Andy Roddick reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals Monday without breaking a sweat. Nice quick day for Roddick, but not nearly enough work if youâ€™re coached by old â€˜blood and sweatâ€™ Jimmy Connors…No. 5 seed Roddick made a beeline to the closest practice court, with Connors, who turned 55 Sunday, close behind. For about an hour, a bare-chested Roddick banged balls and broke a sweat, a pleasing sight to eight-time Grand Slam champion Connors. Surrounded by a huge throng of fans, former superstar Connors and superstar pupil waded into the crowd, signing autographs.
Trailing 7-6 (8-6), 2-0, only an hour into the match, Czech Republicâ€™s Tomas Berdych got woozy and quit, giving Roddick an easier than expected berth in the final eight.
â€œI was feeling really bad,â€ Berdych said. It was like hard to breathe, then the body was so slow.â€
Roddick, who has yet to be challenged, faces his toughest challenge Wednesday when heâ€™s expected to do battle with top-seed Roger Federer, who plays Spainâ€™s Feliciano Lopez tonight.
â€œNo offense to Lopez, but Iâ€™m kind of already preparing for Roger,â€ Roddick said. â€œBut Iâ€™m excited. I expect a lot of myself. I donâ€™t think anybody else really expects much from me. Iâ€™m assuming it will be a night session, you know, the crowd will be electric, and Iâ€™ll be excited. Iâ€™m excited about the opportunity.â€
Roddick has beaten Federer only once (2003 Montreal semifinals) in 14 meetings. He occasionally got testy when questioned about Federer.
Question: Will you watch Federerâ€™s match tonight?
Answer: â€œIâ€™m not sure. I think weâ€™ve played each other enough. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™m going to watch him and discover that heâ€™s good, you know.â€
Question: Is there a difference playing him in the quarters and playing him in the final?
Answer: â€œI donâ€™t know. Iâ€™ve never played him in the quarters.â€
Question: Against Roger it seems like sometimes heâ€™s drawing you in when he wants you to come in rather than you coming in on your own terms.
Question: Can you talk about that, because obviously itâ€™s not like youâ€™re going to play him completely from the baseline.
Answer: â€œWhat do you want me to talk about? I agree with what you said.â€
Challenged to explain what he meant when he said people donâ€™t expect anything from him, Roddick softened a bit, saying, â€œMaybe I misspoke, you know. Trust me, I know you guys (media) expect a lot of me. (smiling).â€
In another fourth round match, Germanyâ€™s Tommy Haas rallied to beat No. 6 James Blake 4-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4). Haas, an U.S. Open quarterfinalists in 2004 and 2006, said, â€œTo be in the quarterfinals again is an awesome feeling.â€