Roddick, Safina are ousted
NEW YORK - Andy Roddick’s US Open is over much sooner than he expected, while Dina Safina’s ended just as many anticipated.
Coming off a close-as-could-be loss in the Wimbledon final, Roddick came to Flushing Meadows with a rebuilt game and some serious self-belief. Running into strong-serving, 6-foot-9-inch John Isner in the third round proved to be too much to handle.
The 55th-ranked Isner smacked 38 aces to beat the No. 5-seeded Roddick, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6 (7-5) last night.
Safina, top-ranked on women’s side, suffered a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5) defeat at the hands of No. 72 Petra Kvitova.
Safina, who struggled to three-set victories in her first two matches, will keep the No. 1 ranking despite the third-round loss but will also remain without a major title. Her departure means the Williams sisters are the only women among the top five left in the field.
Isner reached the fourth round at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time. Roddick, in contrast, won the 2003 US Open and has been the runner-up at a major four times, most recently at the All England Club in July.
“It’s tough. I don’t know if I’ve come to a tournament with as much confidence - into a Slam - as I did with this tournament,’’ Roddick said.
His loss marked the first significant upset of Week 1 of the men’s tournament: The men seeded No. 1 through No. 16 were 38-0 before Roddick and Isner stepped on court.
Perhaps what bothered Roddick most was that he played quite well.
He broke Isner’s serve twice and was only broken once himself. His groundstrokes were clean, with only 20 unforced errors - 32 fewer than Isner. And then there was this: Roddick won 162 points, Isner 155.
But Isner came through in the tiebreakers.
“I mean, there’s a lot that’s out of your hands with the way he plays. I said it before: You can’t really teach 6-9, especially coming down on a serve,’’ Roddick said. “You try to fight it off as much as you can. Sometimes you can, and sometimes it’s completely out of your hands.’’
In an earlier match, Roger Federer defeated No. 31 Lleyton Hewitt, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4, to extend his winning streak to 37 matches at Flushing Meadows.
Also into the fourth round: No. 8 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 12 Robin Soderling and No. 14 Tommy Robredo. French Open runner-up Soderling beat No. 22 Sam Querrey, 6-2, 7-5, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1, and Robredo defeated No. 21 James Blake, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 6-4.