17
Jan
11

Roddick impresses as both Querrey and Harrison lose.

Four-time semifinalist Andy Roddick blitzed Jan Hajek 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round after No.18 Sam Querrey fell in five sets to Luckasz Kubot and 18-year-old Ryan Harrison went down to Frenchman Adrian Mannarino. Roddick swarmed all over the Czech, nailing 31 winners and only committing 23 unforced errors, while his foe managed only 18 winners and committed 37 unforced errors. Roddick, who has become a cagey player at the age of 28, adeptly mixed up his shot selection, serving big when he needed to and winning all 11 of his net approaches. “I thought he liked the ball to come through pretty quick and flat, so I was trying to keep it out of his hitting zones,” Roddick said. “I served well; I put a lot of returns in. He was having trouble creating off of a chip and off of other things. So it was a little bit more cat and mouse than I think you would normally find certainly on a hotter day here.”

Roddick has been a second week fixture at the Australian Open for the past 10 years, compiling an impressive 35-9 record in Melbourne, but has never been able to make it to the final dance, losing tough semifinals to Rainer Schuettler in 2003 and to Lleyton Hewitt in 2005, but being crushed by Roger Federer in 2007 and 2009. Last year, Roddick reached the quarters and, while he put up a valiant effort after getting injured mid way through his match with Marin Cilic, he went down in five sets. While former No.1 Roddick fell out of the top 10 for a brief period last year, largely due to a bout of mononucleosis he was contending with, he still managed to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals again. He considers most of 2010 a wasted year. “The last time I was healthy I feel like was May last year,” he said. “Up to that point I had great results. Same with ’09 through when I got hurt, I had really good results. The biggest thing for me was getting right, getting healthy, feeling strong. That was the focus. [My coach] Larry [Stefanki] said, ‘Listen, I don’t care if you hit up until a certain point; I want you working; I want you strong. I don’t want us having to adjust our game plans around what you may or may not be able to do physically.”

Roddick has been a mentor to both Querrey and Harrison – among other American players – so hearing that they both went down didn’t sit well with him. While much has been made of those two’s potential as well of that of John Isner, it may be Roddick and fellow veteran Mardy Fish who make it the furthest in the tournament. “Sam will rebound,” Roddick said. “Last time everyone was kind of disappointed in him, he had his best results after the French last year. Hopefully we can look for a rebound like that. He came back, won Queen’s, got to this day what is his best result in a slam, fourth round in Wimbledon, and played well at the US Open.”

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