AUGUST 3, by Paula Schumann
Second round matches were under way on Tuesday evening at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. The skies were cloudy but temperature tolerable, a slight reprieve from the otherwise hot and sticky weather of late. The grounds were buzzing with the crowd’s anticipation of seeing local favorite Andy Roddick.
First up on the Stadium Court were two lefties, Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Michael Berrer (GER). After taking the first set 6-4, Berrer continued to hold on to his lead in the second set, and at 5-3 it looked like it might be all over for Verdasco. On what seemed like the final game, Berrer served and suddenly Verdasco came alive, taking the game to deuce. Berrer got the next point by making a shot that clipped the net and fell onto the other side for ad in. Verdasco won the next two points, seizing the opportunity to break Berrer’s serve. The crowd, which was solidly behind Verdasco, went wild. The turn around continued and Verdasco took the second set 7-5.
Going into the third set, the crowd was hungry for more of the same turn on a dime action, but it progressed in an uneventful way. Despite some double faults at key points from Verdasco, the set went to a tie-break. Verdasco took an early 3-0 lead. At 4-2, he double faults. Berrer holds his next two service points and snatches the lead, 5-4. Verdasco comes back and at 6-5, the best point of the match is played when Berrer makes a drop shot and Verdasco unbelievably gets to it. Berrer answered with an equally brilliant volley, but at the same moment Verdasco went down. He was visibly in pain, clutching his foot and looked like he would not be able to continue. But within a few minutes, he got up and went on to win the next two points, taking the set and the match.
Next, Andy Roddick (USA) took on Grega Zemlja (SLO) and just needed one break in each of the two sets they played to beat his opponent. Andy didn’t seem in fully revved up, staying cool and consistent. Is this a new Andy? His coach and entourage could be spotted in their corner box showing very little emotion, as seems to be the norm.
Although Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) is not here to defend his title this year, there are lots of great players competing. Other winners of last night’s matches going through are Mardy Fish (USA), Marin Cilic (CRO) and John Isner (USA), who won his match in two tie-break sets and has the most tie-breaks on the ATP World Tour this season. In doubles, Tomas Berdych (CZE)/Radek Stepanek (CZE) took out the No. 1 team of Daniel Nestor (CAN)/Nenad Zimonjic (SRB), and Julian Knowle (AUS)/Andy RAM (ISR) defeated Nathan Healy (AUS)/Lleyton Hewitt (AUS).
Wednesday’s line up includes Sam Querry (USA), Lleyton Hewitt, Marcos Baghdatis (CYP), Tomas Berdych (CZE), David Nalbandian (ARG) and the Bryan brothers.
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