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Rusty Roddick prevails in five sets at French Open

PARIS - Andy Roddick's preparation for this French Open was hardly traditional. Or ideal, from a purely tennis perspective, anyway.

He skipped a clay-court event in Rome so he could celebrate his one-year wedding anniversary with his wife, Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Brooklyn Decker. He missed another tuneup tournament in Madrid because of a stomach virus.

Scrambling to get set, Roddick played a couple of hastily arranged exhibitions and practiced a bunch at Roland Garros with fellow pro Mardy Fish, a pal since high school. If Roddick felt he needed more match time on his least favorite surface, he accumulated it in a hurry yesterday, digging himself out of a hole and coming back to beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, in the French Open's first round.

"It's kind of like when you miss an assignment in school, and they give you a chance to get extra credit. I've been trying real hard to get extra credit . . . and I definitely wasn't match-tough," the sixth-seeded Roddick said. "There was a lot of ugliness out there today. But at the end of it, I get to play again."

So does a group of other Americans: Roddick and Fish are among five U.S. men into the second round, equaling the largest contingent at this Grand Slam tournament since six made it in 1998.

Robby Ginepri knocked off 18th-seeded Sam Querrey, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-2, in an all-American match yesterday; John Isner and Taylor Dent won Monday.

Querrey, 22, is from Santa Monica, Calif., and had the best clay-court season of any American man, winning a title in Belgrade, Serbia, this month. But after falling to 0-4 for his career at the French Open, Querrey described feeling what sounded like burnout. He said he'll fly home immediately and pull out of doubles; he was supposed to play with Isner.

"Not into it. Mentally not there. I mean, you know what? I don't know. Just did not enjoy myself out there. It's been like that on and off for, like, a while," Querrey said.

Roddick's was not the only successful return yesterday, when winners included four-time French Open champions Justine Henin and Rafael Nadal, as well as Maria Sharapova, who has won the other three major tournaments.

Playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2007, Henin beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, 6-4, 6-3, to run her winning streak at her favorite event to 22 matches and 37 sets.

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