- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2009

Although Andy Roddick is the top seed in this week’s Legg Mason Classic and just a month removed from finishing runner-up at Wimbledon, no one would have been surprised if he lost to Sam Querrey in the third round Thursday night.

Querrey had streaked through the summer, reaching three straight finals and winning the title last week in Los Angeles. But Roddick overcame some early inconsistencies with his serve and used an aggressive return game to advance to the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 win and secure his 500th career ATP Tour victory.

“I didn’t know what the outcome would be,” he said. “You’ve got someone who’s match tough in match play and playing great tennis, and I’m kind of coming off the bench, so to speak.”

After the victory, he was presented with a special cake at center court and received a standing ovation for becoming the 36th player with so many tour wins. Only three other active players - Roger Federer, Carlos Moya and Lleyton Hewitt - have more.

“I’ve done it with enough time in my career to add to it,” he said. “It’s a validation of the consistency of my career.”

Roddick said he felt his powerful serve game was not as sharp as usual, and the six double faults and two breaks of serve by Querrey suggest he was correct. But the difference in the match may have come from his first-serve percentage, which topped .660 for the match. In the second set, Roddick lost only five first-serve points; Querrey’s first-serve percentage dropped below .400. Roddick capitalized by winning more than half of the points on Querrey’s second serve.

The loss gave Querrey a few much-needed days off before he plays in Cincinnati and Montreal heading into the U.S. Open.

“If you look at the last month, I went final-final-win and then lost to Roddick, who’s one of the best players in the world,” he said. “I’m not too bummed about that.”

The champ survives

Before arriving in the District this week, Juan Martin del Potro spent much of July at home in Argentina, where temperatures hovered just above freezing.

Lleyton Hewitt nearly sent him back to the cold weather, pushing the defending champion to the brink before del Potro took control in a third-set tiebreak. He battled Hewitt for nearly 2 1/2 hours before turning to his big serve to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2).

Del Potro, who admitted to being bothered by the heat, appeared to have the match in hand when he served for the match at 5-4. But Hewitt broke at love, setting up break point with a sensational defensive lob over the head of the 6-foot-6 del Potro.

Hewitt had no answer in the tiebreak, managing just two points while del Potro served his 17th and 18th aces of the match.

“Lleyton is a great player. He’s one of my idols,” del Potro said. “I knew it was going to be very tough, but today I think I played the final [points] a little better.”

Del Potro will face French Open finalist Robin Soderling, a 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 winner against Marc Gicquel.

UVa product falls

The Legg Mason Cinderella was ousted Thursday - and he probably doesn’t even know what hit him.

Former University of Virginia All-American Somdev Devvarman’s quest for a second straight quarterfinal berth ended at the hands of Ivo Karlovic, who lived up to his reputation as one of the most lethal servers in the game in a 7-5, 6-1 decision.

Devvarman, who is in his first full year on tour, managed just six points off Karlovic’s serve and never had a break point. Karlovic dropped only three points on his first serve and fired 14 aces. Karlovic will face Roddick in the quarterfinals.

Tennis centers coming

Mayor Adrian Fenty announced a partnership with the United States Tennis Association to run 11 new tennis training centers at schools throughout the District.

The USTA and Department of Parks and Recreation will provide “QuickStart” tennis kits and offer junior team tennis and structured classes along with assistance in math and reading. Under the partnership, D.C. children will have free access to the USTA’s tennis center in College Park.

The QuickStart format employs foam balls, smaller courts and nets and modified scoring to allow children to learn the game more easily. The program is part of a broader initiative, the DPR Youth Tennis Pilot Program, that introduced 4,000 children to tennis this summer.

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