Andy Roddick knew what to expect from Frenchman Michael Llodra, he just had to mimic him to keep his Wimbledon bid on track today.
The American, back on Centre Court for the first time since losing an epic fifth set in last year's final to Roger Federer, was in a deep rut until he switched to a serve and volley game that Llodra was carrying out to perfection.
Frustrated at his inability to find a chink in the artistic left-hander's armour from the baseline, Roddick made the tactical change that quickly bore fruit as he prevailed 4-6 6-4 6-1 7-6 to reach the third round.
"That was as tough of a second round as there is I think in this tournament right now, considering the surface," a relieved Roddick told a news conference.
"He's well versed on how to play on this surface, and he's confident right now.
"It took some of my best stuff today to get through that. I thought I played really well. I think I had to."
Possessing a deft touch and the finesse that served compatriot Fabrice Santoro so well in his career, Llodra played a first set that was "flawless", according to Roddick.
The Frenchman, who has raised a few eyebrows by appointing 2006 Wimbledon women's champion Amelie Mauresmo as his grasscourt coach, unsettled the fifth seed with his frequent net sortees.
A break to love in the fifth game put the world number 37, winner of the Eastbourne warm-up tournament, on the way to taking the first set and prompted Roddick, unable to settle into a smooth rhythm on his own serve, into making his game adjustment.
"The game he broke me was one of the best return games someone played against me. He played good points. Off of my serve, I had to start coming in and serving and volleying behind it," he said.
"He was pretty comfortable chipping and kind of coming in at random spots. You know, he was dictating the way the points were going. So I think that was a key adjustment."
The turning point came when Roddick forced three set points at 5-4 in the second set and jogged to his chair with renewed momentum after Llodra's volley went wide.
A double-break saw Roddick coast through the third and despite Llodra regrouping to force a fourth set tiebreak, he could not force a decider.Reuse content