Americans James Blake and Mardy Fish will be on point to back up Andy Roddick in singles in a few months when the U.S. Davis Cup team visits the Croatians, who will be hosting on clay. From the results of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships on Tuesday in Houston, U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe may be thinking ‘Houston, we have a problem…’
Blake and Fish both lost in their first-round matches: Blake in straight sets to No. 113-ranked Argentine Guillermo Canas, and Fish in three sets to the No. 77-ranked Bjorn Phau of Germany.
The win was a lift for Canas.
“This year has been a tough start,” Canas said. “I haven’t played well for the past two months. Now, for me, I hope to continue on with the tournament.”
Canas employed his patient baseline game, waiting for Blake to implode in a series of unforced errors.
“He kind of forces you into that the way he plays defense,” Blake said. “It’s no excuse for some errors, especially the ones I made at key times.”
Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt was in fine form, dismantling Argentina’s Diego Junqueira 6-0, 6-2.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Hewitt said. “It’s my first clay court tournament since last year. I wasn’t brought up on clay so it’s a matter of getting your footwork down and getting the nerves out of the way.”
American winners on the upside Tuesday were wildcard Taylor Dent beating Marcos Daniel of Brazil in three sets, wildcard John Isner outlasting fellow American and qualifier “Iron” Mike Russell in three, qualifier Scoville Jenkins beating fellow qualifier Alexander Peya from 0-6 down in the first, and Amer Delic entering the draw as a lucky loser when fellow American and No. 5 seed Sam Querrey withdrew with a left hamstring injury.
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