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Newz Forum: OTHER: Roddick and Coria advace past the first round

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posted on Jun, 24 2004 @ 09:55 AM
Andy Roddick took advantage of an early start and a break in the weather to complete a first-round Wimbledon victory Thursday over a Taiwanese qualifier playing his first tour-level match.

The second-seeded American finished off a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Wang Yeu-tzuo on Centre Court in a match suspended by rain at 4-2 in the first set Tuesday. All play was washed out Wednesday, and more rain interrupted play Thursday afternoon.

"It was tough out there," Roddick said. "The wind was swirling. I wasn't feeling comfortable. There's a lot of room for improvement from today. I had a lot of built-up energy. I got through and that was the thing I was looking for."

Also advancing was third-seeded Guillermo Coria, who completed a match that stretched over four days. The French Open runner-up needed just two points to finish off a 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 6-3 win over 106th-ranked Wesley Moodie of South Africa on Court 1.

"It was strange," Coria said. "I've never had to wait three days to finish a match, but it was worth the wait."

All 74 scheduled matches were postponed Wednesday, the first Wimbledon washout in five years. Of 160 scheduled first- and second-round matches in the first three days, the tournament completed just 83, the fewest since 1991.

Play began an hour earlier Thursday to help alleviate the backlog. Men's doubles matches were reduced to best-of-three sets until the quarterfinals.

The sun came out early Thursday, but conditions were cool and blustery. Then the showers came and play was suspended on all courts.

Roddick needed just nine minutes to finish the first set. He broke for a 6-5 lead in the second set by winning a 21-shot rally, then closed out the set with a 135-mph service winner -- pumping his fist and shouting, "C'mon!"

Roddick went up an early break in the third. Wang saved a match point on his serve in the ninth game, but Roddick then served out the match at 15.

Roddick had 40 winners, including 18 aces. He broke three times and never faced a break point. His first serves were clocked at an average speed of 125 mph, with a fastest delivery of 144 mph -- short of his world record of 153 mph set two weeks ago at Queen's Club.

The 19-year-old Wang, ranked No. 181, was making his first appearance in a top-level tournament. He and Lu Yen-hsun are the first men from Taiwan to play at a Grand Slam in the Open era. Lu won his first round match Tuesday.

The Coria-Moodie match began Monday, but was halted by rain at two sets apiece. Play resumed Tuesday, but was suspended in the late afternoon with Coria two points from victory at 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-7 (3), 5-3, 30-all. The two never got on court Wednesday.

Thursday's warmup lasted longer than the completion of the match. With Moodie making forehand errors on both points, the Argentine needed two minutes to record his first ever win at the All England Club.

Relieved to get the match over with at last, Coria beamed, pumped his fist and waved to the crowd. In total, the match took 3 hours, 5 minutes over four days.

"I would have liked this match to finish the day before yesterday," Coria said.

The first match completed Thursday -- about 42 hours since the last result -- was Taylor Dent's victory over Ramon Delgado. The American needed two minutes and 40 seconds to close out a 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win on Court 6.

One former Wimbledon champion was eliminated in the first round. Conchita Martinez, who beat Martina Navratilova in the 1994 final, lost 6-4, 7-6 (6) to Milagros Sequera of Venezuela.

Early first-round men's winners Thursday included No. 8 Rainer Schuettler, No. 12 Sjeng Schalken and No. 20 Tommy Robredo. No. 15 Nicolas Massu of Chile was ousted 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 by Alexander Popp, a 6-foot-7 German with a big serve who reached the quarterfinals in his two previous appearances in 2000 and 2003.

Other men scheduled to play Thursday included top-seeded Roger Federer and former champions Lleyton Hewitt and Goran Ivanisevic. On the women's side, former winners Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Navratilova were due to play, along with French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Amelie Mauresmo and Jennifer Capriati.

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