Yahoo sports? ---------------------- Roddick beats former French Open winner Gaudio By ANDREW DAMPF, AP Sports Writer May 9, 2007 AP - May 9, 11:26 am EDT More Photos ROME (AP) -- Andy Roddick opened his clay-court season in style, beating 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio 6-1, 7-6 (8) Wednesday at the Rome Masters. After breezing through the first set, the third-seeded American required five match points before putting away a volley to end the second-round match. "I was thankful to get through in two after that," Roddick said. "To win a third set might have been a tall task. I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but today was fun." Roddick played for the first time since injuring his hamstring in a Davis Cup win over Spain's Fernando Verdasco last month. He will next face Juan Ignacio Chela or Igor Andreev. Fifth-seeded Novak Djokovic, who won his third title of the season at Estoril on Sunday, rallied to beat Robin Soderling 2-6, 6-4, 6-3. ADVERTISEMENT Also advancing was 12th-seeded Tomas Berdych, who defeated Albert Montanes 7-6 (5), 6-3. Last year's Australian Open runner-up, Marcos Baghdatis, defeated Radek Stepanek 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Roddick attacked well and even showed some clay-court savvy, pulling off a difficult backhand drop-shot winner to set up his first match point. "It's probably the first time -- and last time -- where if you asked me what my best shot was I'd say my drop shot," Roddick said. "I've been trying to work on it a little more." The 71st-ranked Gaudio forced Roddick to miss volleys at his feet to save the first two match points. Roddick was sharp overall with his volleys, winning 20 of 32 points at the net. He also never dropped his serve. Roddick said coach Jimmy Connors has suggested he move to the net more. "I think moving forward has become a little more prevalent in our day-to-day game plans since we've been working together," said Roddick, who hired Connors last July. Connors will rejoin Roddick at the French Open, which begins May 27. The 28-year-old Gaudio said he was considering retirement. "After Hamburg and Roland Garros, I'll decide whether I'm going to continue," he said. Later Wednesday, Rafael Nadal put his 72-match clay-court winning streak on the line against Italian wild card Daniele Bracciali. Nadal is attempting to become the first player to win this tournament three consecutive times.