Connors along for ride with Roddick

Associated Press
Andy Roddick stretches to return a shot in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Michael Berrer in an Australian Open second-round match.

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Jimmy Connors was riding every point with Andy Roddick.


When Roddick sent a few lobs over the head of Michael Berrer in his second-round match at the Australian Open on Wednesday, both nicking the baseline, Con-nors tapped himself on the forehead twice and laughed.

When Roddick challenged a line call and it went in his favor, Connors shook his head, smiling broadly. On another point, Connors pumped his fists along with Roddick.

And when Roddick badly missed a return, Connors buried his head in his hands.

Just as well the match lasted only three sets. When it ended -- with Roddick advancing to the third round with a 6-2 6-2, 6-4 victory -- the coach was nearly as worn out as the player.

"It's always really beneficial to be around Jimmy," Roddick said. "We are excited to have gotten some time in preparation ... and hopefully that will help me for the upcoming weeks."

Roddick finished 2007 ranked in the top 10 for the sixth consecutive year and led the U.S. team to its first Davis Cup title since 1995. He opened 2008 with a third consecutive title at the Kooyong exhibition.

Roddick, ranked No. 6, combined his powerful serve with some deft lobs and passing shots to beat Berrer on his fifth match point.

"It's a little bit of a cold night and I knew the ball wouldn't carry through the court too much," Roddick said. "I was content to bully the ball around a little bit."

Roddick conceded just eight points in his first eight service games before Berrer finally broke in the third set.

After Berrer held to pull ahead 3-0, Roddick ran off the next five games, getting the deciding break when the German misjudged an easy overhead and shanked it into the net to hand Roddick a 4-3 lead. Berrer fended off four match points while serving at 3-5. Then Roddick held to finish off the match.


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