Roddick fails at the start again

Andy Roddick failed to make it through the opening week at the French Open for the fifth time in as many tries, blowing a two-set advantage on Thursday and a fifth-set lead against Argentine Jose Acasuso.

Roddick was broken twice after going ahead 3-1 in the last set and lost 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 8-6.

“I thought I had the better of him for the better part of three sets,” Roddick said. “Unfortunately, the better part of three sets and three sets is something different.”

Roddick’s career record at Roland Garros fell to 4-5. His best showing was his first appearance in 2001, when he reached the third round.

The quintessential clay-court marathon began in 30 degrees Celsius and ended three hours and 21 minutes later on a cloudy but muggy evening.
Both weary players required leg massages from a trainer during fifth-set changeovers, Acasuso to his left thigh and Roddick to both calves.

Roddick tried curious tactics on match point, standing 10 feet behind the baseline to receive serve and then hitting two moon-ball backhands. The second landed short, and Acasuso slammed a forehand winner.

Was Roddick attempting to lure Acasuso into going for too much?

“Maybe I was trying to get him to pull the trigger,” Roddick said. “I didn’t get all of one and hit it short, and that was it.”

When Acasuso delivered the knockout blow, he sank to the court on his back in exhaustion and jubilation. Roddick climbed over the net to shake hands.

“It’s a five-set match,” Acasuso said. “And I made the most of it.”

For the second year in a row—and only the second time at a grand slam event in more than 30 years—no American men made it out of the second round. James Blake and Vince Spadea also lost on Thursday.

“It stinks,” Roddick said. “I don’t think any of us are happy. We all have a lot of pride, and it has gotten taken down a lot in the last couple of years here.”

Acasuso, ranked 62nd, improved his record in grand-slam events to 5-15 and advanced to the third round at a major tournament for the first time in 16 events. He won a five-setter for only the second time.—Sapa-AP

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