Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Ankle smashes Roddick’s title dreams

GAME, SET, MATCH:While Andy Roddick limped out of the Australian Open, Serena Williams marked her 500th victory and other major players advanced without upsets


Andy Roddick of the US falls to the ground during his second-round match against Lleyton Hewitt of Australia yesterday at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia.

Photo: EPA

Andy Roddick’s 11th Australian Open campaign ended in disappointment yesterday when he was forced to retire against Australian Lleyton Hewitt when trailing two sets to one.

“Lleyton. That’s it,” the 29-year-old American told his opponent.

He draped his towel over this right shoulder, limped across to umpire Enric Molina, shook his hand, picked up his bag and disappeared down the tunnel at Rod Laver Arena, a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 loser.

The pair were expected to bash each other across the Melbourne Park center court until the small hours today.

Instead, an awkward off-balance lunge by Roddick early in the second set when he slowly rolled over on his right ankle effectively ended the contest.

Hewitt will now meet big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the third round.

Defending Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic looked the part yesterday, easing through to the third round with a convincing win to join former finalists Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

World No. 1 Djokovic was too strong for Colombia’s 56th-ranked Santiago Giraldo, reeling off a convincing 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win in 1 hour, 42 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

The Serb, chasing a third consecutive Grand Slam after winning Wimbledon and the US Open last year, is scheduled to face Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the last 32.

Murray needed almost two hours to subdue Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in three sets, while Tsonga stormed past Brazil’s Ricardo Mello in straight sets.

“Santiago came out early hitting the ball quite flat. But I knew that, you know, sooner or later he’s going to drop the rhythm and I just have to hang in there. I’ve done a good job,” Djokovic said.

The top seed said he enjoyed playing at the Rod Laver Arena, where he has won two of his four Grand Slam titles.

Only four men on five occasions have won three or more consecutive Grand Slams in the Open era — Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer twice.

It was the sixth straight year that Djokovic has reached the third round in Melbourne and comes after his stellar year last year, which started with seven straight tournament victories in a 41-match winning streak.

Murray, a runner-up in the past two years in Melbourne, remained unbeaten in seven matches this season following a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over the 101-ranked Roger-Vasselin.

Tsonga, a runner-up to Djokovic in 2008, was another convincing winner yesterday, blasting away Mello 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in just under two hours.

The Frenchman broke Mello’s serve five times in setting up a third-round encounter with Portugal’s Frederico Gil.

Gil eliminated Spanish 26th seed Marcel Granollers 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Elsewhere in the men’s draw on the fourth day, Serbian ninth-seed Janko Tipsarevic came from a set down to oust Australian wild-card James Duckworth 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, while big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic downed German Philipp Petzschner in four sets.

Raonic, who thundered down a fastest serve of 225kph, will face Lleyton Hewitt in the next round.

Spanish fifth seed David Ferrer, a semi-finalist last year, was taken to five sets by the US’ Ryan Sweeting before prevailing 6-3 in the fifth.

In the women’s singles, second seed Czech Petra Kvitova battled her way into the third round yesterday as rivals Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova steamrolled their opponents.

Russia’s Vera Zvonareva and Serbian glamour girl Ana Ivanovic also won in straight sets as the cream continued to rise to the top of the women’s draw.

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