Roddick, Verdasco win first rounders in San Jose

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Top-seeded Andy Roddick beat American qualifier Ryler DeHeart 6-1, 7-6 (1) in the first round of the SAP Open on Wednesday.

Updated: February 11, 2010 11:32 IST
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San Jose:

Top-seeded Andy Roddick beat American qualifier Ryler DeHeart 6-1, 7-6 (1) in the first round of the SAP Open on Wednesday.

Roddick was playing his first match since the Australian Open, when he was hindered by a sore right shoulder in a five-set loss to Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. He has also been bothered by a knee injury that almost forced him to miss this tournament.

Second-seeded Fernando Verdasco also progressed to the second round, overcoming Taiwan's Yen-hsun Lu 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in a tighter than expected match.

Radek Stepanek was the main casualty, as the No.3-seeded Czech was beaten 6-3, 6-4 by Belgian Xavier Malisse. Stepanek was the first defending champion to exit in the first round at San Jose for 20 years.

In second-round matches, Germany's Tommy Haas was also knocked out, with the No.4 seed beaten by Uzbekistan's Dennis Istomin 7-6 (3), 6-2. Haas blew five set points. Then in the second set, the German double-faulted on break point in his first service game and was broken to love to lose the match.

Fifth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych won through with a 6-3, 6-2 stroll past Jarkko Nieminen, while Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, seeded sixth, had an even easier time with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of Dudi Sela.

Roddick seemed less bothered by his shoulder than he was by the giant videoboard over the court at San Jose. He complained to the umpire before his first service return game that seeing his opponent on the screen was distracting as he tried to prepare to return serve. Midway through the first set, the live video feed was cut from the scoreboard.

Roddick rolled through an easy first set, breaking DeHeart's serve twice and winning the set on his sixth of 11 aces in the match.

DeHeart, who was playing just his fourth match ever on the main tour, found his groove in the second set but was unable to pull off his second career win. He broke Roddick's serve in the second game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead.

DeHeart took a 5-2 lead and served for the set at 5-3 but was unable to finish the job. He double faulted on his first point of that game, and then made three straight errors after taking a 30-15 lead.

Roddick dominated in the tiebreaker. DeHeart hit a forehand long on the first point to get down a minibreak and Roddick followed by taking the next three points. Roddick won it with a forehand passing shot on match point, advancing to a second-round match against Leonardo Mayer on Thursday.

In earlier matches Wednesday, Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic became the first defending champion in two decades to lose in the first round of the SAP Open, falling 6-3, 6-4 to Xavier Malisse of Belgium.

The third-seeded Stepanek was broken once in each set to become the first defending champion to lose his first match the following year at this tournament since Brad Gilbert was knocked out by Gary Muller in 1990. Stepanek beat Mardy Fish for the title last year in San Jose after losing the championship the previous year to Roddick.

Stepanek wasn't the only seeded player to fall Wednesday. Fourth-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany lost his second-round match to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 7-6 (3), 6-2. Haas had five set points on Istomin's serve in the first set before falling in the tiebreaker. He double-faulted on break point in his first service game of the second set and then was broken at love to lose the match.

In other second-round matches, German Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Dudi Sela of Israel 6-2, 6-0, and Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2.

In the late first-round match, second-seeded Fernando Verdasco of Spain faced Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun Lu.

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