Andy Roddick’s US Open came to a disappointing end Thursday night in the quarterfinals at the US Open when the former champion turned around a flat opening two sets but eventually fell 6-2, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) to world No. 3 Novak Djokovic.
Roddick didn’t give the US Open crowd anything to cheer about until a break to go up 3-1 in the third, eventually closing out the set 6-3. Roddick was slowly upping his level while the Serb failed to maintain his early intensity. In the fourth things stayed on serve until 3-3 when a series of striking Roddick backhands earned him the break. But serving at 5-4, Roddick threw in a couple nervous double faults to let the Serb back in the set. Play progressed to a tiebreak, where at 5-5 Roddick blinked first during a blistering rally with an ill-timed dropshot that fell into the net. Djokovic sealed the match on the next point with a service winner, progressing to a match-up with Roger Federer.
After the match in an on-court interview, Djokovic lambasted Roddick for joking that the Serb was suffering from 16 injuries, drawing boos from the US Open crowd.
“I’m really happy playing against Roddick on his court and his crowd and in his favorite city, is a huge effort,” Djokovic said. “Andy was saying I had 16 injuries in the last match, and obviously I don’t. That is not nice to say I have 16 injuries and I am faking it.”
Federer needed his best tennis in a tight 7-6(5), 6-4, 7-6(5) win over qualifier Gilles Muller of Luxembourg.
“It was tough today, especially to break against the wind,” Federer said. “It was almost impossible. He’s a big guy. He gets great angles and he’s got a lot of afety in his serve, especially the first serve. He does have great variety. So I always knew it was going to be hard to break against that, and it makes it frustrating in itself, knowing on that side you’re not going to have much of a chance. That’s why I was really happy coming through in the third set tiebreaker, because I had to serve to stay in the set against the wind and then start the breaker against the wind, which I knew was going to be really dangerous and tricky.”
Muller, who upset Roddick three years ago in Flushing Meadows, has since then been mired in the minor-league Challenger circuit due to confidence challenges bumping up against high expectations.
“I think I learned a lot,” Muller said. “What I learned is that I know how to deal with a lot of situations, which I couldn’t do before. I mean, for me, the most amazing thing is that this is the first time in my career I’m actually winning a lot of matches. Before I used to win one big match and lost the next one, because I lost focus and I was getting all fired up in my head because I won that match. But now I’m just staying calm…”
Friday in Flushing features the women’s semifinals in (5) Elena Dementieva vs. (2) Jelena Jankovic, and (6) Dinara Safina vs. (4) Serena Williams.
RAIN ON ME — From the USTA: “The current weather forecast for the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center calls for rain on Saturday, September 6th, during both Day Session #24 (Men’s Singles Semifinals) and Night Session #25 (Women’s Singles Final). In the event that inclement weather causes the USTA to reschedule Day Session #24 (Men’s Singles Semifinals), Night Session #25 (Women’s Singles Final) and/or Day Session #26 (Men’s Singles Final), tickets for each session will provide access to the same session at its rescheduled date and time. The USTA has several contingency plans in place depending on the time and duration of the inclement weather. Those plans will be implemented and communicated as the forecast develops throughout the day on Friday.” Can you say ‘Monday night prime-time final’? Make it happen USTA.
LET IT OUT ROG — Roger Federer says his more frequent outbursts during this US Open is just a chance to let it out with less pressure on his shoulders: “I’m in good spirits at the moment because the Olympic gold definitely helped to sort of, you know, not be more happy on court, but maybe more outgoing, because I’m always like this, especially in the practice, you know. So I guess for a while I put my head down in the matches and just tried to keep that unbelievable run I had going instead of trying to disturb myself with, you know, any sort of reactions really. Maybe it’s a time where I can show a little bit more and it comes out.”
WTA ON-COURT COACHING BACK AGAIN: The WTA Tour has approved on-court coaching for the 2009 season, leaving the men’s tour as the only “individual” tennis sport. Can they go to the bathroom for the players too? Argue line calls for them? They are already allowed to illegally coach them from the stands during the entire match, which is poorly policed. Chris Evert didn’t need her parents coming on court during changeovers, telling her to hit it to the girl’s backhand. Let the players figure it out, one-on-one.
MISC: Andy Roddick prior to facing the service ball-bouncing and extra time-taking Novak Djokovic: “He can do what he wants on his service games, and I’m going to do what I want on my service games. I think as long as we both respect that, then it’s fine. You wait a little longer when he serves, but you know that going in. I don’t have anywhere else to be, so it will be all right.”…U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe named his regular squad of Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers to face Spain in the Davis Cup semis on the weekend of Sept. 19…Martina Navratilova tells Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle she has a fantasy of playing a WTA event after she turns 60…USA Network, great 25 years of US Open coverage — ESPN will be hard-pressed to match that effort, John McEnroe’s mouth and Jim Courier’s mullet.
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