Roddick beats Fish in match with one service break

Updated: February 22, 2006, 12:09 AM ET
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Top-seeded Andy Roddick opened the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships with a victory Tuesday night, outlasting hard-serving Mardy Fish 6-3, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2) in a match that had only one service break.

Roddick, the 2002 champion, had 12 aces and Fish finished with 17.

"He played better than I did for the majority of the match," Roddick said. "I thought he served pretty well, and I didn't have much of a chance to break.

"He probably had more chances than I did. He just made a couple of sloppy errors in the third-set tiebreaker."

Fish, a former top 20 player, is coming back from two wrist surgeries last year.

"It's nice to play a good match against, obviously, a good player like Andy and for my wrist to hold up like that against a serve that big," Fish said. "It's very encouraging."

Roddick will face Australia's Wayne Arthurs in the second round. Arthurs beat Tomas Zib of the Czech Republic 6-4, 7-6 (2).

Fourth-seeded Robby Ginepri, No. 5 James Blake and No. 7 Max Mirnyi lost their opening matches, and top-seeded Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic and No. 2 Anna-Lena Groenfeld of Germany fell in women's play.

Russia's Dmitry Tursunov beat Ginepri 7-5, 7-6 (4); Belgium's Kristoff Vliegen edged Blake 6-4, 6-4; and Sweden's Robin Soderling routed Mirnyi 6-0, 6-1.

Wild-card Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat Vaidisova 7-6 (5), 2-6, 6-4 in a first-round match between 16-year-olds, and Shenay Perry edged Groenfeld 7-6 (5), 6-2 in a second-round match.

"I think the question is, 'What was not the problem?'" Vaidisova said.

Azarenka beat a player ranked in the top 20 for the first time.

"I was in the zone and hitting every ball," Azarenka said. "I just lost my focus a little bit at the end."

Soderling, a quarterfinalist last week in San Jose, Calif., needed only 41 minutes to eliminate Mirnyi, a finalist in the Memphis tournament last year.

"I played, really, probably, one of my best matches ever," Soderling said. "I was hitting as hard as I could and I couldn't miss. I wish it would always be like this."

Soderling, sidelined the final four months of last season because of a knee injury, will face defending champion Kenneth Carlsen in the second round.

"I feel really strong now," Soderling said.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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