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Roddick flops early again, but Venus stays on course

Andy Roddick, above, serves 16 aces but has six double faults in a straight-sets loss to unseeded Feliciano Lopez.

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Andy Roddick, above, serves 16 aces but has six double faults in a straight-sets loss to unseeded Feliciano Lopez.

WIMBLEDON, England — Head bowed, Andy Roddick trudged off Centre Court, his purple Wimbledon towel dragging along the turf.

As the three-time runnerup at the All England Club headed for the exit, he tossed his racket underhand to some kids in the front row. Thanks to his latest earlier-than-anticipated Grand Slam loss, the American won't be needing it next week.

The eighth-seeded Roddick departed Friday, beaten 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 in the third round by unseeded Feliciano Lopez. The Spaniard served 28 aces, and he finally ousted the 2003 U.S. Open champion after losing all seven previous matches they played.

Roddick, who turns 29 in August, lost to Roger Federer in the 2004, 2005 and 2009 finals here but only made it as far as the fourth round last year and the second round in 2008.

"What do you do? You keep moving forward until you decide to stop," Roddick said. "At this point, I've not decided to stop, so I'll keep moving forward."

He hasn't been past the quarterfinals at any of the past seven major tournaments.

It didn't help that Lopez was nearly perfect, hitting 57 winners and eight unforced errors.

"Unbelievable," Lopez said. " … I was surprised that I didn't miss anything, almost."

Because of rain, only two other third-round men's matches finished: No. 4 Andy Murray moved forward in his bid to give Britain its first male champion at Wimbledon since 1936, beating Ivan Ljubicic 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) with the help of a behind-the-back, between-the-legs trick shot; and No. 17 Richard Gasquet beat Simone Bolelli 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Defending men's champion Rafael Nadal saved two set points against Gilles Muller and rallied to take the first set 7-6 (8-6), but their match was halted by rain and will continue today.

In women's play, No. 2 Vera Zvonareva, the runnerup at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2010, was eliminated by No. 32 Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-3. Pironkova reached the semifinals last year, when she upset five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, and they'll have a rematch next week. Williams overpowered 76th-ranked Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-0, 6-2.

"I'm in the next round. That's my main goal, regardless whether I play amazing, whether I play halfway decent," Williams said.

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki won a delayed second-round match over Virginie Razzano 6-1, 6-3.

Past Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova struggled at the start against 17-year-old Laura Robson of Britain before righting herself 7-6 (7-4), 6-3.

"She was much more aggressive than I was in the beginning," Sharapova said. "But then I just kind of got my rhythm a little bit and started playing better."

>>Fast facts


All England Club, London

Today's key matches

Men: No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. Gilles Muller, No. 2 Novak Djokovic vs. Marcos Baghdatis, No. 3 Roger Federer vs. David Nalbandian

Women: No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki vs. Jarmila Gajdosova, No. 5 Maria Sharapova vs. Klara Zakopalova, No. 7 Serena Williams vs. Maria Kirilenko

TV: 7 a.m., ESPN2; 1 p.m., Ch. 8

Roddick flops early again, but Venus stays on course 06/24/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2011 9:49pm]
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