New territory for Roddick at French Open
PARIS: Andy Roddick reached the last 16 at the French Open for the first time in his career on Saturday by defeating France's Marc Gicquel 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
It was a stunning turnaround in fortunes on clay for the former world No.1 who went out in the first round here in 2006 and 2007 before missing last year's tournament with a shoulder injury.
The win made him just the second American through to fourth round at the French Open since Andre Agassi in 2003, Robbie Ginepri having achieved the feat last year.
"I played very well," Roddick said. "I knew the crowd would not be for me but they were very respectful.
"It was a goal of mine to get to the second week of this tournament, but it's not over yet. I would like to keep going.
"I don't even have anything else to do next week so I would like to stick around. I got a puncher's chance in any match I play.
Roddick, who scored straight sets wins in his first two ties, bolted out into a 3-0 first set lead by breaking serve in the second game and another break four games later gave him the most encouraging of starts.
The American was solid on his own booming serve and made Gicquel struggle to hold his own which he did until the seventh game when a double fault gave Roddick two break points.
The former world N.1 cashed in on the second of these when Gicqel dumped a drop shot into the net. Roddick duly served out to go two sets up.
It was more of the same in the third set with Roddick comfortably holding serve and then blasting away with his big forehand to shorten the rallies against the lightweight Frenchman.
He grabbed the final break he needed in the third game hitting an angled forehand past his opponent and then was happy to serve out four times for the biggest win of his career on clay.
Roddick will next go up against either Jurgen Melzer of Austria or Gael Monfils of France for a place in the quarter-finals.
Also through to the last 16 in early action was German veteran Tommy Haas who defeated France's Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
It was just the second time that the 31-year-old had made it through to the fourth round in Paris and he will take on either second seed Roger Federer or Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu for a place in the last eight.