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Roddick Overcomes Berankis In Memphis; Fish & Blake Advance

Memphis, U.S.A.

Mardy Fish© Alex SmithAmerican Mardy Fish is a two-time semi-finalist in Memphis.

Two-time champion and top seed Andy Roddick overcame 20-year-old Lithuanian Richard Berankis 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 on Tuesday at the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships in Memphis.

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Roddick broke for a 4-2 lead in the third set and saved a break point in the ensuing game with his 21st ace of the match. He finished the evening with 23 aces, serving out the final game at love.

“It was one of those days where I felt if I made a first serve the point was done, I didn’t have to do much work after that,” Roddick said. “That gave me a chance, and I played a little bit more aggressive in the third set.”

He said of former junior World No. 1 Berankis: “I don't think we got a true sense of what kind of player he is because I provided zero rhythm out there…which may have worked to my advantage in third set. He hadn’t hardly played any points besides my serve and then all of a sudden on a big point he had to put a ball in play. That's tough.”

World No. 8 Roddick, who is making his first appearance since a fourth-round exit at the Australian Open (l. to Wawrinka), is chasing his 30th tour-level title this week at this ATP World Tour 500 tournament. He lifted the trophy in 2002 and ’09, and also finished runner-up in 2003 and ’07.

Defending champion Sam Querrey earned his first match win of the 2011 ATP World Tour season, fighting past Uzbekistani Denis Istomin 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-4 in two hours and 21 minutes. The fifth-seeded Querrey, who served 19 aces, secured the only service break of the match in the fifth game of the third set.

“Sometimes all it takes is one match to kind of get the ball rolling,” said Querrey, who had been mired in a six-match losing streak that began with a second-round loss in Shanghai last October. “Last year I kind of started off similar, I lost my first three matches of the year and then kind of toughed a match in San Jose and things started to get going.”

American buddies Mardy Fish and James Blake both enjoyed straight-sets first-round victories. Fourth-seeded Fish was broken once in a 6-1, 7-5 win over Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili; Blake enjoyed a 6-4, 6-3 win over Brazilian Ricardo Mello.

Fish, who this week slipped one spot from his career-high mark of No. 16 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, claimed just his third win of the season in his first appearance since a second-round loss to Tommy Robredo almost one month ago at the Australian Open. Fish next meets Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko and is seeded to meet Querrey in the quarter-finals.

Blake, languishing in unfamiliar territory at No. 164 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings, is playing just his second tournament of the year. Last week he beat countryman Jesse Levine in the first round of San Jose before falling to eventual champion Milos Raonic. In the second round Blake will play fellow American Robert Kendrick, who Monday upset eighth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson, who won the Johannesburg title two weeks ago.

American qualifier Michael Russell outshone ace king Ivo Karlovic, dropping just seven points on serve to hand the 6’10” Croat a 6-1, 7-6(1) defeat. It marked the first time that Karlovic had lost a 6-1 set since last year in Memphis, when he fell to John Isner in the quarter-finals.

In other first-round matches, Serbian Janko Tipsarevic defeated American qualifier Ryan Sweeting 6-0, 7-6(7) and Czech Radek Stepanek posted a 6-4, 6-2 win over German Benjamin Becker.

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