- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - His ranking down, his health a question mark much of the season, Andy Roddick figures nothing will come easily at the U.S. Open.

Roddick held on to avoid a first-round upset Wednesday night at the Grand Slam tournament he won in 2003, beating 96th-ranked Michael Russell 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.

“Wasn’t pretty,” the 21st-seeded Roddick said. “I’m certainly not fooling myself by thinking that was worthy of a championship performance, by any means. But, you know, I don’t know if I would expect that.”

Not all that long ago, Roddick wasn’t even sure whether he’d be able to enter the U.S. Open because of a torn abdominal muscle. He was helped by a 13-0 edge in aces in the all-American matchup against Russell.

“I’m trying to get my form there, I promise you,” Roddick said. “You know, a lot of people, when they’re coming back, do it on the side courts. I just have an audience.”

After breezing through the first two sets against Russell, Roddick began to run into trouble in the third, and then fell behind by a break in the fourth.

“I had the momentum. I felt Andy was getting a little bit frustrated. He was missing a lot of returns. I mean, the crowd was starting to get into it,” Russell said.

“I felt he would kind of maybe panic a little bit if we went to a fifth,” said Russell, who fell to 0-7 at the U.S. Open and 6-23 at all Grand Slam tournaments.

Roddick _ whom Russell called “kind of the poster boy for American tennis the last 10 years” _ broke right back to even the fourth set at 3-all. Then, trailing 6-5, Russell double-faulted to give Roddick a match point, then netted a volley to end it.

Struggling with various injuries, former No. 1 Roddick is having a tough season, and his ranking dropped outside the top 20 for the first time in a decade.

Roddick, who turned 29 on Tuesday, will face 18-year-old Jack Sock of the United States next. Both were born in Nebraska.

“I was joking with someone today,” Roddick said. “I said, ‘I think we’re the only two teenagers to play tennis in Nebraska in the last 30 years, and we’re both in the U.S. Open.’”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide