ANDY Roddick showed no ill-effects from a late start at Flushing Meadows or his crushing Wimbledon final loss to Roger Federer as he eased his way into the US Open second round in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Fifth seed Roddick, who took world No 1 Federer to a 30th game in the fifth set on grass in an epic Wimbledon final in July, took considerably less time to shake off Germany's Bjorn Phau as he powered to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 victory. The match did not start until after 11pm local time on Monday night as the players were held up by Venus Williams' long match against Vera Dushevina at the Arthur Ashe Stadium court and it finished at 12:45am. But that did not bother Roddick, who served magnificently, with an 81 per cent first service rate, of which 80 per cent were winning points. "This feels real great," Roddick said during an on-court, post-match interview, "the later the better."
The American has not added further grand slam titles to his 2003 US Open victory but has said his Wimbledon experience has proved to him he still has what it takes to win more.
Five-time defending champion Federer had much earlier in the day on the same court breezed into the second round and smashed the $50 million barrier in prize money as he swept teenager Devin Britton aside. Federer's comfortable 6-1, 6-3, 7-5 win over the 18-year-old American wild card earned him $31,000 to make him the first tennis player to surpass $50m in career prize money as he stretched his winning streak at the US Open to 35 consecutive matches.
There were some early casualties among the men's seeds with 26th seed Paul-Henri Mathieu ousted 2-6, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 by Russia's Mikhail Youzhny, while No 28 Victor Hanescu of Romania was beaten by American John Isner in a testing straight-sets match, 6-1, 7-6 (16/14), 7-6 (7/5).
No such problems, however, for eighth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, Sweden's Robin Soderling, the No 12 seed, and Spain's Tommy Robredo, the 14th seed, who all progressed. Former champion Lleyton Hewitt wasted little time advancing to the second round. The Australian, seeded at 31, steamrollered Brazil's Thiago Alves with a 6-0, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Germany's Tommy Haas, the 20th seed, encountered stubborn opposition in Alejandro Falla of Colombia but prevailed with a 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7), 6-2 win while New York favourite James Blake, the 21st seed from nearby Connecticut, eased into round two with a 6-1, 6-4, 7-5 defeat of Spain's Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo.
In the late games on Armstrong, Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 23rd seed, dispatched Italy's Andreas Seppi 6-0, 6-4, 6-4 while 15th seed Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic eased past another Italian, beating Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-4, 6-4.