A listless former US Open Singles Champion (2003) Andy Roddick, perhaps still suffering the effects of mono, but garnering no extra motivation from the night session crowd which was desperately pulling for him, won the first set in his second round match on Ashe last night, 6-3, before a swing in momentum that saw him blitzed by Janko Tipsarevic, the world’s # 44 and a talented Serbian who lives for the big stage.  Tipsarevic, the 26 year old Serb with the techno look, marked by his trademark crackhead glasses, became known to most tennis fans in 2008 when he had world #1, Roger Federer, looking to defend his 2007 Australian title, on the ropes in round 3, and had led Roger 2 sets to one before finally losing an extended epic fifth set 10-8.

Ironically, Tipsarevic upset Andy Roddick that year at Wimbledon in similar fashion to last night.  It was a second round matchup that Roddick might have looked past, but the Serbian was ready, and beat Dandy Andy with an identical scoreline to last night–after dropping the first set.  That year at Wimbledon Tipsarevic parlayed his 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) over Roddick into a 2nd straight round of 16 appearance at Wimbledon, his best showing to date at a major championship.

Last night, Roddick played into the big hiting Serbian’s hands by leaving too many short balls around the court, and by mustering virtually nothing on Tipsarevic’s serve.  Roddick only created 5 break chances for himself, and only broke Tipsy twice, while Tipsarevic broke Roddick 3 times in 11 opportunities and virtually matched Roddick’s ace count (Tipsarevic struck 16 aces to Roddick’s 17).  But the Serbian, playing the important moments much better than the struggling American, won 63 % of his 51 second serves–ample opportunities for Roddick to get out of his own way.

Tipsarevic seemed to relish Roddick’s safe style, and dictated from the baseline while flashing quick hands at net.  Tipsarevic struck 66 winners in the match to Roddick’s 40, and Tipsy was sharp at net, while Roddick looked lost up there, losing key exchanges at net which clinched the third set and then the fourth for Tipsarevic, who was by far the better player last night.

While Roddick flashed the style of play on hards at Indian Wells and Key Biscayne that make him a contender at any hardcourt major, he has not been able to translate that play into success at Wimbledon or during the summer season this year, making one question, at this point, how much help ace coach Larry Stefanki has been of late to Roddick.  If Stefanki can’t help, I’m not sure anyone can, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Roddick end up with good friend Mardy Fish’s coach, South African David Nainken, who has done a fantastic job with Americans Fish and Sam Querrey.  Fish and Roddick already spend a lot of time training together, and have done so for years (Fish, the Minnesota native, lived with Roddick’s family during high school so that he could play tennis in a better tennis climate). 

Roddick, known in his youth as a player with a scary serve and a huge forehand, has played too tentatively, and has been consistently out-winnered in big matches.  His big forehand has been nowhere to be found, and too often, Andy cracks a big serve, and still loses control of the point because he doesn’t do enough with the first ball after the return.  His net play, which Stefanki seemed to improve, now seems to have reverted, and Roddick seems loathe to pull the trigger on a backhand, which has become even more of a safe, short, defensive ball for his opponents to tee off on.

Here are the match stats from last night:

 
     Tipsarevic(SRB)   Roddick(USA)
         
 
  1st Serve %
72 of 123 = 59 %
78 of 119 = 66 %
 
  Aces
16
17
 
  Double Faults
1
3
 
  Unforced Errors
30
23
 
  Winning % on 1st Serve
58 of 72 = 81 %
61 of 78 = 78 %
 
  Winning % on 2nd Serve
32 of 51 = 63 %
22 of 41 = 54 %
 
  Winners
66
40
 
  Receiving Points Won
36 of 119 = 30 %
33 of 123 = 27 %
 
  Break Point Conversions
3 of 11 = 27 %
2 of 5 = 40 %
 
  Net Approaches
17 of 26 = 65 %
22 of 37 = 59 %
 
  Total Points Won
126
116
 
  Fastest Serve Speed
130 MPH
142 MPH
 
  Average 1st Serve Speed
114 MPH
126 MPH
 
  Average 2nd Serve Speed
85 MPH
104 MPH
 

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/scores/stats/day9/1220ms.html

For Roddick, the American has got to find away to get his feet moving again–what we feel is part of the reason for his poor net play and awful return of serve–perhaps the worst return game of any top player.  It must be a disappointing 28th birthday for Roddick, who also cut down early at last year’s Open, in the 3rd round by American Giant John Isner.  As for Tipsarevic who played his spoiler role to a tee, he will face Frenchman Gael Monfils in the 3rd round, and by knocking off Roddick, has knicked off line possible All-American quarterfinal matchups between good buddies Roddick and Blake and Roddick and Fish.

We couldn’t help noticing last night, and in general, how encumbered Roddick seemed by his two handed backhand, which produced virtually no winners, and left far too many balls in the impressive Serbian’s strike zone.  3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (4) win for Tipsarevic in 3 hours and 18 minutes.  Ironically, it is Tipsarevic, with 39 aces, who leads the tournament in aces so far.

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)