Andy Roddick tossed his rackets — one, two, three, four — over his shoulder and into the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night.
Those rackets became unnecessary because the ninth-seeded Roddick was unaggressive with his tennis but not with his emotions and he left the U.S. Open as a second-round upset loser to 44th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Tipsarevic, a 26-year-old Serbian, is into the third round of the Open for the first time. Roddick won the tournament in 2003, but he seemed the one who was unfamiliar with the occasion of a rowdy night match.
Roddick paced the baseline, twitching and angry after a third-set foot-fault call that came in the eighth game with Roddick trailing, 5-2.
While the call, made by a lineswoman and that replays showed was correct, caused Roddick to stalk the back of the court muttering to himself and shouting at chair umpire Enric Molina, it didn’t change what was happening.
Roddick was being cautious and Tipsarevic, whose arm is covered with tattoos, was brave with his strategy, playing passing shots at just the right time, and calm in his demeanor.
And at the end of the 3-hour 18-minute match, Tipsarevic had hit 66 winners to 40 by Roddick and restrained his feelings one last time. When Roddick praised Tipsarevic on the court, Tipsarevic said he wanted to give Roddick a big hug.
“It was an emotional thing. But then it probably wouldn’t be good,” Tipsarevic said. “I think he’s a very nice guy. … I mean, against an underdog on your stadium in front of your home crowd just saying nice words after being disappointed and losing, that brings up a big champion in him.”
Roddick said the foot-fault call had “zero impact” on the match. What angered Roddick, he said, was that the lineswoman kept pointing at his right foot as the offender. That was wrong.
“I just expect my umpire to know the left foot from the right foot. Then I let it marinate,” Roddick said. “In the moment, I was just stupefied.”
In the moments after the call, as Roddick ranted, the crowd murmured almost as if in fear.
A year ago, in a women’s semifinal, Serena Williams was called for a foot fault, a call that so angered Williams that she threatened to shove a racket down the throat of a lineswoman. Williams received a warning and then a point penalty that resulted in her losing the match to eventual champion Kim Clijsters.
The Roddick upset capped a day that had been characterized more by crazy weather than unruly tennis.
Stifling heat brought temperatures to over 100 degrees. Swirling winds compounded the difficulties.
Third-seeded Venus Williams was befuddled less by the heat than by the kicky breeze that is becoming more troublesome as Hurricane Earl creeps up the East Coast.
During Williams’ 7-6 (3), 6-3 win over Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino, there was no quiet during points because of the clanging from a large American flag whipping against a metal pole and the clattering from blowing empty plastic bottles.
“Not as easy to get a rhythm today … it was really windy,” said Williams, who didn’t need to explain any further what everyone could see.
Even the unflappable Clijsters sprayed 15 unforced errors during the first set of her 6-2, 6-1 win over Australian qualifier Sally Peers.
Early in the day it seemed as if heat might have brought danger. Tenth-seeded Victoria Azarenka collapsed after hitting a shot against Gisela Dulko. She was quickly covered in wet towels and ice bags and wheeled off the court and taken to a hospital.
It wasn’t the heat, though. Azarenka said later that she had fallen while doing a warm-up run before the match, landed on her shoulder and head and ended up with a slight concussion.
Stat of the day
With her second-round loss to Alona Bondarenko, Melanie Oudin’s computer ranking will fall out of the top 70 and she will lose the distinction of being the top-ranked American not named Williams. That will now be Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Upset of the day
Technically, that would be seventh-seeded Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych exiting a 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4 loser to stylish French shotmaker Michael Llodra. But more notable for Americans might be the win by 18-year-old qualifier Ryan Harrison over 15th-seeded Ivan Ljubicic.
Quote of the day
Sam Querrey, after hitting a volley that hit a very private area of opponent Bradley Klahn, a fellow Southern Californian: “I got a little confused where I was going to hit it. I kind of went at him. I didn’t mean to hit it there. I felt bad because he’s my buddy.”.
Thursday’s featured matches
Beginning at 10 a.m. PDT on Arthur Ashe Stadium, seventh-seeded Wimbledon finalist Vera Zvonareva against Sabine Lisicki of Germany followed by top-seeded 2009 Open runner-up Caroline Wozniacki against Kai-Chen Chang and second-seeded Roger Federer versus Andreas Beck. The Ashe night session begins with 14th-seeded Maria Sharapova against Iveta Benesova and finishes with third-seeded Novak Djokovic and Phillipp Petzschner.