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Roddick advances to Atlanta quarter-finals

Takes advantage of Mahut’s error to win in straight sets

Image Credit: AFP
Andy Roddick celebrates during the second roundmatch against Nicolas Mahut of France in the AtlantaOpen on Wednesday.
Gulf News

Atlanta: Andy Roddick won a first-set tiebreaker on his way to completing a straight-set win over Nicolas Mahut at the Atlanta Open on Wednesday.

“He missed a pretty easy ball in the tiebreaker to make it three-all,” Roddick said. “From there, I played pretty solid.”

Roddick beat the Frenchman 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the second round after rain delayed the tournament for four and a hours.

Roddick, who will play Michael Russell in the quarter-finals, broke Mahut in the ninth point of the tiebreaker and held serve to take a tough first set.

“The first tiebreaker is so big,” Roddick said. “There’s not much between you, and whoever loses it has a long road (back). I was fortunate to get up on that one.”

Russell, at 34, is the oldest player in the main draw, but he outlasted No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour hard-court quarter-finals since February 2011.

No. 8 seed Go Soeda of Japan beat Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn 6-1, 7-5. Their match began at 4pm, but when the rain hit 25 minutes later, the order of play was changed. Soeda and Kunitsyn had to wait seven hours for Russell and Anderson to finish before their match could restart.

Soeda led the first set 3-0 before play was stopped. The match, which lasted one-hour, 31 minutes, ended at 1:28am.

No. 3 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan held off Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-4 in a match that ended at 1:47am.

Soeda and Nishikori will clash in a rare all-Japanese quarter-final.

Roddick’s victory avenged a four-set loss to Mahut at the French Open on May 27. It was Roddick’s earliest exit from a Grand Slam tournament since 2007 and his first loss to Mahut in five career matches.

“I thought about it a little bit, but the conditions are so different,” Roddick said. “I’m not real comfortable on clay. I don’t think that’s a secret. Coming back here on home turf on a surface I’m very comfortable on is just a different scenario.”

No. 1 seed John Isner and No. 2 seed Mardy Fish, Atlanta’s two-time defending champion, will play their second-round matches.

Though Roddick didn’t have to wait nearly as long as some of the players to get on the court, the damp conditions were hardly to his liking. He and Mahut occasionally slipped as they tried to reach for shots.

“I expressed my concern,” Roddick said. “It was heard by the supervisor. He agreed with my sentiment and told me to play on.”