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Roddick has no problem

Special to The Times

With four of the top eight seeded players eliminated before Andy Roddick took the court Thursday for his second-round match in the Countrywide Classic at UCLA, Roddick decided he better win quickly.

In front of nearly 7,000 fans, Roddick beat Serbian Dusan Vemic, 6-2, 6-2, in just over an hour to set up a third-round match with Marc Gicquel.

“It’s tough to judge the night because you feel like you’re a little uncomfortable, a little unpredictable and all of a sudden it’s 6-2, 5-2 and you’re in control, but there’s no real pattern to the point, no set way the match is going,” Roddick said.

Roddick entered the tournament having played in only one event since falling in the second round at Wimbledon. Already nursing other injuries, he woke up last week with a sore neck that prevented him from practicing until Monday.

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Given Roddick’s lack of recent court time, playing Vemic was not the easiest first match back. Vemic plays with a distinct style, mixing in drop shots and slices at times most players would make more conventional shots. It is a style that, according to Roddick, makes finding a rhythm quite a challenge.

“He serves really big and then kind of plays funky after that,” Roddick said. “He plays weird drop shots at weird times. From a rhythm perspective that’s probably not the best option.”

Despite having never played in an official match with Vemic, Roddick did not seem to have many problems. After holding serve to 2-1 in the first set, Roddick broke to get to 3-1 and broke Vemic again at 5-2 to take the set. In the second set, Roddick broke Vemic twice more and again broke to take the match-clinching set.

“It’s a good strategy by him to maybe make you a little bit uncomfortable, but it’s rough to actually win a match like that,” Roddick said.

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While Roddick cruised, his fellow Americans had a tougher time. Donald Young, fresh off a first-round victory over two-time champion Tommy Haas, fell in straight sets to Gicquel, 6-3, 6-3. Amer Delic went up a set and a break on seventh-seeded Carlos Moya but then needed to go all the way to a third-set tiebreak to pull out a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) victory.

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Featured matches

Today at UCLA (play starts at noon):

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(6) Mardy Fish vs. Florent Serra

Denis Gremelmayr vs.

(5) Marat Safin

Amer Delic vs.

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(3) Juan Martin Del Potro

Not before 8 p.m.:

(1) Andy Roddick vs. Marc Gicquel

Rohan Bopanna/Eric

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Butorac vs. (2) Scott Lipsky/David Martin


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