Win, move on, get in more matches.
That is Andy Roddick’s stated mission this week at the Winston-Salem Open, and it was mission accomplished again in the third round last night as the top seed beat No. 15 seed Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-3.
"I get to play again," Roddick said. "That makes me happy. Nothing spectacular, but very controlled, and that’s what I was shooting for.
"The biggest thing I take out of tonight is the ability to play another match. I came here to get matches, and worst-case I’m guaranteed three, which is more than I’ve played the entire summer. I feel like I’m coming into form a little bit, so I’m excited about it."
The win moves Roddick into Thursday’s quarterfinals against No. 7 seed Juan Monaco, who beat Kei Nishikori 7-5, 6-0 in the only other singles match of the night session.
Roddick said he was completely pain-free as he continues to come back after missing most of the summer with an abdominal strain. He lost in the first round last week in Cincinnati in his return, after a five-week absence.
Two things stood out to Roddick about the match.
He broke Giraldo four times – twice in a row in the first set, once to take a 3-2 lead in the second set and then again to clinch the match. He was four of six in break opportunities.
"The biggest thing for me is I’m breaking serve," he said. "I figure if I’m doing that, I’m going to hold most of the time, even on off-days."
And, he won 13 of 16 points off his second serve, a nifty 81 percent. He was at 79 percent (19 of 24) on first-serve points won.
"I think I won 80 percent of my second serve points, and when I’m doing that, I like my chances," he said.
Roddick’s matchup with Monaco creates an interesting twist. The two veterans have never met before. It’s the third straight match against someone Roddick has never played before. On Tuesday night, he beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 6-4 in the second round.
"We were just talking in the locker room," Roddick said of Monaco. "He said he’d been on tour eight years and we haven’t played. I think I could count on a couple fingers – it’s not often I play someone new. But this week I’ve played three guys who are new.
"That being said, I think we’ve seen each other play that there’ll be a feeling-out process, but I don’t think there are going to be a lot of massive surprises. I’m not going to go out there and kick first serves in, and he’s probably not going to come out and serve and volley."