Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Sports

Roddick's venture on clay ends fast

PARIS — Six major champions made their way through the first round of the French Open on Sunday's opening day. One didn't — Andy Roddick.

Venus Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, recovered from a slow start to beat 19-year-old Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. It was her first match at a major tournament since revealing she had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

The 31-year-old Williams, a former top-ranked player who is now No. 53, is 12-4 this season. She pulled out of the U.S. Open in August before her second-round match, saying she had Sjogren's syndrome, a condition that can cause fatigue and joint pain. She returned to the tour in March.

"A lot of it, I have to figure it out. It's physical and emotional and all kinds of different things. Mental," Williams said of her medical condition. "It's a big accomplishment for me to be here right now."

Grand Slam champs Sam Stosur, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic won in straight sets, and men's major winners Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juan Martin del Potro also advanced.

Stosur, the Tampa resident and U.S. Open champion, beat Elena Baltacha of Britain 6-4, 6-0.

Surprise 2009 U.S. Open quarterfinalist Melanie Oudin beat Johanna Larsson 6-3, 6-3 to end a five-match Grand Slam losing streak.

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champ, lost to 88th-ranked Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, exiting in Round 1 of a Slam for the first time since 2007. The 26th-seeded Roddick is 7-10 this season, 0-4 on clay.

"I move just horrendously out here. My first step is just so bad on this stuff," Roddick said. "I feel like I'm always shuffling or hopping or not stopping or something. So my footwork on this stuff now is just really bad."

None of the top three men played. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will be on court today; Rafael Nadal is slated to begin his attempt for a record-breaking seventh title on Tuesday.

Del Potro, the No. 9 seed, made the second round despite problems with his left knee, topping Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-1. The 2009 U.S. champ played with tape on his knee early. Del Potro then added a wrap after a massage from a trainer before the third set.

"It's a problem when you can't find your balance like you're used to, but I'll use these few days of rest to get better," Del Potro said.

Ferrero, the 2003 French Open champion, beat Jonathan Dasnieres de Veigy 6-1, 6-4, 6-3. The 32-year-old Spaniard is one of 37 men in this year's draw that is 30 or older, an Open era record for Grand Slam tournaments.

"I saw myself in the mirror, and when I walk on the court I don't think about whether I'm younger or older. The only thing I try to do is play well," he said.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the highest seed playing Sunday at No. 5, defeated Andrey Kuznetsov 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Aside from Roddick, the only seed to lose was No. 30 Jurgen Melzer, who fell to Michael Berrer, 6-7 (5-7), 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

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