- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 2, 2011

There’s no Andy Roddick at Rock Creek Park this week, but Ryan Harrison spent one match showing a little of why he has drawn comparisons to the American star. Frustrated at himself on a few points Tuesday, Harrison slammed the ball into the court and high into the air — conveying a bit of the emotion and intensity missing without Roddick.

Harrison also showed some of the talent that’s worth the comparisons, battling his own streaky game to defeat Mischa Zverev, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 at the Legg Mason Classic.

“It was frustrating in the beginning just because I was returning pretty good, too, and I kept having looks at passing shots and shots to break, Harrison said. “I felt like it was just opportunity after opportunity that I was having to really get on top, and he was hanging around.”

The whole second set, Zverev dominated — but then Harrison found a second wind. More composed — without any racket smashing or histrionics — the 19-year-old American disposed of Zverev to move on to a match with third-seeded Viktor Troicki.

As for the comparisons to Roddick, Harrison welcomes them. Each man has a strong serve and likes to control play with his forehand. The two get into arguments during practice games against each other, Harrison said, but advice along with those battles has been worthwhile.

“No matter what it is we’re just very high strung about being passionate and competitive,” Harrison said. “He’s talked to me about how he learned to channel his energy, and it’s been very helpful to me to this point of my career.”

Fellow Americans support Kendrick

Rob Kendrick’s one-year ban from the International Tennis Federation for taking a banned supplement is controversial at best and “ridiculous” and “absurd” at worst, according to fellow American Ryan Sweeting.

Kendrick, who tested positive for Methylhexaneamine, claimed he used it to get over jet lag. Sweeting,  a friend of Kendrick’s, stood up for him Tuesday.

“If you look at the punishment that he received — a year ban — and you look at the other punishments that players have received, it’s just absolutely absurd,” said Sweeting, who minutes earlier beat Alexander Bogomolov 6-2, 6-4. “Wayne Odesnik got caught smuggling drugs — performance-enhancing drugs — into another country and he got six months. Richard Gasquet tested positive for cocaine, and said he kissed a girl, and I don’t think he received any punishment. For a 31-year-old to take one bad pill for jet lag and receive a year ban, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand the logic behind it.

“And all the players know this — all the players are wondering what the hell’s going on, and it’s just unfortunate because everybody knows that Rob has never taken a performance-enhancing drug in his entire life and he’s a good guy.”

James Blake took it a step further, writing a letter to the ITF in support of Kendrick’s appeal.

“He wasn’t doing anything performance-enhancing. To put him out for a year, and for all intents and purposes end his career I think is pretty harsh,” Blake said. “That’s a terrible way to end his career because I was faced at times with my career possibly ending, not on my terms, and for him to possibly end his not on his terms is not fair after a career that he put a lot of hard work into, a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

Haas vs. unknown opponent

As late as Tuesday afternoon, Tommy Haas thought he was facing Fernando Gonzalez in the second round. But two hours before the match, Gonzalez withdrew with a bad knee. Amer Delic, who lost in qualifying, took Gonzalez’s place.

“You prepare yourself to play [Gonzalez] since the draw came out late Friday night,” Haas said. “I didn’t know who I was playing … until the referee came out and told me the second leg was Amer Delic.”

Haas didn’t have much trouble with the adjustment, cruising to a 6-2, 6-3 victory.

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