NEW YORK (AFP) –
Roddick, America’s last men’s major champion when he captured the 2003 US Open title, eased past compatriot and qualifier Rhyne Williams, the world 289.
His comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 win was a gentle way to start his 13th successive US Open appearance, which also comes just two days before his 30th birthday.
“I think the game has become a lot more physical. I think you have to be a fully grown human to deal with kind of the ins and outs of the physical grind,” said Roddick, the 20th seed.
Roddick will face either Australia’s Bernard Tomic or Carlos Berlocq for a place in the last 32.
Fellow US veteran Williams, the 2000 and 2001 winner, also won an all-American match-up, beating wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-1.
Williams, playing her 14th consecutive US Open, missed nine months of action with the fatigue-causing Sjogren’s Syndrome and came into the tournament ranked at 46.
Victory was a welcome relief after slumping to a first-round loss at Wimbledon this year.
The 32-year-old next faces German sixth seed Angelique Kerber, who knocked her out of the Olympics.
Later Tuesday, defending champion Novak Djokovic gets his campaign underway against Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi, who is making his US Open debut at the age of 30 and has yet to win a Grand Slam match.
Three-time women’s champion and Olympic Games gold medalist Serena Williams, last year’s runner-up, faces American compatriot Coco Vandeweghe.
Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwnaska and former world number one Ana Ivanovic also breezed into the second round as both women look to bury their woeful Flushing Meadows records.
Polish second seed Radwanska and Ivanovic, the 12th-seeded Serb who was French Open champion in 2008, have never got beyond the fourth round in New York but have been quarter-finalists at the other three majors.
Radwanska, whose New York best came in 2007 and who lost in the second round in 2011, began her campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Nina Bratchikova with the Russian’s challenge undone by 28 unforced errors.
Next up for Radwanska, who became the first Polish woman to make a Grand Slam final when she lost to Serena Williams at Wimbledon last month, is Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro.
“It’s always a bit harder (coming in as second seed) because people expect you to play well and go far in the tournament,” said 23-year-old Radwanska, who only needed 54 minutes to progress on Tuesday.
“But I am just trying not to really think about pressure. I don’t really have many points to defend from last year. At least this is the good thing.”
Radwanska also admitted that a right shoulder injury is still causing her some concern.
“It’s different when I’m playing matches or I’m just practicing and not pushing that much. I’m really taking care of it right now,” said the Pole, who retired from a first-round match in New Haven last week to protect the injury.
Ivanovic — whose fourth-round appearances came in 2007, 2010 and 2011 — defeated 17-year-old Ukrainian qualifier Elina Svitolina 6-3, 6-2 and goes on to face Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson.
Arvidsson reached the second round by seeing off 41-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm of Japan 6-4 6-2.
Asian hopes took a further battering when Chinese 32nd seed Peng Shuai tumbled out 7-6 (7/5), 6-1 to Russia’s Elena Vesnina.
In men’s play, French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a quarter-finalist in 2011, advanced to the second round by defeating Slovakian qualifier Karol Beck 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (7/2).
Tsonga will next face another Slovakian, 52nd-ranked Martin Klizan.
There were also wins for Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who beat Belgium’s David Goffin 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, and Spanish 11th seed Nicolas Almagro, who saw off Czech veteran Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 6-4.
Canadian 15th seed Milos Ranoic survived a gruelling five-setter to beat Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 4-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, firing 30 aces in the process.