Photo: Paul ZimmerAndy Roddick (USA)
Andy Roddick’s outstanding career came to an end on Wednesday as he lost in four sets, 67(1) 76(4) 62 64, to Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round of this year’s US Open. Roddick announced that he would be retiring after this year’s championships last Thursday, his 30th birthday.
It was fitting that he would retire at the scene of his greatest triumph; he won the US Open in 2003, and it was no surprise that he played his final match on Arthur Ashe Stadium, in front of thousands of home fans all cheering him on and willing him to end his career with a victory.
The match, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday night but was forced to be rearranged due to the weather, resumed on Wednesday with Roddick 1-0 up in the first set tiebreak. He breezed through the rest of the tiebreak taking it 7-1 for a one-set lead. The second set also went to a tiebreak but that was won by the Argentinean 7-4, and from that moment on, del Potro was not going to be stopped. He comfortably won the third set and was 5-3 up in the fourth with Roddick serving.
Roddick was faced with a break point which would have ended the match but held his nerve and put his faith in his serve, which has very rarely let him down over the years, and held that game forcing del Potro to serve for the match, an opportunity the seventh seed took.
Roddick acknowledged that the last few games were tough, “Playing the last five games was pretty hard. Once I got down a break I could barely look at my box. I don't know what the emotions are. I'm a little overwhelmed right now”, and thanked the fans during his on-court interview “I love you guys with all my heart. Hopefully I'll come back to this place someday and see you all again.”
Del Potro was quick to praise his opponent, “I would like to congratulate him because he made an unbelievable career”, and will go on to face Novak Djokovic for a place in the semifinals.
Djokovic’s win was more straightforward as Stanislas Wawrinka retired after Djokovic took the first two sets 64 61 and was leading 3-1 in the third. Janko Tipsarevic is also through to the quarterfinals where he will face David Ferrer. Tipsarevic beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 63 76(5) 62.
The shock of the day, however, came in the first quarterfinal of the day when Tomas Berdych beat world No. 1 Roger Federer in four sets 76(1) 64 36 63, Federer’s first loss in a US Open quarterfinal.
Berdych, the sixth seed, was in unstoppable form as he hit winner after winner, 30 in total, as well as sending down 14 aces. The pressure that came from the Czech’s near-perfect hitting told as the Federer forehand, normally so reliable, faltered and he made an uncharacteristically high number of unforced errors, 40 in all, almost twice the number of his opponent.
Federer was disappointed with his level of performance, “I've got to go back to the drawing board and see what's really a priority. I'm disappointed. I really expected myself to play better.” Berdych, however, was delighted, “I really enjoyed it. The crowd were great and I'm really looking forward to the next one.”
That next one will be against Andy Murray after the British No. 1 made a dramatic comeback in his quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.
Cilic, the twelfth seed, raced into an early lead taking the first set 6-3 and leading 5-1 in the second set and Murray looked as though he would be heading out of the tournament, but the world No. 4 picked his game up and forced the second set into a tiebreak, which he then won 7-4, levelling the match at one set all. Cilic was clearly rocked by Murray’s comeback and it was one-sided from that point on as Murray took the final two sets and completed his 36 76(4) 62 60 victory.
The rest of the women’s line-up for the semifinals was also decided last night. Maria Sharapova rallied after being 4-0 down in the first set against Marion Bartoli, when rain stopped play on Tuesday night, to win in three sets 36 63 64. This is Sharapova’s first semifinal at the US Open since she won the championships in 2006. She will face world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinal.
Serena Williams, the reigning Wimbledon champion and a three-time US Open champion, eased through her quarterfinal with Ana Ivanovic winning 61 63. Williams, who lost in the final to Samantha Stosur last year, has been in tremendous form so far in this year’s championships, only dropping 16 games and hitting 41 aces, more than anyone else in the tournament.
Sara Errani will be Williams’ opponent in the semifinal after she beat fellow Italian and doubles partner Roberta Vinci 62 64. This was Errani’s third quarterfinal at a major this year whereas it was Vinci’s debut quarterfinal appearance. She said about playing her doubles partner "It's always hard to play against a friend and it was strange seeing her on the other side of the net".
The Italian pair will be in action, on the same side of the net this time, on Thursday as they play in the women’s doubles semifinal. They are bidding for their eighth doubles title this year and their second Grand Slam doubles title having won the French Open.
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