Djokovic, Roddick breeze in US Open matches - NBC Sports

Djokovic, Roddick breeze in US Open matches
Defending champ needs 73 minutes to win; A-Rod logs 20 aces
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Novak Djokovic needed just 73 minutes to win his first-round match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
August 28, 2012, 11:08 pm

So, Novak Djokovic, tell us how you really felt about your first-round match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday night.

"I tried to analyze my game," Djokovic said, "and my game was great from the start to the end."

Well, then.

Pretty accurate assessment, actually.

Djokovic lost the opening game of his title defense at Flushing Meadows, and then reeled off 18 of the next 19 games, completely controlling every aspect of a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 victory over 69th-ranked Paolo Lorenzi of Italy.

All told, Djokovic put in 73 minutes of work under the lights at Arthur Ashe Stadium. If it could really be called work at all.

Of course, that was one of his objectives. Saving energy is key, because Djokovic wants to win seven consecutive matches over these two weeks so he can leave town with the sixth Grand Slam championship of his career.

"It's also important for me to try to be as economical with the time I spend on the court as possible, but obviously not underestimating any opponent," the Serb said. "I played really focused, tried to get to the net, also. It was great, all in all."

The second-seeded Djokovic won 79 of 114 points, hit seven aces and finished with a 32-10 edge in winners.

Lorenzi complained that he had a lot of trouble dealing with the swirling wind in the 23,000-seat arena, a lament heard often on Day 2 of the year's last major tournament.

Balls would zig when players thought they would zag. Shots hit with the wind at a player's back would fly much further than intended. Ball tosses on serves were difficult to calibrate just right.

"The wind swirled a lot, and I had problems. I couldn't enjoy myself," Lorenzi said.

And then he acknowledged: "I don't think I would have had more chances if there wasn't any wind. But I might have had a little more fun."

Truth was, Lorenzi's biggest impediment was Djokovic.

"It was very difficult to get into a point. If I tried to go forward, he passed very well. When I tried to play defense at the baseline, he missed very little. He always got the ball back," Lorenzi said. "And so I never had anything to go on. And when he got going with his winners, he caused me other problems."

Lorenzi dropped 12 games in a row until finally ending that string by winning the first game of the third set. He raised his hands, pretending to have captured much more than a single game, and the crowd responded with cheers.

That was it, though.

Lorenzi has been in this situation before: He also faced Djokovic in the first round at the Australian Open in January, and the result was rather similar, 6-2, 6-0, 6-0.

"The most exciting, most beautiful stadiums are these big ones. I like to play on them. I'd like to be out there more often," Lorenzi said after making his debut on Ashe. "But the problem is that when you get to play on these kinds of courts, you have to face these kinds of opponents. So maybe some other court would have been better."

Meanwhile, Andy Roddick remains the man fans want to see at the U.S. Open - and he's in no rush to see that change.

Roddick put at least a temporary halt to a budding American success story Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over 21-year-old qualifier Rhyne Williams.

Williams, the NCAA runner-up in 2011 who earned a wildcard into qualifying, won three straight matches last week at Flushing Meadows to get into the main draw, then suddenly found himself making his Grand Slam debut in the world's largest tennis stadium against the 2003 champion.

A tough situation for him - though more of the same for Roddick, who won his 41st U.S. Open match.

"It feels like I always play the young, American guys here," Roddick said.

Last year, Roddick defeated 18-year-old Jack Sock in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Three years ago, it was a meeting with John Isner, who was ranked 55th at the time when he beat Roddick in the third round.

This year, the opponent was Williams, who played college tennis at Tennessee, came into this week ranked 289th and whose biggest payday this year was $7,700 for making it through qualifying at Indian Wells. This first-round loss will net him $23,000, though the learning experience figures to be worth every bit as much.

Roddick, who turns 30 on Thursday, controlled this match throughout, finishing with 20 aces, and serving at a top speed of 141 mph. He left impressed with his opponent, who dropped one service break in each set but made Roddick work to close them all out.

"He did it the hard way," Roddick said. "He got through quallies, so that's a good effort by him. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of him."

Also winning in straight sets Tuesday were fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych. No. 15 Milos Raonic, the 21-year-old big server from Canada, needed five sets to get past Colombia's Santiago Giraldo. Like Roddick, Raonic's fastest serve clocked in at 141 mph.

The day's biggest upset came when Guillermo Garcia-Lopez rallied from down two sets and a break to beat 10th-seeded Juan Monaco.

The 68th-ranked Spaniard won 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3) on Tuesday in just over 4 1/2 hours. Garcia-Lopez overcame 75 unforced errors.

American Sam Querrey beat Yen-hsun Lu of Taiwan 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in just over 3 hours. He missed the tournament last year because of right elbow surgery.

Querrey reached the round of 16 at Flushing Meadows in his previous appearance in 2010 to match his best Grand Slam performance. He had 21 aces and 50 winners Tuesday.

Lu, ranked 64th, made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2010.

Tsonga, the Frenchman who famously said earlier this year that there was no one from France who was ready to win at Roland Garros, conceded his opinion hasn't changed now that the 2012 Grand Slam season is winding down in the United States.

"If I had to bet, I would not bet on it," he said after his 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory over Karol Beck of Slovakia.

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