Mon, Sep 03, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Polish teenager knocks out Sharapova at US Open

NEW YORK , AP

Number 30 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland celebrates defeating second seed Maria Sharapova of Russia in the third round of the US Open Tennis Championships at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, on Saturday.

PHOTO: AFP

Bothered by swirling gusts and a teen's surprising moxie, Maria Sharapova was completely lost.

Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland pulled off the stunning upset, beating the defending US Open champion 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 in a third-round match that took a startling turn on Saturday.

Sharapova seemed to take control by winning eight games in a row, giving her a 2-0 lead in the final set. Then, she fell apart and dropped the last six games.

"I could sit here and blame the wind and blame my opponent. But there are no excuses," Sharapova said. "I'm not going to throw myself a pity party here."

Sharapova became the first No. 2 seed to lose before the round of 16 at the Open since Andrea Jaeger in 1981. Her father could barely stand to watch, moving from his front-row perch to a seat farther back during the final points.

The 30th-ranked Radwanska had a lot to do with Sharapova's undoing. At 18, the former junior champ at Wimbledon and the French Open played with poise and smarts, creeping closer and closer to the service box on second serves, hoping to unnerve the two-time Grand Slam winner.

At times, Radwanska walked nearly halfway from the baseline to the net as Sharapova got ready, then backed off at the last second.

"I knew that she hates it if somebody is moving on the serve," Radwanska said, her braces gleaming in the sunlight. "She made many mistakes."

A shrewd move by Radwanska. Maybe make that a shrew move -- away from the court, she likes to play with her pet rats.

"I don't worry about what my opponent is doing," Sharapova said.

No such drama for top-ranked Roger Federer, who proved too much for 2.06m US rookie John Isner in a 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Isner used his booming serve to win the first-set tiebreaker.

"Four months ago, I was unranked," Isner said. "To go from that to beating Roger Federer in a set is pretty cool."

Federer quickly figured Isner out and kept up his bid for a fourth straight Open title.

"I started to pick up on his serve for the second set," Federer said.

Fifth-seeded Andy Roddick breezed through, beating 2002 Australia Open champion Thomas Johansson of Sweden 6-3, 6-2, 6-0 to reach the fourth round.

"I've got to try to find myself a hot date later," said Roddick, who's dated actress Mandy Moore and been linked to Sharapova in the past, "so I tried to get off the court a little faster."

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