Andy Roddick extended his career at least one more match, and set up a Tuesday night blockbuster against fellow former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, by defeating Italy�s Fabio Fognini 7-5, 7-6(1), 4-6, 6-4 on Sunday at the US Open to move into the round of 16.
“I’m new at this,” said Roddick on competing each round in what might be the last match of his pro career after announcing his retirement at the end of the US Open. “I don’t have a lot of questions for how, why and when right now. I was just trying to play point for point. I’m trying to keep my emotions together, all the while trying to appreciate this tournament.”
Roddick next meets the giant Argentine, who did not look especially sharp in a 6-3, 7-5, 7-6(9) win over countryman Leo Mayer.
Del Potro said business is business, and he won’t hesitate to literally end Roddick’s career on Tuesday night.
“I know this is special, this day, for him, but I’m doing my job,” said del Potro, who is 3-1 career against Roddick, but lost their most recent meeting. “I will try to be focused on my match and doing my things, my shots. The match is going to be very tough. But, anyway, if I play in high level, will be tough for both players. The crowd loves Andy here and they have respect me, so it will be a fantastic show to the players and to the fans also.”
No. 4 seed David Ferrer, constantly under the radar but seemingly constantly reaching the latter rounds of Slams, advanced Sunday with a grinding 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 win over Lleyton Hewitt, eventually wearing down the former No. 1.
“The first set was the key,” Ferrer said. “When I won the first set, almost one hour and a half, it was very tough. In the second, he won the second set, but I think he was more tired than me. So in the third and in the fourth I played with more power.”
World No. 2 Novak Djokovic conserved energy with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Julien Benneteau, setting up a meeting with Swiss Stan Wawrinka, who likewise eased past Alexandr Dolgopolov.
“I felt from the start that from the baseline, I was very comfortable, defense, offense, in that position,” Djokovic said. “So I tried to be aggressive and not allow him to come to the net because he plays good when he’s in control…I wanted to get more free points on the first serve and today it was working well.”
Also into the fourth round on Sunday in straight sets was No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic over Slovakian qualifier Grega Zemlja.
The late match on Sunday night, not beginning until around 11 p.m. due to rain, was No. 9 John Isner vs. No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber.
In men’s fourth-round play on Monday will be a bonanza with (1) Roger Federer vs. (23) Mardy Fish, (3) Andy Murray vs. (15) Milos Raonic, (6) Tomas Berdych vs. (11) Nicolas Almagro, and (12) Marin Cilic vs. unseeded Slovak Martin Klizan.
Only four matches on Sunday for the women, with straight-set victories for top-seeded Victoria Azarenka who rolled over Georgian Anna Tatishvili 6-2, 6-2, and No. 7 and defending champ Sam Stosur who stopped the run of Laura Robson 6-4, 6-4.
“At the beginning of the year, I really believed in myself and had so much passion on the court and I think I’ve found that same belief in this tournament,” said Azarenka. “The pressure is there as the top seed, but I’m just focusing on myself and hope to keep this form for the rest of the way.”
In the final night match, Maria Sharapova was made to work past fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
“The beginning of the third was tough and I was quite sloppy,” said Sharapova, who immediately went down a break in the third. “I’ve got to keep fighting, and that’s what I did.”
Sharapova will next meet Marion Bartoli, who recovered from a sloppy first set to dominate No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova by the end of the match 1-6, 6-2, 6-0.
In women’s fourth-round play on Monday will be (12) Ana Ivanovic vs. unseeded Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova, (4) Serena Williams vs. unseeded Czech Andrea Hlavackova (6) Angelique Kerber vs. (10) Sara Errani, and (2) Aggie Radwanska vs. (20) Roberta Vinci.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
BOYCOTT THAT! (No Women Allowed) — Apparently a men’s boycott of the 2013 Australian Open is not off the table. ATP Players’ Council representative Eric Butorac told TENNIS.com that players would not decide what action to take until they see how much the Australian Open increases prize money for the 2013 event. “We don’t want to boycott Australia because its one of the most player friendly tournaments. But we think that in men’s tennis we put on a pretty good show and we should be compensated fairly.” Matt Cronin for TENNIS.com then reported that WTA player Bethanie Mattek-Sands said the WTA Players’ Council was pissed that the ATP Players’ Council did not consult them about a possible boycott — because, uh, historically the ATP has had so much respect for the WTA that they consult them on things? “This is the first we heard of it,” Mattek-Sands said. So, the ATP Players’ Councils’ Segiy Stakhovsky and Gilles Simon are ripping you guys (sorry, girls) that you don’t deserve equal prize money, and you’re expecting your phone to ring in consultation about a boycott? Stakhovsky said in a recent interview that the men don’t want dual-gender events, and that in the future the men’s council would work to separate joint events, but Mattek-Sands says, “I think everyone would agree the best tournaments are the combined events.” Except, we guess, the entire men’s tour. “We’d love to sit down and talk to them,” Mattek-Sands says, like the girl who won’t take no for an answer. “It’s tough when it’s in the media and they aren’t even giving us a chance to say whether we agree with you.” That’s because the men are HAMMERING you guys in the media. “It won’t look good if they are the only ones [boycotting],” Mattek-Sands said. Sigh. Girl, in their minds they are the only ones, to them you’re just the other tour that’s making too much money. Mattek-Sands is part of the new WTA Player Council including Serena Williams, Sam Stosur, Francesca Schiavone, Caroline Wozniacki, Lucie Safarova, Andrea Hlavackova, and Akgul Amanmuradova. Mattek-Sands admitted the WTA Players’ Council met during the US Open, didn’t discuss the possible boycott at all, and wouldn’t be able to do anything about it anyway. “It’s a tough one for us because out season is ending pretty soon,” she said. Pretty much at the same time as the men’s season? “It’s too quick for the women to do something, even if we agree with what the [men] are doing, it puts everything in awkward position. Whether they want to be on one side or another, what I’m disappointed about is we haven’t been included in any conversation and they haven’t told us one way or another.” Hey, the men’s tour just called, they said they’ll let you know how it went after the boycott.
