|The 2003 champion at Flushing Meadows, Roddick hopes to make it back to the men's final. (Getty Images)|
NEW YORK -- Someday, the fans will crowd into Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch some other American star play.
For now, Andy Roddick remains the man they want to see at the U.S. Open -- and he's in no rush to see that change.
Roddick put at least a temporary halt to a budding American success story Tuesday with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over 21-year-old qualifier Rhyne Williams.
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Williams, the NCAA runner-up in 2011 who earned a wildcard into qualifying, won three straight matches last week at Flushing Meadows to get into the main draw, then suddenly found himself making his Grand Slam debut in the world's largest tennis stadium against the 2003 champion.
A tough situation for him -- though more of the same for Roddick, who won his 41st U.S. Open match.
"It feels like I always play the young, American guys here," Roddick said.
This year, the opponent was Williams, who played college tennis at Tennessee, came into this week ranked 289th and whose biggest payday this year was $7,700 for making it through qualifying at Indian Wells. This first-round loss will net him $23,000, though the learning experience figures to be worth every bit as much.
Roddick, who turns 30 on Thursday, controlled this match throughout, finishing with 20 aces, and serving at a top speed of 141 mph. He left impressed with his opponent, who dropped one service break in each set but made Roddick work to close them all out.
"He did it the hard way," Roddick said. "He got through quallies, so that's a good effort by him. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of him."
Defending champion Novak Djokovic lost the first game Tuesday then ran off 18 of the next 19 en route to a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 win over Paolo Lorenzi of Italy. Second-seeded Djokovic won 79 of 114 points and finished with seven aces and 32 winners compared to zero and 10 for his opponent.
The match took only 73 minutes.
After Lorenzi won the first game of the third set, he raised his hands in mock victory and got a nice hand from the crowd. But that was it. He won the same number of games he did to start the Grand Slam season, in a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 loss to Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open.
Also winning in straight sets Tuesday were fifth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych. No. 15 Milos Raonic, the 21-year-old big server from Canada, needed five sets to get past Colombia's Santiago Giraldo. Like Roddick, Raonic's fastest serve clocked in at 141 mph.
Tsonga, the Frenchman who famously said earlier this year that there was no one from France who was ready to win at Roland Garros, conceded his opinion hasn't changed now that the 2012 Grand Slam season is winding down in the United States.
"If I had to bet, I would not bet on it," he said after his 6-3, 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory over Karol Beck of Slovakia.