Andy Roddick got his clay-court season off to a solid start yesterday, beating Mardy Fish 6-1, 6-4 in an all-American matchup in the second round of the Rome Masters.
Roddick improved his record against his longtime friend to 8-1.
“It’s tough playing against someone you’re friends with, and unfortunately for Mardy I’ve played some good tennis throughout my career against him,” Roddick said.
In the first round, 14th-seeded Tommy Robredo defeated Juan Ignacio Chela 6-4, 6-1.
Fish outlasted Michael Llodra in three sets on Monday and appeared off his game at the start, losing the first set in 22 minutes with 14 unforced errors. The sixth-seeded Roddick had a first-round bye and came out firing his big serve effectively.
Roddick broke for a 4-3 lead in the second set when Fish missed a routine backhand into the net. Fish missed two more routine baseline shots to give Roddick the win.
It was Roddick’s second match on clay this year after a Davis Cup win over Austria’s Jurgen Melzer in February. Roddick snapped an 11-match losing streak to Roger Federer at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, a month ago, and led the US to a win over France in the Davis Cup quarter-finals a week later. He hadn’t played since.
The top-ranked Federer was scheduled to play later against one of his top rivals, Guillermo Canas, one of the few players with a winning record against Federer, taking three of five meetings.
■ HENIN BATTLES IN BERLIN
World No. 1 Justine Henin admitted she is using the German Open to recover her flagging form ahead of next month’s French Open after she suffered a heavy defeat by Serena Williams earlier this year.
Henin, 25, has picked up two WTA titles this year, but after bowing out early at the Australian Open in January, she was hammered 6-2, 6-0 at the quarter-finals of the Miami tournament in March by eventual champion Williams.
It was the heaviest defeat for a reigning world No. 1 since Martina Hingis lost to Jelena Dokic by the same score at Wimbledon in 1999.
Henin then withdrew from last month’s Charleston tournament with a knee injury and this is her first tour event back ahead of Roland Garros which starts on May 26.
“I have really needed these last few weeks off to get my form back and to make tennis my priority again,” said Henin, who has a bye into the second round where she will play Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan (詹詠然).
French starlet Tatiana Golovin was a first-round casualty when she was beaten by Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets on Monday.
Late on Monday afternoon, France’s Amelie Mauresmo withdrew from her first-round game yesterday against compatriot Aravane Rezai with an injury to her intercostal muscles.
Former world No. 1 Mauresmo said she is hoping to recover in time to play in Rome next week.
Mauresmo later explained that the problem had been caused by coughing.
“The pain started because of so much coughing that I haven’t been able to take care of since the Fed Cup,” Mauresmo said in comments on her Web site.