No. 1 Fish hooked by Davis Cup team
NEWPORT, R.I. - Top-seeded Mardy Fish withdrew yesterday from the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships after replacing Andy Roddick on the US Davis Cup team.
Fish was selected for the team a day after Roddick lost an epic Wimbledon final to Roger Federer. Roddick withdrew, citing a right hip flexor injury. The Hall of Fame tourney has never had its top-seeded player win the title in its 33-year history.
Fish will join the US team for this week’s quarterfinal tie in Porec, Croatia.
In first-round Hall of Fame matches yesterday, Prakash Amritraj of India and Taylor Dent of the United States advanced.
Amritraj, the runner-up last year, beat Danai Udomchoke of Thailand, 6-1, 6-4, and Dent, the 2002 Newport champ, rolled past Marcos Daniel of Brazil, 6-2, 6-1.
In other first-round action, American Brendan Evans ousted No. 4-seeded Benjamin Becker, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-5, when the German doubled-faulted on the final point; Jesse Levine beat fellow American Chris Guccione, 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-2); Daniel Brands of Germany beat Vince Spadea of the United States, 6-0, 6-4; and American Robby Ginepri ousted Santiago Ventura of Spain, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
Amritraj was still marveling about Roddick’s classic match at Wimbledon Sunday.
“It was incredible,’’ he said. “You look at the great players and when the match gets tight they start to look nervous. He was swinging at 14-all like it was 1-0 in the first set.’’
Amritraj, whose father, Vijay, won Newport in 1980 and ’84, lost last year’s final to two-time champion Fabrice Santoro of France, who will play his opening-round match later this week.
The second-seeded Santoro didn’t lose a set last year in defending his title.
“We’ll talk about him when he loses a set,’’ Amritraj said.
Dent echoed those who are calling Federer the best ever after he won his 15th Grand Slam title to surpass Pete Sampras.
“I’m happy for Federer,’’ Dent said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a better ambassador for the sport.’’
“I think he’s taken over the mantel as the best ever. I’m an American. I hate to see Pete Sampras dethroned a bit.’’
The Hall of Fame Championships are held in conjunction with induction ceremonies into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The 2009 class - highlighted by Monica Seles - is scheduled to be enshrined Saturday before semifinal play.
In qualifying play, Alexander Peya defeated Go Soeda, 6-3, 6-1; Alejandro Falla beat Andrea Stoppini, 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (8-6); Samuel Groth edged Simon Stadler, 7-6 (11-9), 6-4; Ricardo Mello advanced after Rajeev Ram withdrew with a calf injury, but Ram is the lucky loser after Fish withdrew.