An obviously ailing Andy Roddick tried to gut out his opening match with his powerful serve but it wasn’t enough as the defending Sony Ericsson Open champion was ousted 6-4, 7-6 (4) by 67th-ranked Pablo Cuevas Saturday afternoon on Stadium Court. Roddick called for the trainer several times but it was unclear whether he was sick or suffering from a lower-body injury. He was clearly limping in the second-set tiebreaker in which he drew to 4-5 with four service winners, but consecutive forehand errors gave the match to the 25-year-old Uruguayan, who notched his first-ever victory over a Top 10 player. The loss will see World No. 8 Roddick fall from the Top 10 of the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, possibly to as low as No. 15, which would be his lowest since June 10, 2002 when he was No. 15. The American has spent just four weeks outside the Top 10 since August 2006.
The eighth-ranked Roddick, winner of the Sony Ericsson Open in 2004 and 2010, was unable to move to his right and was forced to watch most of Cuevas’ 15 aces go by without as much as a step. Roddick, who won his 30th career title in Memphis last month, pulled out of the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships with flu-like symptoms. However, he led the U.S. to a Davis Cup victory over Chile and then lost in the quarterfinals to Richard Gasquet at Indian Wells last week. Roddick, 28, had 33 unforced errors and just 20 winners, compared to 26 and 36 respectively for Cuevas, who reached his first career third round in a Masters 1000 event.