Roger Federer is the No. 2 seed at this year’s US Open, yet the Swiss is seeking to reach a seventh consecutive final in Flushing Meadows, on Monday kicking off his campaign with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win over Argentina’s Brian Dabul in the last match of the night.
Federer joined the five Top 10-seeded players, who all went undefeated on day one, including No. 5 seed Robin Soderling who survived a five-setter against the highly untouted Andreas Haider-Maurer; No. 6 Nikolay Davydenko who steamrolled American Mike Russell 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; and the mono-recovering No. 9 seed Andy Roddick who subdued Frenchman Stephane Robert 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“I feel 80 percent better than I did five, six weeks ago, that’s for sure,” said Roddick, who ran out of gas in his last event at Cincinnati against Mardy Fish in the semifinals. “To be honest, once you decide to play, I think you throw all the excuses and everything else out the window. If I decide to play, then it’s up to me to give 100 percent of what I have. So it’s not something I really want to discuss too much from this point forward. It’s something that’s there. It’s not perfect, but it’s fine. You know, it’s going the right way.”
Former No. 1 and No. 32 seed Lleyton Hewitt was an upset victim, losing 6-1 in the fifth to Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu, as was No. 27 Fernando Gonzalez who retired against Ivan Dodig after splitting the first two sets.
“I still believe I can improve as a player,” Hewitt said.
Also among the lower seeds, No. 13 Jurgen Melzer survived Dmitry Tursunov 6-2 in the fifth, No. 17 Gael Monfils outlasted American Robert Kendrick 6-4 in the fifth, and No. 21 Albert Montanes made Michal Przysiezny wilt 6-0 in the fifth.
“I think I’m tough to play in five sets,” Monfils unveiled. “But today was not a good day for me. I mean, it was like I was fighting against myself, so tried to be like more aggressive, tried to play my game. I think today I was pretty flat.”
American Taylor Dent was a winner among the all-unseeded against Alejandro Falla in straight sets. Other unseeded victors of note were Frenchman Richard Gasquet over Simon Greul in straights, Russian Igor Andreev defeating Horacio Zeballos in four, and qualifier Ricardas Berankis defeating Ryan Sweeting in four.
Dent will next face Soderling.
“He’s a great player,” Dent told reporters. “He’s solid. There’s not really a lot of holes in his game right now. There used to be the errant ball two or three times in the back fence. That doesn’t happen anymore.”
Highlights on the Tuesday schedule at the US Open are Viktor Troicki vs. (3) Novak Djokovic in an all-Serb meeting, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili, (16) Marcos Baghdatis vs. French veteran Arnaud Clement, Kristof Vliegen vs. the plunging James Blake, France’s Jeremy Chardy vs. (24) Ernests Gulbis, and (28) Radek “The Worm” Stepanek vs. Julien “United Colors of” Benneteau.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
adidas set up Melanie Oudin with “Courage” on her shoes (last year she had “Believe”) — maybe she should have “Challenger Tour 2011″…Brad Gilbert says big-moment choker Victoria Azarenka is going to win the 2010 US Open? Uhhh, nope…18-year-old American Ryan Harrison made it through the US Open qualifying draw, and the Bradenton, Fla., resident is the youngest non-wildcard in the main draw…CBS commentator Mary Carillo, still not a big fan of the WTA’s on-court coaching where the [almost always] male coach comes on court to save the woman player who can’t problem-solve for herself: “I can’t stand it. It makes us look weak compared to men’s tennis.”…ESPN commentator John McEnroe joking about men’s players getting too skinny and not having the reserves for long matchs: “That’s where beer comes in — one or two of those a night.”…Nice TIME magazine story lead: “As the U.S. Open gets under way Monday in New York City, the state of U.S. tennis couldn’t be much worse.”…Romania has more women ranked in the Top 100 than the U.S…Hopefully John McEnroe’s highly-touted tennis academy will last longer than his Davis Cup coaching gig…Why does ESPN need tennis neophyte Hannah Storm dumbing-down their otherwise high-level Slam coverage?…Ouch, TIME magazine referred to John McEnroe as the former “David Cup captain.” Turn off the auto-spellchecker…5-foot-5 Olivier Rochus vs. 5-foot-6 Melanie Oudin, wouldn’t that be a fun match?…Why does Elena Vesnina scream “Hi-Ya!” when she hits the ball? Did she go to Bollettieri karate school?…According to tennis journalist Liza Horan, Chris Evert and Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig, who is No. 3 in the ITF rankings, have signed with Lagardere management…Kim Clijsters said she saw Serena Williams’ foot cut and “it’s not something that she’s making up or that it’s a small cut or anything.”
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Federer Tests Roddick, Mono Thursday in Miami