Wed, May 21, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Blake struggles in doubles, hurt Roddick stays home


James Blake from the US returns a ball during his first round match against Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic at the ARAG ATP World Team Championship in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Sunday.


The US overcame a trio of high-profile injury absences, with James Blake and outsider Wayne Odesnik rising to the doubles occasion to ice a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic at the ARAG World Team Cup.

The Monday heroics from the eighth-ranked Blake and unfancied No. 103 Odesnik helped cushion the surprise absences of Andy Roddick and powerhouse doubles twins Bob and Mike Bryan.

All three were announced as injury pullouts, with Roddick due to miss the French Open because of a back and shoulder problem which sent him home from Rome after a mid-match semi-final pullout only days ago.

Blake and his inexperienced partner combined to defeat Czech No. 1 Tomas Berdych and doubles ace Pavel Vizner 0-6, 7-5, 10-8.

Roddick’s brother John, US coach at this week’s eight-nation event, revealed that his sibling would stay in the US for the rest of the clay season.

“He had five or six days off and then we had three days of training. Last Friday, the injury flared again. Our specialist in New York said it is inflammation.

“Andy needs 10 days to rest and I’d be surprised if he were not ready for Queen’s [start of the pre-Wimbledon grass season on June 9],” he added.

Roddick said that his brother had been feeling good on clay: “He was optimistic about the French and in a good frame of mind.

“This season he was feeling comfortable on the clay and he liked his chances. He’s really disappointed not to be able to play,” he said.

Host Germany thrilled home fans with a doubles revival, substitutes Philipp Petzschner and Christopher Kas completing a 2-1 win as they beat S-Spain’s Feliciano Lopez and Marcel Granollers- Pujol 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 10-5 (match tiebreak).

Lopez had leveled the two-day tie at 1-1 with his defeat of Denis Gremelmayr, substituting for ailing Nicolas Kiefer 6- 4, 6-3.

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