Roddick blasts way into next round

ROUND 3: Andy Roddick, seeded second, served up 225kph missiles at Jurgen Melzer, who lost in straight sets. Tim Henman lost to a 26th seed 6-4, 6-2, 6-2

AP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 24

Second-ranked Andy Roddick's aces had the crowd buzzing and his opponent muttering Saturday as he rode his big serve into the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Pounding the ball better as the match went on, Roddick dropped only seven points in his last 10 service games and finished with 22 aces to oust Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 6-2, 7-5. He also had one of the shots of the day -- a between-the-legs winner with his back to the net while chasing down a lob.

After beating three consecutive left-handers, next up for Roddick is 102nd-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber, a German with a 10-18 career record who won only one Grand Slam match before this tournament.

On a warm, sunny day perfect for dozing, Roddick woke the crowd up quickly, starting his first service game with a pair of aces and soon was cracking serves at up to 225kph. Melzer, seeded 32nd, had three break points in Roddick's next service game, then never got another chance.

"I thought I moved really well. I got up two sets, the third one got a little tight, but I was able to get through," said Roddick, noting his serve isn't yet nearing his world record of 249kph. "I'm holding serve though, that's the most important thing."

In the third game, Melzer drew him into the net with a drop shot, then sent up a lob that landed just in. Roddick raced back and flicked the ball back between his legs and down the line as Melzer barely moved at the net.

He repeated the technique later in the match but missed.

"I got greedy. The first one felt good, so I needed more," he said.

Seventh-seeded Tim Henman had his own stunner, a reflex volley behind his back into an open court. But it was the only highlight for the Briton who made at least the quarterfinals in the last three Grand Slams. He committed 32 unforced errors and five double-faults in falling to 26th-seeded Nicolay Davydenko 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.

"I feel totally gutted really," said Henman. "My expectations were obviously for a lot more."

Davydenko, who joined fellow Russian Marat Safin in the last 16 men -- seven Russian women have gotten that far -- next faces 12th-seeded Guillermo Canas, a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 winner over Radek Stepanek.

French Open finalist Guillermo Coria beat former top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3, 6-2, 6-1.

Women's French Open champion Anastasia Myskina joined Russia's two other Grand Slam title holders in the fourth round when American Lisa Raymond withdrew with a torn abdominal muscle that forced her to quit her doubles match Friday after one game.

"I'm extremely disappointed because I couldn't have asked to play better in my first two matches," said Raymond, who hopes to return for the Indian Wells tournament in California starting March 9.

Top-ranked Lindsay Davenport beat 15-year-old Czech qualifier Nicole Vaidisova 6-2, 6-4 to move into a fourth-round match against 13th-seeded Karolina Sprem, who ousted Russia's Elena Likhovtseva 6-4, 6-3.

Sixth-seeded Elena Dementieva became the seventh Russian woman to advance when she outlasted Daniela Hantuchova, who committed 78 unforced errors and bloodied her knee in a fall in the second set, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. She next meets No. 12 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland, a 7-6 (4), 6-3 winner over American Amanda Spears.

No. 8 Venus Williams overcame a rash of early errors to win the last nine games in a one-hour, 6-3, 6-0 rout of Anna Smashnova.

After holding at 3-3, Smashnova never had more than two points on her serve as Williams took advantage of her looping, heavy topspin groundstrokes.

"She just played a different-pace game, so I pressed a little too much and was hitting the balls a bit long," Williams said. "I needed to add some spin because she's the kind of player where you don't want to get caught up playing her game. That's when things can really get kind of strange. So I kept with my game, playing aggressive, and worked through the errors."

Tenth-seeded Alicia Molik closed a 6-3, 6-2 win over Tatiana Panova with an ace, advancing to face Williams.

"Bring it on!" Molik told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena after reaching the fourth round, matching her best run at a major.

Serena and Venus Williams have made fashion statements on court with their dress designs. At the Australian Open, Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez of Spain are doing their best on the men's side, wearing three-quarter-length pants.

Andy Roddick is certain he won't joint that trend.

Roddick was asked Saturday after his straight-sets win over Jurgen Melzer whether the new male fashion statement was a ``little too metrosexual.''

"You said it, I didn't," said Roddick, laughing. "I can't think of anything funny to say that would not get me in trouble. I'm going to leave that one alone."

ACCORDING TO FORM

All top eight women's seeds have advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open, putting them on track to break a 24-year-old record. The last time all eight reached the quarterfinals here was in 1981.

This time, in seeded order, they are Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo, Anastasia Myskina, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.

In 1981, in the same order, it was Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Martina Navratilova, Andrea Jaeger, Hana Mandlikova, Pam Shriver, Wendy Turnbull and Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

Four Russians, three Americans and France's Mauresmo make up the international mix now.

The makeup in 1981 was five Americans, including former Czech Navratilova, who became an American citizen in July of that year.

ONE-DAY RECORD

The Australian Open, in its 100th year, set an all-time day attendance record Saturday when 44,517 spectators went to Melbourne Park. That broke the previous record of 42,915 set on the second day of the Open in 2002.