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Roddick sets a personal best in Paris
First time for him in French Open fourth round

PARIS - Rust-colored flecks of clay dotted Andy Roddick's white attire, from the brim of his baseball cap, down the back of his shirt, to his ankle braces.

Never before nearly this comfortable at the only Grand Slam tournament played on the sport's slowest surface, Roddick reached the French Open's fourth round for the first time in his career by beating Marc Gicquel of France 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 Saturday.

And the sixth-seeded Roddick is not satisfied, even though his performance so far is quite an upgrade for someone who hadn't won a match at Roland Garros since 2005.

'Any time you accomplish a goal, it's nice. But my tournament is not over. You know, I'd like to keep going,' the American said. 'I don't even have anything else to do next week. I'd like to stick around.'

He's one of only two U.S. singles players, out of 17 men and women entered, who will compete in Week 2. The other is Serena Williams, the 2002 French Open champion, who lost a disputed point en route to dropping the opening set Saturday, but came back to defeat Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Afterward, Williams branded Martinez Sanchez a cheater for failing to fess up that a ball ricocheted off her arm. Martinez Sanchez said the ball went off her racket. NBC replays appeared to show the ball went off the Spaniard's arm, then her racket, on its way over the net; rules call for a player to lose the point if she touches the ball.

'She should have lost the point - instead of cheating,' Williams said.

If the spectators watching Williams deal with her early deficit against an unheralded opponent were surprised at that development, imagine their reactions when they found out what was happening elsewhere at Roland Garros at that time.

During a changeover in the third set of Williams' match, the scoreboard at Court Suzanne Lenglen displayed results from other arenas. First came the murmurs from the crowd when it saw that two-time semifinalist Novak Djokovic was on his way to being upset by No. 29 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 6-4, 6-4. Then there were gasps as the scoreboard showed three-time runner-up Roger Federer dropped the first set, followed immediately by applause as the locals realized it was France's Paul-Henri Mathieu who'd won that set.

But if Djokovic never got things turned around, Federer most certainly did, and he wound up wrapping up a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory over the 32nd-seeded Mathieu.

The second-seeded Federer and fourth-seeded Djokovic could have met in the semifinals, but the 13-time Grand Slam champion shrugged when asked if he was relieved to see the Serb depart.

'No, not at all,' Federer said. 'Winning the semifinal is not winning the tournament, so it doesn't change anything.'

Two high-seeded women joined Djokovic on the way out of the tournament, with No. 4 Elena Dementieva beaten by No. 30 Samantha Stosur 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki losing to unseeded Sorana Cirstea 7-6 (3), 7-5.

But No. 5 Jelena Jankovic and No. 7 Svetlana Kuznetsova won in straight sets, and No. 24 Aleksandra Wozniak eliminated Lourdes Dominguez Lino 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to become the first Canadian woman in the French Open's fourth round since 1992. Wozniak plays Williams next.

Men's winners included No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro and a pair of young Frenchmen, No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and No. 11 Gael Monfils, who will be Roddick's next opponent.

Roddick is only the second American man to reach the round of 16 in Paris since Andre Agassi did it in 2003.

'It's three matches,' said Roddick, who accumulated seven aces and only 11 unforced errors. 'It's a lot better than I've done here before.'

This had been the only major at which he hadn't reached the fourth round: Roddick won the 2003 U.S. Open, was a two-time finalist at Wimbledon and a four-time semifinalist at the Australian Open.

But clay can dull his big serve and big forehand, which is why his new coach, Larry Stefanki, has Roddick changing things up. In addition to tweaking Roddick's tactics, Stefanki also encouraged him to improve his fitness. To that end, Roddick has changed some eating habits and dropped about 15 pounds.

'He's a french-fry-pizza-aholic. A nacho guy,' Stefanki said, noting that Roddick has dropped such treats in favor of skinless chicken and vegetables.

Roddick says he can feel the difference, and it shows in better court coverage. He pointed to improved fitness, confidence and patience as reasons for his run so far at Roland Garros.

Now comes a real test against Monfils, a semifinalist last year, in front of a partisan crowd.

Stefanki called Monfils 'the best athlete out here' and noted that fan support could play a role in the match, before adding: 'But one thing beautiful about Andy - he loves to take on a challenge.'