Shannon Russell reports:
Two-time champion Andy Roddick couldn’t overcome a back ailment or lucky loser Jeremy Chardy in a first-round Western & Southern upset at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.
World No. 38 Chardy bounced No. 21 Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-3 two days after Roddick had “a little bit of a back issue” at practice. It bothered him again Tuesday on Center Court.
“I felt fine early on and then I had one lunge forehand and, you know, we have all had it, you know, back kind of goes out or spasms a little bit,” Roddick said. “It got progressively worse.”
Chardy noticed. The Frenchman, who lost to Roddick at Eastbourne in June, felt the momentum shift midway through the second set.
“I think that in the first set he was playing good. It was a tough match and we were serving very well together,” Chardy said. “In the second set, I don’t know what was happening for him. He started to serve it a bit slower and then I didn’t feel him very focused on the game.”
Chardy broke Roddick for the 4-3 lead. It was a death knell for the patriotic-shoe-wearing, 16th-seeded American, who was dispatched quickly thereafter.
Although Chardy struggled at times to handle Roddick’s 135 mile per hour serves, the Frenchman benefited from Roddick’s 25 unforced errors in a match that took 92 minutes to complete.
So now Chardy, who lost to Fabio Fognini in the second round of qualifying Sunday, moves on to play Denis Istomin in a second-round main draw match.
Chardy started the weekend as the No. 1 seed in the qualifying draw. Since he was the highest-ranked loser in the second round of qualifying, John Isner’s Saturday withdrawal created an opportunity for him as a lucky loser.
Chardy said he knew ninth-seeded Isner might pull out before the announcement was made and prepared accordingly.
“I knew the first match was very important for me because I was seeded No. 1. I knew if I won my first match against (Robby) Ginepri, I have a chance to be in the main draw,” Chardy said.
Chardy defeated Roddick for the first time in four meetings before a pro-Roddick crowd. Fans yelled Roddick’s name and tried to inspire him when a series of unforced errors paved the way for Chardy’s go-ahead game.
Even Reds pitcher Homer Bailey was in the stands to support Roddick.
“Homer is an Austin guy. I have been out to watch him pitch a couple times the last couple years and he hadn’t been to a match. He picked a good one to come to,” Roddick joked.
Roddick’s back problems leave lingering questions about his health heading into the U.S. Open. The 29-year-old won the Atlanta Open in July despite a sore right shoulder and conceded that injuries have frustrated him this year.
“The last thing I like doing is being out there today knowing I’m compromised. I feel like that’s been a lot of my matches this year. Certainly not fun, but I didn’t complain too much about the 10 years I had of clean health,” Roddick said.
“You know, I’ve got to try to keep it in a little bit of perspective, which is hard in the moment. Over the long haul of a career, my body has been pretty good to me.”