Thursday, June 24, 2004
Roddick triumphs in straight sets
WIMBLEDON, England -- Recreating some of the magic of his
improbable run to the 2001 Wimbledon title, Goran Ivanisevic pulled
out a five-set victory Thursday to set up a third-round showcase
against former champion Lleyton Hewitt.
Ivanisevic, who missed Wimbledon the last two years with
injuries and is retiring after these championships, was his usual
animated self as he came up with the big shots at the right time to
outlast Italy's Filippo Volandri, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
After closing out the match with a service winner, Ivanisevic
stuck out his tongue and tossed his racket into the crowd. He then
stripped off his shirt and tossed it into the stands, basking in a
huge ovation from the Court 2 fans.
Ivanisevic will next face Hewitt, who won the 2002 championship
after the Croatian was unable to defend his title because of a
shoulder injury. Hewitt, seeded No. 7, enjoyed an easy second-round
win Thursday, defeating Georgia's Irakli Labadze 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.
With his customary force and flair, Andy Roddick earned a
rain-delayed first-round victory Thursday, beating Wang Yeu-Tzuoo
6-3, 7-5, 6-4.
Roddick's niftiest maneuver came after he won the opening game
of the final set. A frustrated Wang slammed the ball into the
grass, and when it skipped over the net, Roddick took off his cap
and snared it as he walked to the changeover chair.
"I had a lot of built-up energy," he said.
That's because the match was halted by rain Tuesday with Roddick
leading 4-2 in the first set, and he waited in vain to play for 9½
hours before Wednesday's schedule was declared a washout.
"I'm not good for sitting around with nothing to do. My boredom
was killing me," Roddick said. "But it's Wimbledon. I think you
kind of have to expect it sometimes, and just do your best to roll
with the punches."
When the match finally resumed, Roddick came out swinging. He
finished with 18 aces, reaching 144 mph on his serve, and
repeatedly angled inside-out forehands beyond Wang's reach.
The No. 2-seeded Roddick was relieved to take his first step
toward an appealing potential rematch in the final against No. 1
Roger Federer. Last year Federer won his first Grand Slam title at
Wimbledon after beating Roddick in the semifinals.
"First rounds at Slams are always a bit jittery," Roddick
said. "I don't ever feel totally comfortable. There's a lot of
buildup, a lot of hype. You can't wait to get out there. You're
anxious. So there's a lot that goes into it."
A year ago at Wimbledon, Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round
as the defending champion to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic.
"My guy was only 5-9 today," Roddick noted.
Still, as Roddick acknowledged, the 19-year-old Wang was
dangerous. He and Yen-Hsun Lu, who also lost Thursday, became the
first players from Taiwan to play Grand Slam singles in the
A qualifier, Wang was making his ATP Tour-level debut. But he's
talented, as a 9-1 Davis Cup record attests.
He reached the net twice as often as Roddick and held his own in
baseline rallies, some lasting 20 shots or more. But, in the end,
Roddick had too much power. He lost just 13 points on his first
serve and never faced a break point.
"There's a lot of room for improvement from today," Roddick
said. "I got through. That's the thing I was looking for."
Also advancing was third-seeded Guillermo Coria, who completed a
match that stretched over four days. The French Open runner-up
needed just two points and two minutes to finish off a 6-4, 6-7
(3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over 106th-ranked Wesley Moodie of South
Africa on Court 1.
"It was strange," Coria said. "I've never had to wait three
days to finish a match, but it was worth the wait."
Top-seeded defending champion Roger Federer didn't waste any
time sweeping into the third round. He beat Colombian qualifier
Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in just 54 minutes -- one of the
fastest men's matches in recent Grand Slam history.
The Swiss all-court player -- who raced through the first set in
17 minutes, the second in 23 minutes and the third in 14 -- had 23
winners, converted seven of eight break points and never faced a
Federer's only blip came when he served a double fault at 5-0,
40-love in the third set. He closed with a service winner on the
"It was definitely one of the most easy matches, when you look
at the minutes played, the score," Federer said. "But I had to
play well to beat him. He wasn't a player who was just going to
give it to me."
Also reaching the third round were No. 6 Juan Carlos Ferrero,
No. 9 Carlos Moya and No. 10 Sebastien Grosjean. Ferrero saved two
match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker before overcoming Stefan
Koubek 4-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 8-6 in 3 hours, 38 minutes.
All 74 scheduled matches were postponed Wednesday, the first
Wimbledon washout in five years. Of 160 scheduled first- and
second-round matches in the first three days, the tournament
completed just 83, the fewest since 1991.
Play began an hour earlier Thursday to help alleviate the
backlog. Men's doubles matches were reduced to best-of-three sets
until the quarterfinals.
The sun came out early Thursday, but conditions were cool and
blustery. Then the showers came and play was suspended twice for a
combined time of less than an hour in the afternoon.