Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Davydenko loses in first round of Wimbledon for fifth time
ESPN.com news services
WIMBLEDON, England -- Fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko was ousted in the first round of Wimbledon for the fifth time.
Davydenko lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 to Germany's Benjamin Becker on Tuesday, extending his woeful run on grass at the All England Club.
The 27-year-old Russian has advanced past the first round at Wimbledon only twice in seven trips, including a fourth-round exit last year.
"He played good, but I played very bad," Davydenko said.
The Russian has been at the center of an investigation into suspicious betting patterns involving a match in Poland last year, when he retired citing an injury in the third set against Argentina's Martin Vassallo Arguello.
"Nobody can prove anything," said Davydenko, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. "I think there's no match-fixing in tennis."
No. 2-ranked Rafael Nadal started his Wimbledon campaign with a 6-4, 6-4, 7-6 (0) win over German qualifier Andreas Beck.
Rafael Nadal, who won his first grass-court tournament at Queen's, advanced to the second round with a win in straight sets.
Nadal, who has lost the past two Wimbledon finals to Roger Federer, didn't face a break point and, after being pushed to a tiebreak in the third set, took a 5-0 lead with a stunning cross-court forehand.
He set up match point with his 17th ace and clinched it on an error from Beck.
Nadal, who has won the past four French Open titles, won his first grass-court tournament at the warm-up tournament at Queen's Club.
Arguello won his first-round match Tuesday, outlasting Ivo Minar 6-4, 2-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Wimbledon lost the oldest player in the men's draw, 36-year-old Jonas Bjorkman, when he lost 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Arnaud Clement. It was the Swede's 15th and last Wimbledon before his planned retirement in October.
Andy Roddick beat Eduardo Schwank 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (0) to advance to the second round.
The two-time Wimbledon finalist fired 17 aces and did not face a break point in his first-round match against 60th-ranked Schwank on Court 1.
Roddick converted only two of 12 break-point chances in a tough, grinding match before dominating the tiebreak to close it out.
"I don't know if I've ever been the one that everybody's talking about," said Roddick, who has been largely overlooked as a title favorite this year. "I don't really care. I just want to win matches. To be honest, it's probably nice."
Roddick was happy just to get out on court after the excitement provided by Roger Federer's cardigan and Serena Williams's raincoat on Monday.
"I personally don't care," Roddick said when asked about the fashion at Wimbledon this year. "But, you know, I think any attention drawn to tennis for whatever reason is good.
"If that means wearing the Mr. Rogers sweater, whatever else you got, then so be it. I don't know if it would be a good look for me or any of my friends or relatives," he said.
Roddick faces Janko Tipsarevic in the next round after the Serb beat Thierry Ascione of France 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-2.
Roddick won their only meeting in the first round here two
years ago, but the world No. 40 returned to reach the fourth
round last year.
"He just hits a pure ball," Roddick said of the Serb's
threat. "He's able to kind of attack off of both sides. Doesn't
really play himself out of point. Has some pretty cool tattoos.
"No, I mean, he actually serves pretty big for someone who
is not super tall. If he's playing well, that's a lot to deal
with," Roddick said.
Also advancing were No. 8 Richard Gasquet, who beat Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-4, 6-2; No. 9 James Blake, who rallied to defeat Belgian qualifier Christophe Rochus 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4; and No. 12 Andy Murray, who thrilled his British fans by downing 35-year-old Frenchman Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the final match on Centre Court.
The eighth-seeded Gasquet returned to Court 1, where he
memorably defeated Roddick in a five-set quarterfinal last year.
Gasquet broke the 39th-ranked Fish -- a finalist in Indian
Wells this year -- early in each set and was only fleetingly
troubled by the American in 1 hour, 51 minutes.
Gasquet next faces Sebastien Grosjean, who overcame Potito Starace 6-2, 7-5, 6-1.
Murray, 21, and his 35-year-old opponent served up a feast of crafty angles, subtle spins and delicate lobs to keep the Centre Court crowd enthralled throughout a 2-hour, 13-minute contest.
The home favorite broke three times in the opening set and twice on his way to winning the second but was never completely in control against a wily opponent always capable of producing the unexpected.
Santoro, playing in his 64th Grand Slam tournament and 13th Wimbledon, saved two match points in an entertaining tiebreak before Murray pounced on a drop volley to flick a backhand winner down the line.
Murray, sidelined by a wrist injury last year, will face Belgian Xavier Malisse in the second round.
"When he broke me back in the first set it was a little bit nervy for a couple of games," Murray said of being pegged back early on by some magic touches from the Santoro racket.
"It's first round of Wimbledon. I mean, it's fun to be out there, but I'm not wanting to just play fun points to keep everyone happy. I wanted to obviously just win the match as quickly as possible," he said.
Santoro, who had put in a special request to play on Centre Court for the first time in his long career, said the wait had been worthwhile.
"It was as good as I was thinking before going on the court," Santoro said. "I was trying to enjoy every minute on the court. I was trying to enjoy the match. I think I did it from the first to the last point."
Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.