Roddick gracious despite early exit

By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 3, 2010; D3

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. - One of the most touching scenes of the U.S. Open to date occurred at about midnight Wednesday, well after many viewers had turned off their TVs.

It was the brief post-match exchange between Andy Roddick and Janko Tipsarevic at the net following the Serbian's 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) upset of the American.

The second-round loss, coming on the heels of Roddick's third-round ouster at last year's U.S. Open, was particularly disappointing given the effort Roddick had made in hopes of making a deep run in the tournament he won in 2003. He bowed out of Davis Cup to make the hard-court season a priority. And he had worked himself into peak hard-court form in the spring, only to develop a mild case of mononucleosis that wasn't diagnosed until early August.

Then, in the U.S. Open's second round, he drew Tipsarevic, with whom he had split two previous meetings and a formidable competitor, despite his modest size, who plays a high-risk game.

On this night, Tipsarevic was clearly the superior player, and Roddick had no trouble conceding the stark truth in his post-match interview and at the net afterward.

"I just said, 'Too good!' " Roddick recounted. "You know, he's a pretty good guy. I just said, 'The last time you beat me in a Grand Slam second-round, you lost the [next] match. So don't do that!' "

Tipsarevic, touched by the generosity of the comment - particularly after such a loss in Roddick's favorite tournament - said afterward that he had an impulse to hug him.

"But then it probably wouldn't be so good," he explained. So he bopped him in the chest with his forehead.

"I think he's a very nice guy," Tipsarevic said. "To say those nice things after probably being really, really disappointed - it was like an emotional thing. . . . That just brings up a big champion in him."

On Thursday, Roddick's high-school buddy, 19th-seeded Mardy Fish, rolled on to the third round with a 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 win over Argentine clay-court specialist Pablo Cuevas.

"This is his favorite tournament," Fish said of Roddick. "You are sort of bummed out for a friend. And you know how badly - how much he puts into all the weeks that he plays. He has certainly had a spectacular career, so there's nothing to dwell on by any means. He'll be back."

Also Thursday, top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki needed just 47 minutes to dismiss Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei, 6-0, 6-0. Third-seeded Novak Djokovic handled Germany's Philipp Petzschner, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). American James Blake turned back Canada's Peter Polansky, 6-7 (7-1), 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

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