Roddick gives U.S. opening win against the Czechs

Friday, February 9th 2007, 12:37 pm
By: News On 6

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) _ Andy Roddick beat Davis Cup rookie Ivo Minar 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 Friday to give the United States an early lead against the Czech Republic in a Davis Cup match.

Minar, ranked No. 160 in the world, struggled with the powerful serve of the fourth-ranked Roddick _ who had 28 aces.

In Friday's second match, sixth-ranked James Blake was to face No. 12 Tomas Berdych.

The match was supposed to be easy for Roddick, but the slow clay and 7,500 screaming home fans at CEZ Arena made it tougher. Minar dominated the rallies early, but was undermined by the American's dozen aces in the opening set.

``(My serve) got me out of some tough situations, definitely,'' Roddick said.

Minar showed his inexperience when serving to stay in the set, committing four unforced errors to give the opening set to Roddick.

``The key moment was in the first set. I had five break points, but he kept serving aces,'' said the 22-year-old Minar.

After breaking Roddick's serve in the opening game of the second set and controlling his nerves to level the match at one set apiece, Minar's game collapsed in the final two sets.

The U.S.-Czech series was one of eight in World Group play to begin Friday. Taking 2-0 leads were Sweden (at Belarus), France (home against Romania) and Argentina (at Austria). The other first-round matchups were: Russia at Chile, Croatia at Germany, Australia at Belgium and Spain at Switzerland.

Roddick's early troubles were another indication how wobbly the Americans feel on slow clay, their perennial bane in Davis Cup play. The Americans have not won a Davis Cup World Group match on clay in a decade, and lost to Russia on clay in Moscow in last year's semifinals.

``I was looking a bit dicey,'' Roddick said.