Roddick struggles to 1st-round victory

Wimbledon

June 29, 2006|By DIANE PUCIN | DIANE PUCIN,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WIMBLEDON, England -- Andy Roddick clapped like he was at a rock show yesterday. He pumped his fist toward the stands. He whooped and hollered after winning a third-set tiebreak. At Wimbledon. In the first round. Against Janko Tipsarevic, who is from Serbia and is ranked 101st in the world.

Roddick, seeded third and a finalist here the past two years, recovered from a 3-0 deficit in that tiebreak to win his first-round match over Tipsarevic, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2. It wasn't beautiful. Roddick threw a racket and cursed at himself.

But then Roddick also hit a nifty, well-placed service winner and then a booming ace when he was down 5-4 in that final tiebreak. He finally overpowered Tipsarevic by serving 28 aces and kicking up dust with hard-struck forehands.

"My whole thing is to survive and advance. I'm glad I served myself out of some big situations because I haven't really done that this year so far," Roddick said. His struggle was in sharp contrast to the small effort it took three-time defending champion and top seed Roger Federer to advance to the third round.

In only 1 hour, 25 minutes, Federer clobbered 31-year-old Tim Henman, 6-4, 6-0, 6-2. Despite the fans doing the wave and stomping their feet to urge on Henman, the four-time Wimbledon semifinalist couldn't muster up even a little challenge to Federer, who has won 43 straight grass-court matches.

The most dramatic match of the day belonged to Ivan Ljubicic. The Croatian, seeded fifth, saved seven match points before surviving the baseline challenge from Feliciano Lopez of Spain and winning, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 11-9.

Francesca Schiavone of Italy became the top woman to fall. Seeded No. 11, she was surprised by British wild card Melanie South, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Defending women's champion Venus Williams needed only 51 minutes to beat Bethanie Mattek, 6-1, 6-0, in her opening match, while 2004 winner Maria Sharapova beat Anna Smashnova, 6-2, 6-0, also in 51 minutes. Top-seeded Amelie Mauresmo did even better, taking out Ivana Abramovic, 6-0, 6-0, in 39 minutes.

Diane Pucin writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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