Defending champion Andy Roddick got off to another solid start at the SAP Open, beating Swedish qualifier Michael Ryderstedt 6-0, 7-6 (3) on Tuesday to advance to the second round.
American Roddick is attempting to become the first four-time winner of the tournament. Andre Agassi is the only other player to win the event three times.
Fifth-seeded American Mardy Fish used 19 aces to beat Lleyton Hewitt of Australia 7-6 (5), 6-3 to advance to the second round.
Former top-ranked Hewitt won the SAP Open in 2002.
Roddick, ranked No. 6 in the world, is looking for his title this year. He lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Australian Open and lost to Andy Murray in the Qatar Open final.
Ryderstedt started serving better in the second set but Roddick dominated the 25-year-old in the tiebreaker.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of rhythm to be had in the match,” Roddick said.
“He pretty much made up his mind that he was going to take a rip at most shots and he started to go for a bunch of big second serves in the second set,” Roddick said. “I did what I had to do to win.”
Nerves and the surface of the court played against Ryderstedt.
In other first-round matches, eighth-seeded Robby Ginepri was upset by fellow American, qualifier Todd Widom.
Widom won 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4 for his first victory in an ATP event since he won a first-round match at Delray Beach in January 2006.
The 25-year-old Widom, ranked 270th, has battled through two bouts of eye cancer, two knee surgeries and an elbow injury since 2006.
In other matches, Denis Gremelmayr of Germany needed three sets to beat Croatia’s Roko Karanusic 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2; Australian Chris Guccione beat Guillermo Canas of Argentina 7-6 (7), 7-5 and Ernests Gulbis of Latvia defeated Brazilian Ricardo Mello 7-6 (4), 6-4.
AFP, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Andy Murray crushed Ivan Ljubicic 6-3, 6-2, pouncing on the veteran’s mistakes to earn a first career victory at the Rotterdam Open on Tuesday.
Murray’s only miscue in the first-round meeting came as he held a 5-0 lead in the second set, double-faulting on a match point to let the 29-year-old Ljubcic back in at 1-5.
But two games later, the Scot second seed restored order with the win which took his record on the season to 9-1, including a title in Doha last month.
“I had lost two of three matches against him, so I was expecting a tough match,” the world number 4 said. “But he had so many errors that it made things easier on me.”
In the second round today, Murray will face Italian Andreas Seppi, who knocked out Rafael Nadal here a year ago.
Gael Monfils, seeded fifth, won his first-round match as Swiss Stephane Bohli quit injured, 6-4, 1-0. Spain’s sixth seed David Ferrer shook off a long trip from South Africa for a win over Jurgen Melzer 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
Monfils, who hurt his wrist and quit a match in Melbourne, said that he felt rusty after only three days of practice.
Bulgaria’s junior juggernaut Grigor Dimitrov lined up a possible meeting with top seed Nadal after the 17-year-old knocked Czech Tomas Berdych out 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
It was down to Nadal to do his part when he opened yesterday against Italy’s Simone Bolelli.
A 487th-ranked wild card entry, Dimitrov, who holds the Wimbledon and US Open junior crowns, will be guided in his quest by new coach Peter Lundgren.