Andy Roddick bid farewell to professional tennis on the court that yielded his biggest win.
Roddick, who revealed his retirement plans six days ago during the first week of the U.S. Open, lost 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7- 4), 6-2, 6-4 today in the fourth round of the tennis season’s final Grand Slam to Juan Martin Del Potro, the No. 7 seed from Argentina, in a rain-delayed match in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Given the microphone at center court to speak to fans after fighting back tears following the loss, 2003 U.S. Open champion Roddick, 30, said: “For the first time in my career I’m not sure what to say.”
“I loved every minute of it,” he said of his time at the National Tennis Center in New York, both as a fan and player. “A lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of great moments. I’ve appreciated your support along the way.”
No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic also advanced to the quarterfinals, and No. 3 Andy Murray made the semifinals. Women’s No. 3 Maria Sharapova and No. 4 Serena Williams reached the semifinals.
After rain kept all but two matches yesterday from being completed, the players again had to wait again before returning to action today.
Roddick and Del Potro, 23, resumed their match tied 6-6 in the first set and Roddick leading the tiebreaker 1-0. He quickly seized the set, winning six of seven points. After Del Potro took the next set in a tiebreaker, Roddick struggled to keep pace. The match ended in 3 hours, 15 minutes on a Roddick forehand attempt that went wide and long, nonetheless yielding Roddick a standing ovation.
Defending champion Djokovic won a fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka. Djokovic, who was leading 6-4, 6-1, 3-1 when Wawrinka quit the match, will face Del Potro in the quarterfinals. Another Serbian player, eighth-seeded Janko Tipsarevic, defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 19th seed from Germany, in straight sets to move into the quarterfinals against fourth seed David Ferrer of Spain.
Murray was down a set and 5-1 in the second set against No. 12 Marin Cilic of Croatia before winning a tiebreaker and going on to a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2, 6-0 victory in three hours.
Sharapova beat Marion Bartoli in three sets to return to the women’s semifinals for the first time since she won the tournament in 2006.
Sharapova, the No. 3 seed from Russia, beat Bartoli, the No. 11 seed from France, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Sharapova went to sleep last night trailing 4-0 in the first set to Bartoli after their match was suspended because of rain. After dropping that set she came back, extending her three-set record this year to 12-0.
“That rain break gave me a few hours to think about things,” Sharapova said in a courtside interview. “I came out so flat yesterday and she was on fire. She’s so tough, I’m so happy to get through this one. It’s been so long since I’ve been at this stage of the U.S. Open.”
Sharapova, 25, next will take on top seed Victoria Azarenka. The 23-year-old from Belarus, who knocked off defending champion Samantha Stosur of Australia yesterday, defeated Sharapova to win the Australian Open in January.
“She’s a tough one,” Sharapova said. “She beat me in Australia quite easily and I’d love to get my revenge at a Grand Slam.”
Errani Ends Drought
Sara Errani became the first Italian woman to reach the semifinals in 82 years when she beat her doubles partner, Roberta Vinci, in straight sets in a rain-delayed match.
Errani, 25, the No. 10 seed, won 6-2, 6-4 against the No. 20-seeded Vinci in a match that already had guaranteed the first Italian semifinalist at the Grand Slam event since Baroness Maude Giacomo Levi in 1930.
Errani next will play Williams, 30, of the U.S., a 6-1, 6-3 winner against Ana Ivanovic, 24, the 12th seed from Serbia.
Five-time champion Roger Federer concludes play tonight with a quarterfinal against No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Federer, the No. 1 seed from Switzerland, is looking to reach his ninth straight U.S. Open semifinal. The 31- year-old is playing his 34th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal.
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