Fish stumbles but avoids premature US Open exit

New York: American Mardy Fish avoided bowing out of the first round of the US Open for the fourth time in his career with a dogged 6-0, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 win over Jan Hajek on Tuesday.

Fish continued his strong 2010 to date with a faultless first-set display in which his Czech opponent was not given a moment to settle.

He looked on course for a comfortable straight-sets victory but the number 19 seed`s normally reliable serve fell apart in the next two sets as Hajek edged towards a major upset.

Fish, a first-round loser at the US Open in 2000, 2001 and 2005, had a miserable first-serve percentage of 40 percent in the third set and cut a disgruntled figure on court.

But as the shadows increasingly came over the Grandstand court, giving both players some respite from the rising temperatures, Fish managed to recapture his earlier good form.