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Last U.S. hope packs it out

Andy Roddick tosses aside his racket after dropping the second set, and later the match, against Stanislas Wawrinka. Roddick’s loss completes the exodus of American singles players from the Australian Open.

Associated Press

Andy Roddick tosses aside his racket after dropping the second set, and later the match, against Stanislas Wawrinka. Roddick’s loss completes the exodus of American singles players from the Australian Open.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Andy Roddick didn't like being the fall guy again. The facts, however, were unmistakable: All the Americans are gone from Australian Open singles play.

Roddick lost to 19th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka on a cool Sunday night at Melbourne Park. 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 in the singles field. The women were out before the third round ended; Venus Williams lasted seven points before she left with an ailing hip muscle.

Since Roddick's 2003 U.S. Open victory, no American man has won a major.

"It's tough," he said. "I remember last summer when I was catching all the heat for not having an American guy in the top 10 for the first time in 15 years. Didn't really make sense to me that I was the one taking heat when I was the only guy that had been there for the last six years."

His ouster came on a day when Roger Federer equaled Jimmy Connors' 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.

Early today, French Open men's finalist and No. 4 seed Robin Soderling was ousted 1-6, 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 by Alexandr Dolgopolov. Soderling won a lead-up event without losing a set and hadn't conceded a set at Melbourne Park. Then Dolgopolov hit 50 winners and a stunned Soderling had 51 unforced errors. Dolgopolov earned nine breaks against a player who had dropped his serve twice this year.

"I'm trying to get his weak side and play uncomfortable for him — then if I have chances to make winners, that's my game," Dolgopolov said. "He has one of the hardest balls on tour, but I was able to read his serve pretty well."

Federer beat Tommy Robredo 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to match Connors' mark, which came between 1973 and 1983, though he didn't play every major because he was hurt or didn't travel to Australia.

Schiavone 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 old mark was set in Australia last year when Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova beat Regina Kulikova 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (12-10), 6-3 in 4:19.

Said Schiavone: "At the end, you have something more, always."

.FAST FACTS

On TV

7 tonight, Tennis Channel;

9 tonight, ESPN2;

3:30 a.m. Tuesday, ESPN2

Last U.S. hope packs it out 01/23/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 5:39pm]
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