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Roddick advances at Indian Wells
INDIAN WELLS, Calif.
It wasn't — he pointed out — as if he had an epiphany out there, but suddenly Andy Roddick was doing things he had not been able to do earlier. That was enough to take him through to the third round of the BNP Parisbas Open at Indian Wells with a ruggedly fought 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory over Poland's Lukasz Kubot.
The 52nd ranked Pole thundered into the net at the start of the match, pulling off some surprisingly delicate drop volleys and generally capitalizing on the fact that Roddick could not make many returns. When he served for the match in the second set, it seemed as if Kubot was poised to pile more frustration on Andy's shoulders as the former US Open champion struggles to regain fitness and confidence.
"In the first two sets, I couldn't have hit a return into the ocean from the beach, much less a tennis court," said Roddick, who is never afraid to beat himself up in a press conference. "Then I started swinging on my returns a little more. That was all the difference. It was just a question of making him pay for not making first serves and suddenly it was a line in the sand. It went from terrible to good for whatever reason."
When Kubot — who has rarely been able to capitalize on his big game — came to serve for the match, Roddick showed him what playing crunch shots was all about.
"It wasn't like I had an epiphany out there all of a sudden," Roddick said. "I don't have much of an explanation for it. I won the first point. He hit a bad volley for the first time in a while; I stuck one return and all of a sudden it's 0-30. At love-40, I played a great point and made a backhand. Why all of a sudden it happened four points in a row? You know what, if you can know why everything happens in sports, then it would be easier and less fun to watch, to be honest."
Asked about the individual nature of tennis, Roddick had plenty to say on the subject.
"I think that's what makes tennis unique," he replied. "I don't think tennis gets its due as far as physicality, as far as endurance, as far as not being able to pass the ball off is concerned. You are out there exposed by yourself, playing pretty terrible tennis for an hour and a half in from of 16,000 people who all want you to play better. There are a lot of things going on in a tennis match that I don't feel translate to watching it go back and forth on TV very well sometimes."
There will be plenty of back and forth next time out for Roddick when he plays No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych, the big Czech who defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky of the Ukraine 6-7, 6-3, 6-4.
"You don't want to leave the ball hanging or let him get set," said Roddick. "You kinda have to mix things up so he doesn't get into a rhythm."
Easier said than done, but Roddick will feel better about his game after gutsing this one out.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic wasted little time moving on with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Kazakhstan's Andrey Golubev, whose ranking has slid from 39th a year ago to 145th. Despite threatening Djokovic's serve on one occasion, he never really had a chance. Djokovic tends to make sure of that.
John Isner had a straight forward win over Portugal's Frederico Gil 7-5, 6-3, but veteran Robby Ginepri could not capitalize on an early advantage against the Swiss Stan Wawrinka, going down 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after losing a break in the second set. It was a similar sort of story for Sam Querrey, the tall Californian who is struggling to regain the No. 17 ranking he held in January last year, having fallen below 100th at one point after injury.
Currently positioned at No. 85, Querrey won the first set against the No. 12 seed Nicolas Almagro, who had just arrived from the South American clay court circuit, but could not maintain that level of consistency against a relentless opponent and went down 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.
In women's play, opponents found former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and reigning US Open champion Sam Stosur uncompromising. Ivanovic opened up play on Stadium Court under clear blue desert skies and thumped Sweden's Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-2, while Stosur allowed the American wild card Irina Falconi just three games, winning 6-0, 6-3.
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