Istomin eliminates Roddick in San Jose quarters
Andy Roddick slammed one racket, broke another, argued with the chair umpire and shouted back at his own box. At one point, he smacked a ball high into the black curtains behind the far baseline grandstand.
That was maybe the only time he hit his target.
Hobbled by a fresh right ankle sprain and a troublesome hamstring that forced his retirement from last month's Australian Open, Roddick lost to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin 6-2, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the SAP Open on Friday night. Roddick dropped every point in his first service game and never regained his rhythm in a maddening match that took only 76 minutes.
"It would be abnormal if you weren't frustrated," said Roddick, who still plans to play at next week's ATP Tour stop in Memphis. "The question is, `How do you figure your way through it?'"
Roddick is still searching for the answer.
Earlier Friday, 19-year-old American Ryan Harrison moved closer to his first ATP singles title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Bulgaria's Dimitar Kutrovsky. Harrison will face defending tournament champion Milos Raonic in the semifinals Saturday after the hard-serving Canadian defeated Kevin Anderson 7-5, 7-6 (3). Istomin will play Frenchman Julien Benneteau, who rallied to beat Belgium's Steve Darcis 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
The field is suddenly a lot less daunting.
Already slowed by injuries, Roddick struggled to cover the court against an opponent that found every angle.
He lost the first four points on his usual stout serve before saving three break points in his second service game. At 3-1 and 30-all, Istomin's shot caught the tape, flicking past Roddick for a winner that the American simply shook his head at.
After Istomin stuck a crosscourt forehand winner for a second break to go ahead 4-1, Roddick dropped his racket. When Roddick's shot landed in the net in the next game, he sent a ball soaring into the curtains beyond the opposite baseline grandstand, receiving a misconduct warning from chair umpire Steve Ullrich - which infuriated Roddick more.
Roddick asked the umpire if the warning was for racket abuse. Ullrich told him it was for the "ball.'' Roddick responded, "I challenge you on that."
He never put up such a fight against his on-court opponent.
The 29-year-old American chipped a racket after hitting another shot into the net at 40-30 and 1-all in the second set, yelling out profanity in the process. Roddick regrouped to go ahead 2-1, pumping his fist and screaming, "Come on!"
Istomin never wavered, running down every shot and waiting for the wounded Roddick to miss, which he did often. Roddick hit a backhand crosscourt wide and floated a forehand long to hand Istomin another break and a 3-2 lead in the second, and Istomin sat on his serve the rest of the way.
"I saw he got upset. Maybe it helped me," Istomin said. "I just tried to play my game."
Roddick, who had a first-round bye and injured his ankle in a three-set victory over Denis Kudla on Wednesday night, is still recovering from a slight tear in his hamstring that forced his retirement in the second round of the Australian Open. In what was supposed to be the start of his return to full strength, Roddick leaves the Bay Area more hobbled than when he arrived.
"It was pretty ordinary all the way around,'' said Roddick, a three-time champion in San Jose. "There's certainly a significant gap from where I am and where I need to be."
At least one American showed promise.
Fresh off his Davis Cup debut last weekend that helped the U.S. sweep Switzerland, Harrison hastily blew past Kutrovsky in 62 minutes. Harrison rallied from 2-0 down in the second set and took advantage of two calls overturned by replay to break Kutrovsky's serve for the final time.
"To get out there today and have a match that lasted about an hour, it was a very good thing for me,'' said Harrison, who has played three straight days since an almost 6,000-mile journey from Switzerland to San Jose.
Harrison moved into his third career semifinal at an ATP event - he lost to Mardy Fish both times last year in Atlanta and Los Angeles. He does have one professional doubles championship, teaming with Australia's Matthew Ebden last year in Newport, R.I.
Harrison is the first teenager to reach the semifinals at San Jose since eventual champion Andy Murray in 2006 and 2007, and Harrison's doing it all despite a body clock that's still recovering from nine time zones away.
The semifinals will be a rematch from a more famous California tournament. Harrison beat Raonic 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4 in the third round at Indian Wells last year.