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Roddick shows Deheart to march on in San Jose

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Originally published on: 05/03/10 18:37

Three-time SAP Open champion Andy Roddick opened his bid for a fourth title in San Jose by claiming a 6-1, 7-6(1) victory over qualifier Ryler Deheart.

It took the world No.7 just 23 minutes to race through the opening set, before fighting off a sterner test from the 26-year-old – ranked 221 places below him – in the second when Deheart had a chance to serve for the set at 5-3.

Roddick broke back before clinching victory on a tie-break, but never mind his winning start to his ninth San Jose campaign; in his post match press conference, more attention was paid to his wife’s success than the possibility of the American picking up a fourth title to add to those he collected in 2004, 2005 and 2008.

Model Brooklyn Decker’s appearance on the cover of the 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition has certainly shaken up the hacks, and Roddick was happy to indulge in the new line of questioning.

“It’s pretty amazing to see what’s been going on with Brook the past couple of days – it’s been a blast to see,” Roddick said of his wife. “This is the fifth time she’s been in [the Swimsuit Edition] and she’s been going after [the cover] for a long time.

“It meant a lot to her – in her industry that’s as big as it gets. She’s certainly excited – we’re all excited for her.”

Not so excitable in San Jose was defending SAP Open champ Radek Stepanek, whose hopes of a third consecutive final at the ATP 250 tournament were ended after he found himself bundled out at the first hurdle by Belgian Xavier Malisse.

The world No.107 took out the third-seeded Czech in 70 minutes, breaking once in each set to claim his biggest scalp of 2010.

“It’s always tough to play the champion of the previous year because obviously they felt pretty good here, and everybody likes the winner of last year,” said Malisse.

“I’ve been injured for a while, so this time I had no pressure on me… There was nothing to lose.”

The upset proves the perfect response for the 29-year-old after a troubled 2009. Malisse even considered retirement at one stage last year after he was suspended from competition for missing mandatory drugs tests.

Joining Stepanek on the casualty list in San Jose was fourth seed Tommy Haas, who will rue missing five set points in the opener after succumbing to a 7-6(3), 6-2 defeat at the hands of world No.96 Denis Istomin.

The 23-year-old Uzbek earned his first victory over a top 20 player after downing the world No.17, and faces No.6 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in round two.

Second seed Fernando Verdasco also progressed after negotiating a tricky three-setter against Yen-Hsun Lu.

The Spaniard eventually nullified the threat of the world No.113 after two hours of play, but Verdasco’s stick made more waves than his on-court display.

Spotted sporting a Yonex RDiS 200 racket (due for release in March 2010) instead of his customary Technifibre T-Fight 320 VO2 Max, Verdasco looks set to officially jump ship any day soon.

Watch this space… 

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