NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick stumbled to a bad-tempered early exit from his home grand slam on Wednesday, the American losing 3-6 7-5 6-3 7-6 to unseeded Serb Janko Tipsarevic in the final match of the day.
The 44th-ranked Tipsarevic served magnificently and peppered all areas of the court with winners, despite having both ankles wrapped in bandages, and clinched the fourth-set tiebreaker 7-4 with a reflex volley at the net to eliminate the ninth seed.
The Serbian sent down 16 aces, winning more than 80 percent of the points when he landed his first serve, and hammered home 66 winners.
Roddick, who went on a petulant rant in the third set when unsatisfied with a lineswoman’s explanation of a foot fault called against him, entered the match with 36-9 Open record compared to a 2-6 mark at Flushing Meadows for the Serb.
The 2003 champion had calmed down enough after the contest to offer praise to his opponent, who also beat him with a fourth-set tiebreaker in the second round at Wimbledon in 2008.
“The Wimbledon match wasn’t at that level,” Roddick, the highest-ranked American in the men’s draw, told reporters.
“He played great tonight. He played very high-risk and executed for four sets. I kept telling myself this has to have an expiration date on it.”
Roddick kicked up a fuss in the third set when trailing 5-2 when he was told he had faulted with his right foot, when in fact he had touched the line with his left foot.
The American, who rifled down 17 aces himself, argued at length about the foot fault explanation offered by the lineswoman, although he later confirmed he was just trying to fire himself up.
The ploy worked in the short term as he battled back from 0-40, saving three set points to hold serve for 5-3, but the big-hitting Tipsarevic was too good on the night, especially with his serve.
”That was huge,“ the Serb said. ”In the first set, I was feeling really tired because I wasn’t winning enough free points with my serve.
“But then I had a big first serve percentage and then one or two points in every game with my serve helped me with my fitness.”
Tipsarevic, 26, will next meet France’s Gael Monfils, who advanced past Russian Igor Andreev.
Editing by John O'Brien