Dusseldorf - ATP No 7 Tomas Berdych handed American Andy Roddick a second heavy loss of the French Open tune-up week, with the Czech putting his nation into 1-0 command over the US on Tuesday at the World Team Cup.
Berdych, a 2010 Roland Garros semi-finalist and runner-up this month to Roger Federer in Madrid, demolished the match-short American 6-1, 6-2 in 61 minutes, hammering 11 aces.
Roddick, a former No 1 now ranked 29th, is playing for the first time in nearly two months after a hip injury and has won just seven games in two matches this week at the Rochusclub.
The eight-nation round-robin event is the final practise for Paris, which begins on Sunday, and comprises Roddick's only chance to get acclimated to a surface on which he has always struggled.
Berdych, by contrast is humming along this dirt season and heading to the major on form.
The big Czech lifted the opening set in 28 minutes and took only slightly longer for the second. Team-mate Radek Stepanek could give the Europeans an unbeatable lead in the Red Group tie as he plays James Blake, which would put them in good stead after beating Japan 2-1.
The winners of the two groups qualify into Saturday's final, played the day before the start of Roland Garros.
Berdych closed his gap with Roddick to 5-6 after winning their last two matches, including in Miami in March before Roddick was injured again.
The Czech has reached the quarter-finals or better in seven tournaments in 2012 and now stands 13-3 on clay.
In the Blue group, German Florian Mayer won his second match in as many days as he overwhelmed Croatian Ivan Dodig 6-1, 6-1 to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Mayer, ranked 35th after once approaching the cusp of the top 20, had a run of poor form on clay before winning a round in Rome last week. The 28-year-old is building confidence quickly.
"This is exactly what I needed," Mayer said of the 64-minute victory. "Today I played like I know how to. It's how I was playing at this time a year ago.
"I had the perfect attitude, didn't get upset, kept fighting and played great. There is nothing that I'm not happy about."
The outcome of the tie will not be decided until Wednesday with another singles and a doubles rubber to come.
Serbia took a 1-0 Blue lead over Russia as Viktor Troicki beat Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-2.