUHAMMAD PASSES ON USC, GOES PRO: 17-year-old Asia Muhammad made the decision to go pro following her first-round loss at the US Open, making her no longer eligible to play for USC. The decision now makes her eligible to collect the minimum $25,000 for competing in singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the US Open. In March Muhammad lost in the final of the Las Vegas Challenger, but hasn’t progressed past the second round in any other events. Muhammad trains at Andre Agassi’s facility in Las Vegas, and will play mixed at the US Open with Sam Querrey. “Asia has been training 4-7 hours a day, with me, Gil Reyes who is one of the best trainers in the world, and even had the thrill of hitting with Steffi and Andre,” said her coach Tim Blenkiron. “Being great at this level takes sacrifice and Asia has been willing to trade the parties, and time with friends for long hours of training and hard work. She has earned every bit of her success. But we have a long way to go.”
DELIC DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Former NCAA champ Amer Delic lost in straight sets to fellow American Robby Ginepri on Wednesday at the US Open, nursing a shoulder injury that is not a tear, but is slow healing. “The plan was to serve and volley,” Delic said. “With Robby you have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C — I had to play Plan F.” Delic entered the event with almost three weeks of no serving, and on Monday beat Ginepri in doubles before the shoulder flared up. In April the 26-year-old underwent surgery to correct excessive sweating, recommended by the pro-golfing girlfriend of fellow player Kevin Anderson. “It’s life altering,” said Delic of the surgery. The American will after the Open head to Asia for the Tokyo and Beijing ATP events, and play some Challengers in Europe. Last year at this time Delic went through a massive slump. “I joke with my friends, the good thing is, I have zero points to defend the rest of the year,” Delic said.
MISC: Florida’s Austin Krajicek has been named as a hitting partner for the upcoming U.S. Davis Cup tie at Spain…Gail Brodsky of Brooklyn has turned pro…Interesting that the ATP pulled the plug on the Bangalore event over security concerns, but the India vs. Australia cricket series will be held in Bangalore (whispers were that the event has failed to attract top players and was looking for a reason to bail)…Elena Dementieva refused comment on the Ashley Harkleroad Playboy magazine spread…Novak Djokovic looked fine walking around the stadium tunnels post-match after his ankle scare…Seen and Heard: John McEnroe, Sr., politicking in the Ashe Stadium tunnels with passersby for the ATP Chairman job vacated by Etienne de Villiers…Lots of Tennis Channel people poking around the US Open tennis center, scoping out the grounds for when they join ESPN in taking over television coverage from USA Network in 2009.
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Davydenko Keeps Winning Despite Persecution, Struggles