NEW YORK – Andy Roddick said no to retirement Friday night at the U.S. Open.
He said no when he whipped 13 aces past 19-year-old Australian Bernard Tomic. He said no with his willingness to chase down lobs, to rush the net, to manage his emotions and play quick-strike tennis.
Roddick, who turned 30 Thursday on the day he announced this tournament would be his last, extended his career by beating Tomic, 6-3, 6-4, 6-0, in the second round.
Up next for Roddick, who won his only Grand Slam tournament title here in 2003, is 59th-ranked Fabio Fognini of Italy, which seems to give Roddick a path into the second week of the Open.
Roddick said he felt emotional coming into Arthur Ashe Stadium, where he could see video boards running a television tribute to him.
“It felt weird before the match,” he said. “Twenty minutes before it was kind of getting the best of me. I kind of had to get my stuff together before I walked out there.”
After Roddick won the first two sets, Tomic seemed to give up. He hung his head and his feet seemed anchored in mud. Roddick gave so much effort, though. Sweat dripped off the bill of his cap and fell onto his shoes, which were red, white and blue with stars and stripes and everything All-American that was imaginable.
“I’m going to try and stick around a little longer,” Roddick said.
Television commentator John McEnroe had suggested during the ESPN broadcast that Tomic gave up in the third set. “He’s probably right,” Tomic said. “I couldn’t get the racket on the ball.”
Earlier in the day another teenager put her stamp on the women’s draw. Laura Robson hardly could be more different than the outgoing, always confident Roddick. The 18-year-old Briton lowers her head before she speaks. She tiptoes into an interview room as if she is an intruder and not the star.
But on a tennis court Robson asserts herself. She did that again Friday, taking out a higher-seeded former major winner for the second consecutive match.
First she defeated popular three-time Open champion Kim Clijsters. Then on Friday, in the third round, Robson was aggressive and not intimidated with her tennis in a 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-2 upset of ninth-seeded Li Na, who last year became the first Chinese woman to win a Grand Slam event when she triumphed at the French Open.