WIMBLEDON, England — Andy Roddick’s mood was subdued, his words curt.
Once again, he’s leaving Wimbledon without the champion’s trophy. Only this time, Roddick heads home much earlier than a year ago — and after being beaten by a far-less-accomplished opponent.
The No. 5-seeded American erased an early deficit to even his fourth-round match against 82nd-ranked Yen-hsu Lu of Taiwan, then got broken for the only time all day in the very last game and lost 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 6-7 (5), 9-7 despite hitting 38 aces Monday.
“It never gets easier,” said Roddick, a three-time runner-up at Wimbledon. “Of course I’m going to be (ticked) off when I wake up tomorrow. I mean, if you got fired from your job, you probably wouldn’t wake up the next day in a great mood.”
This one sure looked like a mismatch going in, and not only because Roddick won all three previous meetings in straight sets.
Roddick, after all, is a former No. 1 who won the 2003 U.S. Open and played in four other major finals, losing each to Roger Federer, including 16-14 in the fifth set at the All England Club in 2009.
And Lu? The guy arrived last week with a 6-18 career record in majors, including five consecutive first-round exits. He also lost in Wimbledon’s first round the past four years. So even he had doubts as the match stretched beyond 41/2 hours.
“Fifth set, I don’t believe I can win, because he’s (a) better server than me,” Lu said. “But I just tell myself, ‘Even (if) I don’t believe, I have to fight.”’
Lu’s coach, Dirk Hordorff said: “Sometimes he’s mentally not strong enough. But today he showed he was strong enough.”
“Through three sets I was playing horrendously, I mean really, really badly,” Roddick said. “I was trying to think of how to put balls in the court. I think the fifth set was probably the best set that I played … but when you dig yourself a hole, it’s tough to get out.”
The second Monday at Wimbledon is one of the great spectacles in tennis, with all 32 remaining men and women in action, and there was quite an array of stars spread around the grounds. With the temperature moving into the 80s, and a cloudless sky, past Wimbledon champions Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters all played — and won in straight sets.
“A wonderful day for the fans,” said Federer, who beat No. 16 Jurgen Melzer.
Serena Williams pounded 19 aces in her 7-6 (9), 6-4 victory over 2004 champion Maria Sharapova.
In a matchup between former No. 1s and Grand Slam champions from Belgium who recently came out of retirement, No. 8 Kim Clijsters beat No. 17 Justine Henin 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 winner at the All England Club, lost to 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, while two-time major finalist Andy Murray — Britain’s hope for its first homegrown male champion since 1936 — defeated No. 18 Sam Querrey of Santa Monica, Calif., 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 and is the only man yet to drop a set.
The 62nd-ranked Petra Kvitova knocked off No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, last year’s U.S. Open runner-up, 6-2, 6-0; while No. 82 Tsvetana Pironkova eliminated No. 11 Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, 6-4, 6-4.
The men’s quarterfinal matchups Wednesday will be top-seeded Federer vs. No. 12 Tomas Berdych; No. 2 Nadal vs. No. 6 Robin Soderling in a rematch of this month’s French Open final; No. 3 Djokovic vs. Lu; and No. 4 Murray vs. No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Nadal, the 2008 champion who was forced to five sets the previous two rounds, breezed past Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Soderling edged No. 9 David Ferrer 6-2, 5-7, 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 to make the Wimbledon quarterfinals for the first time.
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