HOUSTON (Texas): Top-seeded Andy Roddick won in straight sets but the second-seeded Mardy Fish was bounced in the first round of the US$400,000 US Men's Clay Court Championship on Tuesday.
Roddick shook off an admitted case of the blahs to record a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Kenneth Carlsen of Denmark, improving to 15-1 at this event.
The defending champion was two days removed from leading the United States over Sweden in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup, where he set a record by unleashing a serve at 152 miles per hour.
“Davis Cup is something I was looking forward to for a very long time,” Roddick said. “It was emotional. To come down from that is tough. I wasn't feeling too good yesterday and today.”
Roddick, 21, found the mental energy and handled the transition from concrete to clay, winning his ninth straight match.
“Making the switch from hard to clay is never easy, but hopefully as I get deeper into the tournament I'll start feeling better,” he said.
Moving deep into this tournament should be expected from Roddick, who is looking to reach the final for the fourth straight time.
It was also at the Westside Tennis Club where Roddick secured the No. 1 ranking for the year in the Tennis Masters Cup.
Fish was part of the winning American Davis Cup squad, although he lost Friday's first singles match, putting pressure on Roddick.
His poor play continued here with a 6-3, 6-1 loss to unheralded Alex Bogomolov, dropping five straight games in the second set. He reached the quarter-finals here last year.
While Fish was struggling in Davis Cup, Bogomolov reached the final of the Casabasas Challenger.
“I got into a rhythm,” Bogomolov said. “I thought they were pretty good points all around and I felt good with all my shots - backhand, forehand.”
Roddick's second-round foe will be Robert Kendrick, who outlasted France's Sebastien De Chaunac, 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2).
In their only previous meeting, Kendrick lost to Roddick in the second round in San Jose in February.
In Tuesday's only other match involving a seeded player, No. 8 Jurgen Melzer of Austria breezed past Diego Veronelli of Argentina, 6-3, 6-1.
In a match involving unseeded players, American Paul Goldstein knocked off Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, 6-4, 6-4.
Schuettler, who has won just twice on the ATP tour this season, lost the first set despite holding a 5-4 lead with serve.
Although he came back to level the match, Hanescu finished more strongly to clinch victory in two hours 43 minutes.
There were two further upsets on the second day of the claycourt tournament, with the Argentines Agustin Calleri and Gaston Gaudio, seeded third and seventh, beaten by Jiri Vanek of the Czech Republic and Florian Mayer respectively.
Marat Safin looked in danger of following them but the Russian number eight seed recovered from an uncertain start to beat Frenchman Cyril Saulnier 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Safin wasted an early break and lost his serve in the final game of the first set to fall behind but he quickly discovered his rhythm to clinch victory in two hours three minutes.
“It felt very good,” said Safin, the Australian Open runner-up. “It was important to win the first match on clay.
“It was difficult but this was a big step forward in confidence and it feels great.”
Schuettler was frustrated at another first-round defeat after making a solid enough start against Hanescu but he said he was confident his form would improve.
“The only difference between us in this game was that I failed to take my chances,” he said.
“I'm working hard and I'll be playing better soon.”
In the women's event, top seeded Russian Elena Bovina made a smart return from injury to beat Iva Majoli of Croatia 6-4, 6-2 and claim her place in the second round.
“This was my first game back from a foot injury in Paris in February and it was a little bit weird at first,” Bovina said.
“Winning the tournament is the last thing on my mind. I just want to play as many matches as possible to get my rhythm back.”
There was one upset among the women on the second day of the tournament, with eighth seed Marion Bartoli of France losing 6-3, 6-3 to Italy's Maria Elena Camerin. – Agencies