Roddick ends US run
Federer ties major mark: 27 straight quarterfinals
MELBOURNE — Andy Roddick didn’t like being the fall guy again. The facts, however, were unmistakable: All the Americans were gone from the Australian Open.
Roddick lost to 19th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka on a cool night at Melbourne Park yesterday. Roddick saw 24 aces whip past him, barely got a look at a break-point chance, and didn’t get his own big serve firing in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 fourth-round defeat.
Roddick, seeded eighth, had been the last American man standing in the singles field. The women were out before the third round ended. Venus Williams lasted seven points before she hobbled off with an ailing hip.
“Obviously I’m not going to sit here and . . .’’ Roddick began, then switched gears, saying the stories were already written and it didn’t really matter what he said. “Obviously wasn’t the showing that we wanted, you know, but I’m doing what I can.’’
Roddick’s ouster yesterday came on a day when Roger Federer equaled Jimmy Connors’s Open era mark by reaching his 27th straight quarterfinal at a major, and Francesca Schiavone won the longest women’s match in Grand Slam history — a 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova that took 4 hours, 44 minutes.
Andy Murray eliminated Jurgen Melzer in straight sets for the second straight year, winning, 6-3, 6-1, 6-1, today in the fourth round. The 2010 finalist closed the performance with an ace and next plays Alexandr Dolgopolov, who upset French Open finalist Robin Soderling, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2. The fourth-seeded Soderling won the lead-up tournament at Brisbane without losing a set, and hadn’t conceded a set at Melbourne Park before he met the 22-year-old Ukrainian, who has reached the quarterfinals in his first trip to the Australian Open.
Dolgopolov’s cross-court backhand to bring up his first match point was typical of the 50 winners he hit against a stunned Soderling, the highest of the seeded players knocked out of the men’s draw.
Vera Zvonareva continued her roll toward a third consecutive Grand Slam final with a 6-4, 6-1 win today over Iveta Benesova. Zvonareva, the No. 2 seed who lost the Wimbledon final to Serena Williams and the US Open final to Kim Clijsters last year, moved into a quarterfinal match against No. 25 Petra Kvitova, who rallied to beat No. 22 Flavia Pennetta, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
In the men’s draw yesterday, No. 3 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Tomas Berdych also won in the fourth round. Among the women, No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and No. 9 Li Na advanced, while No. 14 Maria Sharapova lost to No. 30 Andrea Petkovic.
Since Roddick’s 2003 US Open victory, no American man has won a major. Venus and sister Serena Williams have won 10 majors between them in the interim, and 20 between them overall. Serena was the 2010 champion in Australia, but couldn’t defend her title because of a foot injury.
Wawrinka advanced to the first all-Swiss quarterfinal at a major in the Open era, where he’ll run into Federer, the defending champion. Federer beat Tommy Robredo, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. Connors’s mark came between 1973 and 1983 — although he didn’t play every major because he was hurt or didn’t travel to Australia.
Schiavone, the French Open champion, saved six match points, then converted on her third match point in the longest women’s match at a major in terms of time in the Open era. The longest previous record was set in Australia last year when Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova beat Regina Kulikova, 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (8-10), 6-3, in 4:19.
Said a spent Schiavone: “At the end, you have something more, always.’’
The 30-year-old Italian will next meet Wozniacki, who reached the quarterfinals in Australia for the first time with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Anastasija Sevastova. She then caused a bit of stir at her news conference with a tale about being scratched by a kangaroo. She later returned to Melbourne Park to clarify she’d made up the story and to apologize, saying she didn’t think anyone would believe it.
Petkovic topped Sharapova, the 2008 champion, 6-2, 6-3. She will next play Li, the 2010 semifinalist who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 decision over No. 8 Victoria Azarenka.
Clijsters, now the favorite among many to take the title, plays her fourth-round match today against Ekaterina Makarova.
Rafael Nadal’s bid for a Rafa Slam — to hold all four majors at once — is back on the line today against No. 15 Marin Cilic.