Once again Andy Roddick finds himself the last American man standing in a Grand Slam tournament. And should he advance to Wimbledon's final for a second consecutive year, he'll likely find world No. 1 Roger Federer across the net, just as last year.
Both Roddick and Federer were straight-set victors Monday. Roddick defeated 15th-seeded Guillermo Coria of Argentina, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4, while Federer dismissed Spain's Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6).
"I'm playing fine," Roddick said. "You know, I'm still alive. I feel like I'm hitting the ball pretty well."
Roddick used his match against Coria to fine-tune two aspects of his game in particular. He looked for opportunities to come to the net, where he won 74 percent of his points. And he pressed Coria's second serve, winning 66 percent of those points.
Roddick is the world's third-ranked player and Wimbledon's second seed. He moved up in the seeding largely in deference to his runner-up finish here a year ago and the fact that Lleyton Hewitt, the world's No. 2, is returning from a layoff after breaking several ribs. For all his success, Roddick finds himself under intense scrutiny after failing to win a Grand Slam title since the 2003 U.S. Open and failing to advance to a Grand Slam final since last year's four-set loss here to Federer.
That said, U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe predicted on the eve of the tournament that Roddick would be competing for the men's title on the final Sunday.
Roddick prepared for Wimbledon by entering the grass-court tuneup at Queen's earlier this month, which he won for a third consecutive year. Watching from the press box, McEnroe was delighted to see a new fire in Roddick's eyes.
"What I've seen missing a little bit from Andy is that attitude -- that in-your-face, stick-it-to-you attitude," McEnroe said. "I saw a look in his eye at Queen's that we need to see back. I think he's motivated by the fact that he has struggled, and he has lost some big matches."
After winning his first-round match here in straight sets, Roddick found himself embroiled in a five-setter against Italian qualifier Daniele Bracciali, in which he fended off one match point and snapped an 0-5 streak in five-set matches. The struggle seems to have served him well.
Up next is Roddick's frequent practice partner, Sebastien Grosjean, who has a 40-16 career record on grass and has advanced to Wimbledon's semifinals each of the last two years.
"He's proven that he's one of the top five grass-courters in the world," Roddick said. "That's definitely tough to deal with. But, you know, I feel like I'm playing pretty well. I feel confident."
said Andy Roddick, above, after a straight-set win over Guillermo Coria.