The big match of the day in men’s tennis is tonight in Memphis where Andy Roddick takes on youngest Richard Bernakis. Roddick had a tough go it in Australia losing meekly to Stan Wawrinka before returning to the loving arms of wife Brooklyn Decker for her movie premiere last week (can’t blame him for skipping San Jose). But tonight it’s back to work for the top ranked American and I’m interested to see who he fares tonight because I think he’s in for a test.
We saw Roddick resume his defensive, backcourt game in Australia and we saw it fail against the better players. Berankis, who brand new on the tour, might is not at that upper level yet but the 20-year-old has the Ferrer-like ability to get a lot of ball back and make his opponent work. Roddick has the power off ground to blow Berankis away, let’s see if he uses it or if he tries to out rally the kid.
After his loss to Wawrinka in the Australian Open fourth round Roddick said, “I was frustrated. Couldn’t get the rallies to go my way. I was trying to stand up in the court and, you know, I just felt when I adjusted my positioning up in the court he was opening up the lines and making it a shorter line if that makes sense.”
Yeah, Andy, it does make sense. When you push against guys with big strokes inevitably you are at their mercy.
Roddick’s serve should be enough for him to get the win, but if Berankis is able to return his bombs the match could get interesting.
This is a real big 45 days ahead for Andy – remember he was a finalist at Indian Wells and he won Miami – so he really needs to be on his game.
Also today, his American buddies Mardy Fish, who is on court right now against Gabashvili, Sam Querrey and James Blake are also scheduled. Querrey, who’s stuck in a 6-match losing streak plays after Roddick against Denis Istomin. Sam’s also the defending champion so pressure is on. (Might losses by both Roddick and Querrey tonight result in coaching changes?)
Blake, who’s seems to be playing out of his final season on tour, is up against left claycourter Ricardo Mello. Fish is just returning from a thyroid problem.
Tomorrow we’ll have a couple of great matches in Fernando Verdasco v. Milos Raonic and John Isner v. Juan Martin Del Potro.
Down South in Buenos Aires Nicolas Almagro, David Nalbandian and Stan Wawrinka are featured. And in a light Marseille schedule, Marin Cilic is already a winner with JW Tsonga ahead early in his match.
MEMPHIS TUESDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM start 10:00 am
T Gabashvili (RUS) vs  M Fish (USA) – ATP
R Mello (BRA) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) – ATP
A Wozniak (CAN) or A Keothavong (GBR) vs M Rybarikova (SVK) – WTA
M Krajicek (NED) vs [Q] A Glatch (USA) – WTA
Not Before 7:00 PM
 A Roddick (USA) vs R Berankis (LTU) – ATP
 S Querrey (USA) vs D Istomin (UZB) – ATP
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