Andy Roddick puts on a show while soaking up every moment along the way. So when he pounded a forehand passing shot to seize a 20-stroke point Sunday, Roddick thrust both arms overhead, motioning to the full house of U.S. Open spectators to make even more noise. Moments later, after hitting a winning volley, Roddick wagged his right index finger while chugging back to the baseline. Channeling his inner Jimmy Connors, Roddick is having a grand ol’ time at his retirement party – and he’s not done yet.
Winning a second consecutive match since announcing the U.S. Open will be the last tournament of his career, 2003 champion Roddick stuck around at least a little longer by getting past 59th-ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 in the third round Sunday. ”I’d be an idiot not to use the crowd right now. It’s a huge advantage,” Roddick said. ”Each match is almost like it’s another memory.”
What comes next could really be memorable. In the fourth round Tuesday, the last American man to win a Grand Slam title will face 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Leonardo Mayer 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (9) in an all-Argentine match that featured one particularly noteworthy point.
In the tiebreaker, Mayer smacked a backhand that somehow ricocheted off the top of a net post and landed in the court – but del Potro was unfazed, got the ball back and wound up winning the point. ”I’m going to have to serve well, kind of try to rush him a little bit,” Roddick said about del Potro. ”When he gets into a groove and has time, he’ll put a hurt on the ball.”
Looking ahead himself, del Potro wasn’t about to get too sentimental about Roddick’s impending departure from tennis. ”I know this is special, this day, for him, but I’m doing my job,” said the seventh-seeded del Potro, whose major trophy is the only of the past 30 that wasn’t won by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic. ”The crowd loves Andy here,” del Potro said, ”and they have respect (for) me.”