A-Rod brings A-game to Washington
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:40
“Good to be back at work,” Andy Roddick said via his twitter account last night, after posting a comfortable 6-3 6-2 victory over Benjamin Becker at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.
On a day when seven of the twelve seeds in action crashed out, top seed Roddick, returning to action for the first time in just over a month after picking up a hip flexor injury in the Wimbledon final against Roger Federer, looked in good shape against the German, having maintained the work to bring his weight down this season under orders from coach Larry Stefanki.
“I was certainly eager to get back out there” – Roddick
Early breaks in each set put the American in the driving seat, as Becker struggled to find his rhythm.
“He played a little bit of a nervous game the first game in the match, and from there it was an uphill battle,” Roddick said. “I didn’t want to come out just firing – I kind of wanted to work my way into the match, get some rallies going and just do the basics well. I feel like I did that all right.”
And while his ground strokes looked a little rusty at times, eight aces – including one on match point – and no doubles faults kept him firmly in control of the match. Becker failed to reach break point once during the encounter.
“I was certainly eager to get back out there,” Roddick added. “If I have to have one thing that’s rusty that I don’t worry about it coming around, it’s probably my serve.”
Roddick now faces the in-form Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals where he will be joined by fellow former world No.1s Juan Carlos Ferrero, who eased past Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-2, and Lleyton Hewitt, who beat Dudi Sela 6-3 2-6 6-2.
“He doesn’t have the biggest serve out there,” unseeded Australian Hewitt said. “I was trying to be aggressive.”
But No.3 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is out after John Isner put in a gutsy performance to clinch the second-round meeting 4-6 7-6(2) 7-6(4).
The final set tie-break was delayed for ten minutes by rain before the American returned to finish the job.
Querrey beat Igor Kunitsyn 6-3 6-4 in the third round and admitted that despite going the distance in his last three events – winning the second title of his career in Los Angeles after finals defeats in Newport and Indianapolis – Andy Roddick will present a new challenge.
“I’m going to have a play a great match to win that,” Querrey said. “It’s a good test to see where I am.”
Elsewhere, injuries played their part in defeats for seeds Viktor Troicki and Mardy Fish. No.12 seed Troicki was forced to withdraw in the first set of his match against Marc Gicquel with a foot injury.
Fish fired nine double faults during his 1-6 6-4 6-1 defeat at the hands of Philipp Petzschner as the abdominal strain picked up on Davis Cup duty – that forced him to withdraw in LA last week – hampered him once more.
“It’s obviously frustrating to be injured,” the No.9 seed said afterwards. “I thought in practice I could do pretty much everything, and it’s just not the case.”
In other results, Ivo Karlovic fired 18 aces to beat Rainer Schuettler 6-4 7-5, while Igor Andreev crashed out to Wayne Odesnik 2-6 7-5 6-4.
Fernando Gonzalez edged past Alejandro Falla 7-5 7-5 and Robin Soderling beat Mikhail Youzhny 6-3 6-1, before qualifier Sebastien De Chaunac capped a day of upsets with a 3-6 7-6(3) 7-5 victory against ailing seed Dmitry Tursunov.