Roddick takes Connors route to third round

July 3, 2007 - 0:0

LONDON (AFP) -- Andy Roddick took a leaf out of his coach Jimmy Connors' book as he ground down Thai star Danai Udomchoke to move into the third round at Wimbledon on Wednesday.

The American has the fastest serve in men's tennis but the fact that he rarely strays from the baseline means that it is not as potent a weapon as it could be on the lawns of the All England club. It is an area of his game he has been trying to improve since he started working with Connors, the 1974 and 1982 champion, just after last year's tournament and a more aggressive mindset was evident in his approach to his clash with Danai, which he won 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). "I think it has been a common sentiment since we got together to get forward a bit more and drive the ball a bit more," said Roddick, who delivered a mixed verdict on his second straight sets win of the tournament. "Mentally I was a bit up and down, but I got through it," he said. "I came into the tournament pretty confident and you just try to give yourself an opportunity to play another day. That is how you get deep into a draw at a slam." Roddick, twice a runner-up here, will now play Spain's Fernando Verdasco for a place in the last 16. It was a case of what might have been for Asian Games champion Danai, who managed to create no fewer than ten break points against the mighty Roddick serve but managed to exploit only one of them. The Thai however paid tribute to his opponent's ability to come up with big serves when it mattered most and said he felt the American could go all the way this year. "He was the best player I have ever faced," he said. "I had a couple of chances with games at 0-40 on his serve, but he showed why he is number three in the world. "He has a power serve. He had five aces and I couldn't do anything about it. "Federer is hard to beat but if Andy plays his best tennis it could happen. It depends on his serve." Danai, flying the Thai flag in the men's competition in the absence of the injured Paradorn Srichaphan, had showed no signs of being intimidated by the Center Court atmosphere as he confidently won his opening service game to love. But a scorching backhand down the line earned Roddick three break points in the fourth game of the set and he took the third of them to establish an early advantage. Danai had chances to break back at 2-4 and 3-5 but could not take them and Roddick's huge serve got him out of trouble when his opponent threatened again in the second game of the second set. From 0-40 down, the American fired down two service winners and an ace to get to deuce, and then clipped the lines with two big forehands to close out the game. Danai appeared visibly deflated and the match began to slip away from him when Roddick claimed his second break of the afternoon in the fifth game of the set. A disguised crosscourt pass from well behind the baseline allowed the American to clinch another break in the opening game of the third set. Although his opponent finally managed to convert a break point at 2-4 down and take the set into a tiebreak, Roddick won the tiebreak comfortably, bringing proceedings to a halt after one hour and 44 minutes with yet another unreturnable serve