MASON: Andy Roddick developed back spasms during his opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, setting up a two-set loss that left questions about his health heading into the US Open.
Wild card Venus Williams survived a three-set opening match, another encouraging win
coming off her Olympic gold medal in doubles with sister Serena. Also, Serena Williams beat Eleni Daniilidou of Greece 6-3, 6-4, overcoming 42 unforced errors as she struggled to get readjusted to a hard court.
In other matches, third-seeded Samantha Stosur fell behind 4-0 in the third set before rallying for
a 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-4 victory over Spain’s Anabel Medina Garrigues, a match that took 2 hours, 37 minutes. No 5 Angelique Kerber beat Timea Babos of Hungary 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. Fifteenth-seeded Nadia Petrova retired with dizziness while trailing fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (8), 3-1.
Tenth-seeded Mardy Fish beat Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-2, 6-3. The No 11 seed Gilles Simon withdrew before the start of his match against Marcos Baghdatis with a sore shoulder. Tommy Haas beat David Nalbandian 6-7 (0), 7-6 (4), 6-3 in 3 hours, 22 minutes, equaling the longest non-Olympic match this season on the ATP tour.
Roddick, who has played through a sore shoulder this summer, developed a new concern as he lost to a player who was in the draw as an injury replacement. He got treatment for his back during the second set of his 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to France’s Jeremy Chardy, who replaced injured No 9 seed John Isner. Roddick had won all three of his career matches against Chardy. Roddick said his back started bothering him a few days ago and he aggravated it Tuesday.
Roddick won the Atlanta
Open in July despite a sore right shoulder. He lost to Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-1 in the second round at the Olympics but arrived for the tournament in suburban Cincinnati feeling good about his health and his game.
After the third game of the
second set, he had a trainer come over to help him stretch his back and shoulders. He managed only one break point during the one hour, 33-minute match. Roddick left the court quickly with his
head down. Roddick said his shoulder felt fine. He’s not sure if his back will force him to curtail his preparation for the US Open, starting August 27.
Venus is trying to get in position to make a deep run at the US Open, from which she had to withdraw last year because of an immune system disease that causes fatigue and sore joints. She beat 12th-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia
6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2.
Based on the past few weeks, Williams likes her chances at
the Open. “So there are a lot of things that have to fall in place
for me, maybe more than other players,” she said. “But I’m up for the challenge.”