PARIS (AP) – First, the trainer massaged Andy Roddick’s left calf, then the right one in the fifth set at the end of a sweltering day at the French Open that brought cramps to players and heatstroke to fans.

Roddick’s problem, though, was in his head, not his legs.

He didn’t know whether to come in or stay back, so he too often found himself in no man’s land, passing shots whizzing by him on both sides.

He painted himself into a corner, running around backhands and leaving the right side of the court wide open.

After a strong start that put him ahead two sets to none, he got into long rallies with Jose Acasuso, only to fall one ball short when the Argentine went for broke with big backhands that caught the corners and lines.

On the final point, after blowing a 3-1 lead in the fifth set and getting broken a second time, Roddick fell victim to a final touch of brain sprain that did him in. He launched two lazy backhand moon balls and watched Acasuso whack the second for a winner into an open court to close out a 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 8-6 victory in three hours, 21 minutes.

“Early on I was doing a near perfect job of finding times to come in,” Roddick said. “But to his credit, he hit a couple off of his shoelaces late in the (last) set. I definitely still wanted to force the issue a little bit. But it’s tougher out here.”

It was the end of another year of gloom in Paris for Roddick and the nine-man American contingent.

The last American man standing, and the highest-seeded player of either sex to fall in the first week, the No. 2 Roddick lost in the second round for the second year in a row. He lost in the first round twice before that. His best showing here was his first in 2001, when he reached the third round.

“I hate it,” Roddick said of his record at the French. “I mean, it’s terrible. That pretty much sums it up. I want to do well here so badly.

“I was about as prepared as I’ve ever been coming in here. Obviously I know, coming in, it’s going to be the most challenging surface for my game. It takes away a lot of my strengths and plays into a lot of other guys’ strengths.”

Roddick’s main strength is his serve, but even in that department he was out-aced by Acasuso, 20 to 13.

Acasuso, ranked No. 62, said Roddick congratulated him and wished him good luck in his next match.

“He really knew how to lose,” Acasuso said.

Roddick, of course, has a lot of experience with that here.

Like last year, and for only the second time at any Grand Slam event since the start of the Open era in 1968, no American men lasted past the second round.

“Right now it stings,” Roddick said. “I don’t think any of us are happy. We all have a lot of pride. It’s gotten taken down a lot in the last couple years here.”

Two days after an inflamed sciatic nerve led to Andre Agassi’s departure in the first round, Vince Spadea had to quit his match against Tommy Haas in the middle because of a strained abdominal muscle, and James Blake saw the end of his 14-match winning streak, built in Challenger events and qualifying as he worked his way back from injury and illness.

Blake, out nine months last year when he fractured his neck after crashing into a net post and then had a bout of shingles, lost 6-7 (9), 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4 to Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka, the 2003 French Open junior champion. The heat and the grind of all his recent matches wore on Blake, who started feeling leg cramps and a stomach ache in the third set. On the flip side, he said, he took pride in doing so well the past month – even if it was not on the main tour.

“It’s a really good feeling and it also has let me know that I can also play on clay,” he said. “That’s something a lot of people have doubted about all the Americans for a while. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable here. That’s a good thing. It’s just a matter of making sure my body holds up. Fifteen matches in three weeks on two continents, going from indoors to outdoors to here, and being three out of five in a Grand Slam, it’s a lot to do. That could have played into the fact that my legs were gone.”

The humidity and a high temperature of 86 degrees sent 104 fans to first aid stations at Roland Garros. Several fans fainted and many experienced headaches and nausea.

A sinus condition exacerbated by the dusty clay forced Novak Djokovic to abandon his match against last year’s runner-up, eighth-seeded Guillermo Coria. They had split the first two sets and Coria led 3-2 in the third when Djokovic had to quit.

No. 3 Marat Safin and No. 9 Guillermo Canas also advanced to the third round.

In women’s matches, No. 2 Maria Sharapova, No. 3 Amelie Mauresmo and 2003 champion Justine Henin-Hardenne won in straight sets.

Henin-Hardenne, who missed most of last year with a blood virus and knee injury, needed treatment for yet another problem, this time to her back. After taking a 5-0 lead against Virginia Ruano Pascual, Henin-Hardenne asked for a trainer to massage and stretch her back. She said the previously undisclosed injury involves a nerve and dates back at least six weeks.

“I’m going to be fine for the next few days,” she said after the 6-1, 6-4 win. “I just wanted to be sure it wasn’t going to be more serious. That’s why I asked for the trainer. It was bothering me only on my serve.”

She hit eight double faults and has 17 in two matches. Yet despite her layoff and worries about her stamina, she’s 22-1 since returning and has won 19 consecutive matches, all on clay.

Her lone loss this year was at Key Biscayne to Sharapova, a potential opponent in the quarterfinals.

AP-ES-05-26-05 1722EDT

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