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August 21, 2009

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Defeated Roddick hopeful of US Open

AMERICAN Andy Roddick expects to be a contender for the US Open, despite suffering a blow to his preparations at the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.

The world No. 5, runner-up at Wimbledon last month, crashed to a 6-7, 6-7 upset defeat by countryman Sam Querrey in the second round.

"To be honest I played well and I feel prepared for the Open," Roddick told reporters. "That's what you want to get out of this stretch.

"I'm disappointed that I couldn't play better here in Cincinnati, which is a place that I enjoy playing. But as far as the Open goes, I'm not too worried about the setback."

Former US Open champion Roddick held set points in the first set and was a break up in the second but could not push home the advantage.

Despite the loss, Roddick, who turns 27 on August 30, the day before the US Open begins, made the semifinals in last week's Montreal Masters and had been a favorite in Cincinnati. He said he was likely to return to his home in Texas for a while before travelling to New York.

World No. 26 Querrey, who clinched his second ATP title at the LA Open earlier this month, will play Australian Lleyton Hewitt in the third round.

"That first set was huge for me," said Querrey. "I lost a tiebreak against him in Washington a few weeks ago and then lost the second 6-4 so that was key tonight."

Tsonga out

Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all advanced to round three. But seventh-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was sent packing 6-7, 2-6 by Australian qualifier Chris Guccione.

Swiss world No. 1 Federer won 6-3, 7-5 against Jose Acasuso, the Argentine who had all but beaten him at the French Open in May.

"People might think guys ranked outside the top 50 are not a challenge for us," Federer said. "But I almost lost to Acasuso in Paris, which today probably nobody even remembers anymore. But I was down 5-1 in the third, and looked like I was out of it almost."

Murray beat Spaniard Nicolas Almagro 7-6, 6-2, saving a set point at 5-6 down before easing through the second set to secure a meeting with Czech Radek Stepanek, a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 winner over Marat Safin.

"I started to play better as the match went on," Murray said. "It was very fast - definitely quicker conditions than last week."

Nadal edged out Italian Andreas Seppi 7-6, 7-6 and though pleased with the effort and the absence of any pain in his knees, he immediately wrote off his title chances.

"It's difficult conditions for me. My results here in this tournament say that. My best result was last year, semifinals. It's always difficult for me to play a good tournament here," the Spaniard said.

Fourth seed Novak Djokovic eased past Ivan Ljubicic 7-6, 6-4, despite 15 aces from the Croatian to secure a meeting with Jeremy Chardy of France.


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