Roddick triumphs in straight sets

Updated: June 24, 2004, 10:24 PM ET
Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Recreating some of the magic of his improbable run to the 2001 Wimbledon title, Goran Ivanisevic pulled out a five-set victory Thursday to set up a third-round showcase against former champion Lleyton Hewitt.

Ivanisevic, who missed Wimbledon the last two years with injuries and is retiring after these championships, was his usual animated self as he came up with the big shots at the right time to outlast Italy's Filippo Volandri, 4-6, 7-6 (8), 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.

After closing out the match with a service winner, Ivanisevic stuck out his tongue and tossed his racket into the crowd. He then stripped off his shirt and tossed it into the stands, basking in a huge ovation from the Court 2 fans.

Ivanisevic will next face Hewitt, who won the 2002 championship after the Croatian was unable to defend his title because of a shoulder injury. Hewitt, seeded No. 7, enjoyed an easy second-round win Thursday, defeating Georgia's Irakli Labadze 6-4, 6-4, 6-1.

With his customary force and flair, Andy Roddick earned a rain-delayed first-round victory Thursday, beating Wang Yeu-Tzuoo 6-3, 7-5, 6-4.

Roddick's niftiest maneuver came after he won the opening game of the final set. A frustrated Wang slammed the ball into the grass, and when it skipped over the net, Roddick took off his cap and snared it as he walked to the changeover chair.

"I had a lot of built-up energy," he said.

That's because the match was halted by rain Tuesday with Roddick leading 4-2 in the first set, and he waited in vain to play for 9½ hours before Wednesday's schedule was declared a washout.

"I'm not good for sitting around with nothing to do. My boredom was killing me," Roddick said. "But it's Wimbledon. I think you kind of have to expect it sometimes, and just do your best to roll with the punches."

When the match finally resumed, Roddick came out swinging. He finished with 18 aces, reaching 144 mph on his serve, and repeatedly angled inside-out forehands beyond Wang's reach.

The No. 2-seeded Roddick was relieved to take his first step toward an appealing potential rematch in the final against No. 1 Roger Federer. Last year Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon after beating Roddick in the semifinals.

"First rounds at Slams are always a bit jittery," Roddick said. "I don't ever feel totally comfortable. There's a lot of buildup, a lot of hype. You can't wait to get out there. You're anxious. So there's a lot that goes into it."

A year ago at Wimbledon, Lleyton Hewitt lost in the first round as the defending champion to 6-10 Ivo Karlovic.

"My guy was only 5-9 today," Roddick noted.

Still, as Roddick acknowledged, the 19-year-old Wang was dangerous. He and Yen-Hsun Lu, who also lost Thursday, became the first players from Taiwan to play Grand Slam singles in the Open era.

A qualifier, Wang was making his ATP Tour-level debut. But he's talented, as a 9-1 Davis Cup record attests.

He reached the net twice as often as Roddick and held his own in baseline rallies, some lasting 20 shots or more. But, in the end, Roddick had too much power. He lost just 13 points on his first serve and never faced a break point.

"There's a lot of room for improvement from today," Roddick said. "I got through. That's the thing I was looking for."

Also advancing was third-seeded Guillermo Coria, who completed a match that stretched over four days. The French Open runner-up needed just two points and two minutes to finish off a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over 106th-ranked Wesley Moodie of South Africa on Court 1.

"It was strange," Coria said. "I've never had to wait three days to finish a match, but it was worth the wait."

Top-seeded defending champion Roger Federer didn't waste any time sweeping into the third round. He beat Colombian qualifier Alejandro Falla 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 in just 54 minutes -- one of the fastest men's matches in recent Grand Slam history.

The Swiss all-court player -- who raced through the first set in 17 minutes, the second in 23 minutes and the third in 14 -- had 23 winners, converted seven of eight break points and never faced a break point.

Federer's only blip came when he served a double fault at 5-0, 40-love in the third set. He closed with a service winner on the next point.

"It was definitely one of the most easy matches, when you look at the minutes played, the score," Federer said. "But I had to play well to beat him. He wasn't a player who was just going to give it to me."

Also reaching the third round were No. 6 Juan Carlos Ferrero, No. 9 Carlos Moya and No. 10 Sebastien Grosjean. Ferrero saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker before overcoming Stefan Koubek 4-6, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 8-6 in 3 hours, 38 minutes.

All 74 scheduled matches were postponed Wednesday, the first Wimbledon washout in five years. Of 160 scheduled first- and second-round matches in the first three days, the tournament completed just 83, the fewest since 1991.

Play began an hour earlier Thursday to help alleviate the backlog. Men's doubles matches were reduced to best-of-three sets until the quarterfinals.

The sun came out early Thursday, but conditions were cool and blustery. Then the showers came and play was suspended twice for a combined time of less than an hour in the afternoon.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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