Rocket Roddick serves a sizzler

DEFENDING champion Andy Roddick powered down the fastest serve in US Open history at Flushing Meadows yesterday - 152 miles per hour - as he cruised past 17-year-old Scoville Jenkins 6-0 6-2 6-2.

After breaking the American youngster in the opening game, Roddick broke the Open record with a 148mph serve only to surpass it with the history-making 152mph rocket on the next point.

“I just wanted to welcome him to the court,” joked Roddick, who closed the match with his 12th ace. “I knew he was a little bit nervous so I thought I would go at him early on.”

Briton Greg Rusedski held the previous record at 143mph - a speed he reached in 1997 and 1999.

And Roddick just missed equalling his world record of 153mph, set in the Stella Artois championships in June on grass in London.

“I’ve never seen a serve like that before,” said Jenkins said. “I was very nervous coming out here.”

Earlier, Olympic champion Nicolas Massu, the 14th seed, cruised into the second round with a 6-4 6-0 6-2 triumph over Argentinian Jose Acasuso.

Massu faces Sargis Sargsian in the second round after the Armenian posted a four-set victory over Spaniard Alex Corretja on Monday.

Germany’s 11th seed Rainer Schuettler blew a two-set lead and crashed out 3-6 4-6 7-6 (7/5) 7-6 (7/1) 6-1 to Andreas Seppi of Italy.

And 13th seed Marat Safin - the 2000 champion - suffered a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 3-6 6-3 loss to Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist.

Meanwhile, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova battled back from the brink of defeat to reach the second round. The Russian survived a scare before defeating Laura Granville 6-3 5-7 7-5.

“My game went off for a while. I went to La-La Land,” said the 17-year-old seventh seed. “But I came back to earth.”

Venus Williams followed her sister Serena into the second round with a 6-3 7-6 (7/3) win over Petra Mandula of Hungary.

Top seed Justin Henin-Hardenne showed no reaction to her Olympic victory last week with a 6-1 6-4 win over Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic.

Fourth seed Anastasia Myskina of Russia, the French Open champion, routed Ludmila Cervanova of Slovakia 6-1 6-0 in 42 minutes. Myskina lost just nine points in the second set.

Fifth seed Lindsay Davenport of the United States similarly had little difficulty advancing to the second round, defeating Slovakian Lubomira Kurhajcova 6-4 6-0.

Mary Pierce, the 27th seed, won in straight sets, as did ninth Svetlana Kuznetsova, 14th Nadia Petrova, 20th Chanda Rubin, 21st Amy Frazier and 26th Elena Bovina.

But 24th seed Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi and 25th Elena Likhovtseva were eliminated.

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