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August 7, 2009

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Roddick roars past Becker on his return

THE top-seeded Andy Roddick beat Benjamin Becker of Germany 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, the American's first match since losing the Wimbledon final to Roger Federer.

"I was certainly eager to get back out there," Roddick said.

Roddick took the extended break to recover from a right hip flexor injury sustained in the July 5 match. He said earlier in the week he had recovered. The long layoff showed in several shots hit long or wide, but he remained in control of the match throughout. He never faced a break point, and had eight aces - including the match winner - with no double-faults.

"If I have to have one thing that's rusty that I don't worry about it coming around, it's probably my serve," he said.

Although Roddick easily advanced, seven seeds were knocked out. Two of the upsets were by former No. 1-ranked players - Juan Carlos Ferrero defeated seventh-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-3, 6-2, and Lleyton Hewitt beat No. 15-seed Dudi Sela 6-3, 2-6, 6-2.

"He doesn't have the biggest serve out there," Hewitt said. "I was trying to be aggressive. I'm trying to get as many tough matches as possible this week and I feel I'm getting better with each match."

American John Isner outlasted No. 3 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France 4-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4). The third-set tiebreaker was delayed about 10 minutes by a light rain shower. When play resumed, Isner quickly dispatched Tsonga. Isner had nine of his 20 aces in the third set, including two in the tiebreaker.

Two other seeds ran into injury trouble. Twelfth-seeded Viktor Troicki of Serbia retired in the first set against Frenchman Marc Gicquel due to a right foot injury, and No. 9 seed Mardy Fish of the United States was knocked out by Germany's Philipp Petzschner 1-6, 6-4, 6-1. It was the first match for Fish since he withdrew from the Los Angeles Open before the quarterfinals on Friday due to an abdominal strain sustained in the Davis Cup.

Fish said the injury bothers him during his serve - he had nine double-faults - and when he stretches for a shot. He wasn't sure how long the injury would affect him or if he would have to miss any tournaments.

In other results, No. 11 seed Ivo Karlovic of Croatia had 18 aces to advance 6-4, 7-5 against Germany's Rainer Schuettler, No. 4 Fernando Gonzalez of Chile beat Colombian Alejandro Falla 7-5, 7-5, American Wayne Odesnik beat No. 13 of Russia Igor Andreev 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 and No. 5 Robin Soderling of Sweden won against Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, 6-3, 6-1. French qualifier Sebastien De Chaunac closed out the day of upsets with a 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over No. 14 seed Dmitry Tursunov of Russia.


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