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Fish, Blake Get American Campaign Rolling

New York, U.S.A.

Blake© Getty ImagesJames Blake celebrates a first-round win Monday.

American Mardy Fish defeated Japan’s Go Soeda 7-6(3), 7-6(2), 6-3 in his first round match Monday at the US Open. After edging Soeda in two tie-breaks, Fish broke for a 2-0 lead in the third set and broke his opponent again in the final game to claim the two hour, 36-minute victory.

Fish is working with Mark Knowles this week in New York, and said the former doubles No. 1 has already had an impact on his game.

"He's helped me a ton," he shared. "Maybe none more evident than tonight when I lost my serve in both of those sets to serve it out and still was able to mentally focus back and realise that I haven't just lost the set, he's just gotten even in the set so there's still opportunities to win the set. In times past maybe I would have struggled with that scenario, especially twice in a row."

The 30-year-old Fish, who is making his 12th appearance in Flushing Meadows, put together a solid campaign during the summer hard-court swing, reaching the semi-finals in Washington and the quarter-finals at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati. He missed two months of the season with a heart problem and returned to action at Wimbledon, where he advanced to the fourth round.

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Fish will take a 2-2 FedEx ATP Head2Head record into his next match against Russian Nikolay Davydenko, who moved through to the second round with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Argentine qualifier and Grand Slam debutant Guido Pella. Former World No. 3 Davydenko reached the US Open semi-finals in 2006 and ’07.

Earlier Monday, James Blake opened with a 7-5, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 win over Slovakian Lukas Lacko. The 32-year-old Blake, a two-time quarter-finalist, has lost in the first round just once in 12 appearances at the US Open - on his debut in 1999.

"I can't believe that it's been 12 years I have been playing here just about every year," he said. "It still doesn't feel normal. It's still an incredible feeling to be here and to be doing what I dreamed of as a kid."

Blake goes on to face 24th-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers, a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(2) winner over American wild card and 2010 US Open junior finalist Denis Kudla. Granollers is coming off a quarter-final effort last week in Winston-Salem (l. to Tsonga).

Watch Blake Interview

In another Spanish-American opener, Albert Ramos ousted 2005 semi-finalist Robby Ginepri 6-7(3), 7-5, 6-4, 6-0. Ramos will play countryman Fernando Verdasco in the second round after the No. 25 seed cruised past Portugal's Rui Machado 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 40 minutes.

Jack Sock, the 2011 mixed doubles champion with fellow American Melanie Oudin, held a 6-3, 6-2, 3-2 lead over No. 22 seed Florian Mayer when the German retired from their match. "I think today is definitely good for the confidence and good for the overall game and everything going into the next round," said the 19 year old.

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US Open, New York, Mardy Fish, James Blake

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