Andy Roddick found it infuriating that a lineswoman who called him for a foot fault was wrong about which of his shoes touched the line.
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The 2003 U.S. Open champion had much bigger problems Wednesday night at Flushing Meadows, though, and bowed out in the second round with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to 44th-ranked Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia, whose go-for-broke style paid off with 66 winners.
It was Roddick’s earliest loss in New York since a first-round exit in 2005.
”He played very high-risk and executed for four sets,” said the ninth-seeded Roddick, whose exit leaves Roger Federer as the only past champion in the men’s field. ”I kept telling myself, ‘You know, this has to have an expiration date on it.’ Unfortunately, I needed another set for that.”
Already trailing 5-2 in the third, Roddick wound up in an argument over a foot-fault call on a first serve. He turned to the official and asked, ”What foot?”
When she told him it was his right foot, he replied, ”That’s impossible.” Roddick then turned to chair umpire Enric Molina and, pointing first to his right foot, then his left, asked, ”Has THIS foot gone in front of THAT foot ever in my career?”
Molina replied: ”Not in my matches.”
A TV replay showed Roddick did commit a foot fault — but with his left toes. And what really bothered Roddick, he said afterward, was that the official would not acknowledge that she was mistaken when she blamed his right foot for the ruling.
”I was just stupefied,” he said.
Indeed, asked later what might have happened if the lineswoman said the call was made because his left sneaker was on the baseline, he replied: ”There would have been no discussion.”
But Roddick did berate the lineswoman — although without the threatening or colorful language that Serena Williams used when she launched a tirade at a line judge over a foot call at the end of her semifinal loss to Kim Clijsters in last year’s semifinals.
”Not once in my entire career does my right foot go in front of my left foot,” Roddick said. ”Not once. Ever.”
He missed his second serve for a double-fault, then continued to harangue the official, at one point jokingly making a reference to ”1-800-Rent-a-Ref.”
”In hindsight, did I let it go too far?” Roddick said at his news conference, repeating a reporter’s question. ”Probably.”
All in all, however, Roddick said the whole episode ”had zero impact on the match.”
No, it was Tipsarevic who determined the outcome with his terrific play. This is a guy who has a losing record in Grand Slam matches (23-26) and overall (130-133) yet is now 2-1 against Roddick, having beaten the American in the second round at Wimbledon in 2008, too.
Roddick carried out the game plan he wanted to Wednesday, limiting his own mistakes and keeping Tipsarevic on the move. But Tipsarevic served well, hitting 16 aces — only one fewer than the hard-hitting Roddick — and saved three of five break points he faced.
Plus, Tipsarevic repeatedly won lengthy rallies and found angles to rip down-the-line and cross-court winners.
”I didn’t feel I played too risky,” Tipsarevic said. ”I was just playing good.”
He never before had reached the third round at the U.S. Open, and now will play No. 17 Gael Monfils.
Roddick won his only Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows, and he also was the runner-up in 2006. This early exit follows a fourth-round loss for Roddick at Wimbledon and some poor results on the summer hard-court circuit, usually his best time of year. He revealed recently that he had a mild case of mononucleosis and said he did not come to New York feeling 100 percent ready.
Roddick was joined on the sideline by two other seeded men, thanks to 18-year-old American qualifier Ryan Harrison’s 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 15 Ivan Ljubicic, and Michael Llodra’s 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-4 upset of Wimbledon runner-up and No. 7-seeded Tomas Berdych.
Harrison, who is based in Bradenton, Fla., is the first U.S. male teen to beat a top-20 opponent at any Grand Slam tournament since a 19-year-old Roddick knocked off No. 11 Alex Corretja at the 2001 U.S. Open.
You don’t have to go nearly as far back to find a female teen from the United States who pulled off that sort of upset, of course: Melanie Oudin of Marietta, Ga., was 17 a year ago when she reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals by beating two top-20 players.
Oudin’s 2010 stay in New York was shorter: She lost in the second round Wednesday to No. 29 Alona Bondarenko 6-2, 7-5.
”Definitely disappointing,” Oudin said. ”I still have, hopefully, like, 10 more years in my career, hopefully 10 more U.S. Opens ahead of me. So I’ll definitely be looking forward again to next year.”
Among the seeded women bowing out was No. 21 Zheng Jie, overwhelmed 6-3, 6-0 by 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic, who used to be ranked No. 1 but has tumbled to No. 40.
No. 13 Marion Bartoli, No. 28 Alisa Kleybanova and No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova also lost. Pironkova was ranked only 82nd in June, when she shocked Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, and they could have met in the third round in New York. But Pironkova bowed out in straight sets against qualifier Mandy Minella of Luxembourg, who gets to face Williams instead.
Williams, who counts the 2000 and 2001 U.S. Opens among her seven Grand Slam titles, struggled for a bit against 193rd-ranked qualifier Rebecca Marino of Canada before pulling out a 7-6 (3), 6-3 win.
Marino actually led 3-1 in the tiebreaker, before Williams took the next six straight points to steal the opening set.
”She started returning better, serving bombs. I think she definitely upped her level,” Marino said. ”I did notice at one point that she started to grunt pretty loudly. And it’s like, ‘Whoa, she’s getting serious here.”’
Winners included No. 4-seeded Andy Murray, the 2008 runner-up, who said he wore a hat during a match for the first time in four or five years because of the heat; No. 12 Mikhail Youzhny; No. 14 Nicolas Almagro; No. 18 John Isner, best known for his all-sorts-of-records-smashing Wimbledon marathon victory that ended 70-68 in the fifth set; and No. 20 Sam Querrey, who beat NCAA singles champion Bradley Klahn of Stanford 6-3, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in an all-American matchup.
At night, defending champion Kim Clijsters reached the third round by beating 201st-ranked qualifier Sally Peers of Australia 6-2, 6-1, before Roddick and Tipsarevic followed them into Arthur Ashe Stadium for a match that finished right around midnight.