Roddick dives right in
He pulls the US even with up-and-down performance
Andy Roddick dominated early and dived late. With that crowd-pleasing combination, he moved the United States into a tie with Switzerland in the Davis Cup in Birmingham, Ala., and pulled even with Andre Agassi.
Roddick beat Marco Chiudinelli, 6-1, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), yesterday, tying the Davis Cup match at 1 apiece after James Blake's four-set loss to Switzerlands Stanislas Wawrinka put the United States in an early hole on the indoor hard court.
Roddick saved his best move for the end, when Chiudinelli was battling to send the match to another set in front of 14,723 fans.
Tied at 4 in the tiebreaker, No. 6-ranked Roddick made a diving backhand that Chiudinelli managed to return, but the Swiss player could only watch from the side as Roddick sent another backhand into a vacant court.
"It was kind of a blur," Roddick said. "I knew if I could dive I didn't have to hit it that well, because I had a lot of court to work with. I was able to kind of stick it out there and he ran all over the place at that point. That probably won me the match."
Roddick moved into a tie with Agassi with his 30th US Davis Cup victory, trailing only John McEnroe (41).
It was Chiudinelli's third Davis Cup match and first in another country but he said the pro-American crowd didn't faze him.
"I think the louder they go, the better I play," he said.
No. 16-ranked Wawrinka took some of the pressure off the 341st-ranked Chiudinelli. He beat Blake, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), to get the Swiss off to a nice start but Roddick erased the lead.
"It's always good to have Andy in that situation," US captain Patrick McEnroe said. "He's been there many times before. He came out with a great start and set the tone right away. If there's anyone you want when youre 0-1 down, it's Andy Roddick. He handles the situation really well and he did that today."
Maybe that's because Roddicks approach was the situation hadnt changed all that much with Blake's loss.
"It's a team competition," he said. "He's picked me up before and Ive picked him up before. You come into the day trying to pick up a point for your team."
The United States sends out top-ranked doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan today against Wawrinka and Yves Allegro.
Sweden 1, Israel 1 - Sweden and Israel were tied, 1-1, in Malmo in an arena with no fans. Swedish organizers feared protests against Israel following the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip. Dudi Sela outlasted Andreas Vinciguerra, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 11-9, to pull Israel even with Sweden. The start of the Spain-Serbia series in Benidorm, Spain, was postponed because strong wind compromised the stadium.
The winners advance to the World Group quarterfinals in July.
In other first-round series, Russia (over Romania), Argentina (over Netherlands), and Croatia (over Chile) took 2-0 leads. Tied, 1-1, were Czech Republic-France and Germany-Austria.