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Roddick exits early at French Open as Venus survives first round scare

updated 4:49 AM EDT, Mon May 28, 2012
Andy Roddick was left to contemplate another early exit at the French Open as he lost to Nicolas Mahut.
Andy Roddick was left to contemplate another early exit at the French Open as he lost to Nicolas Mahut.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Andy Roddick loses in first round of the French Open to Nicolas Mahut
  • Roddick has been plagued by injuries and has slipped to 29th in the world
  • Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Juan Martin del Potro battle into second round
  • Venus Williams survives scare to progress at Roland Garros

(CNN) -- Andy Roddick made a sorry first round exit at the French Open Sunday with a four sets defeat to Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

The 29-year-old American has been plagued by injury this season and proved no match for Mahut as he lost 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-2.

Mahut, best known for his world record marathon match against John Isner at Wimbledon, is not noted for his own ability on clay and it is only the second time he has made the second round.

Former U.S. Open champion Roddick has never gone further than the third round either in 10 visits to Roland Garros and lost all three of his warm-up matches in Dusseldorf last week in the World Team Cup.

Roddick has slipped to No.29 in the world after hamstring and hip problems and admitted that he was never likely to make an impression on clay, preferring the faster grass of Wimbledon.

"You know, there are a lot of guys who know how to play on clay, and it's just second nature to them. I feel that way on grass, so, you know, hopefully I can turn it around there," he told gathered reporters.

There are a lot of guys who know how to play on clay, it's just second nature to them. I feel that way on grass, so, you know, hopefully I can turn it around there
Andy Roddick

He confirmed he will next play at Queen's Club before going to Wimbledon where he has been runner-up three times to Roger Federer.

Roddick also said that he wanted to represent the United States in the London Olympics on the same courts.

Roddick's fellow American veteran Venus Williams also looked in trouble when she trailed Argentine teenager Paula Ormaechea by a set but recovered to win 4-6 6-1 6-3 on a sparsely populated Court Phillip Chatrier.

But Williams, a seven-time grand slam title winner, faces a tough second round match against fancied third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, if the Pole can get past Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia in her opener.

Earlier, 2010 runner-up Samantha Stosur of Australia became the first player into the last 64 as the reigning U.S Open chamption beat Elena Baltacha of Britain 6-4 6-0.

The opening day of the second grand slam of the season did not feature the leading attractions, but French hope and fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gave the home crowd some cheer with a four sets win over Russian qualifier Andrey Kuznetsov.

Tsonga was swept aside in the first set but quickly regained control to win 1-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 to reach the second round.

He will face Germany's Cedrik-Marcel Stebbe for a place in the last 32.

"It's not my favorite surface at the moment. Trust me, I'll have more pressure at Wimbledon," Tsonga admitted after his victory.

Ninth seed Juan Martin del Potro was also taken to four sets before the Argentine beat Spanish veteran Albert Montanes 6-2 6-7 6-2 6-1.

Del Potro had beaten Montanes for the Estoril title in April. He is shaping as a possible quarterfinal opponent for Roger Federer.

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