Thursday 23 November 2017

Tennis: Roddick hits ground running to see off Ram challenge

Andy Roddick crushed Rajeev Ram 6-3 6-2 6-2 to get his latest bid for that elusive Wimbledon title up and running.

The American, beaten 16-14 in the fifth set of last year's final by Roger Federer, had few problems in dispatching his compatriot on Court One. The three-time runner-up took control from the word go, breaking serve at the first attempt.

Roddick impressed at the net during that first set, putting behind him his recent shock defeat to Dudi Sela at Queen's Club. He also made a lightning-fast start to the second set, hammering down one serve which was clocked at 142mph.

Ram offered more resistance in the third set but the game was up when he surrendered his serve again in the seventh game and Roddick soon wrapped up victory with a trademark ace.

"I played well and returned well. I'm really happy to be here,'' said Roddick. "This place should inspire anyone who likes tennis. It's a privilege to be here.''

Tomas Berdych, the 12th seed whom Roddick beat in the Miami Masters final in April, saw off Andrey Golubev, of Kazakhstan, 7-6 (7/5) 6-2 6-2.

Marin Cilic became the first big-name casualty. The 11th-seeded Croat, a semi-finalist at this year's Australian Open and rated as a dark horse, slumped to a 6-2 6-4 7-6 (7/1) defeat at the hands of Germany's Florian Mayer.

Nikolay Davydenko, meanwhile, had to dig deep before finally seeing off Kevin Anderson in a five-set thriller. The Russian fell two sets down to the big-serving South African, who finished with 36 aces.

Davydenko only recently returned to the tour after suffering a broken wrist earlier in the year and he looked a little rusty in the opening exchanges.

But he showed plenty of character to turn the match round, much to the delight of the crowd on Court One, and he recovered to post a 3-6 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (7/3) 7-5 9-7 victory.

Anderson, the world No 95, was the first to flinch in an epic final set, which went with serve for 15 games until Davydenko grabbed the break.

Irish Independent

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