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Roddick tumbles from contention

Injured ankle forces withdrawal

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2002

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Rising American star Andy Roddick fell on an already injured right ankle in a losing first-set tiebreaker and pulled out of the Australian Open in the second round Thursday.

Roddick, who hurt himself in a first-round victory, ran wide for a forehand, tried to use his right foot to stop, and tumbled awkwardly. He got up slowly and continued playing, but couldn't hit effectively.

The withdrawal sent Croatian Ivan Ljubicic into the third round. He led 7-6 (11), 3-2 when Roddick pulled out, despite holding serve in the last game he played.

The year's first Grand Slam event already was without its five top men's seeds. It now is missing nine of the top 15. No. 8 Pete Sampras, the U.S. Open runner-up, is the only player left from among the finalists at last year's four Grand Slams.

Roddick, seeded 13th, reached three set points in the first-set tiebreaker and was leading 8-7 before Ljubicic's wide crosscourt forehand led to his fall.

Ljubicic then had four set points before he finished the set with a backhand down the line.

Roddick called for the trainer then, and again after losing serve to 1-2 in the second set. With the trainer unable to help, he buried his face in his towel, slammed the towel down and played two more games.

''It was pretty crushing for me,'' he said.

Roddick said he had hurt one ankle or the other three or four times in the last six months.

''I'm fed up with it,'' he added. ''I want to find a long-term solution.''

Roddick said he had worked hard on fitness in the offseason, but had found no preventive steps for his ankle problems.

The wrapping on his ankle from Tuesday's sprain was so tight it affected his movement, he said, and the trainer told him that if the ankle still could twist in that wrapping, he risked long-term damage if he played on.

''I'm really sorry because it was becoming a very nice match,'' said the 22-year-old Ljubicic, who finished last year ranked 37th.

''I played one of my best matches. I was very aggressive from the beginning,'' he said. ''I wasn't expecting that he wouldn't finish.''

Roddick pushed eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt to five sets before losing in the U.S. Open's quarterfinals last year.

His opening round victory here against Mariano Zabaleta gave him 50 wins in just 72 matches in his pro career. Andre Agassi (77) and Pete Sampras (86) needed longer to reach their 50th.

Arnaud Clement, last year's runner-up, also joined the list of players making early exits, spraying shots wide and long in a loss Thursday to Argentina's Gaston Gaudio.

Gaudio, who had lost in the first round in his last six Grand Slam events, advanced to the third round with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory.

Clement, seeded 15th, missed on four of the last five points, netting a forehand in a short-range exchange at the end.

No. 7 Tommy Haas and No. 9 Marat Safin, the 2000 U.S. Open winner, both advanced.

Haas, an Australian Open semifinalist in 1999, made short work of French qualifier Jean-Francois Bachelot 6-1, 6-2, 6-3.

The ninth-seeded Safin saved four set points in the second-set tiebreaker on his way to beating Belgium's Christophe Rochus 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1.

The 21-year-old Russian is in the most difficult section, along with Sampras, who is vying for a 14th Grand Slam title, and Nicolas Escude. Roddick also had been in that section.

Safin, who dropped from No. 2 in 2000 to No. 11 last year, said he wanted to make amends for a ''disastrous'' last 12 months, when he struggled with back problems and picked up two ATP titles.

Despite missing out on the top 10 last year, Safin made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before losing to eventual champion Goran Ivanisevic. He lost to Sampras in the semifinals at the U.S. Open.

Clement, who had beaten Gaudio in their two previous meetings, had 62 unforced errors. He immediately broke back after losing his opening serve in the fourth set, but played a poor final tiebreaker.

Gaudio received treatment for his upper left leg after the final set's 10th game but didn't fade.

Andre Agassi, who beat Clement in last year's final, dropped out before this year's start with a wrist injury.

French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten and runner-up Alex Corretja both lost in the first round. Wimbledon winner Goran Ivanisevic lost in the second, and runner-up Patrick Rafter is no longer playing. U.S. Open champ Lleyton Hewitt, set back by chicken pox, also lost in the first round.

Hewitt was seeded No. 1 here, Kuerten No. 2 and Agassi No. 3. Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Sebastien Grosjean, seeded fourth and fifth, lost in the second round Wednesday.

Marcelo Rios, the 1998 Australian runner-up, reached the third round by beating Slovakia's Karol Kucera 7-6 (5), 7-5, 6-2. No. 23 Nicolas Lapentti, a semifinalist here three years ago, beat Argentina's Jose Acasuso 7-6 (5), 6-2, 6-3.

Russian Mikhail Youzhny ousted American qualifier Mardy Fish 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.

On the women's side, Belgians Kim Clijsters, the French Open runner-up, and Justine Henin, the Wimbledon runner-up, both advanced. No. 4 Clijsters beat Austrian Barbara Schwartz 6-1, 6-1, and No. 6 Henin defeated Spain's Marta Marrero 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, finishing with one of her many backhand crosscourt winners.

No. 7 Amelie Mauresmo beat Slovenia's Katarina Srebotnik 7-5, 6-3.

No. 12 Elena Dementieva, a U.S. Open semifinalist in 2000, won 6-4, 6-2 against Russian compatriot Anastasia Myskina.

No. 20 Rita Grande beat Dutch qualifier Kristie Boogert 7-6 (4), 7-5. No. 24 Ai Sugiyama saved set points at 2-5 and 3-5 and won 7-6 (2), 6-0 over Slovenia's Tina Pisnik.

No. 23 Magui Serena of Spain beat Italy's Maria Elena Camerin 6-3, 6-3.



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