Thursday, 19 July 2012
Andy Roddick won a first-set tiebreaker then completed a straight-sets win over Nicolas Mahut at the Atlanta Open on Wednesday.
Roddick beat the Frenchman 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in the second round after rain delayed the tournament by more than four 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 (5-7) 6-4 6-4 to reach his first ATP World Tour hardcourt quarter-final since February 2011.
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."
Eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan defeated Russia's Igor Kunitsyn 6-1 7-5 while, in Wednesday's other late match, No.3 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-4.
No.1 seed John Isner and No.2 Mardy Fish, Atlanta's two-time defending champion, will play their second-round matches on Thursday.
Although Roddick didn't have to wait as long as some players to get on 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."
Russell and Anderson began their match at 4pm (local time), but they had to wait nearly five hours before resuming.
In the tiebreaker, Anderson held serve to take the 11th point and broke Russell to win the first set. Russell, though, held his composure to avenge a loss to Anderson in Atlanta last year.
Isner will face Ruben Bemelmans of Belgium in the last singles match on Thursday. Fish will take on Luxembourg's Gilles Muller in the second afternoon match.
The other two matches will feature James Blake against Matthew Ebden of Australia and Steve Johnson against Jack Sock.