Archive for Friday, September 10, 2004

Roddick shocked at Open

Johansson sends defending champ home

September 10, 2004

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— Andy Roddick ran into a bold, bigger version of himself at the U.S. Open, and 6-foot-6 Joachim Johansson sent the defending champion home.

Roddick was upended 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 2-6, 6-4 Thursday night by another 22-year-old brandishing a powerful serve and forehand, but also someone who's won just one title, was playing in his first major quarterfinal, and who started the year ranked 113th.

Not only that, but Johansson never had played a five-set match before. Yet there he was, smacking serves at 141 mph, outslugging Roddick from the baseline during extended exchanges, saving two break points late, and ending the match by breaking Roddick.

Far less surprising was Andre Agassi's exit earlier Thursday. That's because he was up against No. 1 Roger Federer, who won 6-3, 2-6, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in a quarterfinal suspended by rain early in the fourth set the night before and wrapped up in the worst of swirling winds. It's the first time in the Open era, which began in 1968, that no American man reached the Open semifinals.

Federer will face No. 5 Tim Henman, while Johansson, having eliminated the 2003 Open winner, goes up against the 2001 champion, Lleyton Hewitt -- whose sister Jaslyn just happens to be the 28th-seeded Swede's girlfriend.

Agassi, 34, wondered about his future after his loss.

"My game plan is to play until I can't do it," a contemplative Agassi said. "I certainly want to be able to assess my level of play, and at some point my level of play will dictate my decisions. But as of right now, I'm trying to win tournaments, and I believe I can still do that."

Agassi was trying to become the oldest Open champion since 1970.

"He's a little bit older than me, but he's not 50 or 60," Federer said with a smile. "He can still run and play with the best."

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