INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Andy Roddick launched his title bid at the Indian Wells ATP tournament with an imposing 6-3 7-5 victory over fellow American James Blake in the second round Sunday.
The big-serving eighth seed, who lost to Croat Ivan Ljubicic in last year’s final, powered down 13 aces and won 94 percent of his first serve points to wrap up the match in 90 minutes.
Although Roddick trailed 0-3 in the second set, he broke Blake’s erratic serve twice in the next eight games to regain control in dazzling sunshine at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“It was tough to get a gauge on how I was playing because James was playing so aggressively,” Roddick told reporters after dealing effectively with his U.S. Davis Cup team mate’s lethal forehand.
“He came out from the first game and I realized his strategy was ... he didn’t want to let me get into a rhythm. I felt like he was coming out of his shoes.
“It was tough, but the numbers (match statistics) looked good afterwards. I felt like I was hitting the ball okay, so it worked out.”
Blake, a former world number four who has slipped to 158th in the rankings after suffering knee and shoulder problems earlier this year, served up four aces and five double faults.
The 28-year-old Roddick, who claimed his 30th ATP title in Memphis last month, improved his win-loss record this season to 15-2 and will take on compatriot John Isner in the third round.
Isner overpowered Brazil’s Ricardo Mello 6-3 7-6 in the first match of the day on the showpiece stadium court while seventh-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych swept aside Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 6-4 6-1.
“It’s one of those matches where you can play badly and win or you can be in good form and lose,” Roddick said of playing the big-serving Isner in the next round.
“It’s a scary prospect. A lot of it depends on his serve, how many looks you’re going to be able to get at it. You have to make sure you stay tough, take care of your side of the net and hope the opportunities come.”
In other second-round matches, Serb Viktor Troicki, the 16th seed, eased past Australian wildcard Bernard Tomic 6-4 6-4 and 24th seed Michael Llodra of France was a 7-6 6-4 winner against Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo.
Three-times champion and world number two Roger Federer was scheduled to play his first match in the elite ATP Masters 1000 event later Sunday against Russian Igor Andreev.
Editing by Frank Pingue