When Andy Roddick last played a tennis match, his right shoulder was so sore he couldn't even feel his fingers.
Because of that he didn't know what to expect when he took the court for his first-round match at the SAP Open. He was certainly pleased with the results Wednesday night after beating qualifier Ryler DeHeart 6-1, 7-6 (1).
"It felt better than I expected," Roddick said. "It's one of those things that maybe it was slow coming around and healing but when it turned, it turned pretty quick for me which was nice."
Roddick was bothered by the pinched nerve in his shoulder in his five-set loss to Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last month. Roddick, also recovering from a knee injury, was limited in practice time and wasn't sure he'd be able to play in this tournament.
But the numbness finally subsided and he was able to take the court Wednesday. He served better than he expected, recording 11 aces and hitting 146 mph on the radar gun.
"I'm probably going to have to work my way into this tournament and prepare a little bit more on the go than I'd like," he said. "That's what you do. You get there and you try to work your way into a tournament. I've done that before when it hasn't worked out and I've done that before where I've won a tournament. Hopefully it will be closer to the latter option there."
In the other night match, second-seeded Fernando Verdasco beat Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-7 (6), 6-3 in his first match. Third-seeded Radek Stepanek and fourth-seeded Tommy Haas lost second-round matches earlier Wednesday.
Roddick seemed less bothered by the shoulder than he was by the giant videoboard over the court. 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.
"That was weird," he said. "There's enough for us to focus on without seeing a 14-foot version of our opponent running around up top of you."
Roddick rolled through an easy first set, breaking DeHeart's serve twice and winning the set on his sixth ace. 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, ripping off a winner on a 132 mph serve by Roddick.
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 night.
Stepanek 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. 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.
Haas fell to Denis Istomin 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, Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Dudi Sela 6-2, 6-0, and Tomas Berdych beat Jarkko Nieminen 6-3, 6-2.
Also, the top-seeded doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan lost in the quarterfinals to Benjamin Becker and Leonardo Mayer 7-6 (6), 6-3.
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