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Adoring fans give Roddick rousing adieu

Andy Roddick salutes fans after his fourth-round loss. (Associated Press)
Andy Roddick salutes fans after his fourth-round loss. (Associated Press)

Tennis: More than an hour after hitting one last shot as a professional tennis player, then delivering one last, voice-wavering speech to an adoring U.S. Open audience, Andy Roddick exited the locker room one last time.

Accompanied by his wife and other family members, a black baseball cap tugged low over his eyes, Roddick slung a racket bag off his aching right shoulder – the one responsible for so many high-speed aces, violent forehands and the most recent Grand Slam title by an American man – and tossed the equipment in the back of a waiting van.

Won’t need that any longer.

Serenaded by choruses of “Let’s go, Andy!” that rang through New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium in the closing moments of his career, the 2003 U.S. Open champion headed into retirement with a 6-7 (1), 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 loss to 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows on Wednesday.

“If we do badly, then it costs us something; if we do well, we get great things. This was about something bigger. It wasn’t about ranking points or paychecks or anything else,” Roddick said. “This week I felt like I was 12 years old, playing in a park. It was extremely innocent. That was fun. I enjoyed it.”

His defeat was significant, if not as unexpected as top-seeded Roger Federer’s 7-6 (1), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 quarterfinal loss was several hours later against No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Federer won five of his record 17 Grand Slam championships at the U.S. Open and was bidding to reach the semifinals in New York for the ninth consecutive year.

But Federer’s famous forehand was way off most of the evening.

It was a bittersweet goodbye for Roddick, who received a standing ovation from the fans – del Potro joined in, rising from his changeover chair to applaud.

Earlier, he appeared to be trying to avoid crying while serving in the next-to-last game; in the stands, his wife, model-actress Brooklyn Decker, stuck a finger underneath her dark sunglasses to wipe away her tears.

It was appropriate that Roddick would leave tennis at Flushing Meadows, which is why he surprisingly announced last Thursday, his 30th birthday, that the U.S. Open would be his final tournament. He would go on to win a junior title in New York, then the 2003 men’s trophy at age 21, allowing him to end that season No. 1 in the ATP rankings.

Del Potro’s quarterfinal opponent will be defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic’s Serbian Davis Cup teammate, No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic, finished his rain-interrupted 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany, and gets No. 4 David Ferrer of Spain in the quarterfinals.

Olympic champion Andy Murray rallied to beat 12th-seeded Marin Cilic. Four-time major champion Maria Sharapova defeated 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the quarters.

Serena Williams, who has won three of her 14 Grand Slam titles at the U.S. Open, hit 12 aces in her latest dominant performance, a 6-1, 6-3 victory over 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

Williams’ semifinal opponent will be Sara Errani of Italy.

Gillispie reprimanded by Texas Tech

Basketball: Texas Tech disclosed that it had reprimanded men’s basketball coach Billy Gillispie earlier this year after learning he was exceeding NCAA practice-time limits.

Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt said the school reported the secondary violations to the NCAA and the governing body approved the penalty that Texas Tech had decided upon. The letter of reprimand came in January and included language that there would be “no tolerance for disregard of rules,” Hocutt said.

The school is now investigating allegations that Gillispie mistreated players, Hocutt said.

<p> reported that Gillispie made players practice long hours, which led to injuries.

“It was pretty bad,” Jaron Nash, who transferred to North Dakota after last season, told “A lot of guys were really hurt after it. One guy had a stress fracture in both legs.”

‘Blade Runner’ wins 400-meter relay gold

Paralympics: Oscar Pistorius captured his first gold medal of the London Paralympics, helping South Africa win the 400-meter relay in a world-record time at the Olympic Stadium.

The double amputee, known as “Blade Runner,” anchored the team home in a time of 41.78 seconds.

South Africa set the previous record at 42.50.

NHL: National Hockey League labor talks remain in recess five days after negotiations broke down, and 10 days before the league has threatened to lock out its players.

There has been no word from either the NHL or the NHL Players’ Association as to when negotiations will resume.