Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It looks like Andy Roddick has overcome his upset stomach.

Roddick, who attributed a semifinal loss in Indianapolis last week to eating fast food late the previous night, had no such problems in disposing Tomas Zib 6-4, 6-2 in a second-round match at the Legg Mason Classic last night.

“Fortunately, there’s a lot more options at 8 o’clock in Georgetown than at 1 in the morning in Indianapolis,” Roddick said. “Tonight would’ve been completely my fault if I didn’t manage [my eating] right.”

The top seed in this tournament and the champion here in 2001 and 2005, Roddick continues to battle criticism for underperforming in Grand Slam events. He entered this tournament coming off that loss in Indianapolis and a quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon, where he blew a two-set lead against Richard Gasquet. He has won only one ATP event this year.

While he admits to feeling some pressure, Roddick conceded the last few days in the District have helped him relax a bit.

“You walk a fine line of not doing a whole lot the last couple days,” Roddick said. “Sometimes you get out there and [don’t] feel sharp on your feet.”

Zib took a 3-2 lead in the first set, but Roddick responded by breaking serve and taking a 5-3 lead. After saving two break points, Roddick secured the first set with an ace.

Roddick produced 18 aces to Zib’s five and won 32 of 33 first-service points.

“I wanted to get into it [right away],” Roddick said. “I’m not good at waiting around day centers to get practice. In my case, now I can relax and rest up.”

Isner is too tall a task

Despite his 6-foot-10-inch frame, John Isner quit basketball during his freshman year of high school. Instead, the 2007 NCAA finalist from Georgia took advantage of his height by making overpowering serves with long trajectory.

Isner victimized Tim Henman with 18 aces in pulling a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) upset win. Henman, the 32-year-old British veteran who hoped to rebound from a down year, compared Isner to Croatian Ivo Karlovic, who is also 6-10.

Isner advances to play eighth-seeded Benjamin Becker in the second round.

“I think it’s more mental than anything to go out there and know you can compete with those guys,” Isner said. “That’s something I can get better at. I played well today and was fortunate to win that match.”

Henman’s loss to the 416th-ranked player in the world was another frustrating finish. He has been plagued by injuries this year and could muster only a first-round victory in Wimbledon.

“There’s nothing wrong with my game,” Henman said. “I’ve been hitting the ball fine. As disappointing as it is, you just have to give yourself more opportunities in the future.”

Homecourt advantage

District native Paul Goldstein, playing in front of a hometown crowd that included his 6-week-old child, also advanced yesterday, beating University of Virginia graduate and 2007 NCAA champion Somdev Devvarman 6-4, 6-2 last night.

For Goldstein, playing in his 12th Legg Mason, the win means another opportunity for family to watch his matches. His brother, a doctor, was unable to attend last night, Goldstein said.

“I put pressure on myself to win,” Goldstein said. “I want to give my family and friends more opportunities to watch me play. You can’t do that unless you win.”

Goldstein advances to play 15th-seeded Radek Stepanek in the second round. This is the fifth time Goldstein has advanced past the first round. His best performance was in 1999, when he made a run to the quarterfinals.

Devvarman, 22, admitted to being nervous but said Goldstein played better.

“I just think he played the points a little bit better,” Devvarman said. “It’s obviously disappointing coming off with a loss. It’s a learning experience more than anything. It was a big opportunity to be given a wild card. I tried to make the best of what I had.”

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