- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 1, 2009

NEW YORK - This edition of “Late Night with Andy Roddick” ended at 12:45 a.m., and the 2003 U.S. Open champion loved every minute of it.

Still, Roddick wouldn’t mind if the U.S. Tennis Association occasionally put the men’s match on court before the women’s match during the Grand Slam tournament’s evening sessions.

“It’s all part of it. Kind of the crazies that stay till 1 in the morning - there’s something fun about that,” Roddick said after winning his first-round match at the U.S. Open in straight sets.

Because of an opening-night ceremony featuring Andre Agassi, followed by a victory by Venus Williams that lasted more than 2 1/2 hours, Roddick was forced to wait until after 11 p.m. Monday night to get on court in Arthur Ashe Stadium for the last match on the schedule. He then made quick work of 84th-ranked Bjorn Phau of Germany, beating him 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.

On Tuesday, Dinara Safina barely avoided becoming the first No. 1-seeded woman to lose in the first round at the U.S. Open.

Safina overcame 11 double-faults and 48 unforced errors to come back and beat 167th-ranked Olivia Rogowska of Australia 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-4 Tuesday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Safina, the younger sister of two-time major champion Marat Safin, moved up to No. 1 in the rankings in April and is assured of staying there no matter what happens at Flushing Meadows.

The Russian reached the finals at the Australian Open and French Open this year, losing both.

Rogowska is 18, received a wild-card invitation into the U.S. Open and has won one Grand Slam match. She never has defeated anyone ranked better than 47th

The stands were less than half-full by the end. Those fans that stayed were loud, though, supporting the highest-seeded American.

“It’s just unique. You play in all sorts of atmospheres. There’s not as many people, but the ones that are there sure are vocal-slash-drunk,” Roddick said.

“I guarantee half the people out there were probably here all day, too. They have to be pretty passionate and really enjoy what they’re seeing and the whole experience of it,” he added. “It’s 1 in the morning. I guarantee you, they all have to work tomorrow. They certainly have to get up earlier than I do.”

The USTA has said it is planning to have a men’s match precede the women’s for one or two night sessions during this U.S. Open.

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