As usual but sooner, Andy Roddick departs Wimbledon

Andy Roddick tries to compose himself during his 41/2-hour, five-set loss in which he rallied from a 2-1 deficit but lost the final set 9-7.

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Andy Roddick tries to compose himself during his 41/2-hour, five-set loss in which he rallied from a 2-1 deficit but lost the final set 9-7.

WIMBLEDON, England — Andy Roddick's mood was subdued, his words curt.

Once again, he's leaving Wimbledon without the champion's trophy. Only this time, Roddick heads home much earlier than a year ago and after being beaten by a far less accomplished opponent.

The No. 5-seeded American erased an early deficit to even his fourth-round match against 82nd-ranked Yen-hsu Lu of Taiwan then got broken for the only time all day in the last game and lost 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4), 6-7 (7-5), 9-7 despite 38 aces Monday.

"It never gets easier," said Roddick, a three-time runnerup at Wimbledon. "Of course I'm going to be (ticked) off when I wake up (today). I mean, if you got fired from your job, you probably wouldn't wake up the next day in a great mood."

This one sure looked like a mismatch going in, and not only because Roddick won all three previous meetings in straight sets.

Roddick, after all, is a former No. 1 who won the 2003 U.S. Open and played in four other major finals, losing each to Roger Federer, including 16-14 in the fifth set at the All England Club in 2009.

And Lu? The guy arrived last week with a 6-18 career record in majors, including five consecutive first-round exits. He lost in Wimbledon's first round the past four years. So even he had doubts as the match stretched beyond 4½ hours.

"Fifth set, I don't believe I can win, because he's (a) better server than me," Lu said. "But I just tell myself, 'Even (if) I don't believe, I have to fight.' "

He pointed to the sky after ending the match with a forehand passing shot, dedicating the victory to his late father, a chicken farmer who died in 2000.

"Sometimes he's mentally not strong enough," said Lu's coach, Dirk Hordorff. "But (Monday) he showed he was strong enough."

The second Monday at Wimbledon is one of the great spectacles in tennis, with all 32 remaining men and women in action, and there was quite an array of stars spread around the grounds.

With the temperature moving into the 80s, and a cloudless sky, past Wimbledon champions Federer, Rafael Nadal and the Williams sisters all played and won in straight sets.

"A wonderful day for the fans," said Federer, who beat No. 16 Jurgen Melzer in the main stadium, then observed, "Obviously I know every corner of this Centre Court. It helps."

Serena Williams followed him out there and pounded 19 aces in her 7-6 (11-9), 6-4 victory over 2004 champion Maria Sharapova.

"I had a few looks at her serve," Sharapova said, "but even when you had a good look, and the ball's coming at you in the 120s (mph), it's pretty tough to do much with it."

In a matchup between former No. 1s and Grand Slam champions from Belgium who recently came out of retirement, No. 8 Kim Clijsters beat No. 17 Justine Henin 2-6, 6-2, 6-3. Henin slid and tumbled to the grass in the match's third game, jarring her right elbow, and wasn't the same the rest of the way.

Lleyton Hewitt, the 2002 winner at the All England Club, lost to 2008 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic 7-5, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, while two-time major finalist Andy Murray — Britain's hope for its first homegrown male champion since 1936 — defeated No. 18 Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 and is the only man yet to drop a set.

Lu's victory over Roddick was Monday's most significant surprise, by far, but it wasn't the only one.

No. 62 Petra Kvitova knocked off No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, last year's U.S. Open runnerup, 6-2, 6-0; and No. 82 Tsvetana Pironkova eliminated No. 11 Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon runnerup, 6-4, 6-4.

Kvitova and Pironkova reached their first major quarterfinal. Today, Pironkova, 22, takes on five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, and the Bulgarian is not likely to be too intimidated: She beat the American at the 2006 Australian Open.

The older Williams sister picked up a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory Monday over 92nd-ranked Jarmila Groth, but this was no easy day of work. Williams showed up late at the office, strolling out at 12:09 p.m. for their scheduled noontime match, saying later she expected to be escorted to remote Court 2.

"I was waiting on someone to get me. No one came. So eventually I just came out," said Williams, who twice broke when Groth served for the second set. "I saw everyone else leave. I thought, 'Okay, time to go.' "

It was a tight match, but Groth is far less experienced in these matters than Williams, who advanced to the 31st Grand Slam quarterfinal of her career — 31 more than Groth. At 5-all in the tiebreaker, Groth double-faulted to hand over a match point then dumped a forehand into the net.

In the other quarterfinals, Clijsters faces No. 21 Vera Zvonareva, who advanced when No. 4 Jelena Jankovic quit because of a back injury; Kvitova plays 80th-ranked qualifier Kaia Kanepi; and Serena Williams meets No. 9 Li Na.

As usual but sooner, Andy Roddick departs Wimbledon 06/28/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 6:19am]

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