- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2009

Top seed Andy Roddick wasted little time Wednesday night getting to the third round of the Legg Mason Classic. He needed just 55 minutes to wallop Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-2, the second-largest margin of victory of the day.

The world’s No. 5 player and Wimbledon runner-up never faced a break point and improved to 26-4 all-time at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Becker stumbled on his serve early in both sets, which allowed Roddick to remain in control throughout the match.

“It’s obviously a lot more comfortable playing from ahead,” the 27-year-old American said. “I’m sure that’s not the position he wanted to be in at the beginning of each set.”

The hip problems that have bothered Roddick since Wimbledon were a nonissue in the match. Roddick said he felt fine and was pleased with his movement and ability to return Becker’s serve. Becker had 27 aces Tuesday in a first-round win against Robby Ginepri.

Roddick finished off the match with an ace, his eighth of the night, though he felt his serve was the part of his game that showed the most rust after a monthlong layoff. Focusing on fundamentals helped Roddick get back into the flow of competition.

“I kind of wanted to work my way into the match, get a couple of rallies going and just try to do the basics well,” Roddick said. “All in all, it was a good first match.”

French Open finalist Robin Soderling doled out the biggest defeat of the day, a 6-3, 6-1 thrashing of Mikhail Youzhny. Soderling saved each of the four break points against him - all of which came in the first set - and won half the points on Youzhny’s serve. Marc Gicquel, who won earlier in the night when 2008 Legg Mason runner-up Viktor Troicki retired three games into the match with a right foot injury, will be Soderling’s third-round opponent.

Querrey rolls

Roddick might have played the quickest match of the night, but upcoming opponent Sam Querrey needed just 10 more minutes to set up their Thursday showdown. The California native didn’t have much trouble against Igor Kunitsyn, breezing to a 6-3, 6-4 win.

Perhaps the hottest player on the ATP Tour right now - with three straight tournament-final appearances and a title last week in Los Angeles - Querrey put 70 percent of his first serves in play and took advantage of Kunitsyn’s inconsistency.

“My serve’s feeling great,” Querrey said. “[Serving well] allows me to play the return games a little more freely, take some chances.”

He could have made the match even easier on himself. Querrey squandered nine of his 12 break-point opportunities, including five in the fifth game of the second set, before converting his sixth chance to grab a commanding 4-1 lead.

Fish hooked again

Mardy Fish had to be feeling some deja vu after his second-round match against Philipp Petzschner. The ninth-seeded Fish, who recently surpassed James Blake as the second-highest ranked American in the world, jumped out to a one-set lead last year in his opening match before losing in three sets.

Things seemed to be going Fish’s way after seizing a 6-1 first-set edge, but he faded once again and wasn’t able to recover. Petzschner advanced to the third round with a 1-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory. The German will face Czech player Tomas Berdych.

Fish had his chances - he led 30-love in the last game of the second set and first game of the third set, but couldn’t close them out. He bowed out after his opening match in the District for the third straight time. Injuries have played a major role, especially this year.

“It’s a little disappointing, obviously frustrating to be injured,” Fish said. “I thought in practice I could pretty much do everything, but that wasn’t the case.”

Spanish blowout

The marquee battle between Spanish Davis Cup teammates Juan Carlos Ferrero and Tommy Robredo was supposed to be one of Wednesday’s closest matches. But Ferrero turned it into a blowout, easily defeating the No. 7 seed 6-3, 6-2.

“I’m a little surprised [by the score],” said Ferrero, who grinded out a tough three-set win less than 24 hours earlier. “I was hitting the ball much better than yesterday. I put a lot of pressure on [Robredo] early.”

Ferrero thought that surviving the difficult match against Nicolas Lapentti allowed him to settle in and relax before taking on his fellow countryman.

“It helped me a little bit to get some rhythm on hard courts,” he said.

Hewitt rallies

Lleyton Hewitt, the 2004 Legg Mason Classic winner, rallied after a poor second set to overcome Dudi Sela 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. Both players struggled on serve, and Sela actually won a greater percentage of the points on his second serve than his first.

“[He] relies on placement and trying to hit his spots,” Hewitt said. “It was more about trying to get into his service games and attack from there.”

Playing in his first tournament since a run to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, Hewitt has now won two matches in each of his last three trips to the District. The victory over Sela was Hewitt’s first at the Legg Mason over a top-50 player.

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