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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Roddick serves up strong start

Photo Titled Roddick rocket
Roddick rocket
Photo Titled Roddick v Chardy on Centre Court
Andy Roddick and Jeremy Chardy fight it out at the net, in true grass court style.

Andy Roddick’s reputation as one of the strongest and fastest servers in the game was underlined yet again as he powered down 21 aces during a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 win over France’s Jeremy Chardy.

In hot conditions just made for dominant serving, the 6th seed thundered through much of his match against Chardy to demonstrate that he means business in his ninth Wimbledon - especially if such summery weather stays in the SW19 area.

Most of the play was harsh and short. It took Chardy a few games to catch on to the pace and precision which Roddick was displaying. Then the Frenchman had some power points of his own to stop Roddick running away with the match.

At first it seemed as if Chardy, the Wimbledon junior champion two years ago, was going to be overwhelmed by Roddick’s aggressive urgency, which took the American into a 5-0 lead in a matter of minutes.

But Chardy stemmed the flow to salvage three games from the first set, which took 24 minutes. He had even more success in the second set, fighting off a break point in the seventh game and three more in the ninth as the set moved almost inexorably to a tiebreak.

That breaker went very much Roddick’s way – a Chardy tumble cost the Frenchman one point and he was also beaten by a Roddick backhand down the line.

But Chardy was far from beaten and responded magnificently by winning the third set, breaking serve in the ninth game and then holding with a pair of service winners after 103 minutes. But it came at a cost as Chardy needed attention to his ankle at the end of the set.

In the fourth set, Roddick left nothing to chance. He took Chardy’s serve in the second game and again in the sixth. Then, at 5-3, he served for the match and a love game completed his working day.

Roddick’s mission this year is to re-establish himself a little nearer the top of the game while he has the chance.

He has a new coach, Larry Stefanki, who has targeted Wimbledon as the most obvious target for Roddick’s abilities. After all, Roddick has twice been a finalist so it may just need a fraction extra all round to make the essential difference. Today was a fine start.

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