Roddick survives first-round challenge in Cincinnati

August 17, 2010 12:31 AM
Andy Roddick hits a backhand to Sergiy Stakhovsky in their opening-round match

MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Ninth-seeded Andy Roddick threw his racket to the ground. Then, he knocked out Sergiy Stakhovsky.

The 13th-ranked Roddick rebounded from losing the second-set tiebreaker to roll in the third set and advance to the second round of the Cincinnati Masters with a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1 win over the 46th-ranked Ukrainian on Monday.

With wife and supermodel Brooklyn Decker and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Terrell Owens watching from the stands, Roddick threw his racket to the ground in frustration after blowing a 5-2 lead in the tiebreaker and committing an unforced error on set point in the second set. The three-time Cincinnati finalist and two-time champion then gathered himself, held serve to open the third set and gained momentum with a sharp two-hand backhand down the line off a Stakhovsky lob deep into the ad-court corner on break point for a 2-0 lead.

"He barely snuck that lob over my head,'' Roddick said. "I went from a dominant position to defensive. I thought he would be coming in. All I was trying to do was get it up the line, and I think I hit it more solid than I thought. I think he was protecting crosscourt.''

Roddick, who is getting over a case of mononucleosis, opened up a 5-0 lead before closing out the match with a forehand winner.

"I don't feel perfect, but good enough,'' he said. "That third set was actually a blessing in disguise. That's the best I've played in months.''

No. 25 Thomaz Bellucci also advanced Monday night with a 7-6 (6), 7-5 win over 68th-ranked Benjamin Becker before No. 14 Robby Ginepri, a wild-card entry, wrapped up the tournament's first day with an arduous 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 103rd-ranked Somdev Devvarman.

Earlier, Taylor Dent rode a decisive serve advantage to a surprisingly easy 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 24 Feliciano Lopez.

The 83rd-ranked American, who reached the main draw as a qualifier in his first appearance in Cincinnati in five years, unleashed 12 aces and had just one double-fault. His Spanish opponent had just four aces and seven double faults, but Dent believed his return game was more important. He won 42 percent of his return points to 25 percent by Lopez.

"We're both big servers,'' said Dent, who earned a second-round matchup with top-seeded Rafael Nadal. "The bottom line is it comes down to who's gonna put more good returns in play. Today, I wasn't missing many returns, and I was getting a ton of free points on my serve. I think, at times, he may have felt a little bit of pressure. He threw in some double faults and missed some first balls, so it's tough when you're a big server and your opponent's putting a very, very high percentage of solid returns in play.''

Dent was one of a series of surprise winners on the first full day of the $2.4 million Western & Southern Financial Group Masters. Fourteenth-seeded Nicolas Almagro became the second seeded player to be eliminated when he fell to 26th-ranked Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-3.

Eleventh-seeded Marin Cilic fell to Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets Sunday night.

Wawrinka has won three of his four career matches against Almagro.

Also advancing with upsets were No. 102 Paul-Henri Mathieu, who rallied to edge 54th-ranked Victor Hanescu 6-7 (6), 7-6 (2), 6-3, and 47th-ranked Viktor Troicki, who knocked off No. 28 Radek Stepanek 7-5, 6-1. Mathieu is scheduled to meet seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych in the second round on Tuesday.

No. 51 Michael Berrer edged 39th-ranked Tommy Robredo in a taut three-set match, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (8), and 50th-ranked Thiemo De Bakker also needed three sets to oust No. 21 Juan Monaco 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3.

Tenth-seeded David Ferrer was pushed to three sets before prevailing over 43rd-ranked Alexandr Dolgopolov 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while 13th-seeded Jurgen Melzer and 21st-ranked Sam Querrey both avoided the rash of upsets with 6-1, 6-4 wins, Melzer over No. 62 Santiago Giraldo and Querrey over No. 48 Philipp Petzschner. Querrey needed only 50 minutes to win.

"I felt great, especially on my serve,'' he said. "He gave me a few errors in the first set there, a couple of wind forehands. I'll take it.''