Washington: US second seed Andy Roddick cruised into the third round of the ATP Washington Classic on Tuesday while Spanish third seed Fernando Verdasco was forced to save two match points in order to advance.
Roddick, a three-time Washington champion, defeated Slovenian qualifier Grega Zemlja 6-4, 6-4, the ninth-ranked power server taking the only two break points of the match to win in 84 minutes.
"I accomplished what I wanted to... get back to playing clean tennis, things that don`t show up in the stat sheet but that win matches," Roddick said. "I can improve a little but I got what I wanted out of the match.
"It was a good opportunity to find some rhythm, get my feet under me, get into the tournament and the summer. When I move the ball well and get my teeth into points, that`s a solid match."
Verdasco rescued two match points in the ninth game of the second set and rallied to defeat Germany`s Michael Berrer 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (8/6).
The 10th-ranked Spaniard, who won at San Jose and Barcelona earlier this year, nearly lost for the fourth time in five matches since reaching the round of 16 at the French Open before battling back.
"I was just trying to play my best to the end," Verdasco said. "Even match points down I was just trying to put the ball in and make him put the ball in.
"I got a little lucky."
Czech top seed Tomas Berdych, the runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon, opens after a bye with a Wednesday match against Russian Dmitry Tursunov.
Roddick booked a third-round match against Frenchman Gilles Simon, who ousted Russian qualifier Igor Kunitsyn 6-1, 6-2.
Verdasco will next face US qualifier Ryan Sweeting, who ousted Frenchman Michael Llorda 6-4, 6-2, on Thursday for a spot in the Friday quarter-finals of the 1.4 million-dollar hardcourt event, a US Open tuneup.
Berrer, ranked 47th, roared ahead 5-2 but squandered two match points with errant backhands and was broken by Verdasco in the ninth and 11th games to launch his comeback.
"When I broke back, I started to get confidence and started playing much better," Verdasco said. "Those games were the turning point of the match."
At 6-6 in the tie-breaker Verdasco hurt his left big toenail and stayed on the court briefly, then rose and won the match when Berrer sent a forehand long and a backhand into the net.
"I hit it really hard," Verdasco said of his toe. "It was just a really big pain for about a minute."
American Mardy Fish stretched his career-best win streak to 11 matches by beating Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3. Fish won titles last month at Newport and Atlanta and has jumped from 79th to 35th in the rankings since dropping 33 pounds to a trim 170.
"I`m now able to train and do things I couldn`t in the past," Fish said. "I`m able to get to shots I used to not get to. I feel like a completely different player, a completely different person."
Next for Fish will be Croatian fourth seed Marin Cilic, who beat Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-2.
Serbian Janko Tipsarevic defeated France`s Arnaud Clement 6-4, 6-0, to book a second-round match against US sixth seed Sam Querrey, who beat Tipsarevic in a Los Angeles semi-final last week on the way to his fourth title of the year.
Taiwan`s Lu Yen-Hsun, who beat Roddick to reach the last eight at Wimbledon, lost 7-5, 6-1 to Colombia`s Alejandro Falla in a first-round match.