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Roddick has back spasms, loses in two sets at Cincy

Andy Roddick, of the United States, returns a shot to Jeremy Chardy, of France, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Tuesday Aug. 14, 2012, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

Andy Roddick, of the United States, returns a shot to Jeremy Chardy, of France, during a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, Tuesday Aug. 14, 2012, in Mason, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

MASON, Ohio -- Andy Roddick developed back spasms during his opening match at the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, setting up a two-set loss that left questions about his health heading into the U.S. Open.

Wild card Venus Williams survived a three-set opening match, another encouraging win coming off her Olympic gold medal in doubles with sister Serena.

Roddick, who has played through a sore shoulder this summer, developed a new concern as he lost to a player who was in the draw as an injury replacement.

He got treatment for his back during the second set of his 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to France's Jeremy Chardy, who replaced injured No. 9 seed John Isner. Roddick had won all three of his career matches against Chardy.

Roddick said his back started bothering him a few days ago and he aggravated it Tuesday.

"I felt fine early on, and then I had one lunge forehand and ... you know, we have all had it," he said. "The back kind of goes out or spasms a little bit. It got progressively worse."

Roddick won the Atlanta Open in July despite a sore right shoulder. He lost to Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-1 in the second round at the Olympics, a match that lasted only 54 minutes, but arrived for the tournament in suburban Cincinnati feeling good about his health and his game.

The good feeling didn't last long.

After the third game of the second set, he had a trainer come over to help him stretch his back and shoulders. He managed only one break point during the 1-hour, 33-minute match. Roddick left the court quickly with his head down.

Roddick said his shoulder felt fine. He's not sure if his back will force him to curtail his preparation for the U.S. Open, which starts Aug. 27.

"We will know more in two, three days than we do now," Roddick said. "So it's tough for me to say what side of the fence I'm sitting on. I don't know where I'm going to be in two or three days."

Williams is trying to get in position to make a deep run at the U.S. Open, from which she had to withdraw last year because of an immune system disease that causes fatigue and sore joints. She beat 12th-seeded Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in a match that lasted 2 hours, 23 minutes, serving 11 aces.

Along with the Olympic gold medal, it's been a good few weeks for Williams, who is learning how to manage the symptoms of her disease.

"I'm doing a lot better than this time last year," she said. "So much better than a couple months ago as well. I also am learning to deal with everything a lot better. If I wake up and I don't feel great, then I would panic and lose my match 2-1. Now I realize that I just kind of hang in there if I'm not having the best day and still try to get the win."

Williams likes her chances at the Open if things continue to go well.

"Of course I'm excited about the Open," she said. "I know I can play great tennis. I need some more matches, obviously, and I need to execute out there on the court, and I need to feel halfway decent.

"So there are a lot of things that have to fall in place for me, maybe more than other players. But I'm up for the challenge."

In other matches, 15th-seeded Nadia Petrova retired with dizziness after falling behind fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova 7-6 (8), 3-1. No. 11 seed Gilles Simon withdrew before the start of his match against Marcos Baghdatis with a sore shoulder.

Tommy Haas beat David Nalbandian 6-7 (0), 7-6 (4), 6-3 in 3 hours, 22 minutes, equaling the longest non-Olympic match this season on the ATP tour.

AP freelance writer Mark Schmetzer contributed to this report.