Roddick's 'average' is pretty good
- Ron Kroichick, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
One day after Andre Agassi caused a stir by not showing up, defending champion Andy Roddick made more predictable news Tuesday night by grinding out a 6-3, 6-4 first-round victory over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Roddick's presence attracted a crowd of 7,610 to HP Pavilion, including Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson and many females holding signs expressing their fondness for Roddick. He responded with a performance he called "average," balancing his dominant serve with occasionally careless mistakes.
At one point, Roddick unleashed a 136-mph ace and followed that with a 141-mph ace. At other times, he strangely seemed unable to handle Garcia-Lopez's serve.
"I didn't have my best stuff tonight, but I got through it," Roddick said.
Garcia-Lopez, a 22-year-old Spaniard ranked No. 89 in the world, came into the match with a notable victory on his resume -- he beat Agassi in the quarterfinals at Delray Beach two weeks ago. That outcome made sense at times Tuesday night, as Garcia-Lopez exchanged booming serves and fierce groundstrokes with Roddick.
Then again, Garcia-Lopez made plenty of costly errors, such as the open-court forehand he sent wide late in the first set, allowing Roddick to break serve.
The second set stayed on serve until 4-4, when Roddick blasted a backhand winner down the line to break Garcia-Lopez. Roddick responded by flinging both arms skyward in a gesture equal parts excitement and relief.
"I knew the match was on my racquet at that point," he said. "That shot definitely felt good."
The match came less than a week after Roddick hired his brother, John, as his latest coach. Roddick parted ways with Brad Gilbert little more than a year ago, then did the same with Dean Goldfine last week.
"Everybody brings something different to the table," Roddick said. "With John, it's nice having a comfort zone there. I've known him so long and I know he's not afraid to give me his opinion."