COLLEGIANS MAKE THEIR MARK — Now how important does it look that the U.S. tennis powers banded together to stop the dumb-ass NCAA from converting college tennis to third-set superbreakers? The success of U.S. college players on both the men’s and women’s sides at the US Open is validating the U.S. college system (even though it should officially be called the international college system, since more of the Division I starters are internationals than U.S. players) as a fine proving ground and development system for kids who aren’t ready to make the jump to the pro ranks directly from 18-and-under junior play. NCAA champion Steve Johnson beating Ernests Gulbis? Mallory Burdette? Nice efforts all. After the US Open, U.S. development head Patrick McEnroe needs to meet with the NCAA and get them on the same page.
Since Arthur Ashe won the US Open in 1968, the first year of the Open Era in professional tennis, there has never been a year when the U.S. has not had an active male player that had not won a Grand Slam title. That streak will end when Andy Roddick loses at this year’s US Open. Are we wrong?…Aussie non-competitor Bernard Tomic on ESPN commentator John McEnroe accusing him of tanking in the third set against Andy Roddick: “I think he’s probably right. Third set he managed to get off to a 3-0 lead in seconds. All I could see was 3-0 down all of a sudden in the third set. I don’t think I was responding with my legs the way I should have.” — Or your brain? Zing!…As one of the Tennis-X posters postulated, Bernard Tomic now Australia’s answer to the U.S.’s Donald Young?…Alright, Jack Sock seems to have fixed the overly-spinny forehand he was hitting pre-US Open this summer, impressive display against Nicolas Almagro…Laura Robson lost 1st rd. this year at the Aussie Open, French and Wimbledon…Now that the Williams sisters are rolling with Olympic medals and Slam titles against, near the top of their games, at least in the mind of the U.S. public, wouldn’t it be a public relations coup if they “forgave” the Indian Wells event and played in 2013?…Delving into whether Maria Sharapova dumped her fiance or the other way around, we found out — that we don’t give a shit…American Mallory Burdette has reportedly recovered after a stomach virus that had her throwing up the night before her match with Maria Sharapova…The Harrison brothers beat Erlich/Ram, and Hutchins/Fleming to reach the quarters? Damn, they may be for real, eventual Bryan brothers Davis Cup replacements?…Defending women’s doubles champs Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond were beaten on Sunday…Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will drop out of the Top 10 after the US Open…What is Tennis Channel commentator Martina Navratilova’s problem with being caught yacking when the they come back from commercial? Happens a couple times a day…ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez teared-up on air talking about Andy Roddick’s retirement: “I’m still choked about it. I didn’t see it coming this quickly. I mean, it’s hard, two of my favorite champions [Kim Clijsters] going out. So it’s hard to process. I’m a baby like Doug [Spreen, Roddick’s trainer, who was called out by Roddick in the press conference for crying]. His dreams came true, he became No. 1, he won the Davis Cup, he won the US Open. I’m going to miss him.” Subsequently Chris Chase, the horrible Yahoo! tennis blogger who for some reason is now being run by USA Today, wrote: “But her reaction to Andy Roddick’s surprise retirement was especially, and hilariously, conflicted. The ESPN analyst started tearing up when she discussed Roddick’s retirement on Thursday afternoon. Tomorrow at the U.S. Open, Mary Joe’s resolve will be tested when a pre-match ceremony will reunite a three-legged puppy veteran with his family.” — What a dick…Andy Roddick on how he and Lleyton Hewitt went from enemies to best bro-hams: “He’s probably the best competitor I played against. It’s weird. This year we’ve probably become friends. At first we probably didn’t like each other much, and then it came to the point where we respected each other. Then it was slowly like we kind of each give a little ground and say `How you doing? I’m good. How are you? OK.’ Now we’ll text each other back and forth after matches and stuff. It’s funny, the cycle we were talking about earlier, how that’s come full circle.”
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