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Roddick's Delray Return Nets Win

February 29, 2012
Roddick's Delray Return Nets Win

Carlos Moya wins ATP Champions Tour Title

By Steve Dorse

Local fan favorite Andy Roddick won at the site where he registered his first ATP win, top-seeded John Isner turned back an inspired effort by fellow American Jesse Levine to take a straight-sets victory, and Carlos Moya captured the Champions Tour title to highlight an action-packed Tuesday at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships.

The first full day of the ITC singles main draw also included two upsets, as No. 2 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia fell to Finland's Jarkko Nieminen, and Belgium's Steve Darcis tripped up No. 3 seed Viktor Troicki of Serbia.

Roddick, ranked No. 30 in the world and the No. 4 seed here this week, rallied from a first-set loss with a crowd-pleasing impressive third set in which he broke Philipp Petzschner of Germany twice to register a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Roddick, who attended high school at Boca Raton Prep, only a few miles south of here, had to withdraw from last year's Delray Beach ITC as the No. 1 seed because of illness, so his appearance and win Tuesday night on the Stadium Court was especially gratifying for the partisan crowd on hand at the Delray Beach Tennis Center."It's refreshing to be back," 'Roddick said. "I don't know if there was more incentive. I feel like it's a place I should come back to." Roddick, who has struggled some with injuries the past year, said he's more concerned with regaining his top 10 form than where he is currently ranked.

"If I'm playing well, then the rest will take care of itself," he said.

Roddick definitely had his game on in the decisive third set against Petzschner, who is ranked No. 61 in the world.

"I'm just glad I finished strong," Roddick said of his first-round match. "Last couple of days I've been running better and moving better. The biggest thing is getting it to transfer over into a match. It takes one to get going sometimes, and hopefully this is that one."

Isner, ranked No. 11 in the world, registered a 6-4, 7-6(15) win against Levine, who brought a ranking of No. 133 to Delray Beach. Levine had five set points in the second set, but each time the 6-foot-10 Isner was serving. Isner clinched the match when he won his sixth match point of the set when Levine hit a backhand long.

Isner now is 9-1 in tiebreakers this year.

The hard-fought win moves Isner to the second round where he will face American Ryan Sweeting, who breezed to a 6-1, 6-1 win against Donald Young on Monday. It will be the first meeting between Isner and Sweeting.

"It was a long one," Isner said of the lengthy two-setter against Levine. "If I had lost that second set, I didn't really fancy my chances in the third because the humidity was really getting to me. So I'm very lucky to advance. I sort of feel like I'm playing with house money now. . . . The humidity just saps the energy out of me, but I should be stronger tomorrow."

Isner could leap into the top 10 of the ATP World rankings should he win the Delray Beach ITC this week.

"It's nice," Isner said of his No. 11 ranking. "It's my highest ranking and I'd love to get into the top 10, but even though it's only one spot, I still have a long way to go."

Moya defeated Ivan Lendl, his boyhood idol, 6-4, 6-4 to claim his fifth title since joining the ATP Champions Tour last year after a foot injury forced his retirement from the ATP World Tour in 2010.

"It was a strange feeling to see him across the net. I used to watch him a lot," Moya, 35, said of Lendl, who turns 52 next week. "He played great."

Moya, who finished the 2011 Champions Tour ranked No. 1, won all four of his matches in eight-player tournament and lost only one set.

Michael Chang defeated Mikael Pernfors 7-6, 3-6, 13-11 in the third-place match of the Champions Tour tournament.

Nieminen was humble in victory during his post-match press conference, praising the effort of Cilic, who has been recovering from a left knee injury since last November and was playing his first tournament of the year.

"He's a great player, but sometimes I felt that he played up and down, not as consistent as he usually is," Nieminen said of the ATP No. 21-ranked Cilic.

Cilic said he felt he was hitting the ball well except for some critical points in the match.

"My first match in a while and it felt a little bit awkward, I would say," Cilic said. "I played some moments pretty good, but I think on a consistent level, not great, but I was expecting that might happen. And Nieminen, he's a scrappy player, a lefty, and we had some wind during our match, so conditions were not as easy as I'm used to from playing indoor in Europe and in practice."

Nieminen said the victory against Cilic will help improve his confidence.

"I'm really satisfied with the win in Sydney," said Nieminen, who recently won the Sydney International singles title. "I had one the best offseasons I've had and stayed healthy, which I didn't the year before. I'm playing really well and it's good coming here playing against a tough player in the first round."

Darcis defeated Troicki 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, as two of the top three seeds fell in the first round.

Three other seeds advanced to the second round. Germany's Phillipp Kohlschreiber, the No. 5 seed here, defeated Olivier Rochus 6-1, 6-4; No. 6 Alex Bogomolov Jr. ousted Michael Yani 6-3, 6-1; and No. 7 seed Kevin Anderson of Russia beat American Austin Krajicek 6-1, 6-4. The other ITC first-round winners were Ernests Gulbis, who defeated Alejandro Falla 6-4, 6-1; Ivan Dodig, who downed Matthias Bachinger 4-6, 6-4, 6-4; Xavier Malisse, a 7-6(3), 6-3 winner over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez; Tim Zmyczek, who downed Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 2-6, 7-5; and qualifier Marinko Matosevic, a 6-3, 6-4 winner over Ivo Karlovic.

In first-round doubles play, Germany's Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins defeated Sweeting and Bernard Tomic 6-4, 7-5. Robert Farah teamed with Treat Conrad to top Levine and Bobby Reynolds 6-4, 7-6(6).

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