Hewitt: serve key for Tomic
Speaking from experience, Lleyton Hewitt says Bernard Tomic must sharpen up his serve to stay with Andy Roddick in their marquee second-round meeting at the US Open.
Tomic will take on Roddick in the keenly-awaited match on Friday night on Arthur Ashe Stadium (Saturday AEST), a day after Roddick announced on his 30th birthday that the US Open would be his last tournament before retiring.
The two-day break between Tomic’s first and second round matches allowed Tomic time to sound out Hewitt for some advice about how to handle the power-serving American, which he said he planned to after seeing off Carlos Berlocq in the opening round.
“I’ve just passed him in the locker room,” Hewitt said after joining Tomic in the second round with a 4-6 6-2 6-1 6-4 win over German Tobias Kamke.
“No, he didn’t ask me anything.”
But if he did, Hewitt – who has played Roddick 14 times and had his measure at this year’s Australian Open – knew exactly what he’d tell Tomic.
“I saw a little bit of his match yesterday and he’s not going to be able to drop his serve as many times as he did against Berlocq against Roddick,” Hewitt said.
Tomic was broken five times against the Argentine.
“That’s the big thing,” Hewitt said. “He’s going to have to tighten that up.
“He’s definitely capable of doing that, but obviously with a guy like Roddick’s serve, you’re not going to get as many chances to break back and get in the match.
“But all in all Bernie could frustrate Andy. I’d say pretty much all the pressure’s on Andy, so it’s a good opportunity for him.”
Victory over the 2003 Open champion in a first-time meeting with Roddick would propel Tomic into the third round in New York for the first time.
With either Fabio Fognini or Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, both unseeded claycourters, awaiting in the third round, Tomic has a big opportunity to progress to the second week.
A fixture in the top 10 for the past decade, Roddick is down to No.22.
“I’m going to get opportunities to break him,” Tomic confidently predicted.
“He runs well. He competes. I’ve never played him in a match. I feel like my aggression and the way I play is a bit different to his. He’s a bit more defensive.
“I think I’ll play a better attack than him, if I’m playing the way I’m playing. It’s a matter of getting that break, holding on, believing in yourself.
“I don’t think he’s like the top three or four. That’s definitely where I have a lot of belief. I believe I can win this match.”