Roddick serves hit 141 mph
WIMBLEDON, England -- Two matches went Andy Roddick's way Tuesday at Wimbledon.
First, he beat Jiri Vanek 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-2. Then, 6-foot-10 Ivo Karlovic hit a tournament-record 51 aces and still lost, saving Roddick from facing tennis' tallest player in the second round.
Instead, Roddick's next opponent will be Daniele Bracciali, who beat Karlovic 6-7 (4), 7-6 (8), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 12-10.
"It's going to be a completely different match," Roddick said.
Englishman Tim Henman, seeded sixth, gave the partisan Centre Court crowd a thrill by rallying past Jarkko Nieminen 3-6, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-5, 6-2.
Scottish 18-year-old Andrew Murray, the latest candidate for a British breakthrough at Wimbledon, beat qualifier George Bastl 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Murray, a wild card and the U.S. Open juniors champion last year, won in his Grand Slam debut.
"I wasn't really expecting to win -- he's much better than me," Murray said. "I still haven't really done anything. Everybody is making it out as if I've won Wimbledon, and I think it's a little bit over the top."
Karlovic, who earned the nickname "Tower of London" when he upset defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the first round at Wimbledon in 2003, was considered a threat to win this year's tournament. Bracciali, an Italian ranked 120th, lost in qualifying and made the draw only because another player pulled out.
That makes the No. 2-seeded Roddick a heavy favorite to advance -- and in fact he's projected to reach the final for a rematch against two-time defending champion Roger Federer.
"For me I think he's the biggest threat of all," the top-ranked Federer said.
Roddick lost a four-set final to Federer last year. That's Roddick's best showing in a major event since he won his lone Grand Slam title at the 2003 U.S. Open.
"I'm hungry to win this tournament," Roddick said. "I felt like I played great on grass the last couple of years and just haven't quite gotten there. That's the next step for me on this surface. ... I felt like I gave it a great go last year and played well throughout and came up a little bit short."
His game has blossomed on grass again this month. He took the title at Queen's for the third year in a row, winning two tiebreakers to beat Karlovic in the final, and his footing was sure in his return to the All England Club.
Hitting serves at up to 141 mph against Vanek, Roddick belted 14 aces, faced just one break point and totaled 32 winners to just 12 unforced errors.
"I felt like I hit the ball pretty cleanly," Roddick said. "That's what you're looking for in the first round."
The opposition wasn't the stiffest: Vanek has lost 12 consecutive Grand Slam matches.
The only drama came in the tiebreaker, when a scrambling exchange sent Vanek racing forward. As he tried to brake, he dumped his shot into the net, then went tumbling over it, landing on his back on Roddick's side of the court.
Roddick also won the next point to take the set.
With the victory, Roddick avenged a long-forgotten 2001 loss at Delray Beach near his Florida home to Vanek. Roddick was then 18 and trying to crack the top 100 in the rankings.
"When I lost to him, I was so upset that I lost in my hometown tournament, I left the [newspaper] article up in my room," Roddick said.
Three weeks later, he beat Pete Sampras for the first time. Now, Roddick is the lone American among the top 20 seeded men at Wimbledon. Five of the nine American men entered lost in the first round, and aside from Roddick, U.S. men went 0-3 Tuesday.
"It puts the onus on me a little bit more," Roddick said. "I wish it wasn't like that _ not only for the U.S., but those guys are my friends. Unfortunately they've had a rough go of it recently."
Vince Spadea lost Tuesday to French Open champion Rafael Nadal, Robby Ginepri was beaten by No. 14-seeded Radek Stepanek, and Paul Goldstein lost to No. 33 Olivier Rochus. Only Ginepri won a set.
Karlovic and Bracciali, meanwhile, played the tightest match of the day. Karlovic tied the ATP Tour record for aces set by Joachim Johansson in a loss to Andre Agassi at this year's Australian Open, but the big Croatian managed only one service break against Bracciali, who hit 31 aces himself.
With 82 total aces, the two players broke the tour record for a match, a statistic kept since 1991.
Bracciali's reward for the upset: His first meeting with Roddick.
"I heard that he stopped in the locker room for two hours to watch my match," Bracciali said. "It'll be a very tough match, but I'm not beaten before I start."
In other men's play, No. 20 Ivan Ljubicic lost to Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. No. 15 Guillermo Coria, last year's French Open runner-up, matched his best showing at Wimbledon by reaching the second round when he beat Tomas Behrend 6-1, 6-2, 6-2.
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