Sunday September 2, 2012
Roddick staves off retirement as favourites roll on
ANDY Roddick’s transition from the tennis court to the rocking chair was delayed when the former world number one reached the third round of the US Open on Friday, joining a parade of former champions advancing at the year’s final Grand Slam.
Roddick, who announced a day earlier he would retire at the end of the tournament, served his way past rising Australian talent Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in his second-round match.
Joining Roddick in the winner’s circle Friday were former titlists Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro and Lleyton Hewitt, who reached the third round, and Samantha Stosur and Maria Sharapova, who secured a fourth-round berth. Top-ranked Belarussian Victoria Azarenka, who won the Australian Open earlier this year, needed only 59 minutes to rout China’s Zheng Jie 6-0, 6-1.
One favourite who was handed a third-round exit was Li Na, who became the latest victim of British giantkiller Laura Robson.
None of Friday’s array of former champions excited the passions of the Flushing Meadows faithful more than Roddick, the never-say-die Texan who never saw a fight he did not like.
Roddick, 30, blasted 13 aces in the 1’27:00 rout under the lights before nearly 25,000 at raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“I had no idea what was going to happen out there honestly, even before the match,” said Roddick, the 2003 US Open champion. “I’ve played a lot of matches.
“That was a different kind of nerves than I’ve had before. That was surprising for me.”
An emotional Roddick said he did not know if he played so well because it could have been his last match.
“Felt weird before the match,” he said. “Twenty minutes before it was kind of getting the best of me. I kind of had to like get my stuff together before I walked out there.
“So by no means am I an expert on this. It’s still a little different. It worked. I played well. I don’t know why.”
Robson’s gritty 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 triumph over former French Open champion Li Na, who triumphed in Cincinnati earlier this month, also created a buzz at Flushing Meadows.
The defending champions had little trouble advancing, as Djokovic blitzed Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-2, 6-1 ,6-2 in sun-drenched Ashe Stadium, while Stosur cruised by American Vavara Lepchenko 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 on the same court.
Djokovic dropped just two games in his opening-round win over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi and Silva managed only three more as the second-seeded Serb was in a different class.
“I didn’t know much about my opponent,” said Djokovic. “Never saw him play. So that could have been difficult at the start in order to figure out what his game plan is. But I played well from the start to the end.”
Stosur was broken in the opening game of her match, setting the tone for a gruelling first set, which lasted 59 minutes. But the Australian secured the tiebreaker 7-5 and blew through the second set over a frustrated Lepchenko in 29 minutes.
“As the match went on I probably became a little bit more comfortable, got used to her spin, and maybe the wind a little bit more,” said Stosur, who lost only five games in her first two matches. “Once I got that first set then maybe I relaxed a little bit more.”
Sharapova continued her imperious march through the draw as she crushed American college player Mallory Burdette 6-1, 6-1 to reach the fourth round.
The Russian, who has lost just seven games in her first three matches, next plays compatriot Nadia Petrova, a 6-4, 7-5 winner over Czech Lucie Safarova. — Reuters
Second round: Novak Djokovic (Srb) bt Rogerio Dutra Silva (Bra) 6-2, 6-1, 6-2; David Ferrer (Spa) bt Igor Sijsling (Hol) 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (14-12); Leonardo Mayer (Arg) bt Tommy Robredo (Spa) 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5; Steve Johnson (US) bt Ernests Gulbis (Lat) 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, 6-4; Richard Gasquet (Fra) bt Bradley Klahn (US) 6-3, 6-3, 6-1; Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) bt Ryan Harrison (US) 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2; Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) bt Gilles Muller (Lux) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, 6-4;
Stanislas Wawrinka (Sui) bt Steve Darcis (Bel) 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 7-5; Alexander Dolgopolov (Ukr) bt Marcos Baghdatis (Cyp) 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5); John Isner (US) bt Jarkko Nieminen (Fin) 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 6-3; Janko Tipsarevic (Srb) bt Brian Baker (US) 6-4, 6-3, 6-4; Fabio Fognini (Ita) bt Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; Grega Zemlja (Slo) bt Cedrik-Marcel Stebe (Ger) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4; Andy Roddick (US) bt Bernard Tomic (Aus) 6-3, 6-4, 6-0; Julien Benneteau (Fra) bt Dennis Novikov (US) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 7-5; Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Third round: Laura Robson (Bri) bt Li Na (Chn) 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2; Samantha Stosur (Aus) bt Varvara Lepchenko (US) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2; Marion Bartoli (Fra) bt Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; Petra Kvitova (Cze) bt Pauline Parmentier (Fra) 6-4, 6-4; Maria Sharapova (Rus) bt Mallory Burdette (US) 6-1, 6-1; Nadia Petrova (Rus) bt Lucie Safarova (Cze) 6-4, 7-5; Ana Tatishvili (Geo) bt Mandy Minella (Lux) 7-5, 6-0; Victoria Azarenka (Blr) bt Zheng Jie (Chn) 6-0, 6-1;
Agnieszka Radwanska (Pol) bt Jelena Jankovic (Srb) 6-3, 7-5; Roberta Vinci (Ita) bt Dominika Cibulkova (Slo) 6-2, 7-5.